When I say ‘Just’ Sourdough Bread in this context, I mean it as a compliment. There is something hugely satisfying about baking something with a simple list of ingredients that has such depth of flavour, a fabulous crunchy crust with a chewy middle and is wonderfully wholesome to boot. No fancy ingredients or fillings required, ‘Just’ Sourdough…
I have wanted to make bread like this for a very long time now. I think the whole sourdough starter process put me off historically but now I have a healthy, active starter I can call my own, sourdough bread (and other bakes) can be regular bakes in my kitchen henceforth. Check out my A Sourdough Starter post to get your starter going. Both the starter and this (quantity adapted) recipe come from favourite bread baker Paul Hollywood. I found them straightforward and love the baked outcome.
You will need to factor in timings and be a little patient when making this bread but you will be heavily rewarded. Do not be alarmed with the slowness of the rise – I was little concerned that the dough was never going to grow – but have a little faith, it will. If you have a baking/pizza stone, now is the time to use it. You will have baked the best loaf you have ever made.
Only decision, how will you serve it…?
- 375g strong white bread flour, extra for dusting
- 250g sourdough starter (see 'A Sourdough Starter' post)
- 8g salt
- 200-230ml tepid water
- Olive oil for kneading
- In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, sourdough starter and salt. Add the water and mix on a low speed until a soft dough comes together.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough will initially be quite wet but keep kneading until the dough is soft and smooth.
- Oil a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for a minimum of 5 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Prepare the banneton, or proving basket, (you could also use a large bowl) by lining with a cloth, tea towel or muslin and heavily flour.
- Tip the risen dough onto the oiled work surface again and briefly knead further. Form into a smooth ball and place into the floured cloth. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove for 10-13 hours. (I left it overnight)
- Approximately 40 minutes ahead of baking, place a baking stone in the oven, if using, and preheat the oven to 200 degrees C, or Gas Mark 6. Otherwise, line a baking tray with parchment.
- Invert the risen dough on the baking stone, or the prepared tray. With a lame, or sharp knife, make cuts into the top of the loaf.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until the bread is a rich golden colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.