I absolutely LOVE baking sourdough bread!! I’ve been at this now, through a lot of trial and error for about 6 months. It’s fun, it’s better than store bought bread and I think it’s better for you too. Flour, water and salt.. it used to make a great paper mache, but mix that in with a great sourdough starter, and you’ll have a beautiful bread. I make it every other day now and hate those rare times when I have to eat store bought bread. As along as you maintain your starter (and that is simple to do… ) it’s a win every time!
How to maintain your starter?
Once you have established your starter, here is the process I do:
I always have about 100 grams of starter, covered in a tupperware container, stored in the fridge.
At 11:30 am I take it out of the fridge.
At noon, I feed it.
Put a large bowl on your scale and zero it out. Put all the starter in the bowl. Keep only 100 grams, throw the rest out. There will only be a bit to discard. I used to hate doing that but found I always ended up with WAY too much starter and that will cause a lot of waste of flour.
Zero out the scale again, add 50 grams of water. Break it up and loosely mix in with the starter.
Zero your scale again, add 50 grams of unbleached flour.
Mix in good by hand using a scraper.
Cover with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter until 4pm.
Measure out 50 grams of starter, put the rest in a covered tupperware container for next time.
Zero out your scale.
Add 350 grams water.
Add 500 grams of flour and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Mix all together using a scraper dutch hand mixer.
Cover with plastic wrap.
Leave on the counter for about an hour.
Stretch and folds should happen about 4 times in the next 5 hours. The first time you stretch and fold, do it for about 20 times. The next ones only need to be 5 or 6 times each.
Cover with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter until morning.
Punching down the dough seems so harsh, I just pull it down all around the bowl, then start shaping it into my loaf. I do this in the bowl too.
Place in what ever you like to proof it in, cover with plastic and put it in the fridge for at least 3 hours. I tend to bake it at noon so it will be ready for supper, but it can stay in the fridge for much longer. It keep developing flavour the longer it stays in the fridge. This one was in the fridge for 12 hours.
Preheat your oven to 450. If you use a dutch oven preheat it. I preheat my clay baker but don’t soak it first in water.
Remove from fridge right before your oven hits temperature. Invert it on the parchment paper, so bottom side is now up. Use a razor blade to score the top. This one didn’t get a very good ear, but typically they do. Use the razor on a 30 degree angle when you score. Do an egg wash over top, but I don’t do it over where I scored. Sprinkle seasome seeds on top.
I use a reusable parchment paper that I have cut to fit my baker. Set your timer for 50 minutes.
When you have 15 minutes left, take the lid off.
Keep a close eye on it. It might not need all the time remaining. I use a instant heat thermometer and take it out to cool on a rack when it’s around 202 degrees.
Wait for 1.5 hours before you slice it or it will be gummy. No one likes gummy bread!