We are bread makers! We bake our own sourdough bread, and we’ve been doing it for the past several months. Every Friday evening I make the dough, let it rise overnight, and on Saturday morning I heat the oven to the max and bake the bread. It’s surprisingly satisfying experience. I was afraid of the whole process, and I’m happy to report that it’s actually not that difficult.
It’s true that the process of starting a sourdough starter can be intimidating. At least it was for me. But after I realized that it’s not that much work and the only investment is a bit of flour, water and two-minute increments of my time, I gave it a try. I was anxiously watching my starter to start bubbling and felt discouraged after two days when “nothing” was happening. But then, on day three, I began to see bubbles, and since then our sourdough starter is a part of the family 😉 It has its place in the fridge, and I’m happy to use it in bread or pizza dough every week.
Since then, we change the recipe bit by bit, added or changed some ingredient or quantity. Even though I plan to continue to adjust the recipe, I decided to share our current favorite. You can find the recipe, as well as things I learned so far below. I hope it will encourage you to give the homemade sourdough bread making a try!
I’m not an expert on bread making (yet!), but I can tell you what I learned so far.
It’s easier and less time consuming than it might seem.
The list of steps for starting a sourdough starter or making a sourdough bread can be long and scary. But trust me, it’s worth a try. You’ll spend most of the time waiting for the bacteria to do their job and there’s very little done by you.
Your bread won’t be the same every time, even if you use the same recipe.
The temperature in your kitchen, air humidity and flour you use will be different. And using a recipe, where the ingredients are measured in cups, spoons, and handfuls isn’t very precise either. But as you can see I do use such a recipe myself, and the final product, our homemade sourdough bread was always fantastic.
Your bread might be low (flat) or more crumbly than you hoped for.
In spite of having zero experience in bread making, I expected our first loaf to be perfect. Well, in reality, the dough was moist and didn’t hold its shape as desired, so the bread was rather low. I was disappointed at first, but after I tasted the first slice, I realize it’s fantastic. I didn’t give up and change the recipe a little every week which resulted in a “more perfect” or “less perfect” loaves. But I never made bread that didn’t taste good, and that’s the biggest accomplishment.
I learned that more flour leads to a more dense dough which holds its shape better, more wholewheat or ray flour makes the bread more crumbly, and a more moist dough means it won’t rise as much. But no matter what, we always ate every last crumble of the bread 😉
You should slash the loaf right before baking.
It releases the moisture from the inside of the loaf, it helps the bread to rise a bit higher, and it makes the bread more picture-perfect ;).
Easy Sourdough Bread
Servings: 1 loaf
- 1/3 cup sourdough starter
- 1 1/4 cup water (room temperature)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 cup ray flour
- 2 handfuls sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons flaxseeds
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients – flours, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds, cumin, and salt.
- In a separate bowl combine the starter with water and stir until the starter is fully dissolved.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine. Start with a spoon, then continue with your hands until you can form the dough into a wet ball.
- Leave the dough in the bowl, cover it with a plastic wrap, and let sit on the counter for 10 – 14 hours.
- After the dough rested, transfer it to a well-floured surface and form a loaf (circle or oval) with your hands.
- Place the loaf on a baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to make a shallow slash (or three) on top of the loaf. Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Bake at 260 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes, then remove the aluminum foil and bake uncovered for additional 15 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the oven and let cool completely before cutting.