Sourdough bread

Sourdough bread
  • Serves icon Serves 8-10
  • Time icon Takes 2 days to make, 30-40 minutes to cook, plus the starter

Baking your own homemade sourdough bread to serve as a side dish, or on its own, is hugely satisfying. Lucas Hollweg’s recipe shows you how.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
1,319kcals
Fat
6.4g (1g saturated)
Protein
35.6g
Carbohydrates
277.4g (4.8g sugars)
Fibre
21.6g
Salt
8g
Calories
1,319kcals
Fat
6.4g (1g saturated)
Protein
35.6g
Carbohydrates
277.4g (4.8g sugars)
Fibre
21.6g
Salt
8g

Per 600g loaf

Ingredients

For the pre-ferment:

  • 120g strong white bread flour
  • 5g rye flour
  • 60g lukewarm water
  • 50g starter (See Rosie Ramsden’s guide to making a sourdough starter)
  • 230g pre-ferment

For the loaf

  • 435g tepid water, plus 10g extra
  • 550g strong white bread flour
  • 50g rye flour, plus extra to dust
  • 16g fine salt (about 1 tbsp)
  • Olive oil to grease

Method

  1. Mix the pre-ferment ingredients to a stiff dough in a small bowl. Cover and leave at arm room temperature (about 18°C) for 12 hours to puff up.
  2. Break up the pre-ferment into small bits and put in a large mixing bowl. Add the 435g water and mix until the pre-ferment has dissolved. (You can use a stick blender to make sure it is totally smooth.) Stir in the flours until no dry bits remain in the bowl. (The dough will still be a bit shaggy.) Cover and leave for 30 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle in the salt and the extra 10g water and squidge both into the dough with your hands until well combined. Leave to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Give 4 sets of 10-second “kneads” inside the bowl, folding the dough over on itself firmly 10 times until it resists, rotating the bowl a quarter-turn between folds. Cover and leave for 10 minutes after each set of folds.
  5. Turn out, smooth-side down, onto a lightly floured surface and press out gently into a long rectangle. Fold a third of the length into the middle, then fold the other third over the top (as if you were folding paper to fit in an envelope), then give it a quarter turn and repeat, brushing excess flour off as you go. Put in a clean, oiled bowl, cover and leave at warm room temperature (about 25°C) for 45 minutes. Give it 2 more sets of folds, leaving 45 minutes after each.
  6. Divide the dough in half. Shape into 2 balls (about 640g each) by tucking the edges underneath. Leave for 10 minutes. Either place on a rye-floured baking sheet or, if you have them, put top-down into generously rye-floured proving baskets (baking kit that gives shape to the loaf – available from dovesfarm.co.uk). Put the baking sheet or baskets inside a plastic bag, with enough space so the bag doesn’t touch the dough, then chill overnight.
  7. Bring to room temperature. The dough should rise a little and feel pillowy, soft and not cold to the touch – this can take 1-3 hours.
  8. Meanwhile, put a large, upturned baking tray/stone in the oven so you have a flat surface to bake on (I use an inverted grill pan). Heat the oven to 250°C/fan230°C/gas 9½. Put a roasting tray in the bottom of the oven.
  9. 9. When the loaves have proved, dust a baking sheet with rye flour. Gently upend (from baskets) or lift the loaves onto it, leaving space between them.
  10. Use a sharp knife to slash the top quickly in a square pattern. If the blade is vertical, the cuts will open up horizontally while a shallow angle will create crusty ridges (ears).
  11. Slide the loaves onto the hot tray in the oven and pour a mug of water into the roasting tin at the bottom (this creates steam which helps the loaf form a good crust). Turn down the heat to 230°C/fan210°C/gas 8 and bake for 15 minutes.
  12. Quickly remove the tray of water from the bottom of the oven. Reduce the temperature to 220°C/fan200°C/gas 7 and bake for 15 minutes more. Tap the bases – the loaves will sound hollow when done. If the loaves are not quite cooked, or you want a darker crust, turn down the temperature to 210°C/fan190°C/gas 6½ and bake for 5-10 minutes more. Cool on a rack.

delicious. tips

  1. Many bakers like to use a pre-ferment to make their loaves. The idea is that you use a starter, with a little extra flour and water to develop and grow before using it in your bread dough. Using a pre-ferment gives the natural yeasts a bit of a boost, and also improves the flavour of the loaf.

Recipe By

Follow Lucas Hollweg on Twitter.

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