Walking to a bakery shop and smelling freshly-baked bread offers unparalleled comfort and brings nostalgic memories. Moments like this make you wish you could bake bread to bring that feeling back whenever you want. Many recipes exist, but which one should you begin with?
Sourdough is a very easy-to-make bread recipe you can start with if you try baking. And the best part is you don’t have to be a professional to make it; it only needs a few ingredients perfect for starting your baking journey. Below is what you need to know to make simple and delicious sourdough bread.
What You’ll Need
You only need four ingredients to make a loaf of sourdough bread; bread flour, water, salt, and sourdough starter. After gathering those ingredients, you must prepare your kitchen tools. But no need to worry, the items listed below are easy to use and available almost everywhere.
1. Large Bowl
Since the dough needs to rise at least overnight, you need a bowl that’s large enough to avoid overflowing and making up a mess.
2. Bench Scraper
Use the bench scraper to transfer your dough to another bowl without flattening and ruining the air bubbles.
3. Proofing Basket with Linen Cloth
Proofing a basket with linen cloth will help you maintain the shape of the loaf while waiting for it to rise. Use the linen cloth to cover it.
The use of a blade is to make short and deep cuts in the dough before baking it. You can also use it to make a design on the dough, like patterns or flowers.
4. Dutch Oven
A Dutch oven is the common one people use to bake sourdough bread, but if you don’t own one, you can also use a baking stone instead.
Making your sourdough starter is the trickiest part of making your sourdough bread loaf. Good thing ‘You Knead Sourdough’ offers dried sourdough starter flakes, so you can skip the hard part and go straight to baking. It’s fast and convenient, but the best part is if you keep feeding their starter, you can use it forever! Just visit their website https://www.youkneadsourdough.com.au/ to learn more about their offers and more.
Feeding Sourdough Starter
To activate your sourdough starter, fill room-temperature filtered water in a glass (chlorine in tap water kills the starter). It’s important to use glass because metal reacts on the starter. Then, pour your dried starter into the water and wait several hours for rehydration. Make sure to cover it with either lid or plastic wrap.
Once fully rehydrated, pour four tablespoons of flour and mix well, then cover it lightly to expand. Leave it at room temperature for about 24 hours before you’ll see that small bubbles will start to appear. Feed it again at least twice to make it strong before you make your sourdough bread.
Combine your sourdough starter and water in a large bowl, stir the flour, and add salt. Mix everything with a fork until it stiffens, then use your hand to make the mixture into a rough ball, but don’t overmix it. Set it aside in a bowl, cover it, and let it sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, stretch the dough and fold it into a smooth ball.
After that, transfer your dough into a bowl and cover it with a cloth. Wait for the dough to double its size. Once it’s doubled, fold it again to tighten the ball and wait for fifteen minutes. Once rested, fold the dough again into a ball, put it in a well-floured proofing basket, and cover it.
Wait another 2-3 hours, and transfer your dough to a parchment. Before baking, score the surface of the dough with a sharp blade or razor to allow for controlled expansion. Bake it in a preheated oven at 450F for 30 minutes or until the top is brown and crispy. Once baked, move the bread into a cooling rack before slicing it.
You want to keep the freshness of your newly-baked bread for a long time. To do that, you must let the bread cool off completely before storing it. Once you cut it, it needs to be consumed within the next few days, or your bread will go stale. Before putting your bread into the fridge, seal it using a plastic bag or bread box to keep the excess air out.
Congratulations, you now have the complete knowledge to make a fresh loaf of sourdough bread! This new-found love for baking can motivate you to make and explore more recipes in the future and practice your skill. It takes a lot of effort and patience, but it pays off well. But most importantly, you enjoy every milestone and step you’ll take. Happy baking!