Basic Homemade Sourdough

Homemade sourdough is easier than you think.All you need is flour, water, salt, time, and patience.There is a bit of a learning curve at first, but after you make your first loaf or two you’ll quickly get a feel for it.-To make a basic sourdough:

Ingredients:

1 cup sourdough starter3 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour1 1/4 cup water1/2 teaspoon salt-

Steps:

1. Bring starter up to room temp and feed about 2-6 hours before you start making sourdough.2. Mix together the flour and water in a large mixing bowl. Mix very well. Place a towel over the bowl and let rest for about 30 minutes. This step is called “autolyse” it helps break down the gluten, you’ll notice the dough is more stretchy after resting.3. Add the sourdough starter and knead in well. This will be a little messy. Place the towel back over the bowl and let rest for another 30 minutes.4. Knead in the salt. Cover and let rest another 30 minutes.5. Next is the stretch and fold method. It’s best explained using video, so see below. What you do is wet your hands and grab one edge of the dough, and stretch towards the middle. Turn the bowl clockwise 90⁰ and repeat until you’ve stretched all four “sides” in. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.6. Repeat step 5 four times.The next steps depend on whether or not you’ll be baking your sourdough in a regular loaf pan or a Dutch oven.-

If baking in a loaf pan:

7. After the last stretch and fold, oil a loaf pan well. Shape the dough into a loaf shape and place into the pan, taut side up.8. Cover with a towel and let ferment on your counter for another two hours or in your fridge overnight.9. Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Score the top of the loaf and spritz with water. Place the loaf pan on the middle shelf. Bake for about 40-50 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out clean. When finished, take out of oven and let cool for about 45 minutes before taking the loaf out of the pan. Be patient! Let cool completely before cutting into the loaf. Enjoy!-

If baking in a Dutch oven:

7. After the final stretch and fold, heavily flour a clean lint-free towel. Place the dough ball taut side down into the flour. Place the towel & dough ball into a medium sized bowl and cover with a towel. Let this ferment on your counter for another two hours, or overnight in your fridge. Keep in mind that the dough will take on the shape of the bowl, so make sure the bowl is smaller than your dutch oven.8. Preheat your oven to 425⁰F with your dutch oven inside, lid on.9. Once preheated, carefully remove the dutch oven from the oven and remove the lid. Flip the sourdough bowl upside down over the dutch oven. Score the top of the dough.10. Spritz the top of the loaf with water and place the lid back on. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid from the dutch oven and bake for another 10 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool all the way before cutting into your bread.-

Notes/Observations:

-I find that the texture of the sourdough is much softer and the holes are much larger when you bake in a dutch oven.-If the holes (also called the crumb) are very small, next time try fermenting the dough longer before baking. I find that leaving the dough in the fridge overnight gives the bread a very good crumb.-

Photos:

Step 5, stretch and fold:

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