I've been making sourdough every Sunday for the last 2 years. It's the most satisfying thing I've ever learnt to cook and I learn something new with every loaf I make. Sourdough is made using a wild live yeast (starter or 'the bug') and the sour taste comes from bacteria that grows along side the yeast.
My mum is the queen of sourdough in our family and this recipe comes from her many years of perfecting it. Persistence is key when making this bread, I have definitely had my fails over the years but I promise it will all be worth it when you pull the perfect loaf out of the oven! A great loaf (in my opinion) should have a crunchy, bubbly exterior and a gluey centre. The whole process from start to finish is about 9.5 hours but don't worry 8 of that is waiting for the bread to rise.
1 800g loaf
450g high grade flour
50g wholemeal flour
350mls lukewarm water
100g starter bug
25mls lukewarm water
1 tablespoon high grade flour
2 teaspoon cornflour
Remove starter bug from the fridge 30 minutes before you start, this will give it time to wake up and start bubbling.
In a jug combine the 350mls of lukewarm water and the starter bug. Give it a good mix until starter has dissolved, set aside for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the high grade and wholemeal flours. Then add the starter mix. Using your hands or a spatula, bring together until well combined. The dough will be quite sticky. Cover with a tea towel and rest for 30 minutes.
Dissolve the salt in the 25mls of water then add to dough. Mix well, I find using your hands is the best method to get all the water soaked into the dough. Place a tea towel on top of the bowl and let rest for 4 hours in a warm spot not directly in the sun. Every hour you need to fold the dough. Grab the side of the dough and pull it up and to the centre of the bowl, do this to all four sides rotating the bowl 90° each time.
Once the dough has rested for 4 hours, dust a clean surface with flour and place dough in the centre. Using your hands, gently stretch the dough into a large square. Try not to rip holes in the dough. Then fold the dough back on itself twice.
Line a colander or proofing basket with a clean tea towel. Sprinkle over the tablespoon of high grade flour and cornflour and smooth out over the tea towel. Place the dough in the colander or proofing basket, cover and let rest undisturbed for 4 hours.
Place a dutch oven into the oven and heat to 230°C.
Once reached temperature, carefully remove dutch oven from the oven and gently flip the dough into the dutch oven. Using a sharp knife, carefully score the top of the dough on a slight angle. Place the lid on top and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove lid from dutch oven and turn the temperature down to 200°C and bake for a further 30 minutes.
Cool loaves completely before slicing.