Each week for over a year we have been making our own sourdough sandwich loaf. My toddler loves the process, helping with many of the steps along the way. It took us a long time to get to the stage we were ready for making our own bread on a regular basis, however it’s now simply a part of life and fairly routine!
Making our own good quality bread is such a money saver in the kitchen as we are able to make an organic pure sourdough loaf for a little over a dollar. This lasts our family about a week. A comparative loaf at a good quality sourdough bakery is $6 to $8! Luckily for us I was recently gifted a flour mill which means I can buy grain cheaply in bulk and mill good quality flour at home.
Sourdough is really tasty but it is also really nutritious and much better for you then other breads you buy in the supermarket. The long fermentation time is said to make it easier to digest. Learn more about the science of sourdough here
The first thing you need to make a sourdough loaf is a sourdough starter because this kind of bread does not use commercial yeast. All the rising power comes from the starter through the wild yeasts. The easiest way is to get a thriving starter from a friend but you can also make one (or buy one online). Here are some instructions if you want to venture into making your own!
This is our family recipe for our large sandwich size tin:
- 7.5 ounces of active Sourdough Starter (our starter is rye and is fed once the night before I want to make bread. The starter is then left overnight to ferment. My rye starter is fed at a ration of one part starter, then at least one part flour and 1.5 parts water.) A fed starter should look something like this
- 16.5 ounces of filtered water
- 22.5 ounces of flour (we usually use whole wheat flour, but sometimes a combination of different flours). Use the best quality flour you can
- pinch of salt (we also have some ground nori mixed in with our salt as a natural source of iodine- you do not notice it in the bread)
- In the morning, carefully weigh out all the ingredients into a mixer bowl, using the starter you fed the night before
- Mix with a dough hook in a stand mixer until it forms a nice sticky dough that comes together (do not over beat). You can also do this by hand if you do not have a stand mixer
- Place in a bowl (avoid metal) until the mixture forms bubbles and increases in size which usually takes about half a day (if it’s a cold day I often wrap mine up with a heat pack to help the process).
- In the middle of the day, brush melted butter in a sandwich tin and cover with semolina
- Place your dough on a floured board and shape by folding and stretching the edges into the center (I only do this about 5-10 times)
- Place in a tin and cover with a tea towel to allow to rise again (double in size). This usually takes another half day
- Once the dough has doubled in size- at the end of the day it should be ready to bake!
- To bake place bread in a pre-heated oven at about 250 degrees for 20 mins with a dish of boiling water to create steam. Then reduce to 220 degrees and bake for a further 15 minutes. Remove from the tin and bake for another five minutes
- Allow to cool before cutting in slices. This bread freezes well in slices.
Once you have mastered making your own bread, there are so many ways to use a sourdough starter including pancakes, muffins, cakes, flat breads, pizza dough and more!