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My Sourdough Bread Baking Experience

If you happen to follow me on Instagram (@fannythefoodie) you would have probably noticed that I’ve been getting into making my own sourdough bread. I shared a few snippets in my stories and I also posted on or two pictures of freshly baked bread with whatever kind of toppings I had on hand.

Unlike my usual blogposts this won’t include a recipe as I personally don’t feel like an advanced enough bread baker just yet, to tell you how to make sourdough bread. So what is this going to be then, you’re probably asking yourself. Well this is just going to be a post in which I share my experience on making sourdough bread and I will also include the recipes I used to figure out, how on earth one can make bread with just flour, water, salt and A LOT of patience.

I’ve been fascinated with the idea of baking my own sourdough bread for a while. I have fermented several other things. I’ve made my own Sauerkraut, I also figured out how to make an incredibly delicious, not at all authentic Kimchi, the Korean version of Sauerkraut. I also jumped on the Kombucha band-wagon a while back, after a friend of mine handed me one of her scoobys. Lastly I’ve also prepared a bunch of pickles and I’ve even made preserved lemons. However, the thought of making sourdough bread always seemed intimidating to me.

I guess the reason for this being, that it all isn’t done with starting a starter. You have to feed it daily for at least 5 days before even thinking about baking. Then you prep your Levain, which might not work, and you’ll need to start all over again. Yes that was me. I made four starters in total. One didn’t work, two got mouldy and the fourth one, that one, was a success. I used the best flour I could find. I fed it over the course of ten days, sometimes even twice a day. My sourdough starter basically became my first pet as this was something I never actually had as a kid. I made sure I never went to bed without feeding my starter and after getting up in the morning the first thing I did was weighing out 50 grams of flour and an equal amount of water, then I threw out half of my starter and fed it with the weighed out ingredients. The next day I did it again, and again, and again.

After baking my first bread, I placed my sourdough starter in the fridge for the week as I wasn’t going to bake for the next few days. I had got so used to implementing those starter feeding sessions into my routine, I almost felt lost for the first two days. One week later I removed my starter from the fridge and all over again to bake my second loaf of sourdough. I fed it twice. Made the levain, let it rest overnight. Prepped the autolyse and then started folding and slapping the dough before then shaping it into a beautiful loaf of bread, which I then placed in my proofing basket overnight. Last but not least I preheated my oven at its hottest setting with a Dutch Oven sitting inside of it. I placed the risen loaf in the incredibly hot Dutch oven and baked it for exactly 45 minutes. 25 with the lid, 20 without.

Sourdough Baking

Baking sourdough bread is a process, it’s not something you can quickly whip up. It’s never fast or easy. You have to schedule in time for your sourdough. It’s almost like committing to a relationship with a stinky jar of bubbly slime. Despite the hassle of having to care for it, you will, however, be delighted with the most delicious tasting bread you have ever had. Your apartment will smell amazing and you’ll probably want to start including bread in a every meal of the day. Toast and jam for breakfast. Salad and a slice of bread for lunch. A delicious stew with chickpeas and lots of herbs to dunk your toasted sourdough in for dinner. The options are endless.

The recipes I used:

  • The Kitchn
  • Bon Appétit
  • Anna Pearson for Annabelle
  • Joshua Weisman
  • Fooby

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