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  • Writer's pictureMeandering Daisy

"Unleash Your Inner Baker: Mastering Your First Loaf of Sourdough Bread"

Welcome back. I am excited for you to bake your first loaf of bread from your newlyborn starter.

Let's do a quick recap: you have made or maybe acquired a thriving sourdough starter. You also now know how to maintain and keep your newborn starter alive and happy. So what's next... Let's make bread!

Mmmmm, this is my favorite part, I love how the smell of the bread baking fills the house. And there is nothing better than the first slice of warm bread with butter on it... Oh! My! These are some of life's simple pleasures.

Ready? Let's do this.

The morning before you bake the bread, take your jar of sourdough starter from the fridge and feed it. I usually add 100 grams of all-purpose flour and 100 grams of warm water to my jar.

Now with a small rubber spatula scrape down the sides of the starter and stir.

Cover the jar with a natural aka unbleached coffee filter. Side note here, I use to use a cloth to cover my jar but resently have changed to a unbleached coffee filter to avoid contamination. I will go over this in depth soon in another blog post. Ok, back to making bread.

I then use a rubber band to secure the coffee filter over the opening of the jar. This is to let your sourdough starter breathe, all the while keeping little critters out of the sourdough starter.

I first used cheesecloth to cover my jar but found that gnats and small flies seemed to be able to work their way into my jar. GROSS!

The newly fed sourdough starter now sits on my counter all day.

Here is the beginning of the fun stuff. In the evening, I take a large glass bowl and place it on my food scale. Be sure to tare the scale. Now add 100 grams of your newly fed sourdough starter to the bowl.

Tare the scale again, add 375 grams of warm water to the starter in the bowl, and stir with a dough whisk (Danish Dough Whisk) Set this bowl aside.

Now in another bowl, measure out 500 grams of bread flour and 20 grams of sea salt. I prefer to use organic bread flour as it is a higher quality flour and healthier too. I also use sea salt as opposed to Morton Salt because I believe sea salt is a higher quality salt. (I will write about this and other ingredient-quality thoughts in a later post). Now whisk the flour and salt together.

Grab the large bowl with the sourdough starter and water, and dump in the flour and salt mixture. Using the dough whisk, mix until you have no more dry flour in the mixture.

Cover the bowl and let it sit and rest for 15 minutes. Your dough is tense and tired from mixing and needs time to relax.

Fifteen minutes later...... The dough is nice and relaxed .... we can't let that happen just yet. So you are going to grab the dough from its bottom, stretch the bottom up, and fold over the top of the dough. Grab the bottom and fold three or four times. Cover again and let it relax again for 15 minutes. Repeat this grab, stretch, and fold another 3 times.

Now that the dough has been grabbed, stretched, and folded 4 times it will need some recovery time. Let it sit in the covered bowl overnight.

Next morning!

You both have had a good night's sleep and are ready to begin baking!

Well, not so fast. Your bread dough will need a little more resting in a nice cozy proofing basket.

Proofing basket, what is that you may ask. It is a basket that is lined with a linen cloth. You can use a bowl lined with a linen towel until you can get a proofing basket. Be sure to dust your linen with a non-wheat flour like brown rice flour so your dough does not stick to the linen. (Bread Proofing Baskets)

Take the rested dough out of the bowl and shape the dough into a shape that matches your proofing basket. Then cover the basket with a linen towel, and let the dough rest and relax again. Let it rest for about 2 hours. I have found that the bread is forgiving so if you need to let it go longer it's fine. But I have never gone over 5 hours.

Now you're ready to bake. I use a covered clay loaf pan like this one : Breadtopia Cloche Clay Baker and have used a Dutch oven as well. I just like my bread to be in a loaf shape and not round like a Dutch oven. It's really up to you.

Place the empty clay loaf pan or Dutch Oven in the oven as you preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Once the oven is preheated, dump the dough into the preheated baking vessel of your choice. And bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes take the lid off your baking vessel and lower the heat to 450 degrees and let the bread bake for 10 more minutes to brown up the top.

Vela! You have made bread!!

The hardest part is to let it cool for a little while before you cut into it. If you don't wait, cutting in to the bread will cause the bread to compress.

But waiting is best and makes it easier to cut. I usually wait about 20 to 30 minutes.

Now grab the butter and ENJOY!!

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Thanks for sharing the steps. I need to be brave and try again.

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