Basic Sourdough Bread

To make one Sourdough Loaf.

Ingredients

375g strong white flour.

250g of your sourdough starter.

7.5g salt.

130-175ml tepid water.

A little olive oil.

Method

Put the flour, salt and sourdough starter into a large bowl.

Mix together adding the water a little at a time until you have a soft dough (you may not need all the water).

Once all the flour is incorporated put a little olive oil on your work surface and tip the dough out onto it.

Knead the dough (OurDailyBread love this great little video from our friend Tom Baker which shows three kneading techniques; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7jBrDWJOds. Take your pick or use all three during the 10-15 minutes of kneading you need to do!)

When your dough is soft and smooth make it into a ball and put it in an oiled bowl, cover with your shower cap and leave for 5 hours to rise.

After this first rise your dough should have at least doubled in size.

Knead the dough again for a couple of minutes, knocking out all the air as you go and making sure the dough is smooth and elastic.

Roll into a tight ball and roll it in flour.

Tip the dough into a well floured banneton or proving basket and leave it to rise for 4-8 hours.

Before you bake get your oven ready. Put a roasting pan into the bottom of your oven and half fill it with water. Put the oven on and preheat to 220c/425f/gas 7. You can put your baking stone or tray into the oven now to preheat this will give the dough and extra bit of ‘oven spring’ when you put it in. But its not essential and you will need to work with a very hot stone/tray. It is certainly easier to use a cold stone or baking tray.

In any event after the dough has risen put tip the loaf from the banneton or proving basket onto your baking stone of tray. Using a sharp knife make a couple of quite deep cuts into the top of the loaf. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes at this heat, then reduce the heat to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and bake for a further 15-20 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack.

If you double the ingredients you can make two loaves. Our Daily Bread’ encourage people to make two loaves. One is kept for their own enjoyment and the second is for them to give away to someone together with information about ‘Our Daily Bread’. You might give you bread to a neighbour, friend or someone at work, school or college or perhaps to someone you do not know who you think might welcome a loaf of handmade bread.