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EASY SOURDOUGH BREAD - Want to make someone feel really special? Want to feel great yourself? Give a loaf of homemade sourdough bread!!

Basic Sourdough Bread

Super-basic. No bells, no whistles - just bread.

Course Bread
Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 12 hours 30 minutes
Servings 1 Loaf
Author Renée

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sourdough starter unfed & room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water you may need more or less, depending on your starter's hydration. Mine is 100% hydration starter.
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In a stand-mixer, mix ingredients with bread hook until just combined. Let rest for 10-20 minutes. While it is resting, lightly coat a medium-sized bowl with olive oil. The bowl needs to be a big enough to allow the dough to double in size.
  2. Knead dough with bread hook 5-10 minutes.
  3. Remove from mixer, shape into ball and put into the oiled bowl, smooth-side down, and then flip it smooth-side up so that all sides of the dough are covered with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
  4. Let rise at least 6 hours (or until double in size) folding twice during that time. (This long rise is what helps make it tolerable for folks with gluten sensitivity.)
  5. Form bread into a boule (a round loaf) and place on a square of parchment paper. With a wet serrated knife, cut a couple of slashes on the top. (So far, I've always forgotten to do this and it wasn't the end of the world.) Cover loosely with a damp towel and allow to rise for 1 1/2- 2 hours.
  6. In the last 30 or 40 minutes of the last rise, move your oven rack to the bottom third of oven. Put a cast iron Dutch oven with lid in the cold oven and preheat to 450º for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid from the Dutch oven and put the boule in by picking up the corners of the parchment and gently setting it in. Be very careful - the Dutch oven and lid are very hot. (I burnt myself the first time!)
  8. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and bake for 12-13 minutes. Uncover and bake another 12-13 minutes.
  9. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. DO NOT slice the bread until it has set for 30 minutes - this is part of the baking process. Really.

Recipe Notes

If you don't have a cast iron Dutch oven, you can use a baking stone. If you use a baking stone, cover the boulé with a big roast pan lid or something like that. The idea is to create some steam for the first part of the baking process- this is what gives it that awesome chewy crust.