If you are bored at home and are finding new hobbies to pick up, baking can be one of the most fun and tastiest activities you can do at home. One of the simplest and best recipes you could try out is for sourdough bread. This delicious bread can be easily baked without wasting too much time. If you have little to no experience, sourdough bread can be the perfect starter for your baking future.
It can be scary and intimidating to try baking for the first time. Still, after attempting to try a sourdough bread recipe, the intimidating factor of baking can be removed and replaced with confidence. This article will give you the best and most cohesive beginner’s guide to making sourdough bread.
Understanding the science behind sourdough fermentation
At its core, sourdough bread is made through a process called natural fermentation. This means that instead of using commercial yeast to leaven the dough, wild yeasts and bacteria present in the flour and environment are used to cause the dough to rise. These wild yeasts and bacteria are what give sourdough bread its distinct flavor and texture.
The key to successful natural fermentation in sourdough bread lies in understanding the role of these microorganisms. Yeasts feed on sugars found naturally in flour, breaking them down into carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. It is this gas that causes the dough to rise. Bacteria also play an important role by producing lactic acid which gives sourdough bread its tangy flavor.
Temperature plays a crucial role in natural fermentation as well. Warmer temperatures encourage faster fermentation while cooler temperatures slow it down. This is why many recipes call for long proofing times at room temperature or even in the refrigerator.
Another important factor affecting natural fermentation is hydration level – or how much water is added to the dough. A wetter dough will allow for more activity from both yeasts and bacteria resulting in more complex flavors but also requiring more careful handling during shaping.
Begin With An Amazing Sourdough Bread Starter
Sourdough bread is the perfect starter recipe for bakers just beginning. This type of bread is not very strict with the recipe and only needs little kneading. A sourdough bread starter is a mixture of water and flowers, collecting bacteria and yeast. This is part of the bread-making process called preferment. This process can help with the flavor of the bread. Preferment also helps the bread rise.
Before the starter can be used, it could reach about ten days of proper care and nourishment until it is ready. You have to feed the starter every day so that it can grow.
Afterward, regularly check in so that you are sure that everything is going perfectly. When it comes to sourdough bread starters, you can either make your own or order one online at https://www.youkneadsourdough.com.au/.
If you are a casual baker who only bakes sometimes, you can place your sourdough bread starter in a jar and a fridge. If you do this, you should feed it once a week. However, if you are likely to bake more than usual, you could put the starter on your counter and feed it once a day. Also, if you are not going to bake for a while, you could place it in the freezer and wake it up once you bake.
Step-by-Step Sourdough Bread Tutorial
Now that you have your sourdough bread starter, it is time to bake your own into life finally. Baking sourdough bread is fairly basic, so there’s no need to panic. Below are the steps to make a loaf of delicious sourdough bread.
1. Prepare the Sourdough Bread Starter
Before you plan on baking, make sure that you remove your sourdough bread starter from the fridge a night before you do the task. Once you remove the starter, you must feed it to prepare it for baking. You should pour off half of the starter and feed it with flour and water. Whisk it afterward and ensure there are no visible lumps.
After you whisk the sourdough bread starter, you should make it rest in a warm place until it increases in size and has a bubbly surface. This could take about 2 to 12 hours in total.
2. Properly Mix the Dough
Now that you have a healthy and properly-fed sourdough bread starter, mix it with salt, flour, and water. Once you mix it with those ingredients, make a very sticky dough. If you are having trouble mixing properly, you could use wet hands to have more control over the dough. After you knead the dough, form it into a ball.
3. Let the Dough Rest
Now that you have the dough prepared, you need to let it rest overnight so it can rise fully. Having the dough properly rest can jumpstart the development of gluten and make the bread easier to handle. Also, more gluten means more flavor and texture. When the dough is resting, the flour can fully absorb the water and hydrate, which helps the gluten create the added flavor.
4. Shape the Dough Properly
Now it’s time to make your loaves. For a smaller size, lightly dust your surface with flour and cut your dough in half. But if you make a large dough, put it on a surface without flour. Now shape the dough to your liking.
5. Finally, Bake Your Bread
The overall process is ended by baking the bread. Bake the bread in an oven where there is moisture. Let the bread rise and create a perfect crust so that the textures are perfect. Preheat the oven before putting the dough in. Afterward, put the dough on parchment paper and finally bake it. Now just wait for your kitchen to be filled with the sweet smell of bread.
Bake Your Own Sourdough Bread!
Now that you know the steps in making sourdough bread, you can finally bake your delicious snack! Make sure you have the proper sourdough bread starter, which you can make or buy online to create the best bread.