I am by no means a Master Baker but when it comes to eating sourdough bread, I know what I like: crusty but not hard, nicely salted and tangy enough so that I know what I eat.
I have baked many, many sourdoughs and I honestly can not taste the difference between those that take three days to make and the one I am about to give you the recipe off. To me, it ticks all the boxes as far as satisfaction and taste goes and as far as time goes, this method makes sense in my life!! I do the mixing in the afternoon and the baking the next morning, which works out just perfect. After all, food and the process of creating it should add joy to your life!
100g active sourdough starter
400g bread flour
Add your starter, water and salt to a bowl and leave to stand for ten minutes or so.
Stir the mixture every now and then during this time.
Add the bread flour.
Stick your hand in the bowl and sqish the water and flour between your fingers by grabbing some in your hand and then making a tight fist. Keep going until all the ingredients are incorporated and you have no big lumps in the dough.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and set aside for 30 minutes.
Now, wet your hands to stretch and fold the dough. With the bowl in front of you, start at the top: push your hand underneath the dough, grab some of it and stretch it up as far as it will go. Relax it and fold it over the top of the dough, towards you. Do the same, but in reverse, with the dough closest to you and then proceed to do both the left and right sides, until you have stretched and folded the dough from four different directions.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to rest for another 30 min.
Repeat this process of stretching and folding 3 – 4 times. You will feel the dough becoming stronger each time you stretch and fold!
Cover the dough after the last folding session and put it somewhere cool in your kitchen, for 12 – 18 hours.
The dough is ready to be shaped once it has increased in volume and you can see air bubbles in it.
Transfer the dough to a work surface dusted with flour and shape your bread. Carefully transfer it to baking paper and slash it/decorate with a lime or sharp knife.
Take hold of the edges of the baking paper and transfer the bread to a dutch oven, put on the lid and leave for about an hour.
Preheat your oven to 250℃.
Place the dutch oven in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, with the lid on.
Turn the oven temperature down to 220℃ , take off the lid of the dutch oven and bake the bread for another 20 minutes.
Remove the dutch oven from the oven and remove the bread from it.
Cool on a cooling rack.