If you’re anything like my husband in ‘iso life’, you have tried, or at least thought about trying to make sourdough from scratch. We have done this whole process a few years ago, but this time round I’m feeling we’ve had more successes then fails. Through the countless youtube tutorials and a few very clever home bakers we have followed and watched the different processes we have found this is the best and easiest way to get the loaf we are happy with!
What you Need
- Sourdough Starter – recipe below
- glass jar
- flour and water
- rubber band
- Good Bakers flour
- Rye Flour
- Filtered Water
- Sea Salt
- Kitchen Scale
- Bench Scraper
- Dutch Oven
- Proofing Basket (or bowl and tea towel)
- Razor (to score)
With the little extra time you might have on your hands, why not make your starter from scratch, it is an easy process that just requires a little bit of effort and love. Now, there are so many starter recipes out there, and every chef is putting up their own, but to save the hassle the one that worked for us is as follows;
- Day 1 – In a glass jar mix 1/2 Cup of good white flour with 1/2 cup of filtered water (make sure there are no clumps). Leave covered for 24 hours
- Day 2 – You might start to see bubbles, either way, stir your starter for air to incorporate into it. Scrape down your sides and leave for another 24 hours
- Day 3 – Check to see if you start to see any activity, it should start to be bubbly, it may have also risen over night, and smell fruity (these are good signs, it means that your starter is active). From now on you are going to start the process of discard and feed.
Once your starter it active, with a nice fruity tangy smell, you need to name it (James named his Gus) and care for it like you would any other member of the family. Your starter needs to be fed everyday, as well as allowed to poop (discard). As your starter is naturally fermenting it will grow after each time you feed it.
- You are going to discard most of it except for about 2 tablespoons worth. See the end of this post for ideas to do with your discard.
- Each day it is to be fed with equal parts flour and water. I usually do 50g flour and 50g filtered water (I have just started to also split the flour – White 25g and Rye 25g. I like the starter it makes with this combination)
Once you have an active, happy and healthy starter, you are ready to start making Sourdough. After a feed, you want it to double in size before using it for your sourdough.
Now that we have doing this with our starter for about a month, we are now getting a much more active starter, and therefore better sourdough then when we first started.
The ‘everyday’ Sourdough Bread
James has trialled so many different sourdough bread recipes and techniques, until he has put together the ‘can’t go wrong’, everyday recipe that works (usually) every-time. Every recipe will give you percentages of this, that and the other, however, if you follow the steps below, you can’t go wrong!
- You are going to start with 100g of your active sourdough starter and dissolve it into 350g of filtered water. (To know that your starter is active, you can do the ‘float test’. This is where you put a table spoon of your starter in a glass of water to see if it floats. If it does, your starter is active and ready to use.
- Use your hands to break up you starter into the water
- Feed your starter again to replace what you have removed. 50g flour, 50g filtered water
- Once you have done this, you will add 450g of good bakers white flour and 50g rye flour. Mix all these ingredients together into a soggy mess. It will be quite sticky, but that is how you want it.
- This means that for this recipe you are working with 90% White flour and 10% Rye, with 70% Hydration (Once you have perfect using this recipe, you can trial with different flours and percentages of both flour and hydration).
- Leave your soggy mess for 45mins covered with a tea towel. Once you come back to it, it will be much easier to work with and less sticky.
- After the 45 mins is up, you are going to add 10g salt and 25g more of filtered water. You are going to fold all ingredients together, 30 secs.
- Leave for 30 mins covered with a tea towel
Now you are going to do a series of ‘stretch and folds’. This is going to accumulate 2 hours, plus an extra hour rest time.
- Stretch and Fold #1
- Leave 30 mins
- Stretch and Fold #2
- Leave 30 mins
- Stretch and Fold #3
- Leave 30 mins
- Stretch and Fold #4
- Leave for an hour
- Once your stretch and folds are over and your dough has rested in the bowl for an hour, you are going to do your first ‘shape’ – here you want to create some tension on the outer surface of the dough. This is harder to explain, and comes better with practice. Place your dough on your bench top with no flour. Shape the dough using your bench scraper. Before I had once i used my hands, but trust me you will want to invest in a Bench Scraper. During this process you will shape it into a ball to leave rest again.
- Leave your dough ball bench rest for 30 mins (again cover with your tea towel after a small dusting of flour so it doesn’t stick.
- Once 30 mins is up you are going to do a second shape, again creating some surface tension. Using your bench scraper (or hands) form your dough into a tight ball to the place into a proofing bowl/basket to proof in the fridge overnight.
In the morning;
- Turn on your oven to its hottest temp with your Dutch Oven heating up with your oven. Once it is heated take out your dough from the fridge and place into the Dutch Oven on come parchment paper.
- Score your dough and garnish as desired.
- Place the lid on the Dutch Oven and cook covered for 20 mins. Then remove the lid to cook for a further 20 mins. (Now your oven might be different, so you might need to trial timing, you may prefer to leave it just a little longer then this like we usually do.
- Pull out of the oven and let sit to cool for at least 30 mins before you cut into it (if you can resist). Enjoy you first bite with nothing on it to enjoy the taste your sourdough from scratch!
Once you have perfected your every day loaf, why not try different flour quantities and hydration. Try spelt, wholemeal or something else. Add seeds in your dough or on top. Try including turmeric, or olives, or sun-dried tomatoes. This is the fun part, improvising with the recipe.
Also, give @thesourdoughstory a follow on instagram for James’ fails, wins and everything in between.
Excess Starter Recipes
As you are feeding your starter everyday, you are also needing to discard some of it as mentioned above (every living thing also needs to poop). There are so many things you can do with your discard if you are not wanting to throw it into the bin or compost. As we trial each recipe I will add them to my blog for easy go to’s!
We would also love to see your breads and sourdough recipes, so please tag us so we can see.
Sourdough Pizza Dough