5 hours for a proper Sourdough? No problem...
Do you really have 16 hours spare to make a loaf of bread? OK, it is a Sourdough, the unique flavour, crunchy crust and bubbly texture holes which hold so much butter, but 16 hours is a long time (even in lockdown).
We decided we needed a faster version. A Sourdough you could start making after lunch to go with your dinner the same day, not the next day. A Sourdough for the impulsive, for those who fancy it now, not tomorrow. Fancy Sourdough toast with your breakfast and its 7pm? No problem! And ok, a Sourdough for those who just aren’t organised enough to plan their meals a day in advance.
A Sourdough you can take from kneading to eating in just under 5 hours.
Sourdough Bread has always been popular, in fact it can trace its origins to Ancient Egypt. Before the development of commercial yeasts, effectively all leavened bread was a sourdough of some form. Now, sourdough is seen as an artisan bread, hugely popular and in demand. Our new lockdown lives means it’s become a real staple item for many people as dried yeast is a rare commodity.
There are distinct advantages to Sourdough as a loaf too. It’s lower GI index, natural fermentation and being made only from natural ingredients means its easier to digest and avoids the blood sugar spikes commonly found with commercial yeast-based bread.
There are loads of Sourdough Starter recipes, so we assume you already have that done and keep it bubbling away in your kitchen for this. As with all our recipes this is amazingly adaptable. You can add seeds, divide the dough into two small loaves or 6 – 8 rolls, add herbs. The list is endless. Experiment and play around.
300g Sourdough Starter
450g Strong White Bread Flour (or 50 / 50 mix bread and white plain flour)
250ml Tepid Water
1 x tsp salt
1 x tsp dark brown sugar (you can sub any sugar in, but dark brown is best)
1. Place the sugar and salt in the bottom of the mixing bowl and add approx. 100ml of the water. Stir to dissolve.
2. Add the flour on top and then the Sourdough Starter on top of that with a further 100ml of the water.
3. Mix together either using a food processer with the dough hook attachment, or with floured hands if you are going old-school, adding more of the water if required until you get a sticky dough. The key is that it should take up mix from the sides of the bowl.
4. Knead in your machine for 5 mins at medium speed, or 10 mins by hand until you get a smooth slightly sticky dough.
5. Smear a bowl with vegetable oil and place the dough inside, cover with clingfilm and leave somewhere warm for approx. 2 hours or until doubled in size.
6. Once the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a floured board and knead 5 – 6 times.
7. Flour and tea towel liberally and place in a large bowl, then flour the top of the dough and drop it upside down into the bowl on top of the cloth. If you want to have a seedy topped loaf, add the seeds to the dough now. Flouring the cloth is really important to stop the dough sticking to it.
8. Cover with another cloth and leave in a warm place for 2 hours, until risen.
9. Then pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees fan, with the shelves in the middle and a large tray of cold water in the base of the oven to create steam – this will give you that lovely crust.
10. Gather the 4 corners of the tea towel and lift the dough out of the bowl. Turn the dough onto a baking sheet so it back the right way up.
11. With a sharp thin bladed knife (a ham knife or even a new Stanley blade are great for this) make 3 diagonal slashes in the top of the loaf.
12. Bake in the oven for 40 – 45 mins until deep brown and risen. When removed, turn it over and tap the bottom – you want a hollow sound to show its cooked.
Want a Sourdough for Breakfast? Simply take to step 8 but put the bowl in the fridge. This will mean it rises much slower overnight. Take out just before you preheat your oven.