The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A very simple sourdough recipe...

Abe's picture
Abe

A very simple sourdough recipe...

A very simple sourdough recipe with great results. It doesn't focus on special techniques or open crumb etc. Rather it's minimal hands on with an old fashioned way of handling a dough approach but very flavoursome. First of all you'll need to build a stiff starter like so...

  • 45g flour (40g bread or AP flour + 5g whole wheat or whole rye)
  • 20g water
  • 10g starter @ 100% hydration 

Based upon a 100% hydration bread flour or AP starter. 

Allow the starter to fully mature and peak then refrigerate for at least 24 hours before moving onto the recipe. 

RECIPE:

  • Bread Flour 200g
  • Whole Wheat Flour 300g
  • Water 325g + extra
  • Salt 10g
  • Stiff Starter 15g*

*after its been in the fridge remove the top of the starter as it might be a bit dried out and use the fresher starter beneath. 

 
  1. In a bowl mix the flours and salt then make a well. 
  2. To the well add the starter then water. 
  3. With your hands break up the starter in the water then slowly mix in the flour forming the dough. 
  4. Knead the dough till full gluten formation. As you are doing this slowly add in more water till you're happy with the hydration. We aren't aiming for as high as possible, rather... just slightly stickier than tacky. It should still be kneadable. 
  5. Once the gluten formation is fully formed then leave it to bulk ferment overnight for 11-12 hours. The dough will have about tripled. It might look over done but it will still have a lot of strength. You'll see when it comes to shaping and utilising folds to build the structure back up. 
  6. Pre-shape and bench rest till the dough relaxes then shape into banneton. 
  7. Final proof till ready - will take about 2 hours but watch the dough and not the clock.
  8. Bake in a pre-heated oven either with steam or in a Dutch Oven for 25 minutes then without steam or lid till there's a lovely golden crust. Allow to fully cool before cutting.

Bon Appetit. 

 
Portus's picture
Portus

Hi Abe, glad to see you're no longer AWOL.  A picture resulting from your VSSDR.  Crumb shot and taste verdict to follow.  Joe  

Abe's picture
Abe

That looks great. Impressive oven spring and such a lovely colour. I'm so glad you tried it and look forward to both the crumb shot and taste report. Nice to be back after being AWOL. 

Portus's picture
Portus

The RT overnight slumber (19-20C) and very stiff starter (a rye seed with whole wheat build) combined to deliver a pleasant hint of sour, something I do not normally get with a fridge-chilled retard.  I confess to having added 5g diastatic malt, which perhaps accounts in part for the colour?  Sticky was achieved at about 70%, and one outcome was a loss of only 12-13% liquid compared to my usual ~15% for a bake at 235C, but this contributed to a nice, chewy crumb.      

The outcome, Abe, is that VSSDR has been added to my very limited bouquet of "go to", repeat breads, so thanks for sharing ;-).

Abe's picture
Abe

Very pleased it has worked so well and that it's made it on to your go to repeat breads. I love the simplicity with great results. The stiff starter will keep for a week or two and all you need to do is dip into it until it runs low and then feed it again. What I had in mind is high percentage wholegrain loaf, low maintainence starter, no fuss sourdough and of course flavourful. I'm glad you like it! 

Benito's picture
Benito

Beautiful crumb in your loaf.  Wonderful oven spring and crust as well.  Great baking Joe.

Benny

Portus's picture
Portus

Thanks, Benny, for your kind words; much appreciated! 

Benito's picture
Benito

That sounds like a great formula Abe.  It’s great that you use a stiff starter, I love the idea of making a large batch and taking small amounts from it each time you wish to bake this bread.  Amazing that the dough rises to triple the volume yet keeps its strength.  I’m amazed that the acid isn’t so high that the dough becomes proteolytic and loses strength.  But Joe’s bake of this proves that it certainly does not.  

Benny

Abe's picture
Abe

Thank you Benny. Low hydration starters tend to give strength to a dough. Well that's what I find anyway. They also have very good flavour and keep for a long time in the fridge even after peaking. You can build up a healthy yeast population by allowing it to rise and peak then refrigerate for a week or two to use straight in the dough. This method works well because the inoculation is low. Rule of thumb when using starter straight in the dough, without a levain build, is the more recently matured starter can be used in larger percentages but the longer it's been less is more. With this recipe it's a long ferment anyway so no issue there as only 3% starter of the flour is used. And while the dough has risen beyond what is normally aimed for in a sourdough it is still strong and has built up good flavour. Hope you try it and let me know what you think. Enjoy! 

Benito's picture
Benito

I have little experience with stiff levains limited to my recent bakes of the purple sweet potato sourdough sandwich loaf.  What you describe as the strength of the stiff levain fits with everything that I’ve read about them.  The topic of bigas and LM have come up in the ciabatta CB making me think about trying to use them more and more.

Thanks again Abe for sharing your formula, I think I will give it a go soon.

Benny

albacore's picture
albacore

I'm really surprised at the loaf height and crumb for 60% whole wheat and such a tiny amount of starter. I've never been a lover of recipes with minute amounts of starter or yeast - I may have to revise my opinion!

Lance