Once you have a happy bubbling starter living on your kitchen counter and once you get a taste of how much richer and more interesting it can make your baked goods, there is no turning back. After making sourdough brownies, sourdough bread had to be next. I have made quite a few sourdough bread recipes and I happen to like the flavored ones with additives like herbs and olives more than basic plain sourdough bread but my readers on facebook requested that I start with a basic sourdough bread recipe first so today we continue our sourdough adventure with this basic white bread.
Baking with a sourdough starter changes your whole bread making experience. It teaches you how to slow down and enjoy every step. Unlike commercial yeast, sourdough is patient and takes its time. Some recipes take days to make! Although that was the part that intimidated me the most about sourdough it turned out to be the one I enjoyed the most. In a life that is going at break neck speed, a lesson in slowing down is a valuable and enjoyable one.
Added to teaching you how to slow down, baking with sourdough has its own rituals.Feeling the dough transform under your hands from a sticky mess to a silky smooth ball of dough. Watching it rise, shaping it and watching it rise again. Carefully placing it in the oven and hoping for the best. Every time I bake a loaf of bread with sourdough I am excited and worried, will it rise well? will it crack? will the crumb be light and airy?will it be too sour or just right? I am glued next to the oven watching the dough transform into bread but it doesn’t end here. There is the long wait for it to cool. When it is time to cut into the bread I feel like a kid waiting for the results of an exam I studied so hard for. You did all you had to do and now is the time to see if it was good enough!
If you have never baked with sourdough because you were intimidated by the commitment or the time, I strongly urge you to give it a go. It is much easier than you think and oh so rewarding. Over the next week I will be posting a series of posts with sourdough recipes using both the fed starter and the discard. I hope you will feel inspired to come along on this sourdough adventure with me 🙂
I chose this recipe because it is easy and simple . The dough was easy enough to handle and it makes a good place to start if this is your first time baking sourdoug bread. The bread was chewy on the inside with a crisp crust. I had hoped for a crumb that was more open but the bread was light and tast none the less.
Basic sourdough white bread
Recipe source: Food.com
2 cups fed sourdough starter (100% hydration)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups white bread flour
The night before you plan on making the bread feed your starter.You need to have at least one cup of starter before feeding to ensure that you will have enough for the bread and some left over to maintain your starter(The system I use to feed my starter can be found here)
Allow the starter to double
When the starter starts to collapse, measure out the 2 cups required for recipe.
Pour starter into mixing bowl.
Melt butter .
Add milk to butter and warm briefly .
Add the salt and sugar, stir until dissolved.
Add this mixture to the culture and mix well.
Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring until the dough is too stiff to mix by hand.
Turn onto floured board and knead in the remaining flour until the dough is smooth and satiny.
Now you have a choice, you can either form the dough into a round loaf or placing it into a regular loaf pan. If you choose the pan, lightly grease it and place the dough in it and allow it to rise until it doubles in size.
If you choose to make a round loaf, form the dough into a ball then place the dough (seam side up) in a basket that has been generously sprinkled with flour, and let rise, covered, Until it doubles in size. (If you don’t have a basket place the dough ball seam side down on parchment paper and cover it with a with a moist towel)
Center your oven rack.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F for 15 minutes
5 minutes before placing the loaf into the oven place a pan on the bottom of the oven and pour 1 cup hot water in it
Line a baking sheet with parchment, then carefully invert the dough onto the sheet. I like to put the baking sheet on top of the basket, then gently flip it over so as to disturb the dough as little as possible.
Make 2-3 cuts on top of the loaf
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake an additional 30 to 40 minutes (baking time varies according to your oven and your personal taste–some like a darker crustier bread than others).
Remove loaf from oven and brush the top lightly with melted butter; turn loaf out of the pan and cool on wire rack.
- If you are new to sourdough bread there are a few sourdough dynamics that you need to keep in mind. The less-used your starter, the more liquid on top, the more sour it’s likely to be. I keep my starter on the kitchen countertop and feed it every day because my family likes a mild to moderate tang or sour taste.If your starter hasn’t been fed for weeks, it will yield a bread that rises slowly, and tastes quite tangy. On the other hand, a starter that’s fed regularly will yield a less-sour bread, one that will rise much more quickly.
- I did not brush it with butter while it was hot because I happen to like the hard crust.