Making sour dough bread requires a starter. You can either purchase one, ask a friend who bakes sour dough bread to share a starter with you, or make your own. It’s easy to do, but you need to be patient, because it takes 7-10 days to get your starter ready to use. Google sour dough starter and you’ll find as many suggestions as there are days in a month, if not more. I’m sure all are suggestions are good. Once you have a starter the baking is very easy. I’ll share the recipe I use the most, but feel free to use different flours and experiment on your own. I have come to my recipe by trial and errors and the one I share here is the recipe I find easiest to follow.
I use a Banneton bread proofing basket and a bread lame for scoring, but you can also just put the bread on a parchment covered baking tray and score with a sharp knife.
Remove 130 g of your starter and put in a small bowl with a lid (to be used for making a new starter later), and put 1/3 cup (3/4 dl) of the starter in a large mixing bowl. Discard the rest of the old starter.
To the 1/3 cup (3/4 dl) starter add:
- 400 g water (room temperature)
- 575 g all purpose flour
- 2 t salt
- a couple of teaspoons of dried herbs (optional)
- olives (optional)
Mix the ingredients until the dough doesn’t stick to the side of the bowl.
Let the dough sit covered for 20 minutes. Put it on a baking surface and stretch the dough in four directions and fold it under. Repeat again after a while, and then put the dough in the Banneton basket, (or shape it into a loaf or baguettes and put on a parchment covered baking tray), cover with plastic and put in the fridge over night.
When making a round bread in a Banneton basket I do the following:
After having proofed the bread for at least 12 hours in the fridge, turn the oven on to 450 F/225 C. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot in the oven as it heats. Put a parchment paper on a cutting board and flip the bread out of the Banneton basket. The bottom is now the top of the bread which has the pattern from the basket. Now use your creativity and score the dough with a lame or sharp knife. This affects the way the sourdough bakes in the oven. It allows the dough to expand and let gasses release. When the oven is hot, take out the pot and remove the lid. Lift the parchment paper with the dough and place it in the pot. Put the lid back on and put the pot back in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes.
Let the bread cool on a rack under a towel and let it sit for a while before cutting it.
When making a loaf or baguettes I do it this way:
After having proofed the bread for at least 12 hours in the fridge, turn the oven on to 450 F/225 C.
Take out the parchment covered baking tray from the fridge and remove the plastic wrap. Score the dough as explained above and when the oven is warm bake it for 45 minutes. Put an oven safe bowl with water under the baking tray to get a harder crust. Let the bread cool on a rack under a towel and let it sit for a while before cutting it.
Now it’s time to make a new starter.
In the small bowl with the 130 g of the old starter, add:
- 120 g water (room temperature)
- 120 g all purpose flour
Mix it with a fork and let the bowl sit loosely covered in room temperature until bubbels form. Put the lid on the bowl and keep it in the refrigerator until you bake next time. If you don’t use the starter within a week, take it out and “feed it”. Follow the same procedure. Put 130 g of the starter in a small bowl and add the water and flour, (see above). If you are not going to bake right away, discard the rest of the old starter.