Making sourdough bread is very easy if you take some care. You only need flour, water and salt. The whole process takes about five hours, but the total amount of active work is only half an hour. The videos and blog from Bake with Jack helped me a lot.
Apart from an oven, you will need the following items:
- A container of about 500 ml for the sourdough starter. I use a plastic mug with a lid, it does not have to close tightly. A glass jar is fine too.
- A container of about 500 ml for water.
- A spoon or fork for mixing.
- A recipient to mix your dough. It should hold least 2 or 3 l, for example a plastic pot or stainless steel cooking pot. I can strongly recommend the Lekue Bread Maker, a silicone bread mould that can go straight into the oven.
- Optional: a baking tin to shape your loaf. With my recipe, the dough is quite wet so it does not keep its shape well. I use the Lekue for this.
- Optional: kitchen scales. Mine is a very plain model from Salter.
- Optional: a thermometer to make sure your water is at the right temperature. Not essential, but handy.
The difference between sourdough bread and ordinary bread is that you use a sourdough starter instead of baking yeast. The great thing about a sourdough starter is that you can very easily make it yourself, from just flour and water. Have a look at my recipe.
For this loaf I only use four ingredients:
- 150 g sourdough starter
- 450 g water
- 675 g wholemeal wheat flour
- 8 g salt
- First add 150 g starter to your mixing container.
- Then add 450 g water
- Then add 675 g flour
- Then add 8 g salt
- Mix thoroughly
- Knead for about ten minutes
- Leave to rise in a cold oven. I put a tray with hot water in the oven and let the dough rise there, so it keeps warm and wet.
- After 30 minuts, fold the dough 12 times. “Folding” means that you pull on the dough, which is very elastic, and fold the pulled flap over the main ball of dough. The Bake with Jack video shows very clearly how to do this.
- Leave for an hour
- Fold 6 times; leave for an hour
- Fold 6 times; leave for another hour
- Preheat the oven on 230 °C
- Fold another 6 times
- As you can see from the picure, I sprinkled some pumpkin seeds on top.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 230 °C. I put a small container with very hot water on the baking tray to get some steam.
- Bake for another 40 minutes at 200 °C.
- Leave to cool on a rack.
I usually bake in the evening, and wrap the loaf in a towel overnight to keep the crust from drying out too much.