Sourdough bread

Sourdough bread

By
From
Scandinavian Comfort Food
Makes
1 loaf
Photographer
Columbus Leth

Sourdough is not easy to do at home, and it takes commitment to keep your sourdough going because it needs to be fed every day. There is no guarantee that sourdough bread will turn out great each time, but that is also the beauty of it: it’s a piece of nature in the kitchen. It behaves differently every time. I do not recommend making sourdough bread if you are not a patient person. It takes practice, and you need to make space and time for it.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the sourdough biga/ leaven

Quantity Ingredient
150g strong white bread flour
100g strong wholemeal bread flour
300ml water

For the bread

Quantity Ingredient
150g sourdough biga/ leaven, from above
350ml water
400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
100g strong wholemeal bread flour
8g sea salt

Method

  1. For the sourdough biga/leaven

    Put both flours into a large mixing bowl. Gradually pour in the water, mixing with your hand or a balloon whisk until it has the consistency of pancake batter. Cover with a plate or similar and leave overnight. The next day, discard 80% of the mixture and top it up with the same ratio of flours and water to make up for the amount discarded. Mix well. Do this for 5–10 days until it comes to life: you will notice small bubbles, or a sour smell, and then it’s ready.
  2. For the bread

    Mix the 150g biga/leaven with 300ml cups of the water and both flours and set aside to rest for 30 minutes. Then add the remaining 50m water and the salt, mix really well again and knead the dough in the bowl. Leave to rise for 3–6 hours, punching it down now and then and giving the dough a turn.
  3. Take the dough out onto a floured surface and form it into a round loaf. Line a proving basket 25cm in diameter with a clean tea towel and dust with flour. Add the formed dough to the basket, cover with a tea towel and leave for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the dough has more or less risen to the rim of the basket.
  4. Preheat the oven to 250°C and place a heatproof bowl filled with water in the base of the oven, to create steam (or you can toss some cold water into the oven as you put the bread in). Gently turn the risen dough out onto either a baking sheet lined with baking parchment or place the dough on a large baking or pizza stone using a wide, wooden pizza spatula. Slash the top of the loaf to make a cross using a razor or very sharp knife. Bake for 45–55 minutes, turning down the temperature after 15 minutes to 220°C. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Note

  • Ideally you should feed the biga every day, but if you forget for a few days, just discard 80% and refill as though there had been no gap. Mine has worked for years despite me sometimes forgetting. But I do get people to babysit my biga when I travel!
Tags:
Scandinavian
Danish
Swedish
comfort food
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