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  • Nithya

Sourdough Bread

Updated: Feb 26

A type of bread that is made with natural leavening agent, relying on slow fermentation of the dough. It is magical,gorgeous and delicious!



For me baking Sourdough bread is like a therapy, an instant mood booster from start to finish. I find the mixing, kneading and decorating very soothing. It requires concentration - it forces you to focus while measuring the ingredients and not missing a step in between. There is something truly magical about just taking these simple ingredients flour, salt and water  and transforming them into this wonderful bread.


My first Sourdough bread dough had collapsed. Even though it was perfectly tasty, I was determined to improve it! I read so much about it, watched videos of different bakers baking this bread. I understood that each stages of Sourdough is essential in crafting this perfect loaf!


Sourdough Bread is a fermented bread that uses natural wild yeast to rise and ferment rather than relying on store bought commercial yeast. So much goes into the process of making this from the beginning to the end. It takes time, patience and effort to bake this loaf. The main part is getting the starter right. It has to be bubbly, lively in order for it to ferment the dough for you to make the bread. It has taken me about a month to get the starter right. I will post the recipe of starter sometime soon.



In the last few months the only thing I have constantly read in the internet is about Sourdough Breads. I had to drop my daughter off to her class, while waiting for her in the car I was working on the stretches and folds every 30mins, such is my obsession!!


Pulling a freshly baked Sourdough from the oven filled me with such a sense of satisfaction and relief. Baking a good sourdough is one of the best feelings. Grant’s recipe was the best one that worked for me. Here is the link to his video which has all the details.


Notes:


Autolyze/Autolysis - Process of hydrating the flour and resting it for 30mins. This is very important as this is the time gluten begins to form, dough will start to smoothen out and strengthens overall.


Stretches and Folds - Stretches and folding is required as a dough-strengthening technique during bulk fermentation. They further help with developing gluten in the dough, making it more and more elastic.This is also a way to get desirable large holes in the crumb.


Scoring - Cutting a line or design on top of the dough gives bread a beautiful design.


Banetone basket - One of the important accessory required, or I should say the only accessory required. Prep the Banetone basket in advance. Wipe with a wet cloth/tissue paper. Sprinkle bread/All purpose flour all around. And keep it aside for 2 hrs.



 

INGREDIENTS:


Makes one loaf


100 gms Sourdough Starter

300 gm water

450gm bread flour

10gm, salt


  1. Combine 100 gm of starter into water, stirring until the starter is fuller dispersed.

2. Add the flour and salt. Mix and bring them all together, making sure there are no dry bits of flour on the bowl. Do not over mix.


3. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 mins. This process is called the Autolyse/Autolysis - gently mixing of the flour and water, followed by 30 mins of rest time.


4. Bulk fermentation -  After the first 30mins, we need to stretch and fold four times in 30mins resting each time. Pick up a side of the dough, stretch it and fold it over. Now, rotate the bowl about a quarter turn, stretch again and fold. Turn the bowl another quarter turn and stretch and fold once again.Repeat one more time, so a total of 4 times. This is one round. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30mins. Repeat the round/same process three more times, resting for 30mins in between.The more you stretch and fold the dough will become more tighter.


5. Remove the dough and move it to a floured surface. Gather the dough together and form a round shape. Put the dough back in the bowl and allow it to rise for 3-4hours or until doubled.The amount of time it takes for the dough to double depends on the temperature of the home, quality of the starter etc.


6. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a counter. Use flour if need be. Leave it uncovered on the counter for 30 minutes, this will allow the surface to develop a skin, so that it does not stick to the banetone basket during the next rise in the refrigerator.


7. Now comes the last rise in the refrigerator, put the dough in the counter and pre shape it into a ball. Stretch it from all ends  making it look like a square. Fold 1/3rd to the middle, fold the other side to meet the first fold. Now tuck the roll from one end and gently roll over to form a small log. Pull and tuck the sides under the loaf. Place this log onto the banetone basket, seam side facing up.


8. Move the basket to the refrigerator, You can cover it with a plastic bag, or use the banetone basket liner or leave it uncovered for 8-12 hours.


9. Preheat the oven at 450F. Place the dutch oven inside with the lid on for 30 mins. Carefully remove the dough from the basket and place it on an parchment paper. Seam side down. Dust off the excess flour using a brush. Do the scoring. Slash the top of the bread in one long, shallow angled slash. You can come up with your own design too. Carefully open the lid, slide the dough (along with the parchment)inside the dutch oven with the scoring side facing up, cover and bake for 20mins. Open the lid and bake for 15-20mins or until you see a nice brown color. Mine took about 16 mins. Remove the bread carefully and allow it to cool down for an hour at least before you cut it.


Enjoy!



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