I have had sourdough stater for many years thanks to my dear mother. She showed up one day with it in a jar. She showed me how to care for it, how to feed it, and how to make it bubble up happily. Now she is gluten free, but she still took my starter and stashed it in her freezer for all of my months in Spain. (I started a new starter in Spain, but didn’t travel back with it.)
Sourdough bread is easier to digest because the wild yeast predigests it for you during the long fermentation. It is healthier because the lactic acid produced during the fermentation process feeds your gut bacteria. The lactic acid also lowers the phytates in wheat, which basically means your body is able to get more nutrients out of the bread. I eat it for all those reasons, but the real reason is because it is so amazingly delicious.
So. Shall we move on to the recipe? Let’s. But first, make sure you have an active starter. It’s just flour and water. Here are some places you can go to make your own starter:
Now that you have your starter, we can try out the recipe. I like to use half all-purpose and half whole wheat flours. I always use organic flour and filtered water, but that’s not a must. You can make great sourdough without it, but sometimes the flavor of your water or how it’s treated in your area can affect the taste and/or how active the starter is.
I’ve tried many sourdough recipes in the past. What I love about this one is it’s easy. There is no kneading, no getting out the scale to measure ingredients, and no looking at a long list of ingredients. Not to say that there aren’t better recipes out there, but if I’m going to whip up a loaf of bread, I like to do it without have to fuss over it. This recipe delivers. It is dependable and decidedly unfussy.
Having just said that this recipe is easy, I should say that if this is your first time making sourdough you will want to read the recipe a few times to make sure you have a good understanding of it. I hope to soon make a video of the process because often videos are easier to follow than words. Also make sure that your starter is active. It takes time for that to happen, so don’t be discourage if your first loaf of bread with a young starter doesn’t turn out very well. Just turn it into toast or dip it into olive oil and enjoy the journey of learning sourdough bread. I swear, when I pull a loaf of fresh sourdough out of the oven, I feel completely joyful and excited. Even if I don’t plan to eat that particular loaf. I love the process and result of baking bread, and I hope you can learn to love it too.
Twenty-Four Hour Sourdough Bread
Makes one loaf. Make sure you have an active starter. Feed your starter a few hours before you plan to make this recipe if possible.
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour (I like to use white whole wheat)
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup active starter
1 1/2 cups, or more, water
1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, using a wooden spoon or stiff silicone spatula. Scrape the sides as best you can, pulling inward and pressing down toward the center. If the dough is too dry, add a little more water, stirring as you go, until dough is mostly mixed. Cover bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and let rise for 8-10 hours. I usually mix it up in the morning. You can also mix it up at night.
4. After the second 45 minutes rest period, you will now turn the dough out onto the counter. I don’t flour the counter. If your dough is particularly wet, you can do a light sprinkle of flour on the counter. Too much flour will make the dough tough. Eventually you will be able to gauge what your dough should be like when you first mix it. This will prevent it from being too wet or dry when you get to the shaping stage. To shape the dough into a round loaf (not a bread loaf) you will gather it into a ball, but don’t knead it or flatten it out. Use your hands to lightly grab the sides and tug them downward and tuck them underneath a bit. Shape the dough, moving it in a circle on the countertop and guiding your hands along the sides in a circular motion. If your hands stick to the dough, wet them and continue shaping. Eventually you will feel tension building up in the dough. The tension helps the loaf keep its shape.