Easy Sourdough Artisanal Bread Recipe – Homemade
I have a new obsession. To be able to make some really kick ass bread. This started a few weeks ago after my girlfriend bought me a bread making class at the Brooklyn Kitchen last month. Although the class is more of a workshop where you watch the instructor, it’s still pretty in depth and goes into detail and explains the ‘science’ behind the bread making.
I know these days, it’s pretty trendy to make your own bread either through the No-Knead method or with a bread machine, but to make it the same proper way as hundreds of years in Europe, you can’t skip out on steps.
Simply, my mission is to make true artisanal sourdough bread by hand with the 4 essential ingredients: flour, starter, salt, and water.
Summary: Easy Sourdough bread recipe home made using a wild yeast starter. The only way to really make your own Sourdough bread at home.
- 7 cups of all purpose or bread flour (preferrably King Arthur Bread Flour)
- 2 cups of water
- 1 1/3 cup of starter*
- 2 tablespoons of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
- Sourdough Bread Making Equipment: Large Cast Iron Dutch Oven (Best) or Pizza Stone (Better), or large cookie sheet (Not great).
- 2 very large and deep mixing bowls, plastic wrap, baking parchment paper, measuring cups and measuring spoons.
- Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe: Starter*
The class instructor gave us some of his starter, but you can make your own simply by leaving out a bowl of flour and water for a few days in your house. The yeast that is naturally present in the air will catch on and you should have yourself a nice batch of starter. If not, I think you can also buy some at Whole Foods. If you are in the NY/Brooklyn area, contact me and we can arrange to meet and I can give you some of my starter.
- For a proper dough with deep Sourdough taste, plan 1.5 days in advance. Here’s the work plan to have bread ready by afternoon the next day.
- Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe Day 1: 5:30PM
- Form a mound of flour on a cleaned surface and using the bottom of your measuring cup, make an indentation on the top (volcano shape). Add the starter into the crater and carefully mix in the flour. When mixed, make another indentation into the top and slowy add a bit of the water. Mix the four in and repeat till all the water is incorporated. Hand knead for about 5 mins. The dough will be very sticky, and that’s ok. Flour the sides and cover with a towel and allow to rest for 20-30mins (autolyse).
- After autolyse, sprinkle the salt onto the surface of the table away from the dough. Knead by stretching the dough lengthwise, then folding, and then rotating the dough by 90 degrees. Repeat and with each stretch, take in a bit of the salt. Continue to knead for about 20 mins. The dough will be ready when you can take a thin layer of the dough and stretch a thin layer up and it doesn’t instantly form holes. (I still haven’t fully mastered this step but I heard it’s impossible to over knead bread by hand). If you happen to have a Kitchenaid mixer, knead for about 10 mins.
- Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe Fermentation / First Rise
- Take the dough, form a ball and place it in a floured bowl. Sprinkle some water on top and cover with plastic wrap. Be sure the bowl is deep enough to allow for expansion of the dough. If not, puff up a plastic bag and tie a knot to ensure a tight fit
- Allow to ferment for about 3-4 hours (till around 10PM). Times will vary according to the temperature. Ideally you want a room temp around 71F.
- Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe Day 1 : 10pm
- Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe Proofing / 2nd Rise
- Do the poke test – poke the dough and if it is easy to poke and takes a while for the dough to spring back, fermentation is complete. Drop the dough onto a table surface. Take a sharp cleaver and cut the dough down the center (don’t use your hands to cut the dough). Take one of the 2 pieces and carefully flatten out with your hands to move the air out of the piece. Fold over then flatten. Repeat 3-4 times. This is a technique called punching and folding which helps redistribute flour to yeast. You don’t want to rip or shred your dough, so it’s more of a fold and flatten than a knead. If your dough doesn’t seem to be very lively and just didn’t rise very quickly, you can cheat and add a little flour and a little bit of the yeast starter – it’s a tough call. My friend Anthony actually adds active dry yeast to give it a boost but I’m kind of purist and don’t like introducing other types of yeast which might interfere with the overall flavor of the bread. You can also add walnuts, pecans etc at the point. Next, shape your dough.
