Sourdough a go-go? Easy.

“Imagine a calm Scottish seascape, Grasshopper, and lose your anxiety …”

This is a quick guide for Bob to help him make a sourdough loaf using a proven method.

finished
the aim

My approach is time saving. There are spaces of time to enjoy as you follow the process.

Let’s do it

There are three steps:

  1. Prepare the dough (10 minutes)
  2. Work the dough (15 minutes)
  3. Bake the loaf (1 hour)

The other steps and stages are covered in the headings as you shall see.

Assumptions a go-go

At this stage I’m assuming you have a sourdough starter available and it has been at room temperature for a couple of hours. If you’re in a cold environment you can use  a warm area to let things develop.

Equipment

Your’e going to need the following equipment:

  • large mixing bowl
  • set of scales
  • mixing jug
  • working surface
  • measuring spoons
  • cling film
  • wooden spoon
  • pizza-stone or 2 lb bread tin
  • small baking tin
  • cooling rack

Ingredients

You’re going to need the following ingredients:

  • sourdough starter – 110 ml (3.7 fl oz)
  • water – 200 ml (6.8 fl oz)
  • strong flour white/brown – 400 gm (14.2 oz)
  • salt 1 tsp
  • sugar smidgin
  • elbow grease (10 min of kneading)

1. Prepare the dough

measure 200 gm of flour (wholemeal or white is up to you) – 50% of each works well
add to mixing bowl
measure
110 ml of starter and 200 ml of water and mix together

add fluid to flour in mixing bowl
mix well using a teaspoon – make sure flour and water well mixed
cover mixture with cling film
move to
warm place for approx 6 hours or even overnight 

==== 6 hours passes by ====

measure 200 gm of flour
add 1 tsp of salt
add a quarter teaspoon of sugar
mix dry until you’re happy the salt sugar and flour are well mixed

first 200.jpg
bubbled up

get mixing bowl – notice the mixture has bubbled and expanded
remove cling film – obvious, but what the hell …
add dry flour mix to the bowl and stir together using wooden spoon handle
rub flour on hands – you don’t need too much – stops dough sticking
work dough in bowl – until it comes together in a ball – contains most of the ingredients

2. Work dough

sprinkle flour on a smooth working surface
put dough ball on floured area
start kneading (for 10 minutes)

This is kneading: squish, stretch, fold, punch and so on, turn 90 degrees regularly. As you work it the dough will smooth and become putty-like, waxy.

If the dough feels sticky and clings to your fingers …

Sorudough before.jpg
before rise

sprinkle flour on the dough (repeat as absorbed)
rub more flour on your hands
work for 10 minutes until you have a smooth ball

If you want me to demonstrate, I’ll make a short video. The two pictures show the result of the rise. This is in a rattan basket (banneton) which is a slightly different technique before baking on a pizza-stone.

If you use a pizza stone:

lightly flour the middle
put dough on it

sourdough after.jpg
risen dough

cover with lightly oiled cling film
move to warm place to rise for 2 hours

If you use a 2 lb bread tin:

use nonstick tin liner or …
flour the inside of the tin. I lightly oil and lightly dust the insides with flour

Either way …

hand-roll dough (no rolling pin until roughly the same length as the tin
add dough to tin and press out to corners
cover with lightly oiled cling film
move to warm place to rise for 2 hours

3. Bake Loaf

note: oven will be heated from cold no pre-heating required. Take risen dough, on pizza-stone to work surface

remove cling film
slash surface with fine bladed sharp knife. With tin this can be up the length of the middle of the loaf. With pizza-stone this can be a cross or similar (as per photo). Slash deep, but with care. Don’t be hasty.
place in oven centre pizza-stone or bread tin
add 100 ml (3.4 fl oz) water to small baking tin. The water will turn into steam and help crisp the crust
place small tin on shelf below loaf
set temperature to 190 degrees C (375 F)
bake for 50 minutes
check colour is golden

finished
result

test loaf holding on thick towel
tap base
to check for hollow thumping sound
If you’re happy with the sound, pat yourself on the back and place loaf on a cooling rack. If you like a softer crust, wrap in a clean tea towel. Some say you shouldn’t but it and butter a slice until it’s cold … Me, I give it 10 minutes and butter a slice.

If there is interest I’ll make relevant videos or show you how to make a starter, use different techniques and so on. I have a soda bread blog on the stocks.

Like anything else, practise and thought will give you results you’ll like. Enjoy.

© Mac Logan