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Plain White Sourdough

Light & Airy, Crispy White Sourdough Loaf

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6-12 hours before mixing dough together make your Sourdough Sponge:

100g sourdough starter

100g white bread flour

100g cold water

Cover the bowl with sheets of plastic, a lid or a slightly damp towel.


The sponge should be acitve, bubbly and have a strong sour yeasty smell when you uncover it after 6-12 hrs.

Mix together:

300g sourdough sponge

450g cold water

650g white bread flour

10-20g salt (to your preference)

20g malted wheat flakes (optional)

Once the ingredients are mixed together to form a loose dough, turn out onto a floured worktop and knead for 10 min, forming a soft dough which may be slightly wet. Prove covered in oiled bowl for 1.5 hrs, knead again for 5 min, making sure you fully stretch out the dough and fold it back in on itself again and again to help the yeast produce air pockets; prove covered in oiled bowl for 2.5 hrs. Turn out onto floured workbench but do not knead, simply shape into 2 loaves and leave to prove for a further 4 - 5 hrs checking the rise often after 4 hrs.

Heat oven to 220*C ideally a baking stone allows for the best crispy crust texture but is not the only way to acheive a crisp crust.

When the loaves are ready for baking, slash them artfully across the tops and spray a fine mist of cold water onto them.

Bake both on a metal tray for 40 min or in identical tins together for 50 min. If baking on an oven stone, I recommend baking one at a time for 45 min each.

Allow to cool completely on wire rack (about 1.5hrs) before slicing.

Added by: Lovely.leslie

Tags: Bread White Sourdough

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It's all sticky!

Like the other commenter, I am able to make bread which rises fine, but it has lots of small holes. I tried to use the "loose" dough and the stretching technique that is described in your recipe - but it sticks to everything - my fingers, the surface, the taps - everything! How do I find the right degree of softness/hardness/looseness/wetness? I also note that after a couple of provings it gets *wetter* and harder to handle. The fermentation seems to produce moisture. So this means it gets more and more sticky at each stretch/rest stage. It was just about manageable when I put it in the "oiled bowl". But then after the 2.5 hour proving in your recipe, it was very soft indeed, and certainly couldn't be "shaped". It just oozed! Spread out across the board. There was no way I could "shape" it, and again it stuck to everything. I'm using wholemeal flour. Is that the problem?

JaneN 01 January 2018

RE: It's all sticky!

Hi Jane, I'm so sorry you're having trouble with the stickiness. That does tend to happen with wholemeal flour, it's not as absorbent as pure white bread flour. If you would like to use wholemeal bread flour in this recipe i would recommend using an oiled tin for the final proving, and baking it in the tin as well to see if that will help with the 'ooze' factor. You also asked a really good question: "How do I find the right degree of softness/hardness/looseness/wetness?" Sometimes dough, especially sourdough, will be sticky, it's unavoidable. I have gone the route of adding more flour when it's too loose, or adding more water when it's too firm; sometimes this works, other times I go back and forth between flour and water so many times I think I've definitely mucked up the whole thing. The trick with adding more of either flour or water is to add very little at a time. Otherwise, I chuck it in a tin, or a few tins based on the size of loaves I want and at least it will be tasty even if I doesn't look the way I thought it would when i set out. I hope that helps a bit. Thanks for your comments. :)

Lovely.leslie 28 February 2018

Sour dough

How do you achieve the airy structure with lots of holes? I don't seem to manage it at least not to the degree in your picture

theangelika@hotmail.co.uk 15 July 2017

RE: Sour dough

Hello theangelika! Thank you for your question. I have to admit, when I first sliced this bread and saw the texture inside, I did a victory dance. It was the first time I had used this method, of stretching the dough, folding it back on itself and allowing it to relax several times, rather than the traditional kneading and proving methods which never seemed to work for proper Sourdough. Once the dough is formed and allowed to "come together" so that it has some slack but doesn't come apart in your hands, each following kneading is simply stretching the dough very thin, pulling out the sides to ensure it has maximum stretch. Then the thinly stretched dough can be folded from each side back into the centre, and formed back into a ball and left to rest again. I can suggest for you to try and change the timings between proving. Start by kneading to bring it together, leave for 10min, knead again, wait 10min, and so on until you reach the desired texture which is best for stretching, then you can begin to stretch the dough without breaking it. All recipes are from an evolution of changes to timings and methods. It's always best to create your own, because any bread Baker will know, not every method works every time. Good luck! Lovely.Leslie

Lovely.leslie 16 July 2017

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