There is quite literally nothing better than homemade bread. The smell throughout the house, the fresh taste, and the satisfaction that you made it yourself.
Baking bread is a very therapeutic process, but many people are put off due to fear of killing the yeast and the bread not rising. This is where sourdough comes to the rescue.
Sourdough requires no store-bought yeast, no kneading, no bread machine, and no stand mixer. It is perfect for those just getting into the world of bread making.
So, in this guide, we cover the basics you will need to start your sourdough journey.
You can find out more about sourdough from My Daily Sourdough Bread editor and author, Natasha Krajnc.
What Is Sourdough?
Sourdough is a slow-fermented bread that is made from a sourdough starter rather than yeast. Sourdough starter is a live fermented culture that is made from flour and water.
The fermentation process also helps to break down gluten, so people have found it to be easier on the digestive system when compared to traditional bread.
Overall, sourdough has quite a tangy taste (as per the name) and chewy consistency.
How To Make A Sourdough Starter
The main ingredient of sourdough is the sourdough starter. This is what gives it its iconic taste and makes it rise. The starter does require care and time, but trust us it is worth it.
To make the starter, mix equal grams of flour and water into a jar, we recommend 50g of each to start. Then add the same amount of flour and water every day mixing well until it starts to bubble and double in size. This usually takes about 5 days.
Once it gets to this point, you can make sourdough out of it. You can also do the float test to make sure it is ready, simply put a small amount of it in a glass of water, and if it floats it is ready to use.
You will need to continuously feed it (about once a week, or every couple of days depending on how often you make sourdough). This way you get maximum rising out of it and can continuously make better-tasting sourdough.
Basic Sourdough Recipe
Every sourdough recipe is different, the amount of starter, the technique, and the ingredients vary across bakers. Use this recipe as a guide for you to adjust and experiment with sourdough.
- 250g water
- 150g sourdough starter
- 25g olive oil
- 500g bread flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
For the best and most accurate results, we recommend measuring your ingredients in grams.
- Mix all your ingredients in a bowl until they form a dry, almost rough, consistency.
- Cover your bowl in plastic wrap and wait for about 30 minutes. You can leave it for up to an hour without ruining it if you momentarily forget about it.
- Work your dough gently into a ball. You can stretch and fold it a bit if you like which will give your dough more structure at the end.
- Time to let your dough rise. Cover your dough ball in a kitchen towel and leave it to double in size. This can take anywhere from 3 to 12 hours depending on the temperature.
- Next, shape your dough. The easiest method is to tuck the edges under the dough to form a nice ball but you can get experimental.
- Put it in a baking pot, the use of a lid will help to retain heat and give the sourdough a crispy finish.
- Let the dough rise a final time in the pot until it looks puffy. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
- Score the dough on top so it can rise pretty and not crack.
- Cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes and then uncover for an extra 40 minutes.
- Let it cool completely before slicing into it. This can take about an hour. If you don’t wait the bread can have a gummy texture.
Once you nail the art of sourdough making, you will never have to buy another loaf of bread from the store again. Of course, you may make a few mistakes on the journey, but fortunately, the mistakes are edible.
Sourdough is great because you are able to adjust and customize the recipe to your liking once you understand how the recipe works.
It is truly one of the best breads out there in both taste, and ease of making.