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Sourdough Bread

Recently I have explored baking sourdough bread thanks to a synchronistic connection. Tthis simple ingredient bake instantly became a wonderful addition to the homestead routine.

Baking sourdough bread is a rewarding and delicious journey that combines the art of baking with the science of fermentation. This ancient bread-making method has been enjoyed for centuries, and for good reason. Not only does sourdough bread have a unique tangy flavor, but it’s also easier to digest and has a lower glycemic index than regular bread.

To get started with sourdough baking, you’ll need to create a sourdough starter. This is a fermented mixture of flour and water that contains wild yeast and beneficial bacteria, which is what gives sourdough bread its distinctive flavor and texture.

Here’s a simple recipe for a sourdough starter:

  1. In a clean glass jar, mix 50 grams of flour (all-purpose or bread flour) with 50 grams of water. Stir well to combine.
  2. Cover the jar with a cloth or loosely with its lid, and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
  3. After 24 hours, discard half of the starter and feed it with another 50 grams of flour and 50 grams of water. Stir well and cover again.
  4. Repeat this process of discarding and feeding every day for about a week. You should start to see bubbles forming in the starter, which indicates that the wild yeast is active.

Once your starter is bubbly and active, you can use it to bake bread. Here’s a basic sourdough bread recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams of active sourdough starter
  • 400 grams of all-purpose or bread flour
  • 250 grams of water
  • 7 grams of salt

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the starter, flour, water, and salt until a shaggy dough forms. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  2. After resting, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. You can do this by hand or using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.
  3. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover it, and let it rise at room temperature for 8-12 hours or until doubled in size. This process is called bulk fermentation.
  4. Once the dough has doubled in size, gently deflate it and shape it into a ball. Place the dough into a floured proofing basket or a bowl lined with a floured towel. Cover and let it rise again for 2-3 hours, or until the dough has increased in size by about 50%.
  5. Preheat your oven to 500°F (260°C) with a cast-iron pot and lid inside.
  6. Carefully remove the hot pot from the oven, place the dough inside, cover it with the lid, and return it to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  8. Remove the bread from the pot and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Remember to maintain your sourdough starter by feeding it once a week if it’s stored in the refrigerator. If you’re keeping it at room temperature, you’ll need to feed it daily. With proper care, your sourdough starter can last for years, providing you with many delicious loaves of bread.

Enjoy your homemade sourdough bread, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different flours, flavors, and techniques as you become more comfortable with the process.