Don’t be afraid of the sourdough bread!
Are you ready to get busy and bake sourdough at home? Don’t be afraid of the sourdough bread making, because it’s s not as difficult as it may sound. Don’t get discouraged by longer fermentation times or taking care of a live organism, like the sourdough starter. The key is to understand how it works and then make it work for your busy life.
Sourdough bread is a fantastic and nutritious product to include in your daily diet, unless you are allergic to gluten. Otherwise, sourdough baked products will be the healthiest choice.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN SOURDOUGH STARTER You can read about how to prepare your own sourdough starter and what tools you will need in this blog post.
I learned to make the sourdough starter and to bake some recipes from this wonderful book, The Sourdough School, I highly recommend you to check it out and get one to enrich your cookbook collection. It will help you understand more deeply why sourdough is good, healthy and how to really handle it and bake a great loaf of bread. Once you understand how it works, you can make the recipe work for you, adjust the quantities and time of fermentation as needed, because
- each flour is different, so it might absorb more or less water, ferment faster or slower,
- even filtered water can be different containing different microelements,
- water temperature,
- ambience temperature.
Wheat wholegrain sourdough bread
- Dutch oven
- Proofing basket or a bowl
- Two clean kitchen towels
- 25 g sourdough starter look at the top for the recipe
- 100 ml clean water at 28 C degrees
- 100 g wholegrain wheat flour
For the bread
- 1 kg wholegrain flour
- 900 ml clean water at 28 C degrees
- 24 g fine sea salt
How to prepare the levain
- You will need to activate your sourdough starter well, and the levain is the best way to do that. Just mix your sourdough starter with the 100 ml water, mix vigorously until the starter has dissolved in the water. Stir in the 100 g of flour and leave to rest with a humid cloth on top for 3 hours at room temperature. If your sourdough starter is in good shape, you will see it will grow in size.
- This step is important as it will help the sugars in the flour to become more available and fermentable for the microorganisms of the sourdough.Mix 1kg of flour with about 720 ml of water and leave it in room temperature for about an hour. Leave the rest of the 180ml of water in a separate bowl, that you will use later.
Mixing all the ingredients
- Once the levain is ready and the autolysis has passed, mix the levain into the dough with your hands, or use a kitchen mixing tool, like the Kitchen Aid. Once the levain has been mixed in well, splash some of the water that was put aside on the top of the dough and sprinkle the salt over it. Turn on the machine again for mixing or use your hands to integrate the salt fully. At this point you can incorporate 100ml more of the water that was put aside. Keep mixing and kneading the bread for about 5min to develop some of the gluten.Leave the dough to rest for 30 min.
Folding and fermenting
- After the first 30 min, wet your hand in the water bowl that you set aside before and fold the dough on top of itself from the four sides. Leave to rest for another 30 min. Wet your hand every time the dough starts sticking too much.Repeat this step every 30 min for a total of 4 times. Try to incorporate all of the left over water during the folding.
- Once the dough has been folded, it is time to prepare the two dough balls for proofing. Cut the dough in two same size pieces.On a floured surface, close the dough in on itself to form a very tight ball. Put the kitchen towel in a bowl and dust with flour generously. Put in the tight dough ball and cover it. Leave to proof for about two hours or leave it in the fridge until the next day. I usually bake one of the loaves after two hours of proofing and the other one the next day.
- Preheat the oven and the dutch oven 40 min before baking the bread to 220 C degrees. Once the dutch oven is hot, put the proofed dough on a baking paper sheet, it will be easier to lower it inside the dutch oven afterwards. Do an incision in the dough with a very sharp knife, so the dough can rise more, when baking.Bake the bread in the dutch oven for 1 hour with the lid on, then take the lid off and keep baking for another 15min until the bread is deep brown.
- When you take the dutch oven outside of the oven, take the bread immediately out and out it on a rack to cool. If you don't cool the bread properly, it will lose some of its crunchiness.