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Here’s Your Classic, Simple Sourdough Bread Recipe

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Perfectly crusty, soft and just a little bit tangy on the inside – sourdough bread is great for sandwiches, dipping into creamy soups, or just good enough with a slab of salted butter. This recipe is a continuation of our first recipe on making your own sourdough starter. If you’ve managed to make your own – congratulations! Just before you rush to use your starter, do a quick check:

Is my starter ready to be used? 

It is best to use the starter when it is at its peak height (look for when it’s doubled in size) during the rising and falling stages of growth. Do this test to ensure it’s ready for use: Mix your starter to distribute bubbles evenly then drop a spoonful of starter into a bowl of water. If it floats, it’s ready to go. But if it drops to the bottom, allow it to rest for a few hours longer.

And if you’re still feeling antsy, do a quick smell check: Your starter should smell sweet and slightly sour, and be light in colour. If the starter begins to turn pink, green, or dark brown that go beyond the surface of the starter then that’s a sign of bad bacteria growth so the starter should be discarded.
This recipe makes 2 hefty loaves of sourdough bread.

INGREDIENTS

  • 350ml water
  • 550g strong white flour, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300g starter
  • A tablespoon or less of olive oil, to oil the bowls

METHOD

To make the sourdough loaves:

  • Add water, 500g strong white bread flour and salt to the bowl of your Kitchen Machine.
  • Pour in 300g of the starter, attach the dough hook and knead well on speed 1 for 10/15 minutes, until you have a strong, smooth and elastic dough. Remove the bowl and cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 3 to 4 hours.
  • Flour a work surface and remove the dough from the bowl. Divide the dough into two, knock the air out and shape into buns. Lightly oil two bowls and place the dough into the bowls, cover and leave for three hours.
  • Heat the oven to 250°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • Remove the dough from the bowls and place onto a baking tray, give a good dusting of flour and score a cross in the top of each loaf.
  • Boil the kettle, pour some of the water into a shallow baking tray and place in the bottom of the oven (this creates steam to help make a crisp crust).
  • Bake the loaves in the oven for 35 minutes or until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack for about an hour, before cutting it.
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