Be Patient, All Good Things Comes To Those Who Wait
So you’re ready to embark on your sourdough baking journey. Well I applaud you for rising to the challenge…lol
To get the perfect sourdough, taste, texture, rise and that crusty crust, takes time and patience, which not many people will have, just for bread.
Spending 7 – 30 days just making the starter from scratch and looking after the sourdough starter, requires a lot of effort and a whole lot of passion for the stuff…lol.
Then you got to add the time it takes to make that perfect sourdough loaf… Another couple of days…
It can all be very overwhelming, but the result, a beautiful loaf of sourdough bread with a golden, crispy crust, coating that fluffy, airy, chewy centre.
The smell of a slight tang of sourness, makes your mouth water with what’s to come with every savouring bite…. Ahhhh to be the proud baker of that gorgeous loaf?🙌
One Bake, Taste and You’re Hooked!
So What’s The Deal About Sourdough Bread?
Well, Sourdough bread, unlike most bread, made with bakers yeast, is made by the fermentation of the dough, using naturally occurring bacteria in the air, together with wild yeast to rise.
Sourdough bread has a mildly sour taste not found in most breads and often referred to as a healthier bread due to the lactic acid produced by the natural good bacteria (lactobacilli).
Sourdough Bread Is Healthier, Why?
Because of the probiotic microorganism that are produced during the fermentation process.
These probiotic microorganism lives in the sourdough starter and is what helps the dough rise, and when consumed, it increases our digestive systems gut flora and gives our gut a boost of good probiotics to help us absorb the nutrients in the food we eat.
The bacteria, (also known as lactoacilli), found in sourdough bread also breaks down phytate, (a anti nutrients that reduces your body’s ability to absorb nutrients), making it even easier for mineral absorption, thus, why sourdough bread is more nutritious than the more common bread.
And because of the lower phytate level, Sourdough bread is easier to digest than that, made with bakers yeast.
Sourdough bread contains lower amounts of gluten and its prebiotic and probiotic like properties may help improve digestion.
Studies have also shown that the lactic acid bacteria in sourdough have the ability to release more antioxidant as well as folate and certain nutrients such as vitamin E during fermentation process.
So if you are going to eat bread, pick a sourdough!
Lets Bake Sourdough Bread
If you’re looking for a really simple, easy, no fuss, sourdough recipe, then unfortunately, you’ve come to the wrong place.
I know I said no knead, and this is correct, however, this is not a quick mix and pop it in the oven kind of sourdough recipe.
Quality artisan sourdough bread, in my opinion, does not take a lot of technical skill. However does require a lot of time (like 3 days or more…) and patience.
I’ve researched and tried a few techniques to find a recipe that will give me a beautiful sourdough with minimum effort and my finding…, there is no short cut to a beautiful, quality, artisan, sourdough.
Sourdough Bread Is Flavoured, Textured And Rise By The Natural Fermentation Process From The Wild Yeast And There Is No Rushing Time However You Try.
Back in the old days and I’m talking nearly 6,000 years ago, sourdough bread is sometimes left for days before baking, in order to give the bread time to rise and achieve that distinctive flavour and chewy texture until bakers yeast and other additives was introduced later. So sadly, if you want to bake a true sourdough loaf without all the additive and fancy equipment, you will have to put in the hard yard…
But don’t be dishearten! Like the sourdough starter process, once you get the hang of it, making artisan sourdough bread is really simple. Takes time but simple.
Below is my recipe for a no knead sourdough bread.
No It Does Not Require A Mixer Nor Any Kneading
I’ve used this recipe many times and I’ve found, although it does take 3 days to make, it’s the least complicated and always gives me a good result.
Note: You can reduce the wait time and move to the next step when the levain and the dough has risen. You can do it all in the one day so long as the temperature is not too cold or hot, however I find spreading the work over 3 days makes it easier to manage the time as well as giving the dough more time to rest and grow, producing a fluffier and robust flavouring loaf.
Shall We Begin!
First you need to make a levain, which is your natural sourdough yeast.
I normally make the levain in the evening so it’s ready to use the next morning.
- 2 tbsp or 50g of fresh active sourdough starter*
- 200g of filtered water (room temperature)
- 100g of organic unbleached bread flour
- 100g of organic wholemeal flour
To make the levain, mix all the levain ingredients together and let it sit overnight or until doubled in size. No need to place in fridge.
To test if levain is ready to use, place a small dollop in a bowl of water and if it floats, its active and ready to use.
* Active Sourdough Starter.
The fermentation stage of your starter will effect your breads taste and rise level.
It is best to use a starter when it’s at it’s doubled in size stage, normally 6-8 hrs after a feed, this is when it’s most active. Starters will gradually fall back and deflates after this stage and may result in a slower rise and milder taste in your dough. I always try to make the levain with a starter just after 8hrs feed, so it’s at its optimum.
- Rested levain
- 900g of organic unbleached bread flour
- 100g of organic wholemeal flour
- 700ml filtered water (room temperature) + 50ml
- 2 tsp sea salt
In a large bowl, loosen the levain by mixing it with 300 ml of water.
Then add both sifted flour and the remainder 400ml of water and mix with hands or a spoon till fully incorporated. You will have a sticky dough.
