Nothing out there is quite as good as a freshly baked loaf of bread. However, one bread really tops the charts when it is fresh, and that is sourdough. There is no doubt that all your friends will be super impressed if you hand them a freshly baked loaf of sourdough bread.
Especially if you made it yourself.
The best thing about baking bread is that once you have made a few loaves, sourdough bread is easy, it is just a rhythmical process.
With sourdough bread it is easy once you know how, and if you make a mess, and find you made some mistakes, you can still eat it, why not turn it into bread crumbs and add it to a tasty dish?
So, we will start you on your journey to baking some sourdough bread.
One thing we will note is that if you have made your own bread before, sourdough will feel like a piece of cake, because it’s pretty hard bread to mess up. If you have never made bread before, sourdough is a great place to start.
So, let’s start somewhere simple. With a simple recipe that is ideal for beginners to cook sourdough bread.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 60 minutes
Makes: 1 loaf
Method of Cooking: Oven baked
Dietary Preferences: Suitable for a vegan diet
Do remember that this bread is low-hydration, so it is a tight crumbled bread, which is ideal for toast and sandwiches
- .90 oz Olive Oil.
- .4 oz fine sea salt.
- 17.65oz bread flour.
- 8.80 oz warm water.
- 5.35 oz active starter.
- Ground cornmeal to dust.
(If you want a more pliable dough, then you can increase the water and use a bowl lined with cloth)
Start off by mixing the olive oil, water, and starter in a large mixing bowl. Then add in the flour and the salt. Mix everything together until everything is absorbed.
Your dough will be shaggy and dry. Cover your bowl with a plastic wrap or a damp clean towel. Then let your dough rest for 30 minutes to an hour.
Once this time is up, work the dough into a ball for about quarter of a minute.
Cover your wrap with a wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Let it rest in a warm spot, near a heater, or fire is ideal. Once it no longer looks really dense it should have doubled in size.
This process can take a few hours to half a day depending on the temperature and the environment. Use your own judgment.
Stretch and Fold
You can also stretch and fold the dough to strengthen it. Do this 30 minutes into the rise. Gathering a portion and stretching it upwards and folding it. Do this until you have done a full circle of the dough in the bowl. Repeat this one or two times an hour apart.
Doing so can increase the volume of your bread.
Cut & Shape
Flour one side of your work surface, and leave the other clean. Place your dough onto the floured section, and just fold over the dough to shape it. Cut it in half for 2 loaves or leave as is.
To shape your dough you can use a bench scraper. Fold the dough towards the center, give it a slight turn, and fold over the next section until you have done a circle.
Flip it over and place it upside down. Cup the sides of the dough and rotate.
Rise for 30-60 minutes as you did before, using cornmeal to prevent sticking. The dough will be ready when it is puffy.
Now, preheat your oven to 450.
Sourdough bread is scored. Make shallow gashes around 2-3 inches in length in the center of your dough. Each gash should be about ¼ inch in depth.
Place your bread in the over with the lid on, and make for 20 minutes at 400 Fahrenheit. Then remove the lid and bake with no lift for 40 minutes, until the dough is a golden brown color.
When you remove the bread from the oven, cool it on a wire rack for 60 minutes before you slice it.
Beginner’s 101 Guide
We want to talk to you about rising agents for your dough. Depending on your tastes there are many things you can use. You can have your own rising agent, or you can buy. Yeast is a notorious agent that activates the rising power of the dough.
Without this, your dough will not rise. You can just use yeast if you wish, some people even use alcoholic beverages such as Guinness, as it has yeast in it, so it can work as a raising agent.
A starter for sourdough is a live culture you make from water and flour. Once it is mixed it will slowly ferment which cultivates the natural yeasts and bacteria. Only a small portion of this will make your bread rise. You will need to keep it alive. To maintain maximum strength.
How you do this is up to you, but everyone has their own technique. It is up to you to discover your own.
You can’t use all-purpose flour for this recipe. It is not ideal. We recommend bread flour or sourdough flour if you can find it.
You can also add whole wheat flour to this dough, however it will usually dry out the dough and make it dense bread. However, if you want to make whole wheat flour bread that, go for it!
The olive oil in this dough helps to emulsify the dough, creating a plush crumb, however, you do not have to add it if you do not want to.
Remember that a recipe is guidelines, and really you can make your bread however you want. Make it your own!