• Good Food Guy

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread is made by using freshly fermented dough with wild yeast or levain. The outside of the bread is crusty while inside it is chewy with a much developed taste.

Sourdough bread is quite tough to understand simply because, one has to follow the touch and feel of a wet dough than a recipe to the T. I am saying this out of my own experience. My first try was a total failure, second was moderately ok and the third attempt that I am sharing today is a much better one.


Flour:

You definitely need a strong flour. Like I am using a strong white bread flour with a 13gm protein base. You certainly can use All purpose flour with 10gm and above protein. You may want to add a portion of wholemeal flour to APF to give it more strength. Like I mentioned, it will take an attempt or two before you know how a dough reacts and how you can work around a recipe, be it mine or any other that you can find online.


The room temperature definitely matters which helps in the fermentation process. We are still in winters where the temperature is around 21-25C during day indoors. My recipe is used around this temperature. Also note in my recipe, my baking time is longer because my oven works that way, You may need less or more. To be sure about the doneness of the bread,I suggest using a food thermometer to make sure your bread is well cooked through.


Lastly, please do not be discouraged by the lengthy process. I have just detailed it out as much as I can. So let me take you through my recipe and the process.

Ingredients:

450 strong white bread flour

100gm active fed starter (formula for starter click here)

9gm sea salt

310gm room temperature bottled/filtered water

Some whole meal flour for dusting


Day 1

1 - Feed 100gm mature levain with 100gm whole meal and 100gm room temperature bottled water. Leave it between 5-8hrs until doubled in size and lot of bubbles appear (do a float test to check the readiness of levain)

2 - Measure the excited starter in a larger bowl. Add water and mix.

3 - Next add in flour, salt and mix by hands. Mix well until well combined and no dry bits left. About a minute. Cover and let it sit at room temperature for 30min. Room temperature was 21-22C.


First fold - 12 folds - 2hr rest

4 - Lightly spray water on working surface, bench scrapper and hands.

  • Pour the dough on the wet surface with top side down.

  • Lightly flatten the dough and very gently pull one end and fold over towards you. Repeat this 12 times to get a structured dough. You may use wet fingers and bench scrapper to easily handle the dough.

  • Slide bench scrapper, under the dough and lift, place back in the bowl with seam side down

  • Cover with a damp towel and leave at room temperature for 2hrs to ferment.


Second Fold - 6 fold - 2hr30min rest.

5 - By now the dough will show some shape and is puffed a little with a manageable texture.

  • Pour the dough on the wet surface with top side down.

  • Lightly flatten the dough and very gently pull one end and fold over towards you. Repeat this 6 times to get a structured dough. You may use wet fingers and bench scrapper to easily handle the dough.

  • Slide bench scrapper, under the dough and lift, place back in the bowl with seam side down

  • Cover with a damp towel and leave at room temperature for 2hr 30min to ferment


Third Fold - 6 fold - 1hr30min rest

6 - By now the dough will look more resistant and firm which is perfect.

  • Pour the dough on the wet surface with top side down.

  • Lightly flatten the dough and very gently pull one end and fold over towards you. Repeat this 6 times to get a structured dough. You may use wet fingers and bench scrapper to easily handle the dough.

  • Slide bench scrapper, under the dough and lift, place back in the bowl with seam side down.

  • Cover with a damp towel and leave at room temperature for 1hr 30min to ferment

Pre shape - floured base - 1hr rest.

7 - Dust dry working surface with light flour and pour the dough over the flour.

8 - Dust the top with some flour, dust the bench scraper with flour and lightly flour your fingers.

9 - Fold the dough using bench scraper to form a shape. Slide the bench scraper under the dough and slowly move it towards you, This will create a tension and make the dough look tighter. do this 2-3 times to get a firm shaped dough.

10 - Leave the dough on the working surface covered with a tea towel for an hour.


Final Shape - proofing for 24hrs

11 - uncover the dough, lightly flour the top of the dough, bench scraper and fingers.

12 - Slide the bench scraper under the dough and gently flip the dough, Be very gentle to not deflate the air bubbles that are formed inside.

13 - Lightly pull the edges and roll to make a round ball, each time you roll, secure the edges. You might need 3 folds.

14 - Flour your proofing basket well with wholemeal flour. I used a bowl, lined with tea towel and dusted flour well (do this step before you start final shaping)

15 - Slide floured bench scraper under the dough gently, lift and place inside the proofing basket with seam side up. secure the seam well.

16 - Dust flour over the top and place the dough in refrigerator uncovered for 24hrs to proof

Day 2 - Baking day

17 - Preheat oven to 230C gas oven with a dutch pot with lid or a cast iron pot for 30mins. Remove the dough out from the fridge until the oven is preheating.

18 - Line a flat tray with parchment paper and turn the proofing basket over it, slowly remove the liner that was inside the basket.

19 - Just 10mins before the preheating is over, place a baking pan on the first rack and let it heat up.

20 - (do this 2-3mins before the preheat is done) Using a lame or razor blade, make a deep cut in one go, from one end to other with 1/2inch depth.

USE OVEN GLOVES

21 - remove the dutch pot out, uncover it, pick the dough with parchment paper and carefully place inside the hot dutch pot, cover it.

22 - Pour hot water in the baking tray and then place the dutch oven inside the oven, cover with lid and bake for 30mins.

23 - Uncover the dutch pot and bake for 45mins or until the top has well browned.

**Please note my oven timings might differ to your, so please keep an eye**

24 - Once done, remove the bread out, check if the internal temperature is 98C by inserting a food thermometer.

25 - Let the bread cool on a cooling rack without the parchment paper for 2hrs or until perfectly cooled down. Else it will be gummy inside.

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