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Sourdough is the oldest form of leavened bread. It takes much longer to ferment than most commercial UK bread but it produces a much superior loaf, both in flavour and texture.
I’ve had several people ask me to share my sourdough recipe after I recently posted a picture of a couple of my sourdough loaves on Instagram, so I’ve decided to do so.
But, first things first. The base component of a sourdough loaf is a sourdough starter, used instead of fresh or dried yeast, which is kept “alive” by being fed on a regular basis.
So this post takes you through the very simple steps to make a good sourdough starter. If you follow this recipe, you should have a decent sourdough starter in your fridge by the time I publish my sourdough bread recipe in a week’s time. And if you look after it, that starter could last you for weeks, months, even for years. There are some sourdough starters in existence that are over a century old.
The key, as with most of the elements of sourdough baking, is patience, but that patience will be rewarded each time you slice into a delicious, beautifully structured home-made sourdough loaf.
strong organic white bread flour
1. Put 50g of the flour in a bowl, jar or container. Add 50ml fresh tepid water and mix to combine until you have a thick, slightly elastic batter. Cover the container with a tea towel and leave at room temperature for 24 hours. The next day, add a further 50 g flour and 50 ml water and again mix to combine. Leave covered at room temperature for a further 24 hours.
2. You will be starting to understand the pattern by now. On day 3, add a further 50 g flour and 50 ml water and again mix to combine and leave at room temperature for a further 24 hours. By the following day, day 4, you should be seeing some signs of activity, in the form of bubbles in the mixture. This is due to natural, airborne yeasts beginning to interact with the flour and water mixture. Add a further 50 g flour and 50 ml water and again mix to combine and leave at room temperature.
3. By day 5 your starter should be lively and bubbling (if not, continue to feed it daily as described above until it does become active). This is your precious sourdough starter. Once it is active and lively, keep the sourdough starter in a sealed jar or container in the fridge. This will slow the fermentation process down, although the starter will remain active. It will still need to be fed, as before, but now only every 5 days or so, to keep it going.