Sourdough is a God-given marvel. The reason is simple: Sourdough starter can be made at home with nothing but flour, water, and heat. Once it ferments, it replaces the need for yeast, baking powder and baking soda in bread. That same starter can be fed water and flour and live indefinitely, being split and passed down from generation to generation. Starter is hard to kill. Immigrants brought it from the Old World where it survived the long sea voyage and spread throughout the Americas. Mormon pioneers packed it in their wagons to make flap jacks and fry bread as they rumbled across the Rocky Mountains to Utah. I did an experiment and started my own starter 2 weeks ago with just flour and water and placing it by our wood burning stove. Yesterday, it gave me deep satisfaction to bake bread with my first home-grown starter.
Provided by: SmallRecipe.com
|250 g active starter |
|735 g water + 50 g of water when you add the salt|
|1000 g all purpose flour (always use unbleached)|
|24 g sea salt |
- Add your active starter to a bowl.
- Add 735 grams of water.
- Mix starter with the water till it is “milky."
- Add the flour.
- Mix those ingredients together for 2-3 minutes
- Cover the bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Add the salt and remaining 50 grams of water.
- Knead the dough for about 3- 5 minutes, until water and salt are fully incorporated.
- Cover again and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Over the next 1.5-2 hours, perform 3-4 sets of “stretch and folds”, covering and letting the dough rest after each series.
- Cover the dough and let it rest at room temperature until doubled in size. OR place it in the fridge for 8-10 hours for a slower fermentation. I prefer this method. Often I start my bread at night and have it ferment in the fridge overnight.
- Dump the dough onto a clean counter and divide the dough in half.
- Spread the dough out a bit into a square shape, fold over the sides first, then roll it up. (the dough will be a little sticky, you can add flour if that helps!)
- Once rolled up, push it away from you, and then pull towards you to build tension in the dough. Do that 3-4 times until your loaf is round and bouncy. Step 15: Repeat with the second loaf.
- After your first shape, leave the loaves on the counter (uncovered) for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, shape the loafs one more time, repeating step 14. (You will notice the dough is not as sticky the second time)
- Gently, with a bench scraper, flip over and place the dough into the floured proofing baskets and cover with plastic. (I love to use shower caps.)
- Place both baskets in the fridge for about 1-2 hours.
- Flip the dough out of the proofing baskets onto a sheet of parchment paper.
- Score your bread. Using the parchment paper to lift the dough, place it into a preheated cast iron pot. Then immediately into the oven.
- Cover and bake for 25 -35 minutes at 450℉ / 232℃.
- After 25 minutes, remove the lid and put back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes or until a deep golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack before slicing into it. Enjoy!
Provided by: SmallRecipe.com
Prep time: 360 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
|225 grams starter (active and bubbly)|
|735 grams warm water|
|1000 grams Bread Flour|
|25 grams sea salt|
- First, on a basic kitchen scale, add your starter to a bowl. Then the water. Mix the starter and water with your hands until it’s “milky”. Then add your flour. This makes two hearty loaves so make sure you are using a BIG bowl. Then, remove the scale from under the bowl and mix the starter, water, and flour together. You’ll mix it with your hands for 2-3 minutes by picking it up and folding it over on itself. It will be very sticky.
- Next, cover it with a dinner plate and let it rest for about 2 hours. After two hours we will add the salt. Wet your hands (to prevent dough from sticking) and begin to knead the salt into the dough. I also did a “stretch and fold” method, where I pulled the dough upward, shook it out a bit, and then folded it on itself. I did this for about 3 minutes. Yes, it’s still sticky.
- The plate is going to go back on the bowl and rest another 2 hours.
- After 2 hours I dumped my dough on the counter to be shaped. Your dough should look “strong” and you can pull it up into a sheet without it breaking. I lightly floured my surface and my hands and cut the dough into two. I stretched one piece at a time into a rectangle, then folded into into thirds (like you’d fold a business letter). Then, roll it up on the short edge like a fancy hotel towel.
- Once it is a log you’ll shape it into a ball by tucking under the sides and turning. You want to build tension. Then, do your second one. These will sit on the counter (uncovered) for about 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, we’ll give them one more shape before they get their final rest in the fridge before baking. The dough may or may not be sticky. You can flour your surface again if the dough is sticking more to you than itself. To shape, pull into a rectangle, fold into a business letter, roll into a fancy hotel towel, and then build tension by tucking under the sides, turning as you go.
- Now I don’t have a final proofing basket like a lot of website call for so I just used non-metal bowls and plastic wrap. These loaves went into the fridge, covered for their final 2 hour rest. It was recommended to check on them after about an hour in case they were growing too fast. You don’t want overproofed bread.
- At this point you can score your bread top with a razor.
- Now it’s finally time to bake! You will want to preheat a covered, parchment lined Dutch Oven at 450 degrees. This will give the bread a nice browning during baking.
- Cover the dough with a lid and bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Let the bread cool completely (at least 2 hours) to let your crumb set before slicing.
You have rehydrated your starter, congratulations! Below are the instructions to keep your Willa alive and well. Tools needed:Basic kitchen scale
Provided by: SmallRecipe.com
|30g sourdough starter|
|125g water (if on city water supply, consider using filtered or bottled water to exclude chlorine traces which can kill starter)|
|140g white unbleached all-purpose flour|
- I keep my starter in a 1 quart glass jar with the lid on top but not sealed.
- Sourdough staters are active organisms which means they need regular feedings for best results. I feed mine every 24 hours when I’m making bread and cooking a lot. I prefer to bake with my starter when it has reached peak activity or has slightly fallen. This is when my bread turns out best. After feeding, a mature starter with grow 3-4x in volume in a 24 hour period and then begin to fall back down.
- Discard! You will discard starter with each feeding. You only need 30 grams of starter before a feeding. The excess can be discarded. If you do not discard a portion of your starter at each feeding, your sourdough starter will require larger and larger quantities of flour and water at each feeding to provide food for your ever-growing starter.
- What to do with your discard? There are countless recipes to bake with your sourdough discard. You can even stockpile it in your fridge without needing to feed it. If throwing away, I suggest not putting down your sink as dry starter is like cement.
- If you don’t plan on baking frequently or are going out of town, you can refrigerate your sourdough starter for long periods of time. Cold temperatures slow yeast and bacteria activity, and will naturally extend how long your starter can sit between feedings.
- I don’t recommend continuous refrigeration, but, it’s a great option for short-term breaks!
- Depending on how long it has been refrigerated, your starter may require an additional 2 to 3 regular feedings at room temperature before it has resumed regular activity levels and is strong enough for baking sourdough bread.
- If your starter isn’t active and bubbly, be patient!
- Try placing it in a warmer area of your home (76F-80F is ideal). If your starter peaks in activity, feed it. If it sluggish, wait and give it more time. Sometimes time is the only thing it needs to gain strength.
- Oftentimes your starter will be bubbly at first and then slow down. That’s normal. It is common for a sourdough starter to have a surge in activity those first few days and then die down. This is normal and the results of another type of bacteria build up, not an indication that your starter is dead. It will pick up again with time and the right types of bacteria will increase and become stronger. It is very difficult to kill your starter.