My first attempt at sourdough was less than amazing. It was flat and not as sourdough-y as I wanted. This time, I wanted a nice crusty loaf with a soft interior that could be used for a solid sandwich bread. Packaged along with my replacement sourdough starter was a small pamphlet with feeding instructions and a few basic recipes. The first one was Rustic Sourdough Bread and looked like a super basic loaf and a good place to start.
One of my biggest problems with I first started baking bread was adding too much flour to the dough in order to make it “workable”–whatever that meant. I’ve since learned that dough will become less sticky as it is kneaded and adding more flour at the beginning will only lead to sadness and a dry loaf.
I added only a touch of flour to this dough and it came together despite being a fairly wet dough. Just keep working on the dough and trust in the gluten development. And commit to having nasty dough covered hands by the end of the experience. Your hands are washable.
After a couple of rises and a bake, the bread was perfect. I made these two freeformish loaves but I’ve since made this a few times and am now usually baking it in a 8×4 loaf pan to give myself nice sandwich slices for lunches.
I’ve also been halving the recipe since this bread does not keep for long. Its kind of a shame but its so delicious we usually end up finishing a loaf in the few days we have with it. This is also a super easy dough and has become a standard twice a week bake here the last few weeks.
The One Loaf Sourdough Option
1/2 cup fed sourdough. You’ll probably end up discarding another 1/2 cup from your feeding but I find its easier to dump 1/2 cup of starter than an entire loaf of bread.
3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
generous 1 teaspoon salt
300 grams AP flour
Combine all ingredients and knead until the dough comes together and forms a smooth ball. Place in an oiled bowl to rise until doubled (about 90 minutes). Turn out and fold a few times to gently deflate. Shape into a loaf and place in an 8×4 loaf pan. Cover and allow to rise for about an hour (it won’t double but it will rise a bit). Preheat oven to 425 near the end of the second rise. Slash tops and bake for 20-25 minutes until nicely golden brown. Remove from oven and turn out of loaf pan and allow to fully cool.