Making Sourdough Bread (Pt 2) – BAKING BREAD
White (or 50% Wholemeal) Sourdough
- 500g strong all purpose (plain) white flour (or 50% mix of wholemeal and white), unbleached bakers flour works well.
- 5g salt
- 275g water
- 150g sourdough starter
- change the amounts to suite your needs.
1. Add the water to the sourdough starter, mix in thoroughly. Mix the salt through the flour. Combine all the ingredients together to form a rough dough. Rest for 15 minutes.
2. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Return the dough to the mixing bowl and leave to one side for approximately 10 minutes. (As the dough rests the gluten within the dough continues to develop. It also creates time when you can continue with your daily life!)
3. When kneading, do not worry if the dough is slightly wet or sticky, use wet or oiled hands to help. Resist the temptation to add any extra flour or water. After 10 minutes return to the dough. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knead for 5 minutes, return the dough to the mixing bowl and allow the dough to rest for a further 10 minutes.
4. The dough will need to be kneaded one more time. After the third time of kneading for 5 minutes, the dough should be smooth and elastic.
5. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover with cling film and allow the dough to prove for 2-4 hours at room temperature. This should have some spring in the dough.
6. After 4 hours turn the dough onto a clean work surface and knock the dough back, (knocking back the dough simple involves knocking the air from the dough and equalising the temperature within the dough).
7. Form the dough into a tight round ball. Prepare a proving basket by lightly dusting with flour, alternatively if you do not have a proving basket line a 2.5L round pyrex dish with a clean tea towel and dust with flour. Place the dough seamed side facing up into the proving basket or Pyrex dish. Prepare the lid of the pyrex dish by greasing and dusting with flour, this will prevent the dough from sticking to the lid later. Cover the Pyrex dish with a lid and place into the fridge and leave overnight.
(The reason for using a Pyrex dish is that it acts like a proving basket. The dish acts as a support to your dough & encourages it to take on the shape of the dish; to prove up & not just to spread out flat. The dough will also be baked in the Pyrex dish. Using a fridge reduces the temperature of the dough allowing it to prove slower & longer, & allows for a greater development of flavour within the dough. It also increases its digestibility. As dough ferments or proves, the gluten within the dough breaks down. The longer a dough is allowed to prove the more flavour it will contain & the easier it is for your body to digest.)
8. The next morning preheat your oven to 250C.
9. Remove the Pyrex dish containing your dough from the fridge to allow to come to room temperature. Flip the Pyrex dish over. Remove the tea towel.
10. After placing the dough carefully back into the Pyrex dish, use a sharp knife to cut the surface of the dough, this is what is known as the baker’s signature. The dough can be cut up to ½ cm deep. Cover with the lid. Place the room temperature Pyrex dish into the preheated oven. (By baking the dough in the Pyrex dish there is no need to steam the oven. Baking with a lid on the Pyrex dish creates its own steam which will allow the dough to rise and open up while baking. The Pyrex is very similar to the old style of caste iron Dutch oven baking.)
11. The dough will need to be baked at 250C for 50 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid from the Pyrex dish and continue to bake for a further 20 minutes at 220C.
12. Once baked remove the bread from the Pyrex dish and allow to cool before slicing. Enjoy!