Easy sourdough bread — no starter required!

If you don’t want to muck around with odious starters and knuckle-busting kneading, here’s something to try.

I’ve tried making sourdough the traditional way, starting with this:

Sourdough Starter Recipe - Great British Chefs

A starter is messy, takes time and some effort to get going and a lot of mine just failed. But when I did get them to work, the bread I made was not very consistent; too doughy was my usual result. So when I found this recipe (many sources for this) I tried it and it works great.

 

The ingredients:

17.5 ounces of bread flour (496 grams)
1/4 tsp of powdered yeast
2 tsp of salt

12 ounces of filtered water

Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly, the add the water and mix just until combined. This is going to look like a ropy mess, but that’s fine. Cover this with plastic wrap and put in a warm place for 18-20 hours. It will double in size and get very sticky. Turn this out onto a slightly floured board, stretch it out two or three times and roll it into a ball. Line your mixing bowl with parchment paper, put the dough back in and let it rise another 3-4 hours.

Now take a dutch oven or cast iron pot, put it into the oven and heat to 450 degrees F. When it’s hot, grab the dough with the parchment paper and carefully lower it in the pot, being careful to keep it round. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Then uncover it, and bake for 15 minutes longer or until the internal temperature is 210 F. When it’s done take it out and immediately turn it onto a rack to cool. Give it 45 minutes or so before slicing. Yum!

Notes:

  • Use bread flour; all purpose flour wil make a very crumbly bread.
  • Use filtered water. The chlorine in tap water can kill the yeast, so it won’t rise.
  • When you first mix it, resist the temtation to add more water or your bread will turn out doughy. (Yeah, I did this.) It will look too dry, but it’s fine.
  • I used a bowl that I have found is perfect for the round loaf. You can try to make a rectangular loaf, but it did not turn out well for me. I’m not sure why.
  • Make sure the internal temperature is at least 210 F. A bit overcooked is better than undercooked.
  • Let me know if you try this and how it turns out.
  • If you don’t have a kitchen scale or thermometer, al I can say is, get them. You’ll wonder how you ever cooked without.

 

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