How to make sourdough bread
How to make sourdough bread

How to make sourdough bread

Fermented using wild yeast in the air, sourdough bread takes more time and effort to make than commercial yeast-based bread. But as anyone who's tried the finished product will tell you, it's well worth it.

Before you even get around to making the dough, you'll need to prepare and feed the sourdough starter, which can take several days. Sourdough breadmaking is not for the busy or impatient!

You will need
  • 800g to 900g white bread flour
  • 540ml to 640ml spring water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking oil or spray

1. Making the starter
  • 100g bread flour
  • 100ml spring water

Stir the flour and water together in a bowl to form a sticky paste. Cover the bowl with a moist tea towel and leave at room temperature for 2 to 4 days, dampening the towel when needed.

When enough time has elapsed, the mixture should bubble slightly and have a milky aroma. Do not proceed if you spot the presence of mould or any unpleasant smells.

2. Feeding the starter
  • 200g to 300g bread flour
  • 200ml to 300ml spring water

Add 100g flour and 100ml water to the existing mixture, stirring and covering as before for 24 hours. The next day, discard half of the mixture and add the same amount of flour and water again. Stir, cover and leave for 12 hours.

By this time, the mixture should appear active and bubbling. If you are not satisfied with its progress, add a final 100g flour and 100ml water and leave for another 6 hours.

3. Making the dough
  • 500g bread flour
  • 240ml spring water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking oil or spray

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl, leaving an empty space in the centre. In another bowl, combine 200g of your starter with the spring water, then add this mixture to the bowl with the flour and salt. Work the contents together until they form a dough, adding more flour or water if needed.

Lay the dough on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Grease the bowl using oil or spray, place the dough inside and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave the dough in a warm environment for 3 to 8 hours, as long as it takes to double in size.

Compress the dough back to its original size and shape it into a ball, then transfer to a container lined with a floured tea towel. Cover the container with a damp tea towel and wait for it to double in size again, which can be between 2 and 6 hours.

4. Baking the loaf
Transfer the risen dough to a greased baking tray and make a cut across the top to allow steam to vent. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes or as long as it takes for the loaf to sound hollow when tapped.

Allow the loaf to cool on a wire rack. Your sourdough bread should stay fresh for up to 5 days, and the leftover starter can be refrigerated and reused, making sure to feed it regularly.

Freshly baked bread in Gungahlin
Visit Bakers Delight at The Marketplace Gungahlin for traditional, gourmet, sourdough and low GI breads baked daily.