We bake and serve sourdough to the guests daily in our Field Kitchen restaurant. Our mornings wouldn't be the same without the fresh, doughy aroma floating around the restaurant. Head Chef Lewis has continued to make sourdough at home during isolation.
Below you'll find his step by step guide to help you master the perfect loaf during isolation.
First things first, you'll need a sourdough starter
Instead of using active dry yeast like in other bread recipes, sourdough bread uses a starter. It is made from fermented dough which is full of natural yeast and bacteria. Along with leavening the bread, the starter also creates that classic sour flavour.
Starter is quite simply flour and water which is fed regularly to keep it alive. The beauty of this, is that as long as you keep the starter alive, you'll never run out!
If you don't yet have your own starter and can't pinch any from your local bakery, you can make a fresh batch at home following the below recipe.
Recipe for 2 loaves
900g bread flour - 700ml warm water - 100g rye or wholemeal - 200g sourdough starter⠀
Before beginning, just check your starter is ready to use by popping a teaspoon of it into water. If it floats you are ready to bake.
- Put all the ingredients into a bowl and using your fingers scrunch together.
- Once all combined, cover with a tea towel and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, mix 40ml of water with 20g salt and then add to the mixture. Again use your hands to work it into the dough mix. The salt helps to tighten the dough so you can tuck the sides under to shape. Cover with a tea towel and rest for a further 30 minutes.
- After it has rested, you need to fold your dough. You are folding it underneath into thirds on four sides to create the folds and layers. This is stretching the gluten and creating a structure. Fold like this every 30 minutes, 5-6 times and then rest for 1-2 hours.
- After it’s rested for 1-2 hours, you are ready to shape your dough. Tip onto a lightly floured bench and divide the dough into two. If you don’t have a dough scraper, using a card like a driving licence also does the trick.
- Stretch the dough out into a rectangle. Then cross-stitch down the middle, folding into thirds from four sides – the same as you did earlier but this time on top.
- Then scrape the flour off the bench and turn the dough upside down. Pull your hands backwards to tighten the dough and seal off the bottom. You don’t want to leave any flour on the bench as this will cause the dough to slide.
- Next, flour the dough and tip upside down into a floured bowl so the seam is facing upwards. Lewis has used a floured ricotta basket but a bowl with a floured tea towel does the same thing. Just make sure it’s got lots of flour so it doesn’t stick.
- Leave at room temperature for 1-2 hours then fridge overnight.
The next morning
- The next morning, preheat oven to 220 and put a casserole pot in the oven to preheat with the oven.
- When oven is at temperature, remove your pot, put a little flour in the bottom and tip your loaf in. It’s important to do this confidently. Score the top of the loaf with a vegetable knife, place the lid back on and put in the oven for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, take it out of the oven and take the lid off. This will help crisp up the top and get that lovely golden colour.
- Place back in the oven for a further 20 minutes, until all crisp and golden. After 20 minutes, remove from the oven and take out of the pot to cool.
- And there you have it. Beautiful crunchy crust with a crumpet like texture. Now just to add your topping of choice – we favour lots of butter and marmalade!
Leaks on sourdough toast
A simple and tasty way to use leeks. Before discarding the tough leek tops, peel away the outer leaves to find the central niblet; this part is tender and good to use.
Serves 2 - prep 10 mins, cook 10 mins