Finally, the recipe for sourdough bread!
We’ve broken it up in parts, because it’s complicated, but today we’ll put it all together so it’ll makes sense if you’ve been following the parts. Last week we started with making a sourdough starter, and dedicated a whole post on how to care for and feed your sourdough starter (click here). Cutting to the chase, today you get the basic recipe.
SOURDOUGH BREAD, A Basic Recipe
Yield: 1 loaf.
STEP 1. Make a sponge. Time: 8 hours.
Take 1 cup of your active starter, put it into a bowl and to it add 1 cup of flour and 1 of water.
At this point, leave the sponge and feed your starter: 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water, as in Part II. Leave the refreshed starter out a few hours and then put it away. You can create a bigger starter at any point simply by adding greater quantities of flour/water.
Return to your sponge: mix well, cover, and allow it to proof, that is, ferment and rise, up to 24 hours. The longer it sits, the more sour the resulting dough. Count on 8 hours anyway.
When the sponge is frothy and smells sour, you can proceed to…
STEP 2. Make your dough. Time: 3-4 hours
Take your 2 cups of sponge and to it, add
2 tablespoons of organic oil or melted butter
4 teaspoons of sugar or honey
2 teaspoons of sea salt
optional: 1 teaspoon baking soda, if you want to reduce the sour tang of fermentation.
Stir well, then start adding flour, 1/2-cup at a time. Knead it vigorously; you will probably use about 3 cups to achieve a dough of good consistency.
Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and allow it to rise in a warm place till doubled. Sourdough takes longer to rise than conventional doughs, so expect a wait of 2-3 hours.
Punch the dough down, kneading briefly as usual. Shape a loaf and allow it to rise till double again, on a greased baking sheet. This second rising will take approximately an hour.
STEP 3. Bake. Time: 30-45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350° F., 170° C.
Before putting the loaves in the oven, take a very sharp knife, or a razor, and slash the dough in a long line down its length. This is to keep the dough from rising into an unwieldy “flying crown”. Don’t be nervous about cutting too deeply, just apply a little pressure to slash.
Bake for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. As for the conventionally-leavened loaf, it will be done when the bottom sounds hollow upon thumping. Another way is to insert a clean, dry toothpick into the thickest part of the loaf. If no crumbs cling to the toothpick when you take it out, the loaf is done.
Don’t tear into your hot bread, no matter how tempting – wait till the loaf is cool before slicing. The flavor is best when the loaf has cooled down.
Enjoy, and be proud of your home-made sourdough bread!
Miriam wound up the sourdough series with a useful sourdough schedule. Look for Sourdough Part IV here.