An easy Sourdough Bread recipe that rises overnight and bakes in the morning. A simple flexible recipe, made with sourdough starter, that can be adapted to your needs. View the 3 instructional videos above for more details. If you don’t see the videos, make sure your ad blocker is off. (NOTE: the recipe multiplier is not working correctly for doubling or tripling – so please calculate this for yourself !!! Sorry.)
Other optional additions:
Sourdough starter : Using your starter at its peak, or slightly after will ensure your bread rises sufficiently. Make sure your starter is healthy, hungry, and strong, able to double in size 4-8 hours after feeding and passes the float test. If you store your starter in the fridge and last fed it a week ago, make sure to feed the morning before making bread. If it has only been 3-6 days since last feeding (and you keep it in the fridge), it is OK to make bread without feeding. Use a 1/3 cup starter for your bread dough and place the remaining back in the fridge and feed a week after the last feeding. BUT if it has been a week after your last feeding, pull it out of the fridge, discard (or save for pancakes, waffles, or give away) all but 1/2 cup. Feed it. Let it metabolize the flour 4-8 hours before mixing up the bread dough. Use a 1/3 cup of starter (90 grams) for the bread, place the remaining back in the fridge, and feed in a week. For a more “sour” flavor, use starter that has been in the fridge 4-6 days. Do not feed before using it. The sourdough starter is the most sour the longer it goes without feeding.
FLOUR: For your very first loaf, I highly suggest weighing (please do not include the weight of the bowl or any salt, seeds or spices- only flour!) and using mostly white bread flour (or AP white flour). I know it’s boring, but you can add whole spices and seeds. 🙂 If you absolutely must fiddle, try only substituting a 1/2 cup of the flour for another kind. For example, 3 1/2 cups white bread flour, plus 1/2 cup rye flour or whole wheat flour. If you add more than that your loaf may be too heavy and dense. I really don’t want this for your first loaf. Neither do you! You want it to be amazing so you feel inspired to make it again and again. The second loaf, perhaps try 1/2 whole wheat. After a few practice loaves- yes, fiddle as much as you like!
Hydration: A wet dough will produce a lot of beautiful air pockets but it is much harder to work with, especially in the beginning. A dry dough will yield a slightly denser, less airy loaf but will be easier to work with, in the beginning. This one falls towards the later – at 75% hydration- but you can easily adjust this down the road, as you practice, by adding a little more water or less flour in the initial mixing stage. To calculate the hydration level, you divide the 385 water grams by the 520 flour grams. In this case 385 divided by 520 = .75 or 75% hydration.
Dutch Oven or Bread Baker: Make sure your dutch oven or bread baker can handle a 500F oven. If not, 450F will suffice, and bake 25 minutes before removing the lid. My bread baker (clay) cracked at 500F, so just be careful. Always check the manufacturer’s guide. Plastic handles typically melt or crack at 500F
NO DUTCH OVEN? If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can try baking your bread on a sheet pan, covered with a large metal bowl to keep the steam in. It will yield a much flatter loaf but it does work. Bake 25-30 minutes covered, remove the bowl with tongs, bake until golden 5-8 more minutes, and be sure to check internal temp with a thermometer. It may take a few practice tries to perfect this.
PRACTICE: As you practice making your loaves (yes, it is a fun practice) you’ll get a feel for the dough and you’ll begin to notices how changes in seasons (changes in temperature) affect the loaves and their proofing time. Warmer temps, shorter proofing, cooler temps, longer proofing. You can also change the proofing time by adjusting the sourdough starter amount. For a faster rise, you can add a little more starter, for example, a 1/2 or 2/3 cup. For a longer cooler rise, say in the fridge for 24-48 hours, you can reduce the starter amount to 1/4 cup or even 3 tablespoons. You can play with ratios to get the proofing time just how you want it. Take notes! you can also adjust the hydration for an airier loaf, either reducing flour or increasing water. So many variables!!!
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