I've made a lot of sourdough breads and therefore wanted to update my recipe. I've made some minor changes that go a long way in really creating the perfect loaf.
Yes, sourdough is more work than the standard white loafbut all the extra effort is worth it. Trust me.
Let's just keep it simple here. We want to create a starter using the 1:1:1 ratio. 1 part starter and feed this with 1 part flour and 1 part water. You can decide what the ratio is. It could be, like in this recipe 100 grams of everything but it could also be 5 kg of everything. After your starter is active you can choose to feed it once a week and keep it in the fridge. It really depends on how much you want to bake.
Keep in mind that it can take up to two weeks before your starter is active. It can go a lot faster, ir depends on the temperature. Warmer=faster active starter.
You can pretty much use any type of flour (not bleached or self raising) but I prefer white bread so I use bread (type 00) flour.
As long as your starter isn't moldy just keep feeding it, even if it takes a bit longer. Also, don't think you've ruined it by forgetting to feed once. Your starter is stronger than you think.
- glass jar with lid
Right now stock is limited and flour is pretty much sold out so if you want to ration you can always use 50 grams of everything instead of 100 grams. Just replace all 100 grams below by 50 grams. Just make sure that when you get ready to prepare a dough you have enough starter left, otherwise you made a starter for just 1 bread and we don't want that.
Mix in a bowl 100 grams of flour and 100 grams of lukewarm water. Mix until there are no lump and transfer to the glass jar. Put the lid on but don't screw shut (you'll create a bomb because of the gasses it will produce). Let this sit for 24 hours in room temperature.
No we start with the 1:1:1 ratio. Take 100 grams of the starter of yesterday and mix with 100 grams water and 100 grams flour. Throw away the remaining starter of yesterday. Put in the glass jar with the lid loosely on and let it sit for 24 hours in roomtemperature.
I usually rinse my glass jar everyday but you can skip that step. As long as there isn't any mold, you're good to go.
Day 3 and further:
Feed 100 grams of your starter everyday with 100 grams flour and 100 grams water. Do this until your starter is active. Then you can decide if you want to feed your starter daily or put it in the fridge and feed once a week.
When is my starter ready to bake.
You know your starter is active when it 1: smells good, like yogurt. 2: it doubles in size in about 8 hours. 3: it floats on water. If you don't want to throw away the remaining starter you can use it in your pancake mix, waffle mix and basically everything you want to bake.
When your starter is active you can make your dough. Be careful, you can only make a dough with a starter that's at it's peak (like above). So when it's bubbly and it floats on water. When your starter has eaten it's food and is already is going down it's not active enough to bake with. How long it takes before your starter is active depends on the strength of the starter and the temperature. If I'm in a rush I'll put my starter in my fermentation station on about 28 degrees, 3.5 hours later I can bake with it. You can put your starter in the oven with just the light on, this is about 30 degrees. For your starter, and any dough, is the warmer it is the faster the rise will be.
I like to bake my bread on Saturday, so when I have to go to the office of Friday my schedule will look as follows.
08:00 Feed your starter as usual. I'll leave it out on room temperature so it will be ready to bake with when I get back from work at 5.
17:00 Mix water and flour (autolyse) cover and let this sit
18:00 add the starter and salt and knead (you can choose to feed your dough now and put it in the fridge or feed it in the morning) Knead the dough until you can stretch it so thin you can almost see through it and it won't tear.
18:00-22:00 Let rise with 3 stretch & folds. With a stretch & fold you pick stretch the dough out (with wet hands) and fold in over itself until you have a tight ball again.
The 4 hour rise is an estimate. This depends on the temperature. You need to watch the structure of the dough, watch out for gas bubbles. If you have those after 4 hours you can start with shaping, of not let rise for longer.
22:00 Do a preshape, this will make your final shape tighter.
22:15 Do the final shape, cover and put in the fridge. Take a look at my video to see how to shape a boule and a batard.
