The Tastiest Sourdough Bread Recipe: Expert GuideVIEW ALL POSTS
This guide on the sourdough bread recipe for dummies will help you to develop your cooking skills and prepare a quality product for your family and friends.
For the last few years, we are really into baking bread. We have conducted in-depth research to find the best recipes. Sourdough was the final destination on our baking journey, and now we know the secrets of this product.
First, you may wonder what it stands for. The best way to define this product is slow-fermented bread. It means that it contains live fermented cultures. Loaves that one buys in a store lose as they are not that healthy. If you prefer gluten-free food, sourdough is the right option for you. The main qualities of this product are:
- Chewy texture
- No need for commercial yeast
- Tangy flavor
- Crackly crust
Of course, it is also very tasty. Those are some good reasons to read this guide and start baking this type of bread yourself. You will not need any special equipment or tools like a stand mixer, which is the best part.
A Starter for Your Product
You will need a live culture that consists of water and flour. It is required for the bread dough to rise. Wild yeasts and bacteria are among the components of this starter. To achieve the best results, one has to feed a starter.
You will need plenty of water. Sure, you will need lots of flour as well, which makes sense. We recommend pouring off part of your culture and feed the rest with equal amounts of these two integral components of baking. Take a fork to whisk it. Make sure that you get content free of lumps. After that, just leave what you obtain at room temperature. Get back to this mixture once you notice bubbles on it.
How should you understand when it is time to use a starting mixture? You should not wait for longer than twelve hours, but keep an eye on it. Pick a tiny share of your mixture and look at how it interacts with water. In case this portion floats, your product is ready.
Now, one more frequent question is where to find the necessary ingredients for this mixture. The lack of a starter might be an obstacle. However, it is easy to solve this problem. You can buy a ready starter in almost any grocery store or create the necessary mixture yourself. Choose the one out of the great range of flours depending on your taste.
How to Apply and Store Your Starter
To obtain an accurate result in the end, you must weigh all the ingredients necessary for the final product all the time. A baker should also keep an eye on the time. The primary step is to make sure that the weight of a mixture for your starter is enough. Before taking any further action, come up with the baking schedule (at least approximate). If you discover that some ingredients remain, to speed up the process in the future, feed what is still left.
It is enough to feed a starter weekly. A refrigerator is one of the most common methods to store it. However, for frequent baking, you may want to set up room temperature for your starter. Let’s move to the baking process itself.
Stage 1: Mix Your Dough
You will have to pick a bowl that is big enough first. Take a fork and have it nearby all the time. You will need to combine these components:
- Twenty-five gram of olive oil
- 250 gram of water
- 150 gram of your bread’s starter
- Ten gram of sea salt
- 500 gram of flour
You will need to wash your hands carefully before you start as you will have to squish the listed ingredients once you put them all in one bowl. You are done when the mix becomes shaggy. Then, you will have to pick up a towel to autolyze the product. It will not take more than half an hour.
What does “autolyze” mean? As a future chef, baker, or housewife, you should remember this word. This word stands for the initial time that the mixture requires after you squish it. This period is necessary to jumpstart gluten creation. Usually, the procedure lasts for fifteen minutes, half an hour, or an hour. Experts recommend adding salt to your product once the mixture has rested. It will prevent a slowdown in the process of gluten development.
Stage 2: Let It Rise for the First Time
The dough can rise after you complete the previous step. Once again, the best option is to leave the mixture at roughly 70F for up to twelve hours. The shortest waiting time is three hours when it is hot outside. Check the bowl regularly. It will be ready for further phases after the size of your mixture visually doubles. Do you remember that this bread does not include fast-growing yeast? That is why it might take a while.
Are you looking for a perfect bread’s structure? You may fail to hit this target without one more quick process. It is not obligatory, but the process strengthens the dough solidly. You can stretch the dough and fold it; you will not have to spend more than half an hour on that. Bakers with this habit obtain almost perfect bread’s structure in the end.
Stage 3: Divide/Shape Your Future Bread
Cut what you receive in halves if you want a couple of loaves. Fold the dough over toward its center. You will have to apply this procedure to the entire piece.
After you are done, select a baking pot. There are two necessary conditions for your sourdough bread to be tasty and visually appealing. The chosen equipment must keep moisture and heat while the product is being prepared. You might need an oven that will assist with monitoring an essential process, which is the way your dough will behave. For example, the product might open up as a reaction. What if you have no moisture in your premises? You will have to trap it inside the crockery that you have chosen for your dough. Otherwise, you will find out that the crust hardens fast, making the product fall apart and look not very pleasant. The best idea is to place your dough in a pot to avoid that problem. The recommended temperature for baking is around 450F.
Stage 4: One More Rise
You will need some cornmeal for the next step. You will have to smear your own with it for the maximum effect. Put your bread inside after that. No need to wait for longer than one hour. Check the contents of your oven during that period. If you notice that the product turned puffy, the process is over. It should not become visually bigger. After that, you will need to preheat the equipment to 450F. You may also take an eight-inch bowl as an alternative for rising.
Stage 6: Score the Dough
Cut the dough, starting from its center – two or three inches long would be enough. This way, your product will extend. Any knife in your kitchen will be okay for this procedure.
Stage 7: Bake Your Good
We are almost there! Go down to 400F before the actual baking. Put the lid on top of your pot. It will be enough to wait for a bit less than half an hour. What is the principle of baking? Do not expect the bread to bake on all sides at once. You should bake on the center rack. As the required waiting time passes, you must obtain a pale sourdough bread. You should not stop on that. Add forty more minutes. After all, the goal is to get a golden brown color. The temperature this time should not exceed 210F. Do not hurry up to slice and serve as soon as you obtain the desired color. One hour before you do anything like that, it is better to cool on a wire rack. Release the moisture by opening the door for a better result. However, do that only ten minutes before the end. You may also leave the bread baking right on the rack to let it be crispy.
This process is an art. You should master it if you really want to surprise your family and friends. Who knows – perhaps, one day you will even start selling sourdough bread. There is a great demand for this product today.
You may have a look at other recipes from experts. As for this one, you should consider timing and technique, along with your experience and preferences. You may add new ideas to baking sourdough bread to these instructions and make your product stand out from the rest of the offers. Always start your process with scheduling baking, and you will obtain a beautiful and tasty product in the end.