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To make sourdough bread, you will need a starter. This is a combination of flour and water that has lightly fermented over time. To make a starter, read our How To Make A Sourdough Starter blog post. If you already have a starter, read on!
How To Bake Sourdough Bread
If you already have a starter and have kept it in the fridge, be sure to remove it from the fridge and let it sit out for 2-3 days before you plan to bake. This activates the cultures. To bake the bread, you’ll need the following ingredients. This makes 1 loaf.
- 2 1/3 cups fresh sourdough starter
- 3 1/3 cup flour
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups water
- Small tablespoon salt
- Using an electric mixer with a dough hook, slowly mix together the starter, flour, water, and salt.
- Mix until a shaggy dough has formed. At this point, remove it from the mixer and begin to knead it on a lightly floured surface.
- When you knead, plan to knead for about 20 minutes by hand with breaks in between. For example, knead for about 5-10 minutes and then take a break. Continue for another 10-15 minutes. Overall, the amount of time spent kneading varies depending on how your dough looks and feels. Kneading strengthens the gluten, so you should keep kneading until your dough has formed an elastic-y ball. The most important way to tell when you have kneaded enough is with the window pane test. If you hold your dough up (kind of as though you’re making a pizza), it should not tear when stretched. If you can hold it up and it doesn’t tear, you’re good to go. Kneading pro-tip: your dough will be sticky. It is our natural instinct to add more flour, but use your best willpower and avoid doing so! Keep kneading and eventually, that stickiness will subside.
- Now shape the dough. Lightly flour your work surface and your dough. The purpose of shaping is to strengthen the surface. Pull the dough into a ball until it’s surface is taut.
- Place a tea towel in a bowl (like a salad or mixing bowl) and lightly flour the towel. Add your ball of dough.
- Place the bowl in a fridge overnight.
- First, preheat oven to 450 F.
- Next, if you have a Dutch oven, try using it. If not, no problem. If using a Dutch oven, bake for about 25 minutes with the lid on, and then another 25 minutes with the lid off. Having the lid on encourages the bread to rise. Taking the lid off encourages the bread to brown.
- If you don’t have a Dutch oven, simply place on a pan. Bake at 450 for 35-40 minutes. Bake until the crust is nicely browned, borderline burnt. It might feel weird to cook it this way, but this is what gives the crust its strong flavour.
- Once browned and cooked, remove from the oven and place on a baking sheet. Let it cool fully before slicing.
And that’s a wrap, folks. You can successfully bake sourdough. Pat yourself on the back and eat up!
P.S. If you’re more of a visual learner, here is a YouTube video that I found helpful when learning about how to bake sourdough bread: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FVfJTGpXnU.