Keep in mind this is an example. You can start earlier, you can put the dough in the fridge for about 16 hours.
08:00 preheat the oven (with the Dutch oven) to 250 degrees, or as hot as your oven can go. Preheat for at least 30 minutes. (if you haven't fed your starter yesterday, do it today. I weigh my remaining starter and feed it with equal amounts of water and flour)
08:30 Get your dough out of the fidge and place on a baking sheet. Score with a razor, gently place in your Dutch oven and put in the oven with the lid on. (Important for steam)
08:50 Remove the lid and put back in the oven
09:20 Get your bread out of the oven, put on a cooling rack and let cool completely.
That's it! The tricky part about sourdough is that the dough remains sticky but do not add flour. That really messes up the ratio of the dough. Always keep your hands and the counter moist so the dough doesn't stick. Only add flour at the final step of shaping and when you put the dough in a banneton.
Still in doubt, take a look at my video where I go through the entire process.
You can of course make all types of bread. I made this one with spelt, the recipe is over here.
What I use
Is a Dutch oven necessary? No but it is the easiest way to bake bread. The steam is so very important and I've noticed my oven lets out a lot of steam if I used the bakesheet/water method. The results aren't nearly as good as in a Dutch Oven. So, if you love bread baking and don't have a steam oven I would seriously consider the investment. You could also use a pyrex dish like this one.Much cheaper
I've made a Q&A article where I answer all the questions I've had so far.
- 400 grams flour
- 260 grams water
- 120 grams starter
- 9 grams salt
- Mix the water and flour until just combined, cover and let sit for an hour. This is called autolyse, we activate the gluten by doing this.
- Mix in the starter and salt until well combined. The total bulk time is 4 hours but we'll do 3 stretch & folds during this time. Check the dough after the 4 hours to see if you see visible gasbubbels, if you don't you need to let it rise for a bit longer.
- I usually do a stretch & fold after 30 minutes, then after 1 hour, again 1 hour and then a bulk fermentation of 1.5 hours. Stretch&fold: Wet your hands (the dough is a bit sticky and by wetting your hands it won't stick to you) and stretch a side as far the dough gives (don't let it tear) and fold over the dough. Do this all the way around the dough for about 2 minutes. You'll notice the dough firms up. By doing this you'll strengthen the gluten more.
- Time for shaping the dough! Lightly flour your countertop and transfer the dough. Make sure the dough doesn't stick to the countertop. Shape the dough in a boule and let this rest for 15 minutes (uncovered). The do the final shape.
- Dust a banneton or a bowl lined with a kitchentowel wit a generous amount of flour. Transfer the boule in the bowl (seamside up). Cover, put in a plastic bag and put in the fridge.
- The next morning: Preheat your oven including baking tray or Dutch oven to maximum heat, mine is at 250 degrees. If you don't have a Dutch ovenalso preheat another deep baking tray. We do this because we need steam the first minutes when baking the bread. (that's why a Dutch oven is so handy, with the lid on the steam gets created by the bread itself) Because of steam the crust won't harden and the bread can still rise in the oven, we call this oven burst. You want to preheat your oven for at least 30 minutes.
- When the oven has preheated, take your dough out the fridge. Gently turn over on a baking sheet, peel off the kitchen towel if you're using one and cut a line top to bottom using the razor blade, about 4mm deep. Doing this you decide the place where the oven burst will take place, otherwise it'll tear. Transfer the dough into the Dutch oven and bake with the lid on for 20 minutes and again without the lid for 15 to 20 minutes, until until deep brown.
- I you don't have a Dutch oven put the dough in the oven but also fill the additional baking tray we preheated in the oven with boiling water. Quickly close the ovendoor so the steam doesn't escape and bake for 30- 45 minutes.
- I like a very dark baked bread but ckeck occasionally. Baking time varies every time. After baking transfer the bread on a cooling rack and let it cool off completely.