If you didn’t catch Part I of this journey check out my article about creating my sourdough starter.
I’m taking my Trixie (the name I’ve given my starter culture) on a new adventure and making my first sourdough loaf.
For this I’m following the recipe from this Hobbs House Bakery video but the method from this Brothers Green Eats video was better so I went with that. Clearly you can see I like to keep things simple, starter recipe from one site, sourdough recipe from another and method from another 😀
Recipe from Hobbs House Bakery:
Homemade Sourdough Bread
430g strong white flour
10g sea salt
230ml warm water
How I did it
Honestly, I’m pretty excited today – probably the first time in a long time I’ve been this excited to create something!
The first step is to mix my starter and water – they say everywhere that your starter should float in lukewarm water when it’s ready. Did Trixie pass this test? No, unfortunately she sank faster than the Titanic, but I press on anyway.
Meanwhile I’ve weighed my flour and then I mix the starter and water mixture into the bowl. This is a sticky mess but the more I run my hands around the bowl the more it starts to come together. Once this is done I let it rest for 30mins (autolyse).
Then I add my salt, mix with my hands and let it rest for another 30mins.
Now, I take my dough and do the slap and fold technique. For me, watching the videos of other people doing this they make it look very easy, but it’s quite a lot of work. Needless to say my dough does not look the right consistency, it’s much wetter than the ones I see in the videos and it’s sticking to my hands for dear life. I slap and fold and slap and fold, and scrap off the counter and continue this for 10 minutes or so. I’m still not convinced my dough is right because it’s definitely feeling too wet.
After resting for another 30mins I’m now doing the letter folding technique. I do four full letter folds, then let it rest for 20-30min and repeat that four times. My dough is starting to come together, it’s definitely better but at this stage I still think it’s stickier than it should be. However, I press on.
Now that I’m done slapping and folding and letter folding I’m going to create a nice tight little ball of dough and let it rest overnight. Making the ball is quite easy actually and it’s almost starting to feel like I’m doing something right (huzzah!).
After liberally flouring the cloth, I place my dough in a bowl, cover and let it rest overnight in the fridge.
Now, the thing is your dough is supposed to double in size and while mine definitely grew larger, it didn’t double. Again this doesn’t seem like a good sign, but I press on.
I have been pre-heating my oven for about 40mins to the hottest it can go with a cast iron pot with it’s lid on in there.
I plop my dough smooth side up into the hot pot and make a few knife slashes across the top. I pop the lid back on and leave for 20mins.
After the 20mins I take the pot out of the over and take off the lid. I’m both happy and sad with what I see. It hasn’t risen very much and it looks like the knife cuts I made were too shallow so there’s no splitting of the crust on top – a pity but not the end of the world.
I pop it into the oven without the lid for another 20mins at 180 celcius to let it brown.
Overall I would say that my first loaf isn’t perfect. But I’ve learned a lot from this process and so I’ll try to tweak and perfect it for next time.
What I’ve learned (so maybe you can learn from my rookie mistakes!):
- Perhaps my starter wasn’t ready because it wouldn’t float in water and in the end the dough didn’t rise that much over night.
- Making bread takes ages! I think all in all making the dough took me about 5 hours quite consistently in the kitchen, maybe longer.
- My mixture seemed a little on the wet side so I might try a different recipe next time.
- I didn’t make my knife cuts deep enough, or the rise wasn’t as expected to the top didn’t split.
The bread itself actually tasted really good – light and fluffy with that slight sour smell and delicious to eat. So I’m happy with my first loaf but now we’re on the road to perfection!
Next time I’m going to try a no-knead sourdough recipe recommended to me by a friend @n0smo who makes wonderful loaves. This will significantly cut down on my time in the kitchen meaning I could do it any day of the week, not just on the weekend.
Secondly, I’m going to try to make sure it’s not as wet as last time and make sure to really make those knife cuts on top count!
But you know what they say, you never forget your first homemade loaf 🙂