When quarantine started, I took up the classic hobbies one does when they have a lot of free time suddenly thrust upon them. I started baking. And with that also came the #1 quarantine hobby of 2020 – sourdough. So I thought, why not share my guide to sourdough with an easy recipe.
By now, everyone probably knows the general idea behind sourdough. You need a sourdough starter, which is essentially a process where you ferment flour and water to create “wild yeast”, and some time. You can either start a sourdough starter or get a piece of one from a local bakery. If you’re going the route of creating one from scratch, check out my post all about it here.
Before we get into the grit of it, let me start by saying this disclaimer: this is my, a complete and total newbie/amateur/beginner at all things sourdough, version of an easy sourdough recipe. So you can guarantee it will be relatively simple and pretty easy to follow. And while it is time consuming, it is 10000000% worth it.
Easy Sourdough Recipe:
What do you need?
Ingredients wise, the list is pretty simple – you need a starter, flour and water. Equipment wise you need a kitchen scale, a covered Tupperware, 2 bowls (or one mixing bowl and a proofing bowl), a dish cloth, and either a dutch oven or other covered bakeware. I don’t have a dutch oven so I just used a corning ware dish that was about 4 inches in depth and came with a lid and it works just fine.
What do you do?
Take one tablespoon of starter and add it, along with 50 grams of water, to the tupperware. Mix together until dissolved. Add 50 grams of flour and mix until combined. Cover and let sit for 12 hours.
Combine 50 grams of last nights mixture, called the levian, to 170 grams of water and mix until combined. Once combined, mix in 170 grams of flour and let sit covered for 6 more hours.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix in 250 grams of water until mostly dissolved. Once done, add in 400 grams of flour – I used only all-purpose flour, but you can also use a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat. Mix and let sit for 20 minutes.
Use your hand to squirm the mixture for 5 minutes. If you aren’t sure what this looks like, take a look at the video below and go to 7:25.
Add in 11 grams of salt and squirm again until you can’t feel any salt grains.
Take your other bowl and add olive oil to the sides. Transfer the dough to the new bowl, cover with the clean dish towel for 45 minutes. Take this time to wash the original bowl.
Grab one side of the dough, stretch it up and fold it over. Repeat for all four sides. Cover with the towel again and let sit for another 45 minutes.
Put some extra flour onto the counter. Place dough onto counter, not in dough, and shape using a bench scraper, or in my case, a pie cutter/server. This part is tricky, so watch the video to see exactly how I do it. In a nut shell, I use the pie cutter in my dominant hand and use it to push up and tuck the dough under. My other hand is blocking the dough to help form it into a ball. Take the formed dough, place it onto the flour and let sit uncovered for 20 minutes.
Fold the dough again, this time in a pattern as shown below. Place the dough with the folded side up in a proofing bowl or a bowl lined with a towel that is coated in flour. Place more flour on top of the dough and cover with a plastic bag. Place into fridge for 12-14 hours.
Place cookware into oven with lid off, but also in the oven, and preheat oven to 500 F. After oven is preheat, take the dough and place it seam side down onto flour coated counter. Using a scoring knife, or in my case a fish filet knife (thanks, fisher fiancé), score the bread in your favourite design. Take the dish out of the oven, place the dough inside, put the lid on and place into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes with lid on, then another 20 minutes with the lid off.
After bread is done it should look golden brown with a hard crust. Let it cool for 1 hour on a cooling rack.
And that is it! Let me tell you, this will CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE. This bread is now a staple in our house, and is well worth the effort. I’m currently experimenting with another, potentially even more easy, sourdough recipe, so stay tuned for that!
If you have any questions about the steps, I have a full beginner’s guide to sourdough video here that shows me doing the whole process.