Making sourdough bread

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The starter is finally ready to make bread. Sourdough starters take time and feeding to grow a strong and healthy community of yeasts.  Pancakes, muffins, doughnuts and crumpets are all possible before the starter is mature but you have to wait a while before making bread or it simply won’t rise,

I went looking for a simple and (relatively) quick method this time, as part of the reason I don’t make a lot of bread is the time factor, especially while I am working. I found this You Tube video and it is amazingly easy to follow.

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Day seven starter, ready to make bread

The basic recipe

3 cups of flour (plain flour, bread flour, spelt, rye, it doesn’t seem to matter)

1 cup water (plus a little dash more sometimes)

1/2 a teaspoon of salt

Sourdough starter

Just mix the flour, water and salt together into a dough. Watch the You Tube video to get the knead-in-the-bowl technique, it does make things less messy. When the dough is a sticky mass that sort of sticks together cover it and leave sitting on the bench (or in an esky with cooler bricks like she does on the video).

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My sticky mess….er…mass of dough

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Covered over and left on the bench while I go out and rake leaves

After the bread has risen to about double the size of the original lump it is time to knead it a little bit more. Once again I used the knead-in-the-bowl method. It is also time to find a Dutch oven or a big baking dish with a lid (a camp oven would be ideal), you could also use a bread tin for the second rise.

I kneaded the dough for about two minutes then I plonked it out onto a piece of baking paper that had been sprayed with water and lifted it into a bowl to rise…again.

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The big yellow thing is an enameled cast iron Dutch oven, it’s a heavy piece of equipment

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My dough on wet baking paper rising in its bowl

After a few more hours sitting on the bench (covered of course), the dough had risen to roughly double the original size again. I preheated the Dutch oven to about 200 degrees Celsius then put the dough into it, still on the baking paper. I baked the dough for 30 minutes with the lid on the Dutch oven then took the lid off and baked it for another 15 minutes to get a brown crust.

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The final loaf

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Close up of the final loaf

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It made a fine textured, very flavourful bread

Making bread takes time, but not a lot of effort. Most of the action happens in the quiet bowl lurking in the dark corner of the bench. This is one of the easiest methods I have found so far. I think this will be my go-to recipe for this cycle of bread eating at least. Hopefully I can find time to make bread during the working week as it makes lunches so much easier to organise.

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