a relationship with sourdough is very committed and very rewarding. the whole process takes 24 hours, but a belly full of the best bread you’ve ever tasted is well worth it. here’s my recipe!
for the starter, you will need:
wooden or plastic mixing spoon
for the (3) loaves, you will need:
100g active starter
1600g unbleached white flour, divided
1120g cold filtered water, divided
25g softened butter
30g fine sea salt
large plastic or glass bowl
3 loaf pans
the week before: starting sourdough
you only need two ingredients to make a sourdough starter - rye flour and filtered water. the entire process of growing an active starter takes a week, but don’t let that intimidate you - it only takes about 5 minutes of human involvement per day.
day 1: in a clean, jar mix 100g of rye flour with 100g of filtered water. stir well, until completely combined. cover bowl or jar top with a clean cloth, and secure with a rubber band.
days 2: take 100 grams of starter from the day before, and mix with 50g of rye flour and 50g of filtered water. mix well and cover with a clean cloth.
days 3-7: repeat step 2 each day with the starter from the day before. by day 7, the starter should be very bubbly and doubled in size.
the day before the baking:
9 am: make the levain
mix 100g of white flour + 100g of filtered water
add 100g of active sourdough starter, mix well with a wooden spoon (this is key! using a metal spoon will kill the starter culture).
cover and wait
2 pm: at this point, the “leavain” (what you created in the first step) should be doubled in size and bubbly
in a stand mixer bowl, combine 1020g of cold water with the leaven. mix well. you can also do this by hand, but the mixing will take a little longer.
after mixing, add 25g of softened butter, 60g of honey, and 1500g of unbleached white flour. mix for about 5 minutes, or until completely combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
cover the dough and let sit for 40 minutes. this is called the autolyse phase, where the flour absorbs the liquid.
3 pm: add 30g of fine sea salt. mix well. pour dough into a well-oiled bowl, and form into a smooth ball.
for the next 2 hours, you will “fold” and “turn” the dough every 15 minutes. basically, you will fold the dough over and turn 90 degrees. this creates nice air pockets that will result in a tall, soft loaf. think of the 360 degrees of a circle. by folding at each 90 degree point, you are working all sides of the dough. this folding and turning process will be repeated 8 times in the 2 hours. in-between folds, cover the dough and let it rest.
take a rest yourself. at this point, you probably need it.
5 pm: you’re done folding! cover the dough and let it rise for 2-4 hours.
9 pm: the dough should be bubbly and double in size. pour dough onto a well-oiled countertop and divide into 3 equal balls. stretch each ball into a 9x9 square, and roll each square into a log (imagine rolling up cinnamon rolls).
place the rolls of dough in 3 buttered loaf pans. cover with a clean dishcloth, and leave to rise in the refrigerator overnight.
in the morning: take loaves out of the refrigerator, and bring to room temperatute on the counter for about an hour.
bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, or until bread reaches internal temperature of 180 and is nice and golden on top.
let cool in pan for 10 minutes. remove from pan, and turn loves on their sides. let loaves cool completely before devouring.
tips for lovely sourdough:
be sure to always use plastic or glass bowls/jars and wooden or plastic utensils. metal kills the active yeasts in the starter.
measure amounts with a kitchen scale. sourdough is a very sensitive, precise, and persnickety pet to have.