SOURDOUGH BREAD - BASIC RECIPE

Preparation time: 3 days

Difficulty: complex

Makes 2 loaves


Ingredients:

Leaven

  • 75 g bread flour

  • 75 ml water

  • 1 tbs sourdough starter


Mix the ingredients in a bowl with a spoon, cover the bowl and leave it to mature overnight (at least 12 hours).


Dough

  • 700 g bread flour

  • 450 ml water

  • leaven

  • 2 tsp salt



Add water to the bowl with the leaven and mix. Add the flour to a large bowl for kneading and pour the water/leaven mixture over the flour. Knead, cover with a clean cloth and leave it to rest for one hour.


This process is called autolyze. Enzymes that are naturally present in the flour, start to break down the starches into simple sugars which helps with gluten formation. This makes the dough more extensible, it also shortens the time of kneading and makes the bread more flavorful*.


Some people do the process of autolyzing without leaven, while some do it with the leaven. I use the latter.


After an hour, add salt and knead the salt into the dough. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it to rest for half an hour.


The next step is called slap and fold. Place the dough onto a clean surface. When baking sourdough bread, avoid adding extra flour. Grab the dough with both hands from the side, lift it and slap it against the surface while also slightly folding it. Moisten your hands with water if the dough sticks to them. Repeat the movements until the dough becomes smooth and compact and doesn't stick to the surface anymore. With the slap and fold technique, you let the air get into the dough, the good bacteria are evenly distributed, and gluten comes alive making the dough smooth and stretchy.



Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a cloth and leave it to rest for half an hour.


Then start with the technique called stretch and fold. Grab the dough with your fingers at the edge of the bowl, pull it up and fold it over the rest of the dough. Repeat this until you get to the starting point. Leave the dough to rest for half an hour. Repeat this procedure three times in half-hour intervals.


After the last stretch and fold, cover the bowl with foil and leave it in a fridge for 24 hours. We call this procedure cold fermentation because, due to lower temperatures, bacteria reproduce more slowly, leading to the development of more complex flavors. The first fermentation is also called bulk fermentation.


The next day, you will see the dough has risen and developed bubbles. Place the dough onto a clear surface and split it in