Sourdough bread

Prep: 1 hr Cook: 40 mins plus 8 days for the starter and 3 hrs rising

A challenge

Makes 1 loaf
Making a sourdough starter from scratch couldn't be simpler with our step-by-step recipe for a chewy, flavoursome loaf

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal245
  • fat1g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs48g
  • sugars1g
  • fibre2g
  • protein8g
  • salt0.4g
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Ingredients

    For the starter

    • 700g strong white flour

    For the loaf

    • 500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
    • 1 tsp fine salt
    • 1 tbsp clear honey
    • 300g sourdough starter
    • flavourless oil, for greasing

    Method

    1. First, make your starter. In a large bowl, mix together 100g of the flour with 125ml slightly warm water. Whisk together until smooth and lump-free.

    2. Transfer the starter to a large jar (a 1-litre Kilner jar is good) or a plastic container. Leave the jar or container lid ajar for 1 hr or so in a warm place (around 25C is ideal), then seal and set aside for 24 hrs.

    3. For the next 6 days, you will need to ‘feed’ the starter. Each day, tip away half of the original starter, add an extra 100g of flour and 125ml slightly warm water, and stir well. Try to do this at the same time every day.

    4. After 3-4 days you should start to see bubbles appearing on the surface, and it will smell yeasty and a little acidic. This is a good indicator that the starter is working.

    5. On day 7, the starter should be quite bubbly and smell much sweeter. It is now ready to be used in baking.

    6. Tip the flour, 225ml warm water, the salt, honey and the starter into a bowl, or a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir with a wooden spoon, or on a slow setting in the machine, until combined – add extra flour if it’s too sticky or a little extra warm water if it’s too dry.

    7. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 mins until soft and elastic – you should be able to stretch it without it tearing. If you‘re using a mixer, turn up the speed a little and mix for 5 mins.

    8. Place the dough in a large, well-oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film. Leave in a warm place to rise for 3 hrs. You may not see much movement, but don’t be disheartened, as sourdough takes much longer to rise than a conventional yeasted bread.

    9. Line a medium-sized bowl with a clean tea towel and flour it really well or, if you have a proving basket, you can use this (see tips below). Tip the dough back onto your work surface and knead briefly to knock out any air bubbles. Shape the dough into a smooth ball and dust it with flour.

    10. Place the dough, seam-side up, in the bowl or proving basket, cover with a sheet of oiled cling film and leave at room temperature for 6-8 hrs, or until roughly doubled in size.

    11. Place a large baking tray in the oven, and heat to 230C/210C fan/gas 8. Fill a small roasting tin with a little water and place this in the bottom of the oven to create steam. Remove the baking tray from the oven, sprinkle with flour, then carefully tip the risen dough onto the tray.

    12. Slash the top a few times with a sharp knife, if you like, then bake for 35-40 mins until golden brown. It will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 20 mins before serving.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    Comments (3)

    lizfisher56's picture
    0

    I have tried to make this twice. Both times the starter has separated after a few days and stopped bubbling. I don't like to give up but I think I need to follow a different recipe.

    dichohecho's picture

    I think what you're referring to is not separating but the yeast producing alcohol because it's low on food - try feeding your starter a bit more flour or a bit more often. Alternatively keep it somewhere a little cooler to slow it down. Since one doesn't know how much yeast there is in a batch of starter it's trial and error to get feeds right.
    Starter that has hooch can be revived by feeding, yeast is pretty hard to kill except with heat :)
    More info: http://www.sourdoughhome.com/index.php?content=hooch

    vicki8190's picture

    I think the have the amounts the incorrect was wrong. I use 125 g of flour to 100g tepid water and this works great.

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