Basic Sourdough Bread

A Simple Sourdough Bread
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Here is a  basic  sourdough  bread  made  using   the  100% hydration  starter .   If you are interested in making  your  own  here is  the  starter recipe .   This  is a   simple  recipe  involving  only 4  ingredients – flour , water ,  salt and  the  yeast (starter) .   This   recipe  adapts  well to  additions  and  can be  made into a  loaf , rolls  ,  boule  or  any shape  you wish .  My favorite   way is  to bake it  in a   covered  pot / dutch oven .   Absolutely  delicious  and  unbelievably simple ..

A Simple Sourdough Bread
Just  like  the  ingredient list  the  method  also is  very simple.  In a  large  mixing  bowl (or  in the  stand  mixer  bowl)  add the   sourdough  starter ,  flour , salt  and   water .  Mix  gently   till  all the  flour is  mixed in, knead  for  1  minute  if  necessary .  Cover  and  let  rest  for  at  10 to 20 minutes.

Uncover  and  knead  the   dough   for  about  10 minutes . Add  more  flour  only if  the   dough  feels  too sticky .  As    you knead  the   dough becomes  more  soft  and   pliable . Remember when  it  comes  to bread  dough  a little wet  is preferable  to  dry .  Perform a    windowpane test  to  determine if  the   dough has  been  kneaded  enough .   Form the dough into  a ball and  transfer to a  lightly oiled  a  bowl  cover  and  set  aside .

Making Basic Sourdough Bread

A  quick word  on the   windowpane  test .  This  is  used  to  determine  if  the   dough is  kneaded   enough. Take a  small  golf  ball / lemon sized  dough .  Hold it between  the   thumbs  and  fingers  of  both  hands  and  stretch gently and  evenly  in all  four  sides . The  dough  should  stretch   without  tearing . Hold  this   film of  dough   against a  light  source   and  it  should  filter  light  through.  If  you try to  do it  fast  the   dough  will tear  rather  than  stretching,  so  be  careful as  you stretch it out.   If  it   tears  on a  slow  stretch it  needs  to develop more  gluten, knead for a  few  more  minutes  and  try again.

Dough made with  wild yeast starters like Sourdough  starter    take  longer  to rise. Of  course  you  can  keep it  in a  warm  place  to  speed  up  rising,  but  it  will still take  longer  than   the  commercial  yeast  counterpart .  This   dough   will take  anywhere  from 2  to 4  hours  to  double  when  left  at room  temperature . Alternately it  can  be  kept  in the  fridge  for  12  to 24  hours  to rise . The  longer  rise   will  yield a  more  flavorful  bread.If the   dough is  in the   fridge , take  it  out  and  let  it   come  to  room  temperature (about 30 minutes or  so )  before  proceeding  to  the  next  step.

Punch down  the  dough and  knead lightly for a  minute.   Form  the  dough into the  shape  you like.  The amount of  dough  will be  good  for a  81/2″ X 4 1/2″  loaf  pan  with  may be a  bit  leftover  for a  bun.  I like  to make  these  into  free  form rolls  or  boules .  Here I  have  used a  7 inch   round  casserole  dish  to make a  round loaf .

Basic Sourdough Bread

Let  rise  for   around  1  hour   till  the   dough  is  almost  doubled.  Again the    it  takes  longer  than the  packaged  yeast.  As  a  rule  of  thumb  the  second  rise  will take   roughly half  the  amount  of  time  for the  first  rise.   To determine  if  it  has  risen  enough  gently poke a  finger on the  side of  the  risen  dough.  Do not  make a  hole , just  an  impression is all we  need.  If  the  impression  remains  the  dough is   ready for the  hot  oven , otherwise  let  it   rise  for  few  more  minutes.

When   almost  ready   to  bake , preheat  the  oven to 400ºF  (200º C).    Just  before   transferring  the   dough into the  oven   score  the   top to help with  even  oven spring.  Place  in  the middle  rack  and  bake  for  10 minutes .  Reduce  the  temperature  to 350º F (170º C )  and  bake  for  another  30 to  35  minutes   or  till  done .
If  you  are  making  rolls or   smaller  loaves   the  baking  times   will be  shorter .  Check    the  loaves  earlier and  adjust  times accordingly .

 

The  flavors   will  vary slightly depending  on   how  mature  the  starter is.  Regardless  there  will be   marked  difference  in  aromas  and   texture   compared  to  packaged  yeast  bread .

 

Basic Sourdough Bread
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
6 hrs
 

A simple lean sourdough loaf made with just flour, water and salt.   This  bread is  perfect  to make  panini  or  bruschetta or  to serve  with soup nor  salad .  The  flavors  are   complex and  very refreshing. When made  with   mature  starter  it  acquires  a light  tang  as well. 

Course: Bread, Side Dish
Cuisine: International
Servings: 1 8 1/2"X 4 1/2" Loaf or equivalent
Author: Syama
Ingredients
  • 3 C Bread Flour (350g)
  • 1 C Sourdough Starter (200g) See Notes
  • 1 1/4 Tsp Fine Sea Salt 8 g
  • 1/2 C + More Water (125g)
Instructions
  1. Add the starter, flour and salt to a large bowl in the given order. Add water and stir to combine. Lightly knead for a minute to moisten all the flour. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes .
  2. Knead for 10 minutes till the dough becomes soft and pliable. If necessary add a little more water /flour while kneading. Form into a ball, transfer to a container and cover and set aside to double, about 2 to 4 hours.
  3. Punch down the dough. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead gently for 1 minute.Form into a round loaf and transfer to a baking dish. Cover and set aside to double - about 1 hour .
  4. Pre-heat oven to 400ºF (200º C) .Transfer the loaf to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Reduce the temperature to 350ºF (170º C) and bake for 30 to 35 more minutes or till done.
  6. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes . Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.
Recipe Notes
  • US Measuring cups equivalents are used.
  • Use 100% hydration starter - 200g starter = 100g flour + 100g water.
  • Use refreshed and active starter, i.e. starter that is refreshed and become active and bubbly again.
  • AP flour with good protein content can also be used in this recipe.

Notes :

  • In the  recipe the  measurements in  volumes  are  approximate .  Add  more/less flour/water  as  necessary   when  kneading .
  • If  bread  flour  is  not  available  , AP flour  or  any other wheat flour   with  good  protein  content   will work  well in this  recipe .
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Basic Sourdough Bread

Originally published on Jun, 2016.  Edited  and  updated  on Jan 2017,   for   content  and  images. 


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