Although the traditional bread-making method below can take a while, it’s definitely worth the wait because it produces, without a doubt, the best-tasting bread. The first step is to make a starter dough and feed it every day with flour and water. It’s very important to use natural spring water or distilled water because chlorinated water will not work so well.
Ingredients Add to Shopping List
Serves: 8 people
Add all ingredients Select All
For the Bread
10 g Salt
500 g Strong Flour
plus extra for dusting
275 ml Water
For the Sourdough Starter
200 ml Water
distilled (or use tap water that has been allowed to stand in a glass for 24 hours)
For the Sourdough Starter (use 300g in bread)
200 g Strong Flour
- First make the sourdough starter. Place half the flour with half the water in a plastic or glass container and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Seal the container loosely with clingfilm or a clean towel to allow the dough to breathe and set aside at room temperature. ‘Feed’ the starter every day for five days with 20ml (4 tsp) of the remaining water and 20g (2½ tbsp) of the remaining flour, mixing a little with a wooden spoon. The result should be light and aerated because the process traps natural airborne yeast particles in the flour-and-water mix, creating a living yeast colony. The sourdough mixture is ready 24 hours after the fifth and final feed, at which point you can continue with the bread recipe.
- In a bowl, place the flour and water and sourdough starter. Mix and bind it into a smooth mixture. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Next, add the salt and knead for a further 2 - 3 minutes. Leave to rest for 30 minutes covered.
- Knead from the edges in, two more times with 30 minutes resting.
- After the 90 minutes have lapsed (with kneading and pulling every 30 minutes), place it into a bowl, ceramic pan, proving basket or a large loaf tin with flour with a floured towel over it and leave it somewhere at room temperature or in the fridge for 12 - 24 hours to slowly rise.
- To bake the loaf without a loaf tin, heat the oven to 240°C and heat a baking stone or a floured heavy metal baking tray until very hot. Carefully turn the risen dough onto the hot tray or stone – be careful not to knock any air out of them. Give the dough a cut along the top, then place in the oven with a small ovenproof container of hot water to create steam and allow an even crust to form.
- If you are baking the loaf in the ceramic dish, simply invert the bread onto the lid, carefully score the bread and place the ceramic base over. Carefully place in the oven and bake in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove the bread from the oven, dust with flour and allow the loaf to cool down on a wire rack before serving.
- This loaf will keep fresh for 2 – 3 days.