Sourdough bread is something I always wanted to give a go (read about the health benefits here), I had been told that it was easy but just didn't really know where to begin. Until my aunty shared her recipe with us, and it really is so so easy! There is so much information out there on sourdough, and different ways of doing things, but this is what we do, and it works great, and it's easy! And now mum, and my sister Frith are making it too using this recipe, and it's working great for them. - So time to share with you :)
Making your sourdough starter:
You need: Rye flour, water, 1 litre glass jar, piece of muslin cloth, rubber band.
- Mix about a cup each of flour and water together in your glass jar (you are aiming for a pancake batter consistency). Put the muslin cloth on top secured with the rubber band.
- Leave it sitting on your bench top for about 2 days. Then start feeding it every day with about equal amounts of flour and water. About 1/3 cup of flour and about the same of water, it is not necessary to measure the amounts.
- After about a week it should be ready to use.
- You will know if it is active and ready if it looks mousse-like with air holes and has a pleasant fermented beer-like odour.
The bread recipe:
This is the general recipe I use to make my bread. I'm starting to change it around a bit and try different flours now, and I always add a few seeds.
- 2 cups starter
- 350ml water
- 3 cups unbleached flour
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 tsp salt
Method: Roughly mix all the ingredients together and leave to rest for 20 minutes. Knead for 5 minutes on a floured surface. Rest 30 minutes covered with a damp teatowel. Knead another 5 minutes.
This recipe will either make one large loaf, or two smaller loaves. I make one loaf as I have this lovely big tin that mum bought me last year :)
Press the dough evenly and with a flat top into your tin (or tins). Cover with your damp teatowel and leave to rise until about doubled in size, this will take 4-6 hours or more.
Bake at 235 deg celcius for 15 minutes, then turn your oven down to 210 deg and bake a further 30-40 minutes. Times may vary depending on your oven, and also depending on whether you are cooking it as one large loaf or two smaller loaves. I find I have to cook mine about an hour total, and I normally cover the top of the loaf with tinfoil for the last 15 minutes to stop it browning too much.
Continuing with your starter:
* Please note if you have read this before that I have now changed my method slightly here.
I normally have about 1 1/2 cups left over once I have made a batch of bread. Pour the leftover starter into a clean jar and feed it with about 1/2 cup of rye flour and 1/2 cup water and leave on the bench (it should be a nice thick pancake batter consistency). Now, I normally don't make bread again for another 4 or 5 days, so before I go to bed I pop my starter into the fridge. I take it out the night before I plan to make my next batch of bread and leave it on the bench to come to room temperature, then feed it again with about 1/2 cup or flour and of water and leave it overnight. And then in the morning it will be ready to make another batch of dough.
Note: The above method is only a guide, if you are planning on making your bread more often or less often, or want more information, or your starter is doing funny things, Sourdough baker is a really great website with lots of information.