Easy sourdough bread
- Preparation and cooking time
- Cook: -
- plus overnight fermenting and rising
- More effort
- Makes 1 loaf (cuts into 10-12 slices)
Don't be daunted by making a sourdough bread starter at home - this easy cheat's version makes a lovely loaf without the stress
For the starter
For the main dough
- STEP 1
To make your starter, place all the ingredients in a bowl and add 250ml cold water. Mix together thoroughly with a spoon until you have a spongy mixture, then cover with cling film and leave at room temperature at least overnight, but up to 24 hrs if you have time.
- STEP 2
To make the bread dough, tip the ingredients into a clean bowl and add 1 tbsp fine salt, 200ml cold water and your starter. Bring all the ingredients together to a dough, adding a splash more water if too stiff, then tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 10 mins until smooth, elastic and springy (this will take 5-7 mins in a mixer with a dough hook). Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave until doubled in size – about 1 hr at room temperature, 3 hrs in the fridge (see tips, below).
- STEP 3
Tip the dough onto a floured surface and gently shape into a round – you don’t want to knock too much air out of the dough. Dust a piece of baking parchment heavily with flour and sit the dough on top. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 1 hr until doubled in size.
- STEP 4
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Place a sturdy flat baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven and a smaller tray with sides underneath. Dust the dough with flour and slash with a utility knife. Slide the bread onto the hot tray on top and throw a few ice cubes (or pour some cold water) onto the tray below – this creates a burst of steam, which helps the bread form a nice crust. Bake for 25-30 mins until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Leave the bread to cool completely.
DEVELOP THE FLAVOUR
The longer it takes a bread dough to rise, the more flavour it develops. For the best flavour and the slowest rise, leave the dough in the fridge – the cool temperature means that it will take longer for the yeast to work.
FOR REGULAR BAKERS
If you want to make this bread on a regular basis, keep back about 100ml of the starter and a small handful of the kneaded dough. Put the two together in a jar, keep it in the fridge and use as the base to your next starter and loaf. Repeat every time you make a loaf. The pre-fermented base to a new starter will give it even more of a sourdough flavour.