Due to its benefits, I have been making sourdough bread for ten years now as part of my lifestyle changes.
As a busy mom of four, I had to figure out an easy way to make bread daily without taking much of my time. The following process has worked for me in every situation even when I had a full-time job.
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1- Feed the starter
In this post, I am not sharing how to make the starter.
Feeding the starter is the process of adding equal parts of water and flour to the sleeping starter. This will work on waking up the bacteria and the yeast and start multiplying.
The mixture will begin forming visible air pockets and rise over the initial level it was at.
I usually do this in the morning and allow it to work all day.
2- Make the Dough
In the evening, before going to bed we are going to make the dough.
For a loaf of bread, in a bow mix the following:
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup starter
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups flour
You may use the stand mixer with a dough hook, or use a wooden spoon to incorporate all the ingredients.
Once no more flour is visible, cover the dough and set aside for 20 minutes.
After twenty minutes, hold the bowl with one hand, and pull and fold over one side of the dough with the other hand. Turn the bowl quarter turn and repeat the pulling and folding of the dough.
You should be able to fold the dough no less than four times until you make the full turn of the bowl. Then, cover and allow the dough to rest again for 20 minutes.
Repeat the folding for a second round then cover the dough well and allow it to rise overnight.
You may use the mixer to knead the dough for ten minutes.
4- The following day
The following day, get the dough out of the bowl and shape it as you wish.
Shaping the dough
You may wish to make baguettes, sandwich bread, or a boule. Whichever you want to make, roll out the dough then fold it over to make the desired shape. Doing so will result in better crumb texture.
For the baguette and the boule, using bannetones for this stage of proofing helps keep the shape.
For the sandwich bread, just place it in a greased loaf pan.
5- Second rise
Allow the loaf to rise for the second time which won’t take as long. When a dent made on the loaf does not spring back fast, it is an indication the proofing is done.
Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
Place the baguettes in the sheet, and score them using a sharp blade. Cover them using a designated lid or a flipped-over shallow pan. The purpose is to trap the steam inside and allow the bread to expand.
Bake for 20 minutes before uncovering and continuing to bake till golden brown.
Boules cook very well in Dutch ovens or heavy pots with oven-proof lids.
Transfer the boule into the pot and score. Place the lid and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the lid and keep baking for 15 minutes more or until golden brown.
Sandwich bread is the easiest to bake. Just transfer the risen loaf into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Sourdough bread may be a bit tough for some people, but there are ways to make it softer and palatable.
Adding a tablespoon of butter, ghee, or healthy oil to the dough will make it much softer and flavorful.
Honey is also another natural additive that improves the texture of the bread.
Another way of having softer bread is to replace the water with milk or buttermilk.
Cutting the bread
It is always wise to allow the bread to cool down completely before cutting it. Cutting hot bread turn the crumbs into the mushy dough.
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup sourdough starter
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 cups flour
- In a mixing bowl, mix the water with the starter till completely dissolved.
- Add the salt, then the flour. Mix till all is combined.
- Allow to rest for 20 minutes. Then, pull and fold, turning the bowl quarter-round each time.
- Allow to rest 20 more minutes, then stretch and fold again.
- Cover the dough and allow to proof overnight. If it's too warm around, place it in the fridge to prevent over-fermenting.
- The following day, shape the dough and allow to proof again.
- Bake at 400 F (200C) for 20 minutes.
- To enhance the flavor and/ or texture, add a tablespoon of butter or ghee.
- Honey is also another dough enhancer.
- Using buttermilk or milk instead of water makes up a softer bread.
- Adding aromatic healthy seeds, such as nigella, flax, or sesame, improves the flavor and increases the nutritional benefits.
- We also love adding herbs, mainly rosemary, to our bread.