It’s been a while since I made sourdough, probably about 4 years or so, but the lack of yeast on the shelves means it’s back on my lockdown radar.
Two weeks ago my friend Andy got in touch asking me if I had a sourdough starter that he could have. I didn’t, but said I would happily make some as my old cottage seems to make a pretty good starter.
There are LOADS of various sourdough starter recipes online, some really complicated ones, some that add all kinds of things from yoghurt to leaves, but I have no interest in complicated recipes so I do my own lazy version, and you know what? It works a treat.
All I do is put some plain flour into a Tupperware dish then add enough cold water to make it into a thick paste, like a tin of matt paint. I don’t weigh or measure the water or flour, I really can’t be arsed with dicking about weighing and measuring. Each day I add a bit more flour, maybe about 3 tablespoons and a bit more water to it and give it a good stir to get back to a thick consistency that is still liquid and drops off a spoon easily. When it separates I just stir it all together. If the Tupperware gets too full, I discard some and then add the flour and water. I leave the Tupperware, uncovered in the kitchen out of the way at this point.
I ran out of plain flour after about 10 days so added some organic stoneground rye flour that I had knocking about and it really liked this, it bubbled better and started to get really sour smelling, happy starter.
It took two weeks to get to the point I wanted it. Starters take time, don’t rush it, it will get there. I knew it was ready as about half an hour after feeding it would have risen up the Tupperware and be bubbly and was smelling quite sour.
Then it came to making the loaf, and you know what? I did a really lazy loaf too.
Easy, lazy sourdough loaf:
- 270g strong white bread flour
- 200g sourdough starter (unfed that day, see above for how I make it)
- 130ml water, I use cold water straight from the tap, you may need a little more depending on how runny your starter is.
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- Put everything into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix for about 10 minutes until supple and stretchy.
- Put the dough in an oiled bowl (I use the mixer bowl) and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave for 3 hours.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball by tucking the edges into the centre. Put into a floured proving basket seal side up. Cover with a damp cloth and leave for 3 hours. You can pop it in the fridge and leave overnight also at this stage.
- Get your big dutch oven pot out (I use a cheap but very heavy enamelled Le Creuset wannabe picked up from Sainsburys years ago) and some baking parchment. Cut a round of parchment to fit the base with some excess – I just trace the shape of the lid and cut it out.
- Preheat oven to 230C. Put the big Le Creuset style casserole pot in with its lid on for about 20 minutes to get really hot.
- When the pot is hot, gently upend the dough onto the parchment (I put the parchment over the bowl then flip and tip. Score the dough with a razor blade so the loaf can expand.
- Take the pot out of the oven, pop in your dough on the parchment (by holding the edges of the parchment) pop the lid on and get it into the oven quickly.
- Bake for 25 minutes then remove the lid and continue to bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove your bread from the pot and leave to cool completely (well if you have any self restraint, but it helps the crust set)
- Enjoy your sourdough loaf.