Authentic sourdough bread is not just a means to get your daily dose of deliciousness, it can also be very rewarding to turn nothing into something.
After all, sourdough starts with two simple ingredients. Water and flour.
While cafes and restaurants may be able to conveniently get their sourdough from a wholesale bakery supplier, most bakeries spend up to 24-hours from start to finish to get the perfect sourdough.
If you are up for the challenge and interested in baking your own sourdough, keep reading!
Basic Sourdough Recipe
In this basic sourdough bread recipe, we recommend proofing the crusty dough for at least 5 hours at room temperature, then refrigerating overnight (about 8 hours).
In our easy sourdough bread recipe, we recommend doing a few ironing and folding cycles at the beginning of the fermentation stage and even before the bread is formed.
The first step in your sourdough baking journey is to make your levain, which is what will make your dough rise. To make your levain, you will need:
- 35g of sourdough starter (recommended to make your own)
- 35g wholemeal flour (organic is recommended)
- 35g all-purpose flour (organic and unbleached is best)
- 70g water at room temperature
Step 1: In a small glass jar or bowl, mix together the levain ingredients then rest in a warm area between 21 and 27°C for 5 hours. If you don’t have a bread proofer, you can use your oven with the light on. The light typically generates enough heat for this proofing process.
You will need to start your dough about one hour before the levain is finished proofing. For your dough recipe, you will need:
- 804g of quality bread flour
- 75g wholemeal flour
- 740g water at 32°C
- 18g fine sea salt
- Step 1: In a large bowl, you will mix together both the bread flour and the wholemeal flour slowly incorporating 580g of water. Keep 100g of water to the side for later. Once everything is mixed together, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside in a warm location for one hour.
- Step 2: The next step is to mix your dough and levain together, you can also add in a little extra water to help incorporate. Then rest for 20 minutes.
- Step 3: Add in the salt and remaining water and then slap and fold the dough for five minutes or until the dough is smooth and begins to catch air. Rest in the same warm area for 15-minutes.
- Step 4: Repeat the stretching and folding process six times. Every 15 minutes for the first three times and then every 30 minutes for the remaining three. When you are not folding the dough, keep it in the same warm area.
- Step 5: Let your dough rest undisturbed for the final half-hour to an hour.
- Step 6: Remove the dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a benchtop. Dive the dough into dough even potions and round them into a ball. Rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Step 7: Shape each dough ball into a batard (football shape) and place them into separate bannetons that have been pre-dusted with rice flour.
- Step 8: Refrigerate overnight.
- Step 9: Preheat your oven to 260°C and place your cast-iron combo cooker inside to head for one hour. If you don’t have a cast-iron combo cooker, you could use a dutch oven as an alternative.
- Step 10: Place your sourdough in the hot pan and score the top of the dough with a knife or blade. Bake for 20-minutes.
- Step 11: Remove the lid from the combo cooker or dutch oven and reduce the temperature to 230°C. Bake for a further 20-30 minutes or until the loaf has a deep brown crust.
- Step 12: Carefully remove the bread and cool on a wire rack. Repeat the cooking process with the second loaf.
- Step 13: ENJOY!
With this recipe and method, you’ll get an idea of how to bake a loaf of sourdough bread before moving on to more advanced sourdough recipes.