There is a lot of science behind making sourdough bread and I don’t know ANY of it. I’m interested but haven’t had time to learn the reason behind why you feed the starter or what to do if this or that happens. Unable to answer any questions…. I am one of over 40,000 members in the Facebook group “Sourdough Bread Baking” and there are major experts on that page and lots of resources in the files. I follow the recipe “Basic Sourdough by Lee Worsham” and love this bread. This is what I do and it works for me beautifully.
First, there are a few things you need. A scale is a MUST - this cannot be converted into cups, teaspoons, etc. This is the Bakers Math Kitchen Scale - KD8000 Scale by My Weight I bought on Amazon and it works great for me:
This Danish bread whisk and bowl scraper (both from Amazon) come in really handy when scraping the bowl and mixing the bread/feeding the starter. Both are must haves for me.
I have my starter in a glass container like this - it has a lose lid, not completely sealed. This half gallon one from Anchor Hocking on Amazon is just like it.
1) First thing you need to do is “feed” your starter. This means you add 1/2 cup flour (I use organic all-purpose for feeding) and 1/3 cup of filtered water and mix with the whisk. I cover (not sealed though) and put in the microwave - found that leaving it on the counter attracts pesky fruit flies. Leave for a few hours (I range from 3-6 hours) and it should be bubbly and “active". If you are wanting to make more than one loaf of bread feed it again and repeat. I keep my starter in the fridge and when I’m wanting to make more will take it out the night before and feed it and leave in the microwave. I’ll then either feed it again if I want to make two loaves or start to make the bread.
2) When you have sufficient starter (you need 200 grams, which is roughly 1/2 cup - also remember you need to leave some for future use, which I leave about a cup worth), you’re ready to start making bread! Mix in a glass or stainless bowl (no plastic):
500 grams of bread flour - right now I am doing 50% organic all-purpose and 50% organic einkorn, so 250 grams of each. Wanting to experiment with different grains and percentages
12 grams of salt (I use fine pink himalayan from Savory Spice)
Mix these two dry ingredients together and then add:
350 grams of filtered water (I use reverse osmosis water)
200 grams of “active” starter
Mix everything together with the handy Danish bread whisk (game changer when you previously used a regular whisk, such a mess).
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 8 hours.
3) The bread should have risen a good bit after 8 hours. Set oven to 450 degrees
4) While oven is pre-heating, oil a cast iron dutch oven and use the bread scraper to pour the dough inside. Let sit for 20 minutes and cut a line across the top with a knife. (example of not understanding the WHY behind sourdough baking - no clue why this is necessary….). I have a 2 3/4 quart Le Creuset dutch oven that I use and makes the dough a perfect size.
5) Put in the oven covered for 30 minutes and then another 15 minutes uncovered.
6) Remove from the oven and let it cool for about an hour before trying to remove from the dutch oven - your house should smell amazing!!!!
7) I’ve learned to let it cool COMPLETELY before trying to slice.
I typically make two loaves at a time and freeze one (pre-sliced)
8) I put the starter back in the fridge until next time!