I thought I posted about this bread before, but it has disappeared! It’s honestly too good to not share again, this time more in depth about my particular method, which is without anything super fancy and all items are reusable.
Here is my lovely, if a little messy, sourdough starter. She does not have a name, but has still been good to me. She was created in my own kitchen with just flour and water and has been with me for at least a year now. Last summer I officially was a sourdough nerd and wanted to learn as much as possible. I didn’t experiment as much as I should have, but will do more of that this coming summer when time allows.
This is my dough ready to be proofed overnight. I don’t feel right posting the recipe because I follow a recipe basically to the T, and it is not my own. The only things different are not using diastatic malt powder, adding seeds to the top, and no longer slashing the top. Also, I have been proofing this for quite a few hours longer than stated in the recipe, but perhaps that is needed when not using diastatic malt powder.
Most sourdough recipes will tell you to puff up a plastic bag to then place your dough into to keep it moist. I have found that beeswax wrap across the top of the pan works perfectly.
This time I had sesame seeds and roasted sunflower seeds. I have used millet in the past along with sesame seeds and both turned out great.
The bread proofed overnight in the refrigerator for approximately 12 hours. You can see it has risen and spread out in the pan. There are excellent signs of life here. There are good ways to tell if your dough is ready by doing a poke test with your finger. I find it helps to wet my finger first, poke into the dough and if the dough comes back slowly, it is ready to bake. There’s a quick video about this test here.
I also keep a spray bottle of water to spray the top of the dough when it is about ready to go into the oven. The instructions say to preheat oven for one hour, which seems wasteful, but I do it for probably 30 minutes.
So I spray the top of the dough, place the dough into the hot oven, and spray some more into the oven to create a steaming effect. I also spray the top of the dough about 10 minutes into the bake again to ensure maximum rise. If your crust gets baked too early on, it will prevent a beautiful oven spring.
My loaf after baking is very dark, some seeds got overbaked but I don’t really mind that. You want to ensure your loaf is baked through completely, so I follow through on baking times stated, even when it seems that the crust is really dark. The interior will pay off big time.
The first slice is always eagerly anticipated! It is important to wait at least an hour before slicing into your loaf. Baking magic is still working during this time.
I’m very pleased with this loaf. There is a good amount of oven spring (aka rise) and the air pockets are quite evenly spaced throughout.
I keep mine in a 100% cotton bag I made myself from some fabric I was gifted. It is a sturdier piece of fabric, and it keeps bread well. I also invested in an Opinel bread knife, because regular knives don’t cut well through thick sourdough crusts.
I also purchased a bread pan specifically for this bread as I do enjoy sandwiches, and they are much easier to make on sandwich bread rather than a round boule or even a batard. A bench knife has been super helpful for moving the dough around during final shaping. Other than those items, I just use a bowl for mixing and a digital scale for the exact weights of ingredients.
Here’s a list of tools I find necessary for home baking this loaf of sourdough:
- Digital / non-digital scale
- Large bowl for mixing
- Plate for covering bowl in between folding the dough during bulk fermentation
- Bench knife
- Silicone-lined bread pan
- Beeswax wrap
- Spray bottle of water
- Bread knife
- Weck jars for storing starter
I don’t normally link to products, but these are the exact ones I purchased when starting on this sourdough journey.
When I make boules there are different items that I use in addition to, or in place of the above listed items because the process is quite different.
- Flour sack towels for lining the bowls for proofing overnight
- Rice powder for sprinkling onto the towels (I still have some arrowroot flour and have been using that instead)
- Dutch oven to create the steam effect in a typical kitchen oven – I purchased mine at an estate sale for $10 and it is a beautiful beast with a lovely non-stick surface
- Safety razor blade attached to a coffee stir stick for scoring the tops of the boules
I’m still working on my scoring techniques, but they do taste delicious!
As far as actual ingredients, I use what I can find locally, and don’t get hung up on using the exact ratios of flour, as long as the final weight matches the recipe. I generally use white whole wheat from King Arthur Flour as well as bread flour from the same company. I purchased a paper bag of Einkorn and have been adding some of that to the last couple of loaves. I quite like it, but it’s not economical.
Finding a good recipe might seem daunting, and I totally get that. As stated earlier, I haven’t experimented too much, especially with add-ins and special flours due to my schedule. I have a few recommendations on where to start.
The Perfect Loaf from beginner recipes to master sourdough baker, you’ll find many recipes to suit your level and style.
Zero Waste Chef is always a winner for anything zero waste food related.
Sourdough by Sarah Owens is a book rather than a website. My sister bought this book and I have it on loan from her. It’s nice to have visuals and to be able to mark interesting recipes. The photography is beautiful and I do enjoy her thorough instructions.
I hope this helped anyone who is on a sourdough journey, or maybe inspired someone to start a sourdough journey!
Peace and love,