Sourdough is a pure delight to eat – hot from the oven slathered in honey and butter, toasted and rubbed with garlic topped with tomatoes and basil, ripped up into chunks over hot soup.
But it is often hard to get hold of and expensive – despite being a relatively easy bake, as long as you have plenty of patience!
It is possible to make your sourdough starter at home if you have time to wait for it to prove, but they can also be found online or in bakeries and can then last a life time if you continue to feed it.
200g strong white bread flour
200g malted grain flour
200g sourdough starter
10ml rapeseed oil
190ml tepid water
Large mixing bowl
Cling film or damp cloth or tea towel
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and knead on a flat surface for 10 minutes.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film or a damp cloth.
Allow to prove in a warm place until it has increased in size by half – this could take anywhere between two – six hours depending on how warm your environment is and how active your starter is.
Knock back all the air and shape it a loaf, place into your floured bread proving basket (if you don’t have one, a large bowl lined with a clean, floured cloth will do) and allow to rise in size by half again, covered with clingfilm.
Prepare your oven to its highest setting, depending on your oven it could range between 230C – 250C, place a baking tray or a baking stone into the oven to get as hot as possible.
When you’re about to bake, place a metal container of boiling water into the bottom of the oven to create some steam. Then take your preheated tray or stone out of the oven, dust with flour and gently turn your loaf onto it, adding a few slashes on the top with a very sharp knife.
Shut the door quickly and allow to bake at high temperature for 10 minutes, this will see the dramatic rise.
Turn the oven down to 180C – 160C and allow to cook until your loaf is golden and crispy with a hollow sound when you tap the bottom, this could take another 30 – 40 minutes.
Leave to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.