An ever-so-easy sourdough recipe that will put a smile on your face
Baking your own sourdough is not as tricky as you think. Especially if you follow these step-by-step, foolproof instructions.
Give it a go and you’ll be amazed at the results.
Most shop-bought bread is full of God knows what, from sugar to E-this and E-that. Sourdough, on the other hand, is basically made from flour and water.
It also freezes perfectly and makes the best toast. Ever.
Just remember to slice up the loaf first.
What you’ll need
Before we look at the recipe, you’ll need to get your hands on the following:
- A couple of storage jars
- A sourdough starter
- A large stainless steel bowl
- Some baking paper
The last two items can be found in any half-decent baking shop.
Here in Singapore, you can’t go wrong with the RedMan Shop by Phoon Huat. They stock every baking accessory and ingredient you can think of. Plus, everything is about a third of the price of the regular supermarkets.
When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar…
For the storage jars, IKEA is probably your best bet.
I suggest you get three of them: one to store flour, one for the starter, and a spare one. As you will need to clean the jars every now and then.
Also, while you’re in IKEA, you may as well get a few smaller jars. That way, you can share your sourdough starter with friends.
Beauty and the yeast
To be honest, the starter, which is basically a live culture made of flour and water, is probably the trickiest part of making your own sourdough.
But done correctly, a good starter will last you for years and give you great results, time and time again.
However, it does take a week or so to make. If you have the time and inclination, here’s a great video, showing you how to do it, and what to look out for each day.
Alternatively, the easiest thing is to borrow some from a friend or your local bakery. You won’t knead, sorry, need much — about 100g should be fine.
Once you’ve got your starter, you should name it. As I had enough starter to make two batches, I called mine Bill and Ben, after the Flower Pot Men.
Once you’ve made and named your starter, stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to make your sourdough.
Get ready to be bowled over
For the stainless steel bowl, I use one that’s 27cm in circumference and 10cm in height.
As you can see, it’s been well used.
I am pretty sure that I found it in RedMan Shop by Phoon Huat.
As long as it’s heatproof and can fit in your oven, you’ll be fine.
Now, you’re good to go.
One very easy peasy, lemon squeezy recipe
Time-wise, the whole process takes around 6–7 hours. But it’s not overly arduous. And it’s not like you’re going anywhere soon, anyhow.
Ingredients-wise, you will need the following items:
- 150g of sourdough starter
- 500g of bread flour
- 340ml of warm tap water
- 1 teaspoon of salt
Ready, steady, sourdough
The following steps are based on this recipe from The Guardian, the UK newspaper — not the Singapore health and beauty retailer.
1. Remove your starter jar from the fridge. Feed it equal parts of bread flour and water, say 100g flour and 100ml water. Then give it a good mix. And put the lid back on the jar.
- Leave the starter for an hour. Feel free to grab a coffee, send a few emails to pretend that you really working from home, or go for a stroll.
- To see if your starter’s good to go, add a small spoon of it into a glass of water. If the starter floats to the top, it’s ready. If not, wait and try it again later,
2. When the starter’s ready, place 150g of it in a large mixing bowl with the bread flour (500g) and warm water (340ml).
- Mix everything together and leave it to sit for 30 mins.
3. Add the salt, wet your hands, and knead the mixture for just 15 seconds on a kitchen surface.
- Leave for 15 minutes, then knead briefly again with wet hands. And 15 minutes later, knead briefly for the third time.
4. Place a tea towel over the dough and leave to rise until it is at least 50% bigger than it was at the start.
- You’re looking at anywhere from two to three hours, plenty of time to fit in a couple of zoom calls, or head to the gym.
- When ready, the dough should almost fill the mixing bowl.
5. Flip/scrape the dough out onto a floured work surface.
- Flour your hands, then gently pull, press, and stretch the dough into a 20–30cm square.
- No need for a rolling pin here as the idea is to leave as much air in the dough as poss.
6. When you’ve got yourself a nice big squidgy square (a technical baking team often heard on the GBBO, I’m sure), simply:
- Fold the left half into the middle and do the same with the right half.
- Flip the dough and shape it gently back into a ball shape.
- Put the dough back into the bowl.
- Cover with a tea towel and leave for 20 minutes.
7. Repeat Step 6 (the squidgy square folding and resting business) twice more.
- Each time, the dough should puff up a bit more.
8. After the third time:
- Place the dough on a sheet of baking paper.
- Set your oven to 240C/475F/gas mark 9.
- Stick a baking tray at bottom of the oven.
- Wait 20 minutes for the oven to get really, really hot and for the dough to rise some more.
9. Take your sharpest knife and slash the top of the dough two or three times.
10. Carefully, remove the very hot tray from the oven and place it on a heatproof surface, then:
- Transfer the dough and baking paper ono the tray.
- Grab your stainless steel bowl, splash some water inside, and cover the dough with the bowl.
- Whack the tray back into the oven.
11. After 20–25 minutes, remove the tray from the oven.
- Again, being very careful, remove the bowl, and slide out the baking paper.
- You may need to use a knife where some of the dough has stuck to the bowl.
- Now, the dough looks like a real loaf of bread. But we’re not done yet.
12. Lower the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and put the tray (with the bread, of course) back into the oven.
- Bake for between 30 to 40 minutes.
- Times will vary based on your oven type, but the longer you can leave it, the better
- You’re looking for a loaf that looks dark with a solid crust.
13 or a baker’s dozen. Once you’re happy with what it looks like, let the sourdough rest a while before
- Taking a photo of your masterpiece.
- Grabbing a bread knife and tucking in.
Some useful sourdough tips
- Due to the large oval shape, I usually cut my sourdough into four and make slices from each quarter, as and when required.
- Wrapped in a tea towel and stored in a bread bag or tote, the bread will keep for a day or two — though, it will taste that good it will probably disappear the same day.
- After the second day, slice up the remaining bread and pop the slices into the freezer.
- Your sourdough starter can be used to make other things, like cookies, crackers, and even pancakes.
Now, it’s over to you
Be sure to let me know how you get on.
Also, what did you call your sourdough starter? There are some great starter names out there, like Little Bread Riding Hood or Vincent Van Dough. But I am sure that you can do butter, sorry better.
Thanks for reading this far, good luck with your own sourdough journey, and happy baking.
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