This beginner sourdough recipe is perfect for bakers looking to jump right in! It is a low-hydration dough, meaning it will yield a ‘tight’ crumb (small holes). It is great for sandwiches and toast.
100 g (1⁄4 – 1/2 cup) bubbly, active starter
375 g (1 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp) warm water, or more
500 g (4 cups plus 2 tbsp) bread flour
9 to 12 g (1.5 – 2.5 teaspoons) fine sea salt
Make the Dough
- Whisk together the starter, water, and salt in a large bowl. Add the flour. Squish everything together with your hands until all of the flour is absorbed. The dough will be dry and shaggy. Cover the bowl with a clean, very damp kitchen towel. Let rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.
Stretch & Fold the Dough (optional)
- You have the option to perform a series of ‘stretch & folds’ to strengthen the dough. Start 30 minutes into the bulk rise. Gather a portion of the dough, stretch it upwards and then fold it over itself. Rotate the bowl ¼ turn and repeat this process until you have come full circle to complete 1 set. Do this once or twice spaced about an hour apart. Although this step is not mandatory, it will increase the total volume and height of your bread.
- Cover the bowl with wrap or a very damp kitchen cloth. Let rest in a warm spot to rise.
- The dough is ready when it no longer looks dense and has doubled in size. This can take anywhere from 3-12 hours depending on the temperature of your ingredients, the potency of your starter and surrounding environment.
Cut & Shape the Dough
- Divide your work surface in half; lightly flour one side (for cutting) and leave the other half clean (for shaping).
- Remove the dough from the bowl, and place onto the floured section so that it does not stick. You do not need to ‘punch down’ the dough; it will gently deflate as you fold and shape it.
- Move your dough to the non-floured section (if there is any flour present, it will be difficult to shape- brush away any excess). Starting at the top, fold the dough over toward the center. Give it a slight turn, and then fold over the next section of dough. Repeat until you have come full circle.
- Then flip the dough over and place it seam side down. Using your hands, gently cup the sides of the dough and rotate it, using quarter turns in a circular motion. You can also pull it towards you to even out the shape. Repeat this process until you are happy with its appearance.
- Coat the bottom of your Dutch oven with cornmeal. Alternatively, use parchment paper to prevent sticking. Place the dough inside for a second shorter rise, about 30 minutes to 1 hour and cover with the lid of the pot or a very damp cloth. The dough is ready when it is slightly puffy but not double in size.
- Preheat your oven to 450º F/ 232º C towards the tail end of the second rise.
Score the Dough
- Right before your bread goes into the oven, make a shallow slash about 2-3 inches long (or more) in the center of the dough. Use a bread lame, sharp pairing or a small serrated steak knife. The cut should be about 1/4-inch deep.
Bake the Dough
- Place the bread into the oven on the center rack (lid on) and reduce the temperature to 400° F/ 204° C. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, and continue to bake (uncovered) for an additional 40 minutes or until deep, golden brown. Keep in mind that all ovens are different; you might have to make minimal adjustments to these temperatures.
- You can also take the internal temperature of your bread to double check that it is done. For sourdough, it should read about 205-210º F/ 96-98º C.
- Remove the bread from the oven, and cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing. Don’t cut too soon or else the inside will have a gummy texture!
Although a long written recipe, the process of making sourdough bread is simple and worth the time! Pair the fresh bread with a dipping sauce of Olivo Amigo Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, and Mediterranean Spices! Such a simple, yet delightful bite!