Loving My Sourdough Again!
Many years ago, I was gifted a sourdough starter from my mother-in-law. What started out as a simple function of making bread, turned into a lovely experience of nurturing myself and my family. Every week I looked forward to making beautiful, fresh loaves of bread.
Now, all these years later, I have resumed this process and find that baking for myself brings the same joy and calm as it did so long ago.
Although, most of the recipes I find now are so complex that it doesn’t feel relaxing but rather stress inducing. Worrying if my starter is active enough, if I’ve manipulated the dough properly, if I have all the right equipment etc. This is not how I used to make my bread.
It got so over whelming, that I was cooking mostly with my discard. I made everything from crackers to pancakes and stocked the freezer with all the great things I was making. Finally, I felt a little satisfaction for my efforts. My first trials with bread however were not so successful.
It’s very disheartening when you spend 2 – 3 days nurturing a loaf of bread only to have it fail. Disappointed doesn’t begin to explain it. It almost made me want to go out and get some commercial yeast or easier yet, just buy a loaf of bread.
I have been making bread most of my life and I was determined not to give up. So, I’m now on a mission to make homemade sourdough bread as easy as possible with results that produce a lovely loaf of bread.
First, I had to sort through all of massive instructions for how to make a proper loaf. So, I began by eliminating any recipe that mentioned autolyze, levain, poolish or any other term that I had to look up to understand the meaning.
Next, were the ingredients – I have to use what I have which is all-purpose flour and filtered tap water. If I have to seek out special flour with a specific protein content to make a loaf of bread, it will just never happen.
Last but not least, equipment – I spent more time worrying about not having a scale, banneton, lame or dutch oven than I did making the bread itself. None of this was ever an issue before.
So, here I am with my simplified version and much to my surprise and delight, it’s turning out even better than any other complicated version that I’ve tried.
Baking should be a pleasure and when it is, you will have fantastic results!
Simple Sourdough French Bread
- 1/2 cup cold, unfed starter (right out of the refrigerator)
- 1/2 cup water (room temperature)
- 1/2 Tablespoon sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon oil
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Mix all ingredients for dough. Cover and let rise until double. (You can stretch and fold a few times if you like, but it's not necessary).
- Shape dough, cover and put in refrigerator overnight.
- In the morning, take dough out of refrigerator and gently reshape and place on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise 1-2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Score dough and bake in preheated oven 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let cool completely before slicing.