Homemade sourdough bread

6 servings Prep: 12 hrs, Cooking: 40 mins
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By Food24 October 03 2017
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Ingredients (8)

450 g flour — white bread
50 g flour — wholewheat
200 g sourdough starter
375 g water
10 g salt
250 g flour — wholewheat
250 g flour — white bread
500 g water
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To make the starter: 
Combine and mix ingredients well. Cover the container with a cloth. Feed your starter daily with: 50g wholewheat flour, 50g bread flour and 100g water. NOTE: It will take roughly 7 days for the yeast to become active enough to use. Read all about sourdough bread-making here

Combine the flour, starter and water. Mix until it forms a rough dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Make a little well in the top of the dough, place the salt and a Tbs of water in the well. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes. This is called an autolyse and allows the proteins in the dough to become stronger. Knead the the salt into the dough and place the dough back into the oiled bowl. 

Cover the dough and leave at room temperature for roughly 30 min before the first fold. Folding happens when you literally pull the dough up and fold it over towards yourself. This needs to happen with all four ‘sides’ of the dough. You will aim to fold your dough between 4 and 6 times with 30 min intervals. Folding the dough is very important as it stretches the gluten strands in your bread, allowing the proteins to become stronger. The proteins are what trap the little air pockets and allows for a beautiful open crumb. It also ‘de-gasses’ the dough which helps to prevent the dough from over-proofing. 

Once you are ready to bake the dough, you will shape it accordingly. Sprinkle some flour over your counter and turn the dough out on top. Work gently to avoid deflating the dough.

After mixing the dough you will leave it covered at room temperature. Fold the bread every 30 – 60 minutes. The dough needs to be folded between 4 and 8 times. This stretches the dough, develops the proteins/gluten and elongates the bubbles produces by the yeast. This will ultimately ensure for a softer open crumb and also a stronger form when free-shaping your bread.

Firstly in this process you need to weigh your dough to ensure you have even sized loaves. You now takes these weighed out pieces of dough and preshape it into a ball/round form. You can now leave this dough to rest on your work bench (bench rest) for anything between 30 minutes to 2 hours. You then take the relaxed ball of dough and start your shaping process.

For an elongated shape you will flatten your dough and bring the sides in to the center. You will then start folding the dough from the furthest side towards you. Fold your dough half way over and pinch tight. Fold it over half way again and pinch again. Repeat this process until your entire dough had been tightened and is in a nice long shape.

For a Boulle you will just tighten your dough into a ball and place in a bowl with the seam side facing upwards. You always need use a cloth that has been dusted with corn flour. This is both for visual effects as well as easing the process of taking the bread out of the basket when it has been proofing for roughly 12hours.

Place the bread in a cool dry place or a refrigerator overnight to allow for the necessary fermentation to take place.

Make sure you start your baking with a preheated oven at 260°C. Preheat the tray that you will be baking on. When you are ready to bake, take the tray out of the oven, lightly dust with flour and place the dough softly on this surface. Sore with a very sharp blade or serared knife and place in the oven as quickly as possible. After baking for 10 minutes you can lower the temperature to 22°C.

The bread will be done within about 35-45 minutes. Check for a nice golden brown colour and a hollow tap if you need a second opinion.

Recipe published with permission of chef Ciska Rossouw .

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