Sourdough Bread

My husband wanted to make sourdough bread and asked for a book about it for his birthday. I wanted to surprise him, so I gave him also a “starter of sourdough” (the wild bacteria and yeast that is used to make bread). But now, I’m the one baking (his present is a excellent home-made bread twice a week… even better!).

How long does it take to bake?

  • 2 min every morning and every evening to feed the starter
  • 15 min in the morning when I want to bake
  • then 2×2 min to knead it twice during the day
  • and I’ve to stay home in the evening (1h in the oven)

Ingredients:

  • 100gr sourdough
  • 280gr water (lukewarm)
  • 6gr salt
  • 500gr flour (see comments)
  • Seeds or herbs if you want

What is sourdough actually? It is wild yeast and bacteria that are used since centuries to make bread (alternative to fresh yeast). Nowadays, you don’t have to leave your water-flour mixture to ferment each time you want to make bread. You can buy (or receive) a small quantity of the living mixture (called starter); and the only thing you need to do is to keep it alive.

I’m definitely not an expert. My godmother (thanks!!!) gave me some “sourdough starter”, and explained me how she does… and it works very well. She is often making bread for her guest (B&B). Here below is the “Standard Operating Procedure” I’m following (“SOP” in science… yes… I’m a scientist, we love “SOP’s).

1: your starter should looks like a ” too thick pancake dough”. It works better using a regular spoon (=the one you eat with), giving a well-filled spoon of flour and one spoon of water (obviously you can’t fill it as much with water). If you really give exact equal volume, in my experience, it gets too liquid. In books you find weights, but it is easier to just use a spoon, right?

Let me give you additional tips/comments:

  • I’m feeding the sourdough starter in the morning and in the evening; so if I forget it once, it will still be fit!
  • You need to keep enough starter for baking your next bread!!! So you have to increase your volume by feeding it. The volume will depend on the volume of bread you want to make and the frequency of baking. I’m making bread with 1,5kg flour twice a week and I give about 4 soup spoon of water a and flour per day.
  • I’m baking in a “Staub Cocotte”. Quite expensive pot (but unbreakable!), but you can easily find it second hand. Cake mold should work too.
  • Because I’m baking big quantities in one time (freezing pieces of it), I’m baking for 1h15 instead of 1h.
  • Which flour? From what i read, FEEDING your sourdough NEEDS GLUTEN! Wheat is perfect (flour or wholemeal flour (NL: meel; FR: farine complete). You can also use rye (NL: Rogge; FR: Seigle), it works even better. For the moment I use a mix of both.
  • GLUTEN FREE? It is not possible to bake a sourdough bread gluten free. I’ve also tried it… and it failed! You might find some in shops, but “sourdough” is not a protected name. If you add some sourdough (even a little bit) or some taste of it, you can call you bread sourdough…
  • CAVE: 280 ml water is for wheat flour. If you use other flour you might to adapt it (rogge reauire less water; about 260 ml).
My daughter helping making “scarifications”.