Easy Sourdough Bread
Sourdough is all the buzz here lately, but it's been around for centuries.
Seriously, for like ever! Yet many of us millennials and various other generations have no clue how to make sourdough or bread at all. I was in the same boat three years ago.
Zero knowledge of bread making. The only thing I had was a desire to learn. I remember my first sourdough loaf, it was hard and unedible. I tried to force myself to eat it, but it just wasn't happening.
Fast forward to now and I have made a few very edible loaves.
And I love sharing it with you. It excites me to think about someone else using a recipe that I enjoy with their family too! Talk about community?!
But before you make this loaf you need a sourdough starter. An active one at that. This is one piece of the sourdough world that seems to confuse many.
What is a starter? What do I do with it? How do I "feed" it?
A starter is a fermented flour. It will get a soured smell and taste. The fermentation makes it easier for our bodies to process the grains too! Our ancestors seemed to undernourish way before "science" came onto the playing field.
For making a starter it's simple, you need flour and water. But there is a science as to how much flour/water. Many use scales, but I do not. I kind of do a rebellious method, but it works.
I mix 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup of water. Now, sometimes you may need to add a tsp extra of water, not much, but just enough to stir. The consistency should be a thick pancake mixture.
Something that has always bamboozled my mind is how reliant some of the sourdough community is on scales, I get it. I do. It ensures the flour isn't over-packing and you're following a recipe to a T. But what did our ancestors do before scales?
They learned the art of bread making. They knew how their starter should feel. They knew how their dough should feel.
The more practice and intuition you learn to use, the easier the art is to learn.
If you read any of my recipes, just know I have often failed several times before getting that recipe. Even in the kitchen, the fear of failure needs to disappear.
One last thing on sourdough starters, what does it mean to feed/discard? Feeding is mixing the flour and water ratio. Discarding is getting rid of part of your starter. This is done when using for a recipe or when you just need to feed. You can use discard for recipes!
That's a quick rundown on starters, let's get back to this easy bread recipe.
A few tips:
- You need an active bubbly starter
- Remember that your dough will need time to rise and rising times vary based on locations and temps.
- Once you mix your dough, let it rest. Do not keep adding flour if your dough is too sticky. Letting it rest will help the water and flour to bind together, you may not need to add any more flour after this. Too much flour equals dense bread.
- Remember to perform a stretch and fold. Flatten the dough out on a floured surface, stretch a side of the dough, fold it over, and repeat.
Yields: 1 loaf
- 1 1/2 cups of warm water
- 1 cup of active starter
- 4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 2-3 tsp of salt
- In a large mixing bowl, add a starter and water. Mix until bubbly.
- Add in flour and salt. Work into a dough, and let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes.
- On a floured surface add dough and begin kneading for 2-3 minutes. Do not over-knead.
- Form the dough into a ball and place it into a greased bowl. Cover with a flour sack towel or dish towel. Allow 4-8 hours to rise. Times will vary due to temperatures, elevation, and strength of the starter.
- Once the dough has doubled. Punch down and form on a floured surface. Form into a standard loaf or boule
- In a greased loaf pan add dough and score. Allow a second rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°, and bake for 40-50 minutes. Until the loaf sounds hollow. Spread butter all over the top and enjoy!
Enjoy this recipe.
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