SOURDOUGH BREAD RECIPE - Make your own sourdough bread at home?
The global health crisis which hit the world last year compelled everyone to slow down, pause and reflect whilst we stayed quarantined in our homes. A delightful revelation struck us- yes, normalcy was redefined! But amidst this life-altering change, two things have remained certain; the golden glint of humanity is here to stay, and we all have managed to find creative ways of beating them languishing blues.
From participating in various social media challenges to jumping onto the bandwagon of Instagram reels; from binging on Netflix shows to having one-of-a-kind cook-outs, we’re all doing the best we can. And for that, kudos to one and all; we all deserve a pat on our backs. Speaking of honing our culinary skills, haven’t we become quite the bakers over this past year? Well, well! Mixing health with pleasure, one such fad that is here to stay is making homemade sourdough bread.
WHAT IS SOURDOUGH BREAD?
One of the oldest forms of grain fermentation, sourdough is believed to have originated in ancient Egypt in around 1500 BC and remained their customary form of bread leavening until it was replaced by the baker’s yeast a few centuries ago.
For the unawares, leavened bread is bread whose dough rises due to gas being produced when the grain ferments. Unlike most other leavened breads, traditional sourdough fermentation relies on wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria to help the dough rise.
TIME TO PREP- BUILDING THE BASE – The Sourdough Bread Recipe
As a precursor to successful baking, you first need to have a “starter” ready, you lassies. Confused much? Don’t be! The live culture consisting of a blend of yeast, lactic acid bacteria, flour and water that is used to make the sourdough bread is called a starter. This starter enables to ferment the sugars in the dough, helping the bread to rise and acquire its characteristic taste during the actual bread-making process. Additionally as a beginner, one must never forget to keep salt handy at all times, since it remains a key ingredient. Now, it’s important to make this blend properly since it will define the texture, taste and it’s cooking consistency later on. It’s all in the basics, isn’t it?
STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS TO MAKE YOUR SOURDOUGH AT HOME
Who said this so rightly, “never say never”? For every amateur out there, these words should be your guiding light. If you’re excited to try baking traditional sourdough at home, then look no further. Here’s a beginner’s guide for baking some delectable bakery-brewed sourdough bread right in your kitchen.
Before we proceed onto a step-by-step tutorial to help you make the perfectly crusty sourdough bread, it’s important to gather all the cooking tools and dishes in one place:
- A dutch oven with a lid
- High-temperature parchment paper
- Large mixing bowl
- Measuring cup
- Kitchen towel
- Sharp knife, razor blade or scissors
- Kitchen scale
Are you excited to embark on this exciting journey with us? One essential thing that is of paramount importance in making sourdough bread is the TIME DURATION. This process spans over few days from the beginning to the end.
DAY 1: STEP 1: From a total of 250 g of strong organic or stoneground white flour, you will first be making your starter. To begin with, blend 50 g flour with 50g tepid water in a jar or a plastic container. After ensuring this proportion, leave this mixture at semi- uncovered at room temperature for 24 hours. This technique with rest is known as autolyse.
Over the next two days, repeat this same process whilst maintaining the same exact quantities, thereby adding to this mixture.
DAY 4: STEP 2: You will now see some activity in your jar; there should be some bubbles forming and bubbling on the top. Further, mix 50 g flour with 50g tepid water and stir into the previous day’s mixture. Again, make sure that you incorporate all the flour and leave it semi-uncovered for another 24 hours.
STEP 4: To prepare the levain, mix 1 tbsp of the starter with 100g flour and 100g water (same as feeding the starter, this procedure should be conducted in a new bowl lest we may need the original starter as a backup. Leave the levain for 8 hrs at room temperature until it becomes active. When ready, it shall pass the floating test.
STEP 5: Moving closer to our goal, to make the bread, pour 600 g of tepid water into the levain and stir it with a rubber spatula to mix it properly- don’t fret about a few unmixed particles. Tip in the flour and mix everything together to make a rough dough. Make sure to incorporate all your flour evenly, without leaving any dry bits up the side of the bowl. Cover and store it in a warm place for about 30 minutes to 4 hours.
STEP 6: Sprinkle over 20g of fine salt and add 50g water to the dough. Pinch and scrunch this blend through the dough with your hands. The dough may get stingy, but you need to keep working till it becomes one smooth texture. Leave it for another 15 minutes. We’re closer to our dream, we promise!
STEP 7: After wetting your hands, grab the dough from one side and stretch it over, followed by repeating it onto the other side. Helping to develop the gluten, this stretching technique makes your dough firm. Afterwards, pick it up and curl it around onto itself, and leave it for another 20-30 minutes. Repeat this process twice, and then let it breathe for another 2-3 hours until it’s risen and looks bubbly and soft.
STEP 8: With the help of a rubber spatula, scrape the dough out onto a timidly floured surface, and split it into two. Fold each piece amongst itself to create a ball, and then leave it uncovered to spread for 30 minutes.
STEP 9: Using two dusted bread-proving baskets adequately with flour, scrape one of the dough balls off the workspace. Next, fold it onto itself to create an extremely air-tight ball. Lift the ball into the basket, seam side up and store it in a fridge for it to chill overnight. Repeat the same with the other dough ball.
STEP 10: Heat the oven to 240*C and put your batter in a lidded casserole dish to heat. Use well-cut baking parchment paper into a square slightly larger than the base of one of the loaves. After carefully removing the hot casserole, invert one loaf onto the baking parchment. Working swiftly, score the top at an angle and use the edges of the parchment to lift the loaf onto the casserole dish. Let it bake for 30 min with the lid on, followed by 10 min without it. Once the colour sets in, your bread is ready to be devoured upon. With levelled eagerness set in, we need to wait a little longer for it to cool at room temperature after transferring it to a wire rack. Similarly, repeat this process with the second loaf.
After sweating it out in your mini-haven (pun intended), are you ready to enjoy your sweet (oops, savoury) taste of success? Highly popular in the Middle-East, sourdough bread is extremely nutritious and a diet favourite due to its balanced quantities of proteins, carbohydrates, fibres and necessary minerals like manganese, sodium and iron. Additionally, it is easier to digest and even helps in controlling our blood sugar levels.
Whether you’re a first-timer or pro, just have fun, soak in every moment, and continue to learn. Do let us know how your bread turned out in our comments section below! Here’s to a tasty weekend ahead!