Once you have a sourdough starter, you can think about making a loaf. In order to make your starter last you will need to double it, which is called the levain and takes roughly 8 hours. Then you put half of it away as a future starter and use the rest to make your bread.
Levain (10 mins preparation, 8 hours to rest)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup strong white bread flour
Add the ingredients to your chef and mix them, either in a bowl or in a breadmaker. Once mixed, cover the bowl or keep the breadmaker closed and leave the levain for 8 hours. When you are ready to bake, simply transfer half the levain into a lidded container and put it in the fridge for the next time. Leave the other half in your bowl or your breadmaker and add the following:
Sourdough Bread (10 mins preparation, 3 hours to rest, 35 mins to bake)
- 1 cup of water
- 3 cups bread flour (any type, e.g. white, wholewheat or rye)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp yeast
- seeds, porridge oats, etc.
Pour the water over the remaining levain and add the other ingredients; adjust the amount of water if necessary. If you are using a breadmaker simply set it to your standard setting: your loaf will be ready automatically within about 4 hours, depending on the programme.
If you are using your hands, knead the dough until it comes off the sides of your bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place for an hour or two.
Now you can form your loaf, depending on your taste and needs: a round boule, one or two longer baguettes, 12 breakfast buns, whatever. Put them on a baking sheet on a thin layer of flour. Cover with the towel and leave to rise for another hour.
Bring the oven to 250C, with a flat dish filled with water at the bottom to create a nice crust. Once you put the bread in, reduce the heat to 230C and bake for 35-40 minutes if it is one loaf, or 15 minutes if you made buns.
When you think your bread is finished simply knock them on the bottom: if it sounds hollow they are done. Enjoy!