My First Sour Dough Loaf

I’ve wanted to make a sourdough loaf for a long time. We tried to get a starter going a while back but as Henry arrived it got overlooked and had to be binned.

I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to give it another go so I had a look through a few books and found a starter recipe in James Morton’s book, Brilliant Bread. I chose this one it wasn’t very complicated and he explained the process very well.
Very simply, you start with 100g strong flour and 100ml of tepid water in a large jar. I used some raisins as a “starter-aid” which helps to kick start your starter. You cover it for 24 hours at room temperature than you add another 100g flour and 100ml water. A further 24-72 hours later, once you’ve got plenty of bubbles, you need to tip away about three quarters of the contents of your starter. After this it’s a matter of feeding every 24-48 hours with at least the same volume of flour and water as you have in the jar. I tend to use 1 cup (250g) of flour and half a cup of water.
Sour Dough Starter
Sour Dough Starter
Here’s how it looked yesterday after I’d taken some out and fed it.
As I’d used James’ recipe for the starter I thought it best to use his recipe for “staple white sour dough”.
I started off by following the recipe as best I could – 400g bread flour, 200g sour dough starter, 10g salt and 175g cold water. I mixed it all together and it was really wet. I don’t like a wet dough but James insisted that it would be a very wet dough.
IMG_9454
Wet dough
At this point you leave it for 30 minutes to autolyse. I had to look this up – here’s a link to some information.
Autolysed and ready for kneading
Autolysed and ready for kneading
After 30 minutes you get to kneading. The recommended method for this is the “slap and fold”. James has an explanation of this in the book but I found it easier to take a look on YouTube for a video demonstration. There are loads so pick one that suits you.
Kneaded and still wet
Kneaded and still wet
After the kneading it was still really wet. I was still a little worried but again, I followed the wisdom of the book and left it to proof for 6 or so hours.
6+ hours of proofing
6+ hours of proofing
When the dough had risen enough to move on to the next step: shaping. As I don’t have a banneton the suggestion was a heavily floured tea towel. I formed my dough into a loose round loaf shape, covered it and left it for another 3 hours.
Floured tea towel
Floured tea towel
Towards the end of the 3 hours the instructions say to put your cooking surface into the oven to get up to 240 degrees Celsius so I popped a heavy flat baking sheet into the oven at top temperature.
"Shaped" and proofed for a 2nd time
“Shaped” and proofed for a 2nd time
The dough rose again well so i turned it put onto a chopping board covered in fine cornmeal then from there onto the hot flat sheet. As I turned it onto the chopping board it went as flat as a pancake and my fears that it was too wet were confirmed. I pushed on and baked it any way. After all, I’d invested some 10 hours in preparing this loaf of bread so I may as well finish it!
Baked, flat and tasty
Baked, flat and tasty
I’m so glad I did. It may be really flat but it’s got the texture, the flavour and the smell of a sour dough loaf.
Texture, flavour and smell
Texture, flavour and smell
There are definitely lessons learned with this one; the main one being make sure you get your measurements for wet ingredients absolutely spot on!
It takes ages to bake sour dough but it’s worth the effort. I know I’m going to be making more!

 

6 Comments

  1. […] been a couple of weeks since my first attempt at making a sour dough loaf so thought it was time to give it another go. I find it best to make the sourdough over a weekend […]

  2. January 19, 2018
    Reply

    I’ve tried to make sourdough and it did get a little better each time as you learn. It does take so much time and attention though!

    • January 19, 2018
      Reply

      So true. Mine finally died a month or so ago after I didn’t give it enough love. I don’t think I have the space or patience to try again any time soon.

  3. January 19, 2018
    Reply

    I love bread-making but haven’t tried making a sourdough yet. I know it needs a lot of patience to get going but I’d love to have a go one day soon.

  4. January 21, 2018
    Reply

    Oh Wow! I’d never thought of making one before, but you’ve inspired me! I’m so pinning this! Thank you! 🙂

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