By Rose Fooks
Making sourdough bread is a true labour of love, but it’s well worth the effort in order to create the ultimate artisan bread at home.
Once you get to grips with it you’ll be off on sourdough adventures around the world of bakery. But we like to start simple with a nice big loaf of bread.
You will need our sourdough starter recipe to begin your journey or find a friend who will share their starter with you.
There are a few bits to get that will make making sourdough easier. Some you may need to buy new, but most are relatively inexpensive. If you want to totally kit yourself out, look for a proving basket, dough scraper, and cutting blades.
The others you might be able to cobble together from bits around your house.
Baking sourdough in a large casserole dish or a dutch oven will help it to rise and gives the bread a crunchier crust (perfect when covered in butter and jam). We had many flat failed attempts before switching to cooking ours using this method.
If you're looking for something to dip your bread into then look no further than our delicious soup recipes.
- 200g sourdough starter (try our sourdough starter - link in intro)
- 500g strong white bread our, plus extra for dusting
- 10g fine sea salt
You will need
- round 25cm (1kg) banneton proving basket, very liberally dusted with our; Dutch oven or large cast-iron casserole dish
- In a large bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer, mix the sourdough starter with 300ml water. Add the strong white bread flour and combine. Knead the dough for approximately 10 mins if using a dough hook attachment on a mixer, or 15 mins by hand, until it is smooth and elastic. Add the salt and mix until combined.
- Scrape the dough into a clean bowl using a dough scraper and cover with a damp tea towel. Set aside for 4 hrs. At each hour mark, remove the tea towel to do a ‘fold’. To do this, wet one of your hands. Ease your wet finger under the dough and, gripping half the dough, stretch it up and over onto itself. Rotate the bowl 120 degrees and repeat twice. Replace the tea towel.
- By the fourth hour you will have done three ‘folds’ to the bread. At the fourth hour do the final fold, then scrape the dough onto a floured worktop. Shape it into a round and place in a floured proving basket with the seam facing up. Cover with the damp tea towel. Prove for 2 hrs 30 mins to 3 hrs at room temperature.
- Heat the oven with the casserole dish inside to 240C/Gas 9. Once it has reached temperature, tip the proved dough out of the basket (now seam down) onto a large sheet of baking paper. Use a sharp knife or blade to make cuts in the top. You can either do a simple single line or a pattern.
- Use corners of the paper to lift the bread and put it into the hot casserole dish. Carefully put the hot lid on, place in the oven’s middle shelf and bake for 35 mins. Remove the lid and bake for a further 10-15 mins, or until golden brown.
Top Tip for making Sourdough Bread
Using a large casserole dish will help it to rise and gives the bread a crunchier crust.
Rose Fooks, Deputy Food Editor at Future plc, creates recipes, reviews products and writes food features for a range of lifestyle and homes titles including Goodto, Style at Home and woman&home. Since joining Future, Rose has had the pleasure of interviewing cookery royalty, Mary Berry, enjoyed the challenge of creating a home-based, lockdown baking shoot for woman&home, and had her work published in a range of online and print publications, including Feel Good Food.
Rose completed a degree in Art at Goldsmiths University and settled into a career in technology before deciding to take a plunge into the restaurant industry back in 2015. The realisation that cookery combined her two passions - creativity and love of food - inspired the move. Beginning as a commis chef at The Delaunay, Rose then worked at Zedel and went on to become a key member of the team that opened Islington’s popular Bellanger restaurant.
In order to hone her patissier skills, Rose joined the Diplome de Patisserie and Culinary Management course at Le Cordon Bleu. Rose ran a food market in Islington championing local producers and cooked for a catering company that used only surplus food to supply events, before finding her way into publishing and food styling.
Other than cooking, writing and eating, Rose spends her time developing her photography skills, strolling around her neighbourhood with her small, feisty dog Mimi, and planning the renovation of a dilapidated 17th-century property in the South West of France.
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