EASY SOURDOUGH BREAD
- 50 – 100 g (1⁄4 – 1/2 cup) bubbly, active starter
- 375 g (1 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp) warm water
- 500 g (4 cups plus 2 tbsp) bread flour
- 9 to 11 g (1.5 – 2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
To make any sourdough bread, you first need a good starter.
After you “feed” your starter by stirring in some flour and water, place a rubber band around the jar to mark the level of your starter. In a few hours, the starter level will start to creep above the band.
In a few more hours, it will creep higher and higher and at some point, if you drop a spoonful of it in a glass of water, it will float, and you are in business.
You need 50 to 100 g of starter for this recipe.
Dissolve the starter into water; measure the flour and salt.
Mix everything together until you get a sticky dough ball.
After an hour of rest, shape the dough into a ball; then cover with a tea towel. If you’re up for it, perform 4 sets of stretches and folds every thirty minutes for the first two hours of the bulk fermentation.
After 8 to 10 hours at room temperature, your dough should have doubled in size, have a few bubbles on the surface and jiggle when you move the bowl or board side to side. (This may take a bit less time in warmer weather so check to see when your dough has doubled rather than going by the clock alone)
Turn your dough out onto a floured surface then perform a series of folds: fold the top down to the centre, turn the dough, turn the top down to the centre, turn the dough, and so on, until you’ve come full circle.
Then flip the dough over so the seam side is down. After a brief rest (30 minutes), repeat the shaping process.
Scoop your dough into a proofing bowl or a 20cm bowl lined with a flour-dusted tea towel so the seam side is up.
Refrigerate for 6 to 48 hours.
Preheat your oven to 280 C. Turn out the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper then slash the dough with a razor blade to create 3 slashes.
Use the parchment paper to transfer the dough into a Dutch oven, cover the pot, then transfer to the oven to bake.
After 30 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered, you will have a masterpiece in your kitchen, which you will want to photograph.