Updated: Mar 30, 2020
We were used to buy bread for our family at our local baker. But one day, our baker closed his bakery. We tried bread from other bakers but we missed the healthy hand made bread.
It was Christmas holidays 2018 when I decided to spend time in bread making myself. I went through several sources and ended up being totally inspired by a funny French guy named Alex. He is very passionate about cooking and shares amusing episodes on his youtube channel,
After following his recipes, I new habit was born in our family.
Home made sourdough bread is a weekly delight: the taste is just awesome and it is much more healthy than mass produced bread you buy at the supermarket. Just give it a go on google and you will find multiple benefits!
Below you can find my recipe. It is a combination of learnings I did watching, reading and practising from multiple experts. Since I am a dad, with a fulltime job when I started doing this, I wanted it to be as simple and quick as possible. I tried to simplify the process and much as possible so that we could always eat this healthy bread, the full week.
Now I make around 4-8 breads per week. 4 loaves per cycle. Since the process is so easy to adjust, I think everyone should be able to find their routine with it.
This is the first time I am sharing my recipe in this way. So, there must quite a few mistakes or things to optimise. : ) Please reach out to me in case you have any questions or suggestions! Good luck and enjoy!!!
Making your own starter
>Take 3 table spoons of organic(!) whole-wheat flour, preferably rye.*
>Take a jam pot with a lid and mix in same weight of water**
*Rye is very easy with growing your own population of bacteria for a good starter, almost fool proof.
**Always use best water you can get, as natural as possible. A natural well is best! US for example has fluoride added to tap water so don’t ever use that.
Put this yoghurt thick substance away in a dark place on room temperature where it will start to develop bubbles and grow in volume. Keep the lid loosely on top so that air can escape.
Day 2, and so on
Next day, when you are successful, you should see some bubbles! The starter has risen in volume and fell down to a lower volume.
Now, mix in again 3 tablespoons of flour and same weight of water.
Keep this routine going for 5-7 or 10 days and maintain a good yoghurt like substance. Add gently more flour and water. After that period, you should have a lively starter, ready for making bread!
See also this movie of a baker. I think he is from Ireland. He starts with 50gr flour and 50gr water. But then you will end up with a lot of starter after a week… But have a look. It is more easy to learn, watching someone doing it. Google some more if you like, there are tons of home made starter movies out there.
Making your sourdough bread
Ingredients for bread making
150 gr Active bubbly starter*
260 gr Water**
7 gr Salt
450 gr (Wholegrain) flour
This is for one bread. At the bottom you can find a table for preparing 2 and 4 breads.
* active means when you place a little amount of starter on water, it should drift!
**For senior bakers, add more water later on in the process the more water, the more difficult it is to handle the dough (stickiness). But the more tender and tasty the bread will be. : )
1 Mix your dough – put all your love into it and enjoy the textures
Takes 30 min for the first attempt, 15 min for experts : ).
>Get your scale and (as a junior), put all ingredients in separate bowls.
>First take the flour and mix it with the salt.
>Pour in the water and starter shortly after.
>Now, let the fun begin and start mixing just shortly, till you have a homogeneous substance.
>Finish this phase by giving the dough around 15-20 minutes rest on the kitchen worktop for autolyse / hydration. Don’t forget to cover it with a bowl or a wet towel.
See my video below for the technique and some more learnings. It is made by our daughter, she tilted the camera at some point , haha, so you get some yoga neck stretches for free!
All my personal video in this blog are actually made for a colleague I know from work! I wanted to make new ones, but for the time being, I pasted in these ones. Hope they are useful and you like them as well.
I am preparing for 4 breads here. If you prepare only 1 you can also decide to keep the dough in a bowl throughout the procedure.
2 Continue Mixing and developing – feel the gluten, don't challenge them!
Takes 20 min for first attempt, 10 for experts.
>Now continue mixing it for a couple of minutes.
>Add water if the dough is still too stiff and not ‘willing’ enough. Over time you will get more easy dealing with wet dough. You actually want to make the dough very wet since that makes it so tender!
>See the video. (also made by my daughter)
>Put the dough away in a bowl, covered, for around 3 to 4 hours and let it develop and grow in volume. (it can reach double the size. If it does not develop well, it probably because your ingredients were not bio (– organic) based. The bacteria do not like pesticides and other unnatural elements).
3 Shaping the bread – once you master this, you feel a real baker! : )
Takes 20 min for first attempt, 10 for experts.
>Take the dough from the bowl and put it on the worktop and shape it.
>In the video (this time my wife is taking care of the camera) I explain how to do that and how to develop the right tension in the dough.
>Sprinkle the dough with flour and flip it upside down in a bowl with a tea towel. Again covered. Instead you can use the glass oven bowl I use in the movie.
>Now let ‘life’ do the magic again and leave it develop, grow in size again on a quiet place on room temperature.
Depending on how lively your dough is, this can take a couple of hours to around 4 hours.
Backing – Magic pop in the oven.
This step will truly fill you house with one of the most satisfying smells, fresh baked bread!
See the video on how to check your dough on readiness for this next step which is baking. You need to time it right and ‘catch it on the rise’. Meaning, when you press the dough with a finger, it should nicely jump back. If there is no spring back at all and your finger leaves a dent, you are too late with backing. If gently pressing feels tough and you sense that you really need to give it a push, you are too early with backing.
Aim for the sweet spot: When you can easily press in the dough AND when it performs a nice spring back, for heaven’s sake, BAKE IT. : )
>Flip the dough from the bowl in a Dutch oven. Score it with a knife. Cover it with the lid. You can also do it the way I do in the movie, just flipping the glass oven bowl.
>Slide it in the oven for 30 minutes on 235 degrees Celsius.
>Then take off the lid and give it another go for 3-8 minutes depending on how dark you would like your bread to be.
>After baking, give it some air all around to cool down. And if you can resist, wait 30-60 minutes before slicing a piece of.
That’s it! It is easy and very-very gratifying! : ) Even after baking 4 to 8 breads per week for more than a year now.
- Crust: I prefer a healthier crust: light brown. But you do see bread baked till really, I mean really dark brown almost burned crusts. That is dark caramelisation. That is too bitter for me and my kids do not like it.
- Types of flour: I always do a mix of around 50% spelt flour (more nutrients than normal flour), 30% wholegrain (for fibers and taste), 20%normal flour (for taste and a good pop in the oven) but this varies a bit. I noticed that only using spelt, does not give your bread a good airy pop. It has a more solid end result.
- Bio ingredients: Please use bio ingredients at least! It gives you a better chance of success. I noticed that by using normal ‘stuff’ the population bacteria did not always like to eat it ending up in a super slow process or hardly any development of the dough.
- Timing: It is super easy to time sourdough bread making since you can slow down and speed up the fermentation. In the fridge it slows down to half the speed. In 25 degrees Celsius it speeds up. See the video ‘Example weaving sourdough bread baking in your work life rythm’.
- What to do when you are going on holidays: you can do several things. Please see the video below.
- Preservation: Because it is sourdough, the bread stays well very long. After cooling you can keep it on room temperature in a box or wrapped in a tea towel. When you want to keep it longer or when you have baked multiple breads, you can store it in the fridge. We slice the bread so that you can take a much as you need and defrost the right amount.
Learn from some pro’s
A baker form England:
A funny French dude explaining his method in a very inspiring way:
When you have too much starter left over do not through it away:
Dealing with super duper hydrated / wet dough:
For more inspiration and when you really go mental about making even more tasty bread:
Saving your sourdough starter when you do not use it: