Did you hop on the sourdough train during quarantine? Have you attempted homemade bread before? If you answered no, the good news is that it's not too late to start! It's simple to learn and the transition of routines and seasons is the perfect time to try a new recipe in the kitchen. Any recipe you find will undoubtedly require few ingredients and that's the beauty of it's simplicity.
The main thing you do need for any recipe is time. Give yourself several days to properly plan out your recipe so it's ready for when you want to bake it. Sourdough needs plenty of to time to rise and become infused with air which just makes your final product fluffier and airier. The other key is to not use plastic or silicon bowls or spatulas. Metal, glass, and wood for your kitchenware are the best to use for homemade sourdough.
A short look back into history shows us that the Egyptians were the first recorded civilization to use sourdough. Sourdough is the oldest and most original form of leavened bread. There are various ways to make this bread, but whichever you choose, we know you won't be disappointed with the satisfaction that comes from having warm homemade bread!
One method is using commercial yeast with water, flour, and few other ingredients. We like this Taste of Home recipe you can try.
Another method is using a sourdough starter. The reason some people love starters is that it is the gift that keeps on giving, because you save some to use in the future. You can continue your recipe making and it cycles in growing a starter and baking loaves. Some people love the rhythm this provides. We found this lovely tutorial so helpful from The Pioneer Woman herself. She gives step by step instructions with pictures to help ensure success.
There is a step where you generally "discard" or remove some of the starter before making a loaf of bread. There is nothing wrong with the excess and many people use that portion to make pizza crust, cookies, pancakes, foccacia bread and more!
If you're wanting to make your own starter, it is very simple. Just water and flour. This gives you freedom to customize to the type of flour you want to use-- whole wheat, rye, unbleached, or a combination of any of those. For instructions on making your own starter, you can see step by step instructions here.
A basic timeline for you to understand is that making a sourdough starter from scratch will take about 5-6 days. Once the starter is "done" and ready to be used, it can take up to 48 hours to get your sourdough ready to bake. Variables such as temperature and humidity all play a part in the process. There are no two loaves alike! This is where science meets art to result in a culinary delight.
After all your hard work, it will be tempting to cut into your loaf immediately, but it truly is best if you can wait an hour or two for your bread to cool. This allows the steam to stay inside a bit longer. Once your ready to slice, the possibilities are endless-- good quality butter is a favorite way, but also avocado toast, cream cheese and jam, ricotta and sliced tomatoes, or even Nutella spread for a decadent topping.
However you decide to serve and enjoy it, it's pretty certain to be a family favorite! Sourdough is always best enjoyed warm and with the good company of family and friends.