Monday, 7 September 2015

Lets bake some bread!

Ok, so you should have mastered your sourdough starter or 'Levain'. It should be nice & bubbly, and with a sour, malty smell. Don't sniff it in too hard, you might be repulsed by it, and then not get to make your wonderful sourdough.

So, I started with the basic sourdough recipe in the book. Follow the instructions and you are less likely to have a fail!

Most of the recipes in 'The Larousse Book of Bread' have a very small amount of yeast in them. However sourdough does not have yeast. Therefore I ended up adjusting my recipe after much research, to 100% yeast free (as a real sourdough should be). Now I am not doubting Eric Kayser at all, but I wanted to make a true, traditional sourdough. Maybe Eric added yeast to help out those amateur bakers. Who knows. Anyway, it is best to start off basic so that you don't have an epic fail...which will make you not want to bake bread ever again. And thats just too sad.

Now before you start, make sure you have a few essentials:
• Scales (you should have these from making the sourdough starter)
• Pizza stone/Baking Tray
• Sharp, clean bakers blade or knife. I went & got a brand new Stanley knife & kept it for my bread only

Classic Organic Sourdough Recipe


• Mixing & Kneading: 8-15 min
• First rising: 2hrs
• Resting: 30 min
• Proofing: 1h 30 mins
• Baking: 45 mins


• 500g Organic all purpose flour
• 310g water at 20degC
• 100g Sourdough Starter
• 1/3 tsp fresh bakers yeast or 1/4 tsp instant yeast
• 10g salt (2 tsp)

Kneading in a stand mixer

Place all the ingredients in the bowl and kneed with the dough hook on low speed for 4 mins, then on high speed for 4 mins.
* Tip: Be careful when using a stand mixer, it can easily over work the dough. You will know this as it will go from a smooth ball, back into a sticky dough.

Kneading by hand

Place all the flour on a work surface or in a large bowl and make a large well in the centre. Pour half the water, then add the starter, yeast & salt. Mix well, then add the rest of the water gradually and blend until all the water & flour has been incorporated. Knead the dough until it becomes soft & elastic.
* Tip: You will know the dough is perfect, when you can stretch it out enough to hold up to the light & see through it.

Shape the dough into a ball and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise for 2 hours, by which time it will have increased in volume.

• If you want 2 small loaves, cut dough into to
• If you want 1 medium loaf, skip this step
Dust the work surface. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape the dough between your hands, while pressing down on the work surface. Cover with the cloth & leave for 30 mins
* Tip: To smooth out into a nice ball shape. Smooth the dough by folding the sides down & under, while rotating the ball around. Try not to overwork as you will loose all the air you have just waited 2 hours for. Be gentle :)

Gently place the loaves/loaf on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, cover with a damp cloth & leave to proof for a further 1 hour & 30 mins. The dough will have increased in volume by the end of the proofing time.

Place a baking tray in the bottom of the oven (not on the floor of the oven) & place your pizza stone in the oven on a rack if you have one. Preheat the oven to 230degC.
Lightly dust the loaf/loaves with flour & score them as you please (swirl pattern, cross hatch, square, cross).

Just before putting the loaves in the oven, pour 1/4 cup water onto the baking tray in the oven (This creates a nice moist oven for the loaves).
Slip the loaves onto the pizza stone, or leave on the baking tray if you are not using a pizza stone.
Bake for 15 mins, then lower the oven temperature to 200degC and bake for a further 25 mins for 2 loaves, or 30 mins for 1 loaf.

Remove from oven & leave to cool on a wire rack
* Tip: Resist the urge to slice into the loaf straight away. It is still cooking. You have to wait at least 1 hour before digging in.

1 hour later....enjoy!!

Try this recipe a few times to get the hang of baking your own bread.
Make sure to keep an eye out for my next blog where I will give you my recipe for 100% Sourdough. Or better yet, subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox.

Happy Baking ;)