My name is Natasha Krajnc – sourdough lover and extraordinaire with a goal: sharing the good news of sourdough bread to the world. If you have always loved sourdough bread, and are considering making your own, you are in the right place.
Many people think that baking your own sourdough is a lot more difficult than it is. Sure, it might be a bit different to regular bread, but it isn’t any harder to get the hang of!
To help you out, I’ve put together a few handy tips that you will want to keep in mind while baking sourdough bread. These will make your life a lot easier, and you will be a pro from the get-go.
5 Handy Tips For Baking Sourdough Bread
5 Handy Tips For Baking Sourdough Bread
Make Sure You Have Everything You Need
Although there is not a lot that you will need to make sourdough bread, you definitely need to ensure that you do have what you will need. This will make your life so much easier, and you don’t need to go through the stress of realising that you are missing something halfway through.
The basic things you will need are as follows:
- Mixing bowls
- A tray to bake your bread
- Storage container or bowl (for the starter)
- Dough scraper (or something similar that will get the job done)
Beyond these things, you will, of course, need the necessary ingredients for the bread itself. This may include a sourdough starter (which is just flour and water, so you could actually make your own), along with bread flour, olive oil, salt, and some other choice ingredients.
Try to Plan Ahead
It’s no joke when people say that making sourdough takes hours. In fact, the whole process can take a day or more, because there are long windows of just waiting around between some steps. Some steps will have an 8–12-hour window between them, so you need to plan when you start the process very carefully.
And no – you cannot just leave sourdough for longer than the recommended time (not by hours, anyway). This is especially true when your sourdough is proving. If you leave it for too long, it will over prove, and you will have more work cut out for you. While you can save overproofed dough, you will need to punch it down and allow it to prove all over again – that’s another 8–12 hours!
Start the whole process early in the morning, or in a schedule that suits you. Just be aware of the time it will take, and when you will need to be awake to make sure everything goes right.
If it’s Your First Time, Keep it Simple
Overcomplicating it on your first try will kill any enthusiasm you may have in you. If it’s your first time making sourdough, be sure to keep it simple and stick to an easy recipe to follow. Make the most basic sourdough you can find, and it’s certain to come out great.
You can make it more complicated as you get used to the process and build confidence. It will take time, but it is absolutely worth it.
Have a Good Sourdough Starter
A good sourdough starter (a fermented flour and water combination) will make your life so much easier. This will contain all the correct natural gases and yeast colonies required for the sourdough to have that unique flavour and texture. Since these recipes don’t call for other rising agents, you need to make sure that your starter will get the job done.
Be Prepared to Adjust Recipes!
This doesn’t need to make the process any more difficult, because you need to keep it simple! However, you should always be prepared to adjust a recipe if you decide that it needs more or less time. Don’t play around with the ingredients and quantities just yet – that time will come.
Every kitchen will be slightly different, and the conditions within a kitchen will impact timing. Warmer kitchens will make the dough rise faster, and cooler kitchens will slow down the process.
To make things easier, you should take note of how long the processes take while making sourdough. Write it down in a notebook, and even make a note of the weather, as this can impact the timing as well. That way, you will have lots of useful information to turn to next time!
Making sourdough bread is a lot easier than you think. As long as you keep it simple and slowly work your way up, you shouldn’t have a problem. The above tips and tricks can go a long way, so be sure to try them out and follow them where you can – it will make your life and the process a lot easier!