Easy & Delicious Sourdough Bread

Although I’ve had my sourdough starter developed for awhile now, traditional sourdough bread always intimidated me. I would see videos of cooks on youtube or food network that were doing all these crazy folds every couple of hours. They would keep the dough at a warmer temperature and use special baskets & tools. I took a couple of months to attempt to make my own simplified version without compromising the delicious flavor.

There are a few key things you’ll need to make this sourdough bread. First & most importantly, a fed and active sourdough starter. I feed my starter about 4-8 hours in advance to making this bread so I know it is active. The second thing is a dutch oven, preferably cast iron. My dutch oven is cast iron with a ceramic enamel, it was $30 on amazon and I use it for so many things. It’s key for getting the delicious crust that sourdough bread is known for. You’ll also need a large mixing bowl, a clean dish cloth/tea towel, a razor blade/sharp knife and parchment paper. I highly recommend using a food scale(my ingredients are listed in grams, but if you don’t have one, feel free to do a quick google search to convert the grams into cup measurements), but you don’t have to!

You start by adding all the ingredients to a bowl, in no specific order. Then using your hand in a “claw” form(see above), mix the ingredients until they are combined. You will not be kneading the dough at all in this recipe. Simply combine it.

Once your ingredients are combined, your dough will not be a perfect ball. Instead it will look a bit lumpy and that’s perfect. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it set for 1-2 hours.

This folding method is important, you’ll do it 3 different times.

Once the dough has rested for an hour, you’ll take it out and set it on a clean countertop. Don’t use a floured surface, it’s okay if it sticks to the counter a little. Next you will fold the dough up into a smooth ball. Pretend it is a square with four sides, and stretch each side up and fold it over like in the above photo. This does not have to be perfect at all, just do your best. You’ll get better with practice. Place the dough ball with the seam side(folded side) down in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave it for 6 to 8 hours at room temperature(the longer you leave it to rest, the better the sour taste will develop!).

This is what my dough ball looks like after I do the folds the first time!

After the 6 to 8 hours are up, carefully pour/scrap the dough out of the bowl and onto a clean countertop. Don’t punch it down like you would to make a regular sandwich bread loaf. Instead we want to deflate the dough as LITTLE as possible. The reason being, we want to keep all those delicious bubbles that formed during the rise time. If yours deflates instantly that is OK. Don’t worry, it will still be delicious. Repeat the folding method we did the first time. Then let the dough ball sit on the countertop while you prepare the bowl. Place the clean dish cloth into the bowl, and dust it with flour generously. You do not want the dough to stick. Now, repeat the folding process one more time to the dough ball and place it with seam side down in the bowl lined with the dish cloth. Take the extra fabric and drape it over the dough, and refrigerate it over night, or for 8-12 hours.

Firmly hold the bowl and fabric in your hands, and flip it upside down onto parchment paper. GENTLY and slowly, peel back the dish cloth and lightly dust with flour.

Very carefully, cut a design or a few lines into the dough, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep using the razor blade.

Preheat your dutch oven in a hot oven. Pick up the dough by using the parchment paper, gently place the parchment paper & dough into the dutch oven. Bake for 25 minutes at 450 with the lid on. Then take the lid off and bake for 20-25 minutes more. It’s done!

There are a few more step to sourdough bread than there are in white sandwich bread. This recipe has been shortened and simplified but you still get the delicious texture & taste of traditional sourdough bread.

Easy & Delicious Sourdough Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 6 grams sea salt/pink Himalayan salt
  • 130 grams active sourdough starter
  • 248 grams room temperature water
  • 380 grams bread flour OR all purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Using your hand or a wooden spoon, combine the ingredients until a lumpy dough forms. Cover it with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 to 2 hours. Then take the dough out onto a clean counter top and stretch and fold all four sides, see the above photo for a better description. Put the dough back into the bowl, seam side down, and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit for 6 to 8 hours (the longer it sits the better the flavor).
  2. Once the 6 to 8 hours are up, take the dough out, making sure to deflate as little as possible. Repeat the stretching and folding process on all four sides and set aside on the countertop. In the same bowl, lay a clean dish cloth in it and dust generously with flour. Go back to the dough and repeat the stretching and folding process once more, and place the dough into the dish cloth lined bowl seam side down. Drape the edges of the dish cloth over the bowl and place into the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven and the dutch oven to 425 degrees. Take the dough out of the fridge and turn upside to release the dough onto a piece of parchment paper dusted with flour. Gently peel back the dish cloth and dust the dough with more flour. Using a razor blade, score the dough with a few lines 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Place the dough and the parchment paper into the preheated dutch oven gently. Bake in the 425 degree oven with the lid on for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until a golden crust has formed. Remove the dough from the dutch oven and cool on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

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