Who doesn’t love bread? I know I do! For a bread lover, there is something extra special about a loaf of Sour Dough!
There’s something really special about Sour Dough bread in particular. It’s partly the look of a that rustic brown crusty loaf. Partly the distinct flavour. Partly it’s the very idea of making something so wonderful out of just three of the humblest ingredients around.
Sour Dough bread is, afterall, simply flour, water and a bit of salt….with the addition of the most important ingredients of all: love and time.
A process, but worth it!
This month is the third time I’ve attempted Sour Dough beginning with making my own starter. After two failed attempts, I finally found a recipe that specified using only glass or plastic containers – bah! I had used a metal bowl in both previous goes!
Once I was using the right vessel – making starter was actually a breeze! (The mason jar I use has the advantage of accommodating a cloth with rubberband top when I’m growing the starter on the counter as well as having a nice lid for when I’m storing the starter in the fridge).
I used the instructions provided in wonderful detail at The Kitchn blog. Basically I mixed 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp of all purpose flour with 1/2 cup of water. Then I covered with a cloth and left on the counter for a day. I then fed the starter with the same ratio of flour and water each day, dumping half of the existing starter before adding the new.
Ultimately I discovered that the extra 2 tbsp was superfluous. I made the process easier by just using 3/4 cup flour to 1/2 cup water (and I’m not even too exact about that).
Sour Dough rhythm
After five days I had a really healthy live starter to begin the process of making bread.
Making the bread is a two day process. I feed the starter Day 1 morning, mix up the dough Day 1 evening then rest the dough overnight. I can then bake sometime on Day 2. The process I’ve settled on definitely less finicky than some of the recipes I’ve read. I’m grateful for the advice of a good friend who had done a ton of research and trial and error in developing her Sour Dough routine.
The recipe here is a manageable routine that flows nicely with my day. It allows me to bake bread everyday and results in a delicious, crusty and airy Sour Dough loaf. If you’re in a hurry, and can’t wait for your starter, you can try my easy No Knead Rustic Loaf which uses yeast.
I realize it sounds ludicrous to be baking these everyday! But with a family of five, a fairly consistent stream of family and friends dining with us on weekends and the sheer addictiveness of this Sour Dough, it’s really not!
I also really enjoy making this Sour Dough bread. I’m finding it to be uniquely satisfying and lovely bit of mindfulness in my (nearly) everyday.
I hope it brings some happiness and satisfaction to you too!
Enjoy the process!
Make your Sour Dough starter
In a large glass jar, combine 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour with 1/2 cup water.
Cover with a cloth and seal the top with an elastic band. Let sit on counter.
Feed every 24 hours – dumping half the existing starter and adding 3/4 All Purpose Flour and 1/2 cup water.
After 5-7 days you will have a strong starter, as evidenced by bubbles on the surface, ready to bake with.
If your starter develops a liquid on top, it’s feeling hungry. Feed every 12 hours for 1-2 days and then revert to the regular feeding schedule.
You can hibernate your starter in the fridge. You’ll need to feed once per week, leaving on counter for 24 hours before returning to the fridge.
No Fuss Sour Dough Bread
- 3/4 CUP SOUR DOUGH STARTER
- 1 1/4 CUPS WATER
- 2 TSP SALT
- 3 1/2 CUPS FLOUR I use 2 1/2 cups AP and 1 cup whole wheat
- Add 1 1/4 cups water to a large bowl. Add 3/4 cup starter (if it floats you know it’s a good healthy starter!) and mix thoroughly.
- Add the flour and salt to the water and starter stirring with a spoon as you go.
- Once all flour is incorporated, use hands to gently bring dough together so that very little flour is visible on the outside. Dough should be fairly dry.
- Cover with a tea towel and leave at room temperature for 12+ hours.
- Place Dutch oven (or any other deep baking dish with lid) into oven and preheat to 450.
- Meanwhile, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice until smooth. Gently shape into a ball leaving seam side down.
- Remove dish from oven and pick up dough round and drop into baking dish. Using a serrated knife, carefully make a shallow slice down the top of the dough.
- Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove lid and bake for 10-15 additional minutes until brown.
- Remove bread from baking dish, cool on a rack and then do your best not to gobble up the whole loaf!