Sourdough Table Loaf

Author: Marthinus Strydom
Category: Bread
Serves/Qty: 1
Marthinus Strydom

This loaf is a basic, everyday bread harnessing the microbial power of sourdough as natural leavening using stone-ground flours.

Pairs well with
Sourdough Starter

The Story

Part 1 - Preparing the dough

Part 2 - Baking

Sourdough is the oldest form of leavened bread and was used at least as early as ancient Egypt. It was probably discovered by accident when bread dough was left out and good microorganisms -- wild yeast -- drifted into the mix. The resulting bread had a lighter texture and better taste.

Practice this recipe until you feel comfortable with the process and the flours you have sourced before moving on to other more complicated recipes.

Home ovens vary widely in their performance. Use an oven thermometer to gauge the proper temperature, making minor adjustments to the preheating temperatures and baking times if necessary. If your oven is equipped with a fan assist, turn it off during baking if possible to prevent the crust from setting before the loaf has fully expanded.

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Ingredients
Adjust Quanities

Bread dough
320 g sourdough starter
460 g water, tepid
800 g bread flour
10 g fine sea salt

Method

  1. Add the flour to a clean mixing bowl. Mix the salt through the flour. Add the water and sourdough starter to the flour. Combine all the ingredients together to form a rough dough.
  2. Leave for 10 minutes to rest.
  3. Turn the dough out on to a clean surface and knead for approximately 10-15 minutes or until the windowpane effect has been achieved. The dough should be smooth, soft and elastic.
  4. When kneading, do not worry if the dough is slightly wet or sticky. Resist the temptation to add any extra flour.
  5. At this point you can add some extra ingredients such as finely chopped rosemary and olives. Springle the extras on the dough and continue kneading until properly incorporated into the dough.
  6. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover with cling film and allow the dough to prove for 4 hours at room temperature.
  7. After 4 hours turn the dough onto a clean work surface and knock the dough back. Knocking back the dough simple involves knocking the air from the dough which helps to equalise the temperature within the dough.
  8. Divide the dough into two.
  9. The next step you will do with each bread.
  10. Form the dough into a tight round ball. 

To prove & bake using a proving basket:

  1. Prepare a proving basket by lightly dusting with flour. Place the dough, seamed side facing up, into the proving basket. Loosely cover the proving basket with a clean tea towel and leave to prove for another 3 – 3½ hours.
  2. Alternatively, to prove overnight for baking first thing in the morning, place into a fridge and leave overnight.
  3. Using a fridge reduces the temperature of the dough allowing it to prove slower and longer which allows for a greater development of flavour within the dough but also increasing its digestibility. As dough ferments or proves the gluten within the dough breaks down. The longer a dough is allowed to prove the more flavour it will contain and the easier it is for your body to digest.
  4. To bake, preheat your oven to 230°C. Place your cast iron Dutch oven with the lid on in the oven.
  5. Carefully turn your dough out from the proving basket onto baking paper dusted with flour (the domed side with the indentations from the proving basket should now be facing up and the seamed side on the baking paper).
  6. Using a sharp knife cut the surface of the dough, this is what is known as the baker’s signature. The dough can be cut up to ½ cm deep. (This isn’t just for aesthetics, scoring the bread also helps control where and how it rises while baking)
  7. When the oven has reached 230°C, open the oven and remove the lid from the dutch oven. Be carefull! 
  8. Pick up the bread on the baking paper by gripping the edges of the paper. Place gently into the dutch oven. Place the lid on. Bake for 20 min.
  9. Remove the lid from the dutch oven and continue baking for another 20 min until the crust is dark.
  10. Once done, turn the oven off and open the door. After 20 min remove from the oven and let the bread cool completely on a rack. Don't cut the bread until it has cooled completely. This will take about 1 hour.

sourgough leaven bread