Flour, water, salt. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. If you had told me years ago that I could make enticingly crunchy, tender, healthy bread at home with only these elemental ingredients, I would not have believed you. The process of making sourdough bread is simple – the fundamental ingredient is sourdough starter. You can find the Sourdough Starter recipe here.
homemade sourdough bread recipe
- eight hundred grams of flour (white, dark or wholewheat)
- ten grams of salt
- four hundred and sixty milliliters of tepid water
- three hundred and twenty grams of sourdough starter
In a clean mixing bowl add the flour, salt, water and sourdough starter. Combine all the ingredients together to form a rough dough.
Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead for approximately ten minutes or until a windowpane effect has been achieved (the dough should be see-through, and also it should not tear). The dough should be smooth, soft and elastic.
Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover with cling film and allow the dough to prove for three hours at room temperature.
After three hours, turn the dough onto a clean work surface and knock the dough back - this simply involves knocking the air from the dough which helps to equalize the temperature within the dough. Form the dough into a tight round ball.
Line a round Pyrex dish (or proving basket, if you have one) with a clean tea towel and dust with flour. Place the formed ball of dough into the Pyrex dish lined with the floured tea towel then place the lid (the inside of the lid lightly greased and floured) on the Pyrex dish. Leave to prove for another three hours or overnight for baking first thing in the morning, place into a fridge and leave overnight.
Ppreheat your oven to 230°C or 210°C fan assisted.
Flip the Pyrex dish over so the bowl of the Pyrex dish now becomes the lid. Carefully remove the tea towel.
Using a sharp knife cut the surface of the dough, this is what is known as the baker’s signature. Be careful not to cut the dough too deeply, half a centimeter is enough.
Cover the dough with the bowl of the Pyrex dish and place the Pyrex dish into the preheated oven.
Bake for twenty five minutes then remove the lid from the Pyrex dish and continue to bake, uncovered, for a further twenty five minutes until a good crust has formed and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
Once baked remove the bread from the Pyrex dish and allow to cool.
Proving the dough in a refrigerator overnight reduces the temperature of the dough allowing it to prove slower and longer which allows for a greater development of flavour within the dough but also increasing its digestibility. As dough ferments or proves the gluten within the dough breaks down. The longer a dough is allowed to prove the more flavour it will contain and the easier it is for your body to digest.
Why do we bake the bread in a Pyrex dish? Baking the dough in a Pyrex dish means there is no need to steam the oven. Baking with a lid on the Pyrex dish creates its own steam which will allow the dough to rise and open up while baking. The Pyrex is very similar to the old style of Dutch oven baking.