- Here’s an awesome video on how to shape a boule. You have to love the dude’s accent and the Godfather themed music:
- After you shape your dough, place it on a sheet of baking parchment, then inside of a bowl. Sprinkle the top of the bread with a bit of water then seal with plastic wrap till air tight (very important). Then place into the refrigerator for 8-12 hours but not more than 24 hours. If you can’t wait, you can let the dough rise a 3rd time for 6 hours and skip the refrigeration step and bake immediately. Keep in mind the overnight rest gives the bread the distinctive Sourdough flavor.
- Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe Day 2: 10AM
- Remove dough from refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle water above the dough. Replace the plastic wrap loosely – not air tight. Allow it to come to room temperature and rise for a third time. The third rise is approx 6 hours at 60F but it will vary with the room temperature and amount of remaining flour in the mix. You can speed this up by placing the dough inside of the oven heated to a warmer temperature, or if it’s a nice sunny day, place the dough near the window (the plastic wrap traps in the heat).
- Dutch Oven Method – I am now a firm believer in baking bread with a cast iron Dutch oven. It keeps the heat and the moisture resulting in a great rise and crispy amazing crust. I’ve had minimal success using pizza stones and misting water into the oven. Maybe because I have a convection oven, and it just blows the steam out I’m not quite sure but go with the dutch oven method and you can’t fail.
- Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe Day 2: 4:00PM (Dutch Oven Method)
- Do a poke test on the dough and if it takes a while for the dough to spring back then the 3rd rise is nearly complete. If the poke test looks good, put your Dutch oven with lid in the oven (on top of a pizza stone is even better to retain more heat), and preheat to 500F.
- Easy Sourdough Bread Recipe Day (Dutch Oven Method)You have to work quickly here to avoid loss of heat so read and prepare before doing this step. Take the Dutch oven out of the oven and remove the lid. Sprinkle water over the dough, then take a sharp knife and quickly cut a cross across the top of the dough about 1/4 inch deep. Then lift the dough by the baking parchment and drop into the Dutch oven and close the lid. Return the Dutch oven into the oven and bake at 475F for 35 mins. After 35 mins, the internal temperature of the bread should be near 190F. Remove and place on a cooling rack. After 20-30mins, enjoy your awesome Sourdough bread! Repeat the step with your other Sourdough bread dough.
- I’ll be posting more photos over the next few months as I get the hang of this. Two great books to read are Emily Buehler’s Bread Science and Peter Rinehart’s Baker’s Apprentice.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Cooking time: 24 hour(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Culinary tradition: French
September 8, 2011:
Sourdough Bread Yeast Care Notes
A few notes on caring for your new friend, the Yeast Starter. First give it a great home: I like to use a hermetic storage glass jar with the rubber seal removed. These jars are great because when closed (with the rubber ring removed) it’s almost sealed to prevent contamination but the little gap allows a bit of air exchange for the yeast to grow.
I’d use a 750ml or if you plan on baking a lot of bread, a 1 liter sized bottle.
Feeding Your Sourdough Yeast
I think my teacher of the class (owner of the starter) said to feed it once a week if you leave it in the fridge or up to 3 times a day if you leave it out at room temperatures. To make it easy I just feed it every Weds and Sunday. With each feeding, I first add all purpose unbleached flour (about 1/4 cup) and then stir with a fork. If it’s too thick, I add filtered Brita water. Some say you should add equal amounts but often times after leaving it in the fridge for a few days, it separates and you get a lot of water (normal). After feeding, I leave it out at room temp for a few hours to let the bacteria and yeast multiply before returning to the fridge.
Too Much Sourdough Yeast Starter? Make Sourdough Pancakes!!
If you find yourself with a ton of starter after continuous feedings, you can either dump it out or better yet, make some sourdough pancakes! Simply mix one cup of starter, an egg, a teaspoon of salt, and ¼ cup of milk for the batter.
Going on Vacation? Long Term Storage for Sourdough Bread Yeast Starter
If you are going away for an extended period of time and can’t find anyone to care for your yeast while you are away, I heard you can freeze a portion for a few weeks. When you return, leave it at room temp to defrost and slowly feed it several times every 3 hours over one day to nurse it back to life. I haven’t tried this yet but read about it in Emily Buehler’s Bread Science book. Let me know if this works for you.