I am by no means a bread expert, but I have been baking bread for my family for the past couple years now! I love the smell of fresh bread baking in the house, the look of flour all over the counter top, the feel of a strong, bubbly dough in my hands while I kneed it and of course the taste of warm, homemade sourdough bread straight out of the oven. Everyone's so scared of bread these days...but when you make it with a homemade starter, let it rise for hours and hours and use good flour- there's nothing wrong with enjoying a couple pieces of bread each day! This article gives a great explanation on why authentically prepared sourdough bread is more beneficial than other types of breads.
So I thought I'd share my go to recipe, kind of a compilation of a few different recipes I've tried in the past. I just pick and choose what works for me when I read different recipes and techniques. So this is what has worked for me many times and the one that my family loves to eat! If it's not your favorite, maybe you can at least find something in this recipe that you can add to your bread baking technique. Let me know if you try it and if it works well for you!
I usually use a combination of white, wheat & rye flour when baking bread. I have made an all white flour loaf before and that is obviously the one that tastes most like an authentic, tangy sourdough (my husband LOVES sourdough so I get some extra points with him when I make it). But use whatever combination you like, and see what works best for you. The most important thing to watch for is the rising dough. You don't want to bake it until you see that it is consistently getting big, bubbly and poofy when you check it. If you start with a vigorous starter, you should be just fine.
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SIMPLE SOURDOUGH RECIPE
SUNKISSED BOTANICS BLOG
MAKES 2 LOAVES
1 cup FED sourdough starter
3 cups white bread flour (I use King Arthur's Unbleached Bread Flour)
2 cups whole wheat & rye flour
(You can use all white or a different combination of white, wheat, rye, etc - results may vary though)
1 1/2 to 2 cups room temperature distilled water, divided
2 1/2 tsp salt
1. Combine starter with 1 1/2 cups water and stir well with wooden spoon. Feel free to use a stand mixer, I just like it doing it the old fashioned way.
2. Add in salt and stir to combine.
3. Slowly add in flour (NOT ALL AT ONCE!). Stir as you incorporate 1 cup of flour at a time. You might have to start using your hands eventually, as it will get really thick.
4. If the dough starts to get too thick, add in a little bit of water at a time until it reaches the consistency you desire. You don't want it too sticky but not too crumbly either!
5. Once you have a nice piece of dough, you'll want to kneed it for a couple minutes. Stretch, pull, fold, punch, press, slap - whatever you want to do, just work it good for a bit!
6. Lightly grease a good size bowl (I use the same one I was mixing in) and place your dough inside. Cover and let sit in a warm location for 4 hours. (I have a Proof setting on my new oven, which I love!) The laundry room or a sunny window works well too.
7. After it has sat for 4hours, place it in the refrigerator COVERED overnight, or for about 12 hours.
8. After it's long refrigeration, bring out the dough and work it for a few minutes. I like to sprinkle flour onto a nice large cutting board and keep it there for the morning while I'm working my dough on and off.
9. Place your blob back into the bowl, cover and back it goes into a warm location. Here it will stay until it is time to bake! This usually takes about 5-6 hours. Every 1 to 2 hours, pull out your dough, stretch, fold and kneed it for a minute or so, then place back into the bowl and cover. When you notice that it is rising a lot each time each time you pull it out to check it, that means it's ready to be bread.
10. Gently divide dough into two equal parts, and form into the type of loaves you want: oval, circular or heart shaped - whatever you like! Make sure to use a lot of flour while you're doing this so your hands don't stick to all the dough.
11. Place your formed loaves onto parchment paper or a flour sprinkled surface, spread some some flour on top and set aside.
12. Place your 5 quart dutch oven or baking stone into oven and preheat to 425 F.
13. While the oven is preheating, your loaves should be rising and expanding. Let them do this for about 30 minutes, while you wait for the oven to get hot.
14. Make some diagonal slashes on the top of the loaves with a serrated knife.
15. Carefully pull out your baking stone or dutch oven from the oven and place either one loaf into the dutch oven or both loaves onto your baking stone (if it's big enough).
16. I like to bake my bread in the dutch oven for the first 15 minutes with the lid on. Then remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the top is nice and golden brown and crispy. If using a baking stone or baking sheet just leave in the oven for about 25 minutes or until it looks done.
17. Remove from oven & place on a wire rack to cool. It's tough, but don't cut into it for at least 30 minutes!