Make Your Own Sourdough Bread At Home

This week is Bread Week on The Great British Bake Off! And as a Sourdough-first company, we’d be remiss if we did not share our very own classic Sourdough recipe with our lovely subscribers & customers.

Bread-lovers, look no further. Here is our recipe for our White Country ’True Loaf’ Sourdough, as well as a recipe to make and maintain your own starter, and finally a recipe for a firm levain, to use in your Sourdough bread recipe. 

Equipment needed:

  • 2X soft bread basket (or proofing basket)
  • Tea towel or linen cloth
  • Sharp blade or lame
  • Large jar or container with a lid
  • Cast iron pot or hot (pizza) stone
  • Thermometer
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Parchment paper

Ingredients:

  • Organic dark rye flour
  • Organic strong white bread flour
  • Ground Semolina or polenta
  • Warm water (35C)
  • Fine sea salt

STEP 1 - Making a Sourdough starter:

Day 1

In your container, mix together 25g of rye flour and 25g of water. It should have a grassy smell to it. Put the lid on and leave it on the kitchen counter for 24 hours.

Day 2

Add to your container 25g of rye flour and 25g of water and mix together. Put the lid on and leave it on the kitchen counter until the next day.

Day 3

Again, add 25g of rye flour and 25g of water to your container and mix together.

Day 4

Add another 25g of rye flour and 25g of water to your container and mix together.

After leaving it to rest for another day, you can either put your starter in the fridge or use it straight away to make your Firm Levain.

Maintaining your starter: Refresh your starter at least once a week with 50g rye flour & 50g warm water. Remember to discard most of the old starter, leaving but one tablespoon (10g) of the old starter in the new starter mixture.

STEP 2 - Making a Firm Levain:

Mix together in a bowl

  • 45g rye starter
  • Water (35C)
  • 150g strong white bread flour

Cover the bowl with cling film and leave it in the fridge for 22-24 hours.

STEP 3 - Mixing your bread dough:

Ingredients for 2 loaves:

  • 250g firm levain
  • 545g warm water (35C)
  • 795g strong white bread flour
  • 18g salt
  • Total: 2X 800g

Method:

In a large mixing bowl, mix the levain and water and the mix in the dry ingredients. Dough temperature should be around 26C.

Cover the bowl and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes

Add 60g water, mix and leave to rest for another 45 minutes.

STEP 4 - Bulk ferment your bread dough:

Bulk ferment for about 3 hours, aiming to give 3 sets of stretch & folds during the bulk.

1st fold: without taking the dough out of the bowl and using the fingertips from one hand, fold the dough into the centre of the bowl 12 times.

Cover & rest for 45 minutes. The dough should start to feel a bit more compact.

2nd fold: same method as above. 

Cover & rest for 45 minutes. The dough should start to feel a bit more elastic.

3rd fold: same method as above.

Cover & rest for 45 minutes. The dough should now feel fluffy and elastic.

STEP 5 - Divide & pre-shape:

  • Take the dough out of the bowl and out onto a clean kitchen worktop.
  • Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces.
  • Spread each piece of dough gently into a flat pancake and repeat the stretch & fold method by bringing the edges of the pancake in towards the centre of the dough. Repeat this 6 times. Turn dough upside down so the smooth part of the dough is facing upwards. Shape gently into a ball.
  • Do the same for the other piece of dough.
  • Rest for about 20 minutes 

STEP 6 - Final shape

  • Spread each piece of dough into a triangle shape. Fold each bottom corner on top of each other and the top corner of the triangle in towards the bottom edge of the triangle. 
  • Pinch each side of the dough in towards the middle of the center of the dough and roll the dough smooth side down into the cloth covered bread basket

STEP 7 - Prove

Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 10-14 hours.

STEP 8 - Score & Bake

  • Place your cast iron post or hot stone into a pre-heated oven. Oven temperature should be around 260C.
  • Flip your dough onto a piece of parchment paper dusted with semolina or polenta.
  • Run your lame or sharp blade down the middle of the dough. The depth of the cut should be about 1 cm.
  • Place your dough into the cast iron pot and place the lid on top
  • Bake at 260X for 25 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for a further 12-15 minutes at 230C. If you are baking directly onto the hot stone, spray some water into the oven right before you are about to close the oven.

Enjoy!