I’m fairly new to bread baking and this is my cheat version of sourdough bread taught to me by a lovely lady, Rebecca Milsom who is an avid baker. I never have enough time to let a proper sourdough prove (takes 3-4 hours) so I add Fermipan which is an instant dry yeast favoured by real bakers, as well as my leaven for quicker proving. It does takes practise but keep at it, once you’ve baked your own loaf you’ll never eat shop bought again.
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 300g water
- 10g salt
- 5g fermipan yeast
- 200g leaven
- Semolina flour for dusting the tin
- Preheat your oven to 230 degrees. Place a large baking tray of water in the bottom of the oven to create some steam and leave it in there until the bread is baked.
- Mix the salt into the flour. Then mix the yeast in. Don’t mix them both in at the same time, if the fermipan comes into contact with the salt then it will lose it’s effectiveness.
- Pour in the leaven. (if you don’t have a starter or leaven here’s how to make it https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=GHIOmtuB2oc
- Place the flour mixture onto your scales and tare the scale. Gradually pour in water until you have 300g of water in the bowl of flour.
- Using a wooden spoon, mix the flour, water and leaven together thoroughly.
- Turn the dough out onto your work surface, cover with the mixing bowl and leave it for 10 minutes so that the gluten can do its thing.
- Remove the bowl then gently pull out the edges of the dough one bit at a time and fold them back into the centre, working your way all the way around the dough until it looks even and smooth without any obvious lumps. This side of your dough is now the bottom and you need to make sure it always stays as the bottom.
- Place your dough, bottom side down back into your bowl, cover it and leave it to prove in a warm place ( I set my oven to 30 degrees and leave it in there) for 30-40 minutes or until it has doubled in size. Note the colder your kitchen is the longer this will take, so don’t rush. Let the dough rise until it’s doubled, however long it takes.
- Remove the dough from the bowl ensuring you keep the bottom side facing the ceiling. Repeat step 6, then turn the dough so it’s top is facing up. You then need to tighten and shape the dough. Theres a great little video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuIT0RJDdZ8 to show you how to do this.
- Shape the dough into a long rectangular shape big enough to fit into a 30cm x15cm x 6cm non stick bread tin.
- Dust the bread tin with a little semolina flour at the bottom, and place the shaped dough into the tin making sure the top side is facing up. Leave to prove again in a warm place for 30-40 minutes.
- Place the bread tin in the centre of the hot oven, quickly closing the door.
- Leave to bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until it’s a deep golden brown.
- Remove from the oven once baked, remove from the tin and allow to cool completely before slicing.
Sourdoughs are usually left to bake in small round shapes called boules (French for ball) much like the video in the link I shared above. I like to bake mine in a loaf shape simply because that's what the kids are used to. They can use it in the way they have become accustomed to and it keeps things easy for them and me. If you want to bake yours in a boule then you'll need to invest in a banneton, a proving basket made of bamboo to help your dough keep a nice round shape. The only difference is that for your final prove you will need to thoroughly flour your banneton and place your dough into it top side down. To bake it you will have to gently tip the dough out of the banneton onto a lined baking tray (dust the lining with semolina) so that the top side is facing up (which will now have indentations from the rings in the banneton). Bake as per above. You'll find it has lovely crust once baked.