Sourdough bread can be somewhat fickle. Unlike a commercial yeast, a sourdough starter has a larger variety of microorganisms in it, and therefore is a little more temperamental in terms of rising. Commercial yeast is essentially clones of the same organism, which is grown for fast rising, and, as such, has a more precise window of how fast it will rise. Whereas a sourdough culture is actually fermenting the dough, which helps break down the starches and makes bread more digestible and healthy, but will take a little longer to make.
That being said, getting started with a Sourdough is easy and fun. And you’ll be amazed at how much of a difference there is in the taste and texture vs. commercial white bread. So, let’s start off with a simple no-knead sourdough bread recipe.
You will need a sourdough starter for this, which, once you have it, is infinitely reuseable as long as you feed it and keep it healthy. It’s like a little microbiology pet… you can even name it. Starters come in different types from San Francisco, to Italian, and even in Gluten Free. Go to my tutorial here on getting and keeping your own starter.
Mix the flour and salt together, then add the water (at room temperature) and starter, and mix until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place (room temperature or slightly warmer) overnight, about 10-12 hours.
On a floured surface, turn out your mixture, and gently fold the edges under until you have a smooth ball of dough. Cover with plastic wrap lightly oiled (to prevent sticking), and leave it to rise until doubled in size. This normally takes about 2-3 hours, but sourdough is more affected by temperature, humidity and pressure, so if you’re in a cold, rainy climate, it could take twice that long. Just keep an eye on it.
Place an empty Dutch Oven in your oven with the lid on at 425° for approximately 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and gently place your ball of dough upside down in the dutch oven. Put the top back on and put it back in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes with the top on, then remove the top and allow it to brown for another 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
If you want to try more awesome sourdough recipes, check out this great Sourdough recipe book, which also has great tips on using your starter, and how to work with sourdough fermented breads.
Loving the city, but longing for the farm, Melissa has made a hobby and a habit out of living sustainably, and DIYing, all while enjoying the perks of living in the big city. From Vancouver BC, she posts about making your own homestead from the smallest condo, and bringing farm living to rapid transit.
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