Sourdough Bread

The idea behind this sourdough starter is to bring bread back to its natural state. Where the microbes that have been processed out of our foods are returned via a natural fermentation process and unenriched, organic flours.

The thought is to use the best, least processed ingredients available. The recipes are generally standard bread recipes, so it’s not about extra steps, just good ingredients.

I went ahead and used the recipe from the Patrick Ryan video,   but used the overnight technique that I always use.  With this technique, it’s best to also use instant yeast because of the slow proofing method.

For serious breadmakers, watch his video, it is truly a master class in making a good loaf of bread.

Sourdough Bread

  • 800g  unenriched* unbleached white flour
  • 10g salt
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 460ml water
  • 320g sourdough starter

Add flour, salt and yeast and mix together. Add water and sourdough starter. Mix for 1 minute in mixer with bread hook. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Knead by hand or with mixer w/dough hook for 2 to 5 minutes.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to four days.

It makes two loaves. If you’d like to make loaves separately, you can divide into to equal pieces, cover and refrigerate separately.

To bake:

Two hours before baking, remove from the refrigerator. Shape into desired loaf, spray lightly with oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise until it’s increased 1 ½ times its original size.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and remove plastic from bread. Just before baking, score with three slices across the bread with a sharp knife. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and place in the hot oven.

Add a tray of ice to a baking sheet and place on the rack underneath the bread to create a steam bath for the bread.  This will give you a crispy, chewy crust.

Bake for 15 minutes, rotate pan and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.  For crisper crust, turn off the oven and leave the bread in an additional 5 minutes.

Remove to a breadboard and let cool for 45 minutes

*The purpose of unenriched flour is to find heritage /organic wheat that is unadulterated in any way to make a European style bread, It is thought this eases the digestive issues many people are having with wheat. Both LFern and I moved to this type of wheat flour in our breads and pastas with great results.

King Arthur, Hodgson and Bob’s Red Mill all make unenriched flours and you can often find local brands at farmer’s markets or natural stores.

They are not necessary for this recipe but wanted you to know that is the process I’ve been using lately.

I made two batches of bread (three loaves, 4 rolls). The first batch, I felt like the starter wasn’t warm enough and it had a difficult time proofing. The second batch, I warmed the water to 90 degrees F and the starter was at room temperature (80 degrees F that day). It started proofing immediately, so I thought I was safe.

My final assessment: This is a really good bread, but I will probably stick with straight yeast breads in the future. Using the starter mix requires extra planning and proofing is tricky – it’s a moist dough and takes time to manipulate properly to shape  – and I don’t make bread enough to want that extra effort.

But if you love bread and love to bake bread, this makes an excellent loaf.