Easy Sourdough Bread recipe for beginners. Pane di Casa Sourdough.

Easy Recipe! Sourdough Bread isn’t that easy, but I got your attention and I promise you that this is a fairly straight forward recipe that I recommend if you are a first time Sourdough Bread maker.

No special tools needed, no banneton (bread basket) or Dutch oven, no proving box or wood fired oven. This recipe is perfect for those who want to start making Sourdough Bread at home. All you need is good flour, a colander or bowl, a sourdough starter and of course patience.

There are many Sourdough Bread recipes out on the web and many bloggers advice that baking with a Sourdough Starter is hard, prone to many mistakes, time consuming and needs a lot of practice. Reading this daunting news, many if you might be put off for even a first attempt. But hold on, you are reading about Sourdough Bread making most likely because you love cooking, have some experience in bread making and you are up for something new. In that case, you are a lot like me and I challenge you to stick with me and try this recipe. And don’t forget to fire any questions you might have along the way.

Sourdough making is a labor of love, there is no instant gratification, but when you can handle the wait, the reward is that much bigger. The mature bold flavour of sourdough can only obtained when you leave the dough to prove for an extensive period of time.

Don’t worry when your home made Sourdough Bread does not look Insta-worthy straight away or when the bread does not turn out the way it looks at the bakery or one of the many pictures you find online. These bakers had quite some practising rounds, different tools and ovens. Sourdough ain’t easy. It’s the inside that counts, not just the looks.

Once you master this Sourdough Bread recipe you can start other more complex Sourdough recipes. Also have a look at some of my other bread recipes, like the Basic Bread Recipe, Focaccia or Spelt Ciabatta.

Making Bread is so rewarding, it takes a bit of time but the oohhhh and mjummmm from your family and friends when they taste your fresh warm bread is phenomenal.

Makes: 1 loaf | Preparation: 10 min plus a few times folding | Proving: 16-20 hours | Cooking: 30-40 minutes

Who connected us?!   For my first sourdough bread attempt I was inspired by the recipe from Sylvia Colloca, or more honestly by the picture of her bread. I like it that Sylvia did not show off with a picture perfect loaf, and that gave me hope.

Timing: Start your Sourdough making process roughly around midday for a beautiful fresh loaf for nexts days lunch.

  • Step 1: 10 min, preparation and mixing.
  • Step 2: 1 hour, autolayse the flour mixture
  • Step 3: kneading, 15 min
  • Step 4: resting, 20 min
  • Step 5: stretch and fold, 5 min
  • Step 6: proving, 4 hours
  • Step 7: kneading, 5 min
  • Step 8: proving, 12 hours in the fridge
  • Step 9: rising, 2-3 hours at room temperature
  • Step 10: baking, 35 min
  • Step 11: Cooling, 1 hour

Ingredients

Sourdough Mother
  • 240 gr (1 cup) active sourdough starter
  • 500 gr (4 cups) (organic) bakers flour
  • 300 ml (1 cup 1/4) water
  • 15 gr (2 teaspoons) of salt
  • A teaspoon of honey

Method

  1. Mix flour and water in a large ceramic or plastic bowl with a wooden spoon.

2. Let it rest for about 1 hour. This process is called Autolayse and it allows for flavour and texture to develop. It is not a mandatory to use a plastic bowl, but I can recommend it.

3. For the next 2 steps I use a stand mixer with a dough hook, but you can also do the mixing and kneading by hand if you enjoy the labour. Add your starter and knead for about 5 minutes, then add salt and honey . Knead well for about 10 minutes, until your dough is smooth and silky.

4. Form a ball, cover the dough with cling wrap or a wet tea towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.

5. Stretch the dough and fold it 3 times.

6. Cover the dough with cling wrap to keep the moist in and let it rest in a warm, draft free spot for 3-4 hours.

7. Knead the dough again for a few minutes. This time I do the kneading by hand. After kneading, you stretch the dough and fold it 3 time. Shape the dough into a ball.

8. For the next step you can use a banneton or you can just use a colander that you lined with a linen tea towel and richly dusted with flour. Put the dough in the colander, cover with cling wrap and rest it in the fridge for about 12 hours. You can even leave it in the fridge to proof for a few days. The longer the more taste the bread developed.

9. Before you start baking, take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for 2-3 hours, until grown in size by about 1/3. When you are going to take the dough out of the colander, be gentle otherwise the dough might collapse. I usually put a baking paper with a plate on top and then turn the dough upside down. You can then carefully remove the towel.

10. Preheat you oven to 200C (390 F). Place a small metal bowl in the oven to heat up. Gently, turn the bread onto an oven tray lined with baking paper, sprinkle it with a little water and score it with a sharp knife. Immediately insert the tray into the oven, pour a cup of cold water into the metal bowl to create steam (watch it as steam will be created instantly) and close the oven door. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until crusty and bronzed, the bottom sounds hollow when the bread is ready. You can also bake the bread on a pizza stone, like I did.

11. Rest the bread on a wired rack at room temperature for at least 1 hour before slicing, if you can withstand the beautiful smell of freshly baked bread.

Notes:

  • No metal: I recommend to use a plastic or ceramic bowl and wooden spoon if you can. It’s a bit of an old wisdom from the olden days where metal bowls and cups could get rusty. The Sourdough is made sour by acids. Acids react to metals and therefore it could be a bad combination. Nowadays most bowls and utensils you use are made from stainless steel and you should not have a problem. I not always follow this advice myself, as I sometime quickly mix the dough in the stand mixer which has a stainless steel bowl, but if you can avoid the metal you’re safe.
  • Active Sourdough Starter: When you keep your Sourdough starter in the fridge, like I do because I do not bake bread every day. Make sure you get the starter out of the fridge a few hours before using it and give it a good feed. More about sourdough starter making and feeding you find here.
  • Resting the baked bread: Although warm bread straight out of the oven is tempting, the bread needs to cool down before you can properly slice it. When the bread is not cooled down properly, it is sticky inside.
  • 2-3 days proving: yes you can, as long the dough is in the fridge, the process will go slowly but will ensure a beautiful rich flavour.
  • Say NO to all purpose flour; you could take a short cut and use all purpose flour, but you lose in taste and bread-structure.
  • Salt; 14 grams of salt looks like a lot, but you definitely need it otherwise the bread taste bland. We put in the salt after the wild yeast mixture is combined with the flour, otherwise the salt might influence the sourdough mother and your bread will not rise properly.
  • Kneading, the fun part; kneading yeast based bread allows the gluten to develop which makes bread airy and light. Without well-developed gluten, your bread would be flat and tough.
  • When the bread is proving, the wild yeast is feeding on the water and flour. In theory the three things that all bacteria need to grow are heat, moisture and food. Any excess of these three things will kill the yeast (as well as salt, which seasons the bread – it’s not half so nice without it, but it does slow down the proving to some extent).

Try some Ciabatta or Focaccia next!

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