I have mentioned before that this is NOT a food blog, and I do not have the printable recipe cards (they are only included in the most expensive plan, and I just cannot afford that since I make nothing off of this blog). So, this is just the best that I can do with what I have!
As a disclaimer, I learned how to make sourdough by doing an online class through Whispering Willow Farm‘s website. I also bought my sourdough starter from her! Its name is “Otis.” I’m pretty sure the price has gone up since I bought it…
This class has been the biggest reason I have had successful sourdough loaves again and again. If you want a solid way to learn how to make sourdough, I suggest checking that out!
What You Need to Make Sourdough
- Sourdough tools: Banneton proofing basket, Danish dough whisk (can just use your hands, but I find that this tool helps a TON), scoring knife, dough scraper (I purchased these tools in a set- Superbaking Bannoten bread baking set)
- Something to bake it in. If you click on each one, you will find examples. I haven’t actually used these specific brands: Cast iron (deep) pan with lid, Dutch oven, roasting pan with lid, and/or glass loaf pan (I cover mine with a cast iron pan for the first half)
- Plastic Wrap
- Rice flour (to keep it from sticking to the banneton)
- Parchment paper
- Tea towels
- Unbleached bread flour (I sometimes use half fresh ground hard white wheat)
- Filtered water (you cannot use tap water because the chlorine in it slows down/prevents the fermentation- I am currently just using distilled water but hope to get a good filter eventually)
- Sourdough starter (I keep mine in a mason jar with a coffee filter on top)
- Food scale to measure grams
How to Make Sourdough
I will try to break it down step by step. Ultimately, it’s hard to show how to do it with pictures. My goal is to do a video series eventually, but this is what I’m going to start with. Please let me know if you have any questions!
To have a healthy sourdough starter, I feed it daily. Sometimes even twice a day. To do this, discard 50g (if you’re not baking that day… if you are, you don’t need to discard). Add 50g of flour and 50g of water. Mix thoroughly. A lot of people use fancy tools to mix; I just use a butter knife! Make sure you rinse well! I keep mine in a mason jar with the outer part of the lid holding a coffee filter on it.
1. The first step is the autolyse step. This is just mixing the flour and water to turn starch into sugar, form gluten, and hydrate the flour. I do a 75% hydration which means I use 375g of water to 500g of flour. I mix the two and allow to sit for an hour with plastic wrap and a tea towel on top.
2. After this has happened, I add in 12g of salt and 100g of the sourdough starter. Mix well using your dough whisk. Make sure that the starter and salt are throughout the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel. For me, the plastic wrap is one of the most important things. The dough needs to stay moist the whole time. I have tried other methods (like using a wet tea towel), and this works the best.
3. For 3 hours, you will uncover, stretch and fold all the way around (I just stretch and fold until it’s hard to stretch), and cover again, every 30 minutes. This is the part that is hard to show with pictures, so you could look it up on YouTube or something to visualize it. You just literally pull up a chunk and fold it over.
4. After 3 hours of this, cover with the plastic wrap and tea towel and allow to ferment for 8-10 hours. I usually get it set up to ferment over night.
5. In the morning, I set it up to proof. The first thing I do is coat the inside of the bannoten with rice flour. Next, I get a silicone mat (or you could just use your counter), and cover with flour. Sprinkle the dough with flour and spread it out a bit.
6. Next, you will roll it up and pinch it to close up the seam. Roll it over and shape well using the dough scraper. It will create tension to keep it in a good shape. This one is a circle for the round bannoten. Again, hard to show in pictures!
Here’s the shaping for my oval/rectangle loaf:
7. Once shaped, place in banneton. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel again, and allow it to proof. I usually allow it to proof for around 4-5 hours. This is what it looks like when it is ready (you should be able to place your finger in it, and it will bounce back).
About 4 1/2 hours into proofing, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
8. Now it is time to place it in cast iron, Dutch oven, roasting pan, or loaf pan. This time I used a cast iron with a lid and a glass loaf pan covered with a cast iron pan. I’m planning on buying some roasting pans soon! Usually I use rice flour in the cast iron, and I spray the loaf pan with a bit of coconut oil and sprinkle rice flour on top. Moving forward, I will use parchment paper with rice flour! It has been sticking lately. I use the dough scraper to shape it one last time. Cut a line down the middle with a scoring knife to allow it to open up while baking.
9. Bake covered for 20 minutes, uncover, and bake another 20 minutes. You will know when it is done when it sounds hollow upon thumping it! Some people prefer it darker than the way I like it. If you do, you will need to bake it to your prefered darkness. I like golden-brown! I always put it on a cooling rack and cover with a towel when fully baked! Do not cut it until it has cooled! The one on the left is half freshly ground hard white wheat and half bread flour and the right one is just bread flour!
Again, this is hard to show in pictures, so I hope this is helpful! Please let me know if you have ANY questions! I plan to eventually do a video series on my Facebook page, so keep an eye out for that!