Baking sourdough bread has become a pretty big hobby of mine. It is actually pretty simple once you get the hang of it. I wanted to share my basic sourdough instructions, plus a tutorial on how to make a snowflake sourdough bread loaf just in time for winter and Christmas!
What is Sourdough Bread?
The King Arthur Baking website says “Sourdough refers both to bread, and to the starter used to make it. Starter begins with a combination of flour and liquid, and can range from a stiff starter made entirely with rye flour and water to a liquid batter of milk and cornmeal — with plenty of options in between.
When flour is mixed with liquid, the friendly bacteria (lactobacilli) and wild yeast in both the flour and your surrounding environment start working together. Within their flour-and-water slurry (now called starter), these tiny living creatures generate byproducts that cause bread to rise and give it complex, rich flavor.”
Sourdough bread is naturally-leavened bread that uses sourdough starter from flour and water to create a base that will grow and cause your bread to rise naturally. Some sourdough recipes also use commercial yeast to get a more consistent rise, but my recipe uses only wild yeast, and is completely naturally leavened.
Sourdough Supplies & Tools:
- You will need a strong sourdough starter. Make your own, see if a friend has some locally, or you can buy some online.
- I started with a basic kit like this and it worked great!
- These are my favorite jars to get my leaving ready and store my starter.
- A kitchen scale that measures grams.
- I like to use a food grade containers so I can easily see and measure growth. Also, the lid keeps it from getting dried out.
- Reusable bowl covers are really helpful for the overnight proof in the refrigerator.
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Basic Sourdough Instructions
Day 1: In a small clean jar, mix 50grams filtered water, 50 grams flour, 10grams sourdough starter. You can put your original starter back in the refrigerator until next time. If that original starter is getting low, add 30g water, 30g flour to it . Store it in refrigerator until next time.
Day 2: Your mixture should be nice and bubbly, now take another bigger, clean jar and mix 135g filtered water, 135g flour, and 30g of your sourdough starter you mixed up yesterday. Mix well and set aside. Overnight works great for this. This big feed is called your levain.
Day 3: Once levain is ready (Should be nice and bubbly. Once it has reached full potential and starting to fall is the best. Must float in cold water) In a large bowl, mix 585g filtered water combined with all of the levain and 900g all purpose unbleached flour. Mix and let sit for 30 min. Then add 20g salt + 50g water to the mixture. Mix and stretch fold 4 times every 30 min. (Search “stretch and fold method on YouTube. Really simple.) Let sit in a warm spot and long ferment until doubled. Like 4-6 hours. Pour out dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into two loaves. Shape these into two round loaves and put in refrigerator overnight in medium size round bowls that are covered. You can cover bowl with tea towel, and then put a small plastic Walmart bag over it to hold in moisture. Put in refrigerator overnight. (Watch sourdough boule shaping videos on YouTube.)
Day 4: Pull out loaves and flip out on parchment paper. Score with a razor blade. One big slash to let air out and then you can do a lightly scored design. Heat lidded dutch oven in a 500 degree oven while you score bread. Once the oven is heated, bake each loaf at 450° for 20 minutes with lid on. 17-20 min with lid off. Done!