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The simplest white sourdough bread

If you've always wanted to make sourdough but are afraid to try, this is the recipe for you! Because of its high hydration, this loaf is simple to make with a hand-held mixer and dough hooks. It uses only the simplest ingredients (flour, salt and water) and tastes delicious. The texture is chewy and the crust is crisp. It smells delectable when it comes out of the oven. The recipe is adapted from Sam & Sam Clark's fabulous book, Moro: The Cookbook.

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Stage 1

Ingredients (to make 2 loaves)

250g Sourdough starter (167% hydration, i.e. fed with 150g flour and 250ml water)

450g Unbleached strong white bread flour, preferably organic

700ml Water

Method

Using a mixer with a dough hook, combine the flour, water and starter until more or less smooth. Transfer to a larger bowl if the mixture comes above two-thirds, for it will rise a little bit. Cover and leave for several hours or overnight.

Stage 2

Ingredients

450g Unbleached strong white bread flour, preferably organic

2-3 tsp Fine sea salt, depending on how sour the dough is

Method

Add the flour and salt to the bowl of dough that has been resting overnight and beat using a mixer with a dough hook for about 5 minutes until more or less smooth and elastic. While the dough rests for 5–10 minutes, oil two rectangular bread tins, roughly 22 cm long by 11 cm wide and 6.5 cm high, then dust the inside generously with flour. Beat the dough again for another minute.

Divide the dough and fill each tin just over half, but no more than two-thirds, full. Dust the tops with more flour. Depending on the room temperature and activity of the starter, the dough will need 3-5 hours to prove until increased in size by a third at least, or until it has risen just over the top of the tins. To see if it is ready, press your hand gently on top of the dough. It should feel light and airy.

Stage 3

When the dough is roughly in its last hour of rising, preheat the oven to 230 °C/450 °F/Gas 8. When the oven is up to temperature and you are satisfied the dough has risen sufficiently, place the tins on the middle shelf. Bake for 30 minutes before removing the bread from the tins and baking for a further 10-15 minutes. If the bread has formed a good hard crust and has browned it is ready. To make extra sure, tap the bottom, which should feel hollow. Transfer to a cooling rack and leave until completely cool. It is always tempting to cut the bread before it has totally cooled, but if you do, the steam will be released and change the texture. Bread with a perfect texture should have even holes and a glossy look to it. If your bread is split or cracked in any way, then it means it had not quite proved enough.

Added by: AHarding


Tags: Bread White Sourdough

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