When it comes to baking bread, you can’t go wrong with sourdough.
Made from a natural yeast starter, the bread forms when a mixture of flour and water is left out for an extended period of time. The mixture attracts yeast in the environment, causing it to start nibbling on the naturally occurring sugars. This acts like conventionally dried yeast while creating a thick crust, soft interior and delightful tang signature. Let’s be real: you’ll wanna make this bread, stat.
The History of Sourdough
Sourdough has been around for — literally — ages. It’s the oldest form of leavened bread, dating alllll the way back to ancient Egypt. And it was probably discovered by accident: likely, bread dough was left out and microorganisms (the wild yeast), drifted into the mix, according to NPR.
Health Benefits of Sourdough Bread
That special starter yeast contributes to more than just the bread’s flavor and texture. It can provide health advantages not present in other breads, too.
Because of the fermentation, sourdough is good for guy health. It’s also rich in vitamin B as well as thiamin and niacin, which boost your metabolism.
How to Bake Sourdough
1. Make the Starter
Many newbie bread bakers can get a little intimidated by making a sourdough starter, but it really is as simple as leaving out a mixture of flour and water. Make sure you get the consistency right — it should be similar to pancake batter.
Let the mixture sit uncovered in a warm place until you see a few bubbles. At that point, your starter is telling you it’s hungry. Feed it with more water and flour, then cover with a clean towel. Allow the starter to grow while sitting on the counter, feeding it every couple of days until it becomes bubbly and smells sour.
When your starter is light and airy, you’re ready to bake.
2. Knead and Bake
Add ⅔ of your starter to more flour and water until a wet dough is formed. Add a bit of salt and knead the dough. You want a very wet dough as that will produce a soft, airy crumb and a thick, crisp crust.
Pro Tip: Because of the texture of the dough, you’ll need to knead it by banging it on the counter then folding it onto itself.
Once your loaf is kneaded and shaped, you’re ready to bake!
How to Save Your Starter
Keep your sourdough starter refrigerated, feeding it every week or so. You can also leave it on the counter and have fresh bread ASAP.
Feed your ready-made starter by discarding ⅔ of it and adding in more flour and water until it reaches the same consistency. Don’t forget to save and put aside some starter each time you bake a loaf!