I think making homemade bread is very gratifying. I used to make bread in my bread maker…a LOT! I mean, like once a week, a lot:).
I started making bread in my Dutch oven at the beginning of this year. This no knead rustic bread is the easiest bread to make, and so delicious! Check out my post on this amazing bread Herb No Knead Dutch Oven Bread.
This brings me to this post on sourdough bread. I have been seeing so many posts on Instagram and YouTube videos about sourdough starters and bread. I knew it was something I wanted to make. Remember when I said I wanted to challenge myself in my baking this year? Well, sourdough bread, challenge accepted!
A few weeks ago my daughter asked me if I would like some sourdough starter. Her friend had some discard that she wanted to share with me. Thank you Emily Davis for sharing:).
I did my homework on sourdough starters. I was really getting all up in my head about feeding and discarding. I couldn’t believe I was “afraid” of this fermenting beast! I mean, making bread is supposed to be fun, right?!
After I received my starter I immediately put it in the refrigerator. There it sat for about a week. Every time I opened the refrigerator, there he was (I named him Van Dough), staring back at me. Taunting me. Mocking me. “It’s just fermenting yeast” I told myself. It’s like the fear I used to have about anything “yeast”.
I removed that starter from the refrigerator, and carefully followed the instructions that came with it. Discard all but 25 grams and then add 50 grams of all-purpose flour and 50 grams of water. There, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Nope!
I feed Van with King Arthur all-purpose flour and water that is filtered from my refrigerator. The first time I discarded and fed my starter, I left it on the counter and it more than doubled in size within a couple of hours. I use the rubber band technique to keep track of this process.
Check out my Sourdough pancakes recipe (you’ll be glad you did).
It was time to make my first loaf of sourdough bread.
- 1/2 cup sourdough starter (120 grams)
- 1 cup lukewarm water (240 grams) between 98°-105° F
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (27 grams)
- 2 3/4 cups bread flour (377 grams)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- Cooking spray or olive oil to grease bowl
Making the dough:
Make sure your starter is active by dropping a teaspoonful into a glass of water. If it floats, it’s ready to use. Not all bakers swear by this method, but it works for me.
In a large bowl mix your starter, water, and olive oil together.
Add the flour and salt and mix together by hand.
Form a ball of dough with your hand that cleans the bottom of the bowl.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and allow it to ferment. Cover with cling wrap and put it in a warm place for 12-18 hours. I like to make my dough the night before and let it proof overnight. This is called bulk fermentation (as explained by King Arthur Flour). Bulk fermentation (also called the first rise or primary fermentation) is one of the most important steps of yeast bread baking. It begins right when mixing ends and lasts until the dough is divided and preshaped. The name signifies exactly what it is: the step when the dough is fermenting in a large, single mass. Thanks King Arthur Flour!
Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on the counter (lightly flour the surface if needed) and fold the dough over itself.
On a flourless surface, shape the dough into a ball by pushing the dough against the surface, pulling it towards you to make it round and smooth.
Place the dough in a proofing basket that has been generously dusted with flour. The dough seams should be facing you with the smooth side down.
Cover proofing basket with a tea towel or cloth cover.
Proof the dough for roughly 2 -2 ½ hours or until the bread has risen to almost double in size. Once the dough is well risen and feels almost lighter and not as heavy, it’s time to bake it off.
Place Dutch oven (with lid on) in cold oven. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
Gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured parchment paper. If needed, you can carefully make it round again by pushing the seams underneath.
Score the bread on top with a sharp knife or scoring tool. You can get fancy with this (in time I will), but I just make a single score. This allows the steam to escape so your bread doesn’t burst while baking.
Turn down the oven to 400°F and gently place your bread into the preheated Dutch oven (be very careful!).
Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. After 30 minutes remove the lid. The bread will have started to puff up and will be a light golden color.
Continue to bake for 20-30 minutes until your loaf is a dark golden brown. The smell that will be wafting through your house will be heavenly!
Cool the bread completely before cutting. Enjoy!!
I really hope you make this recipe. If you do, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi. I would love to see your pictures and hear some feedback!