Making Sourdough Bread with your own starter
I hope you had some success with making your Sourdough starter from scratch, because now I am going to show you how to use it to make a fantastic Sourdough loaf. There are a number of ways to do this- but this recipe is the most straightforward and seems to turn out a tasty and chewy loaf each time. There are a number of ways to increase the sour flavour which I will blog more about in the future. One way is to put the dough in the fridge over night at the point at which its ready to be shaped just before baking, so you could try that if you are looking for that unmistakable strong flavour.
Getting your starter refreshed and ready
If you have neglected your starter for a while (over a week) then a couple of days before you want to bake, start refreshing it. This is just the same method as you used when you were making your starter.
1. In the evening, throw ( or give) away all but around 1 tablespoon of starter. Add 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of flour and mix well. Then leave at room temperature until the following evening.
2. Refresh again, just as you did last night, but this time just leave it until the morning.
3. Refresh again the next morning and by the evening you should have a lovely lively bubbly mass of starter ready to go. (If you don’t, just refresh it one more time)
Making the dough
1/2 cup starter
2 3/4 cups strong bread flour (can be white or a mixture of brown and white)
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups water
1. Put the starter in a mixing bowl and add the water and mix so that you break up the starter into smaller pieces
2. Add the bread flour and salt and mix so that all the flour is hydrated and leave for 1/2 hour.
3. Now fold the dough three times using a large spoon, scooping the dough from the bottom and pulling it up and over itself.
4. Cover with cling film or a handy hotel shower cap
5. Leave it over night
Folding the dough the next morning
1. The next morning, you should be able to see that the dough has risen. Fold it again three times, just like you did last night and leave it for an hour
2. Fold again and leave for another hour
Shaping the dough
1. Sprinkle a little flour on your work surface and scrape the dough out of the bowl on to the counter
2. Stretch the dough to the right
and fold it back over itself
3. Stretch to the left in the same way
and fold over again
4. Sprinkle the surface with flour and flip over so that the smooth side is on the top and the folded seams are on the bottom.
5. Move your hands slowly pulling the dough gently downwards to create some tension over the dough, whilst you are shaping it into a round ball
6. Now make sure that all the dough has a good sprinkling of flour all over it and place it on a clean tea towel, seam side down and smooth side up
7. Now fold the corners of the tea towel over the bread and leave for 1/2 hour
Heating the oven and a heat proof covered baking casserole dish
1. Heat the oven to 240 degrees C with a baking casserole dish (Le Creuset works well) inside for 1/2 hour
Baking the dough
1. Move your dough near the oven and uncover and then sprinkle the dough with extra flour over the top
2. Take the baking dish out of the oven (take care it will be very hot) and take the lid off
3. Pick up the dough still on the tea towel and gently place it in the hot baking dish so that the smooth side is now on the bottom and the seam side is up
4. Put the lid on and bake in the oven for 1/2 hour
5. Take lid off and turn down the oven to 200 degrees – at this point it will look a little pale but should have risen nicely
6. Bake for another 15-20 mins. until it is a richer brown colour and has a very hard crust all over
7. Let it cool on a wire wrack for 1/2 hour and then slice and enjoy!