Sourdough bread: bacteria, ruler of the world

I love making sourdough bread. It’s magical. It’s made from strong plain flour, water and a little salt – how brilliant is that! It’s been made for centuries – with different grains, all over the world. I can make a loaf in my bread maker using yeast in as little as 2 hours. Sourdough takes much longer. This is how I make mine – it’s a work in progress, but isn’t everything šŸ˜‰

  • Add 250g of starter (a mix of flour and water that has been fermenting in a kilner jar for a few months now, take some out, top it up),
  • To 500g of strong flour, kneed by hand or inyour mixer with a dough hook while adding up to 250ml of filtered water (too much chlorine can weaken the dough) – for a firm sticky dough
  • Add a teaspoon and a half of salt, kneed a little more, then cover lightly with cling film in a warm kitchen and leave for about 4 hrs until it’s grown by about a half
  • Turn out into a WELL floured banneton, I cover loosely just to stop foreign bodies falling in
  • Leave overnight, then re-flour the top
  • Heat the oven to about gas 8 – I have an Aga, so it just goes into the top
  • Place a dish of boiling water on the floor of the oven (gives a crispy & coloured crust)
  • Oil a baking sheet, turn the dough out
  • Bake for about 30 mins – move it down, or turn down to about gas 5 after about 20/25mins – keep checking – knock it to see if it sounds good – if it does, it’s done!

We reckon we rule the world, but we don’t – bacteria has been here since the beginning- it just lets us hang around for now!