Freshly baked bread is the best, am I right? But imagine making your own sourdough bread… The smell, that rich taste, the crackling crust, oh my. I’m getting hungry writing this! Luckily for us it’s not even that hard to make your own sourdough bread, so let’s get started.
Baking bread is something Ron and I like – love! – to do. After our first bread machine broke down, my parents very generously gave us a second one that we’ve had for about two years now. And even though having a bread machine is very convenient, there’s something about making your bread from scratch, kneading the dough, and watch it rise in a bowl rather than in a machine, that makes it really special. Bread just tastes so much better if you’ve put effort in making it! Making your own sourdough bread with your own starter is even more rewarding, as it takes about seven to nine days to make it. The whole process, at least for me, is what makes it special. The only thing you absolutely need? Time. I guess that’s why people turned to baking their own bread during lockdown.
If you don’t have a sourdough starter yet, click here for a sourdough starter recipe. You’ll only need two ingredients, I’m not kidding! You can also buy sourdough starters online, but I find it more rewarding to make it myself. In this recipe I also use home made dandelion honey, but if you don’t have that, feel free to use other honey alternatives.
For this recipe you won’t need a fancy Dutch oven; just add a baking tin filled with some water to your oven to create steam. There’s a whole science behind this, but basically the steam prevents the crust from forming too soon. Having a crust too soon in the baking process will limit the sourdough bread, meaning it won’t be able to rise to its full potential. You might even end up with a “frisbee”-like bread that’s still a bit moist on the inside (my very first sourdough bread looked like that. Slightly disappointing!).
- 500 g white bread flour
- 300 g sourdough starter
- 275 ml warm water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp dandelion honey
- Prepare a well-oiled bowl.
- Mix all the ingredients in a second bowl. Knead for approx. 10 minutes, until the dough is stretchy.
- Place the dough in the well-oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise for 3 hours.
- After 3 hours, gently knead your bread to knock out the air bubbles.
- Leave to rise until the dough has doubled in size. This can take up to two hours but don’t leave it for any longer than that.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper and dust with some flour. Preheat the oven to 220 C.
- Fold your dough into a smooth ball, pulling the sides underneath it. Place on the baking tray with the seam side down.
- With a sharp knife, slash the dough to create a pattern. I usually put a cross in the middle. Dust with a bit of flour to create that typical sourdough look.
- For this recipe you won’t need a Dutch oven. Instead, place a baking tin with some water at the bottom of your oven, just underneath your baking tray with your bread.
- Place the baking tray in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the baking tin with water.
- Bake for another 20 minutes. Leave to cool on a cooling rack.
- Serving suggestion: toast a slice and put some butter and jam on it. De-li-cious!