Cover with a tea towel and let it rest for 30 min
In a small bowl mix sea salt and 50ml of water till incorporated and salt has dissolved.
After dough have rested for 30 min add the salt mixture and knead by hand or with a spoon until fully incorporated. Dough will be slimy and look like it’s not incorporating but keep mixing until water have been incorporated and dough is sticky again. Cover with a tea towel and let it sit in a draught free place for 1 hr.
After 1 hr, uncover dough and commence fold action.
Tip: Wet hands slightly to stop dough from sticking to your hands.
Fold by pulling one end of the dough up and fold it into the middle.
Turn the bowl 35 degree and repeat fold.
Repeat until you have completed roughly 5-6 folds.
You will find after the 5th fold, there won’t be much give in the dough to repeat more fold, this is a good sign.
Cover dough tightly with a plastic bag and let it rest for 30 min
After 30 min repeat the folding steps, cover with plastic bag and let it rest for another 30 min.
Repeat the above step for another 4 times until you’ve completed this step 6 times in total.
That’s totalling 3 hrs of resting time.
Dough will start to feel smooth, glutenous and not as sticky with every fold.
Then on a lightly floured surface, tip the dough out and with a floured pastry cutter, cut the dough into even halves.
With the pastry cutter shape the dough into a ball and cover both dough with a bowl to rest for another 1 hr. Dough will be very glutenous and sticky so use flour and scrapper for easy handling.
After the 1 hr, fold the dough again. This time you only fold 4 times. One on top, one on the each side and lastly the bottom.
With the pastry cutter, gently turn the folded dough over and with your hands, gently pick it up and pull the top surface of the dough towards its base, creating a tight ball.
Then put the dough, top facing down, into a floured banneton.
If you don’t have a banneton, you can place dough on a heavily floured tea towel, in a large bowl or something large enough to hold your dough.
When I say heavily, I mean heavily, or you will find the dough will stick to the tea towel and tear during transfer to pot.
Cover with a plastic bag and let dough rest in the fridge overnight.
Dough can be rested in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days so no rush to bake it next day.
I often plan the baking on days I know I will be eating bread, as nothing beats a freshly baked one.
Note: the longer the resting, the stronger the sour flavour.
There are a few methods to cooking sourdough bread. I prefer using the dutch oven to cook my bread. I find the dutch oven creates a gentle and consistent steam that help the bread to rise and also leaves a more moist and chewier texture in the bread.
Be sure to throw in a handful of ice cubes in the oven if you are not baking with a dutch oven. This will emit steam and help with rise of your bread.
You can cook your sourdough on a pizza stone, this will give you a darker, harder and dryer crust. Which some may prefer.
Both works well, it just depends on your preference with texture.
I also found a oven proof pot works just as good 😉.
When you are ready to bake, take dough out of refrigerator and let dough come to room temperature, roughly 30 mins.
Preheat oven to 240C or 465F
Warm your dutch oven or a large pot in preheated oven for 10 min
Take dutch oven or pot out of oven and sprinkle some semolina to help stop the dough from sticking.
If your dough is wrapped in a floured tea towel, unfold the tea towel and carefully tip dough into pot.
Careful not to burn yourself as pot will be very hot.
I like to use a wooden spoon and gently tap around the side to give the dough a final shape and to recenter the dough, so it’s sitting nice and snug in the middle of pot.
Score your dough with a sharp knife. There’s plenty of fancy pattern to decorate your sourdough, but I just cut a line in the middle to start.
Cover pot with lid and place in oven to bake for 20 min
Once 20 mins is up, turn the heat down to 220C or 428F, remove lid and let the sourdough brown for another 20 min.
When sourdough is ready, give it a light tap on the bottom. If it sounds hollow, it is ready to be taken out.
Take sourdough out of the pot and let it cool completely on a cooling rack.
Let your sourdough bread cool completely before cutting. As tempting as it is to cut into hot freshly baked bread.
By letting the hot sourdough cool, lets the steam to emit slowly, leaving you with a firm, yet moist and airy loaf. When steam is emitted too fast, it may leave you with a dryer sourdough or worst a doughy, sticky texture due to the high steam level.
I’ve read, letting the sourdough cool completely also helps enhances the flavour, so resist the urge to cut into it. You’ve waited this long, another hr or 2 hrs is not going to hurt…lol
In saying that, again, if it’s for your own indulgence, you can play around with the waiting time. Like I said earlier, all the steps can be completed in the one day. No sourdough is the same and there’s not really a right or wrong way. The result will be slightly different but delicious either way.
Happiness Is The Smell Of Fresh Baked Bread
So there you have it, my no knead sourdough recipe. I hope you find this super helpful and give this recipe a go.
Please comment below if you did, I’d love to hear how you went ❤
Seriously, as much as it sounds like a lot of work, it’s really not. Often I just mix/fold, and do little bits and pieces, like hanging the washing, checking emails or editing photos while I wait in between resting, so it’s not really that much of an inconvenience.
Sure I can go out and buy a beautiful loaf of sourdough bread, but then where can I get a lentil, quinoa, mustard & flax seed loaf for under $2?…
So channel your inner baker and get baking some healthy, tasty, sourdough goodness.
Oh, you can freeze the sourdough for up to 3-4 months.
Slice your bread prior, for when you just want a slice or 2 😉.