There's always a real sense of excitement in the office when our colleague Amy brings in some of her amazing sourdough bread for us all to share, as well as a fair bit of jostling around the table over the bread knife and the butter. The loaf can often be gone in under ten minutes, with just the amazing smell of fresh baking and some happy tummies as all the evidence left to show for it!
Amy, daughter of our founder Barry, has been baking bread seriously for about 18 months now, after a present of a breadmaking day. She now churns out beautiful loaves with ease and generously makes them for family weddings and for friends who beg for just one more loaf as they are so very yummy! Sourdough is made with fermented dough, so it's good for your gut, and needs no yeast to make. If you want to perfect the art of breadmaking yourself then why not give the recipe a try?
600g strong bread flour
360ml room temperature water
To make your starter see here – This will take four days, but is very easy!
Day 1 (morning):
Remove starter from fridge and feed to create an active starter (feed with 30g rye flour and 30g room temp water, which will create enough starter for two loaves). Then once you've taken out 30g for your loaves, remaining starter goes back in the fridge for next time.
Day 1 (evening):
1. Put flour and salt in a large bowl.
2. Mix water and the 30g starter in a jug.
3. Add water and starter to dry ingredients.
4. Mix together so all ingredients are combined and then leave for 10 minutes.
5. After 10 minutes lift a section of the dough in the bowl, fold into the middle and press down with your knuckles – repeat this around 8-10 times. You will notice the dough starts to become smooth. When folds are complete, turn over ball of dough so smooth side is on the top – leave for another 10 minutes
6. Repeat step 5 another 4 times.
7. Cover (I use a plastic hairnet!) and leave at room temperature overnight.
Day 2 (morning):
The dough should have doubled in volume
1. Turn dough out on to a surface and gently push out the air.
2. Now it’s time to shape and final prove in proving basket (use a bowl lined in a tea towel if you don’t have a proving basket).
3. Form a rounded tight ball and put in basket or bowl. Leave at room temperature uncovered for 2-6 hours. Note: at this stage you can place it in the fridge, and this will pause the process until you are ready to bake. You can leave it for 48hrs if you want to!
4. If you have a baking stone pop this in the oven and heat oven to 240°c. Alternatively, you can use a sturdy baking tray.
5. After rising time, turn bread out of basket onto a paddle if you have one, or a sheet of baking paper if not.
6. Slash the bread with a sharp knife or blade to allow it to expand during baking.
7. Pop in oven on baking tray and throw in a cup of water to the bottom of the oven to create a moistened environment. This allows the bread to rise easier by delaying the setting of the crust and helps create a crusty loaf.
8. Bake at full heat for 15 mins and then turn oven down to 180°c and bake for a further 25 mins.