- 1 cup active sourdough starter
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Day 1: Preparing the Dough
- Activate Your Starter:
- Ensure your sourdough starter is active and has been fed within the last 4-6 hours.
- Mixing the Dough:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of active sourdough starter with 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water. Stir to combine.
- Incorporating Flour:
- Gradually add 4 cups of all-purpose flour, stirring continuously to form a shaggy dough.
- Let the dough rest for 30 minutes to an hour. This autolyse period helps the flour absorb water, making it easier to knead.
Day 1 (Continued): Kneading and First Rise
- Adding Salt:
- Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt evenly over the dough.
- Knead the dough in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
- First Rise:
- Place the kneaded dough back into the bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rise at room temperature for 3-4 hours or until it has doubled in size.
Day 1 (Continued): Shaping and Second Rise
- Shaping the Dough:
- Gently turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Shape it into a round loaf by folding the edges towards the center.
- Second Rise:
- Place the shaped dough on a floured surface, cover with a cloth, and let it rise for an additional 1-2 hours.
Day 1 (Continued): Preparing for Baking
- Preheat Your Oven:
- Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). If you have a Dutch oven, place it in the oven to heat as well.
- Scoring the Dough:
- Optional but recommended: Score the top of the dough with a sharp knife or razor blade. This allows the bread to expand and prevents uneven cracking.
Day 1 (Continued): Baking
- Baking in a Dutch Oven:
- If using a Dutch oven, carefully transfer the scored dough into the preheated pot. Cover with the lid and bake for 20 minutes.
- Uncovering and Finishing:
- Remove the lid and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
- Allow your beautiful sourdough loaf to cool on a wire rack before slicing. This step is crucial for the best texture.
- Room Temperature: Maintain a warm room temperature for optimal fermentation and rising. Around 70°F (21°C) is ideal.
- Patience is a Virtue: Sourdough requires time, so be patient during the rising stages. The slow fermentation process contributes to the rich flavor of the bread.
This easy sourdough bread recipe is designed for beginners, providing a straightforward approach to creating a delicious, homemade loaf. Enjoy the process of crafting your sourdough masterpiece!