Welcome to the world of Sourdough!
We are giving you 140g of our sourdough to promote your interest in and appreciation of bread! This is enough for you to make a flavoursome loaf and to keep some back to refresh and use in the future. Be sure to keep your starter in the fridge until you use it. You will achieve best results if you use within 24 hours.
A sourdough is a live wild yeast culture living in and feeding off flour and water. It is different to manufactured bakers yeast in that it is less vigorous and develops a stronger, tangy and slightly acidic flavour in the bread it leavens.
Using your starter to make a loaf
1. To make your loaf, add 300g of water to 450g of flour and 8g of salt in a bowl. Ideally this would be a flour milled specifically for bread but ultra fresh bread is (nearly!) always tasty so any flour will do. Some flours absorb more water than others, so once you have mixed them together, (we suggest a wooden spoon rather than your hands) you may like to add a bit more water, or possibly even flour. As the paste/dough forms add in 90g of the sourdough we have given you. You should aim to make a dough that is very soft and that would stick badly to your hands.
2. Work your dough enough to evenly mix it. Leave it out at room temperature for a couple of hours, and then put it in the fridge for between 8 hours and a day.
Now refresh your starter…
If you would like to make another sourdough loaf this is the time to refresh! Add to the remaining 50g of sourdough 60g of flour and between 30 and 35g of water (depending on the flour you are using) to produce a very firm dough. Knead this until it is fully uniform in texture, pop in a container, film and pierce, leave out for an hour and then put it in the fridge (if you are likely to use it within 48 hours) or freeze for up to two or three weeks…. You can keep for longer but it would be best re-refreshed if you do.
Back to the bread…
3. Remove your dough from the fridge and pour/scrape it from the bowl onto a floured work top. Fold the dough in half and flatten. Repeat immediately, flour dusting with a sensible minimum of flour as necessary. Return to the bowl but not the fridge.
4. Two hours later repeat the double turn and leave.
5. Once your dough is around three or four times its original volume, probably at between 3 and five hours after its second working, turn on the oven at as high as it will go. If you have a pizza or baking stone put that in. Once the oven has been up to temperature for a few minutes dust the top of the dough, still in its bowl, with flour.
6. Carefully scrape the dough from your bowl, either on to a baking tray, a hot baking stone or into a bread mould as you like. By now it should have firmed up quite a bit and should not run. Sprinkle flour over the top and ‘score’ the bread making incisions into it with a small, sharp, serrated knife. Score a pattern that pleases you bearing in mind that the scoring is not just for decoration; it also promotes the final baking rise by allowing the dough to develop as much as possible as it bakes.
7. Open your oven door and pop your loaf in. Before closing the door pour half a cup of water onto the base of your oven and close the door before too much steam escapes. This will help develop a beautiful crust. Now turn you oven down to 200oC (fan).
8. You should aim to bake your loaf for between 30-35 minutes. Check its colour after about twenty mins. If it is already starting to colour dark then turn your oven down. After at least 30 minutes and when you’re happy with the colour open the oven door for a few seconds two or three times during the last 5 – 8 mins of the bake. This will reduce the amount of moisture in the oven at the end of the bake and increase your loaves crustiness.
And that’s it.
The above method and your equipment at home will not give you a very professional looking loaf. But it should be delicious. The crumb should be wonderfully moist with irregular air pockets and the crust quite short, especially when first baked. And of course it`s flavour will be a million miles from your standard quick process loaf 😊