100 % perfect Sourdough Culture
To make sourdough culture, mix equal parts flour and water in a sealable jar, about 100g of each. Thorough mixing is important, this action traps natural airborne yeast particles in the flour and water mix, and they begin to feed on the flour in the jar creating a living yeast colony. Leave the jar somewhere warm and remember to discard the half of the mixture and feed the sourdough equal parts flour and water every day. By 5 days in it should be bubbling and ready to use to bake sourdough bread. This method creates a 100%-hydration starter (easy calculation). In a 100%-hydration starter, there are equal amounts of flour and water, by weight. Therefore, to get 75 grams of flour, I need 150 grams of starter, which brings along with it 75 grams of water.
- 200ml 100 % hydration sourdough culture
- 340g good-quality white flour
- 135ml warm water
- Pinch of salt
Put the flour into a bowl and add sourdough culture. Then add the warm water and the salt. Mix it altogether and then turn it out onto a table for kneading. It is a wet dough so needs long work before it will start to come way from the table. Once it’s stretchy, put it into a bowl and leave it somewhere warm to rise for 2 hours.
After the first proving shape the dough on a lightly oiled surface to fit a proving basket or loaf tin. To do this, repeatedly stretch the dough out into a long rectangle then fold each side inwards. Finally roll the dough down from top creating a tight loaf shape. Dust the proving basket or loaf tin with flour heavily and roll the dough in flour to stop it sticking. Put it into the basket, cover it and leave it to rise in a warm place for a second time, for about 8 – 12 hours.
Preheat oven very hot at 240°C and heat a baking stone or tray. Baking it in a Dutch Oven or a cast iron lided dish produces even better result (when baked in these, half of time the bread has to be baked with the lid on, half a time with the lid off). Also place a tray in the bottom of the oven. Carefully turn the loaf out onto the hot stone or tray (preheated in the oven). Cut on the top then put the dough in and throw a cup of water into the tray in the bottom of the oven to create steam. Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden or sound hollow when tapped.