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Mel's sourdough

Mel’s Sourdough

1,000g bread flour (I use 80% white, 20% wholemeal)
800g water (80%)*
150g starter (15%)
Salt 20g (2%) – I add less than 2%

*use a bit less as a beginner! Gradually increase hydration as you become more confident

Half the ingredients to make one loaf (advisable for your first few bakes!)

To feed starter - 75g water, 75g flour (or less but keep ratio the same)– keep in a large jar with a lid at room temperature if baking frequently (every other day) or in the fridge if once a week.


Ensure starter is a paste consistency and has lots of bubbles – can be used straight from the fridge
• Mix flour and 70% of the water (add the rest gradually during folding later) let it sit for 45 mins (no kneading at this stage)
• Pour starter over flour and water and add salt. Start to fold/knead by hand or with dough hook adding more water gradually. Repeat kneading every 30 mins for 2 hours. By the end of 2 hours it should pull away from the sides and have structure (not flat but will pull away from the sides)
• Proof at room temperature for 4-6 hours (much shorter time in very warm atmosphere)
• Briefly stretch and fold on a lightly floured, cold surface and then cover and leave for 30 mins
• Flour the proofing baskets generously (or turn onto baking parchment sprayed with water to avoid sticking – this is less messy and gives the same result) and then split the dough into 2, stretch and fold again and shape into 2 loaves (try not to deflate the air you’ve worked to create)
• Place in proofing baskets to proof for 2-3 hours at room temperature or in the fridge over night
• The dough is ready when you poke it and it springs back a little bit leaving a small dent
• Slash the dough with a blade or very sharp knife, 2-4 slashes
• Heat oven to 230 degrees. Place dough in a dutch oven (le creuset or other oven proof dish with lid on) or on baking sheet – if using grease proof paper just lift it into the dish or onto the baking tray. Pour boiling water into the bottom of the oven when it has reached temperature to produce a steam. (only if you are baking a loaf on a tray, the dish with lid produces its own steam)
• Dutch oven – bake for 35 mins with lid, 25 mins without. On baking sheet – for 25 mins. It’s ready if it is brown and crusty.

Dough hook on a machine does the same job as by hand
Use a metal dough scraper to avoid sticking to your hands (bought this and it was a game changer!)
Don’t add too much flour at the last stage, keep it as wet as possible to produce the most air/holes
Proofing process can be reversed (fridge first) but best results seem to be with fridge last
Exact measurements aren’t important, consistency is.