Sourdough bread

Last weekend, I had a go making my first ever sourdough bread…

Sourdough bread uses naturally occurring wild yeast rather commercial yeast to rise. It has several advantages over regular bread, some of which include it:

  • is lower in sugar, so it’s better for diabetics
  • is lower in gluten, so can be easier to digest for people
  • is higher in vitamins and minerals, with higher absorption rates
  • contains probiotic ‘lactobacilli, which are good for gut health

I was inspired to have a go after watching a daily Wake Up video on the Headspace meditation app (which our workplace have recently provided free to all employees) – after I saw a baker talking about it.

I used this BBC Good Food recipe/guidance, including this starter recipe.

I created my starter on Monday by adding tepid water to strong white bread flour in a plastic container. Each evening, for the next four days I topped it up with identical ingredients, watching the bubbles grow.

On Saturday, I added extra flour, and kneaded the dough. I left it to rise in our warm airing cupboard for 2-3 hours, kneaded it again, and repeated. I left it in the fridge overnight, and as it hadn’t risen much, gave it another morning in the airing cupboard until it had grown.

For baking, rather than creating steam in the oven by heating water in a tin, I’d watched a YouTube video saying it cooks well in a Dutch oven (a covered earthenware or cast-iron container for cooking casseroles). I’d not heard of these, but was pleased our Le Crueset casserole dish wedding gift that has acted more as an ornament to date, fitted the bill. I pre-heated it, then baked the bread for 40 mins in the oven.

And voila! What a result. I was saddened to learn you’re supposed to wait for the bread to cool before eating (to prevent the texture getting doughy and dense – which can happen with the smallest amount of pressure from cutting). I love warm bread. I managed an hour, before we all went for the tear rather than cut option which is supposed to be slightly better. It was so delicious.

Since I’ve started talking about my sourdough bread experiences, I’ve learned I’m late to the party. Many have already tried it, and a few at work have had a starter on the go for years. I’m looking forward to my next bake, and trying out different versions.

Have you baked sourdough bread? What are your top tips?


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