The sourdough files…

I haven’t talked about my bread making on my blog for a while, although I share loaves regularly on Instagram, so I thought I’d post an update. I now make 3 loaves of sourdough bread every week for my son, Ben, plus 2 regular loaves for my husband, who doesn’t like sourdough. I now have my method for producing sourdough loaves pretty fixed, and as Ben raves about the bread on a regular basis, I can only assume that I’m getting it right – for his tastes anyway! 

I’ve also been playing with scoring the loaves, as you might notice! 

It’s great fun! Let’s be honest, Ben doesn’t care about how it looks, that bits just for me πŸ™‚

The basis of my standard loaf is formed from the overnight loaf recipes created and shared by Celia and Selma, with tweaks for my requirements. I’ve played around with various methods and flours and recipes in the past couple of years, but I always come back to this method, this is my failsafe, and when you need to produce bread regularly for breakfasts and school lunches, you need to know it works!

A key element for me is that I need a closer crumb than typical sourdough. Artisan holes are great, but not for making sandwiches for school dinners. To achieve this, I have found that replacing some of the water with olive oil creates a softer tighter crumb and softer bread. 

I keep my starter, Star, in the fridge, and every couple of days, I bring her up to room temperature, feed her equal amounts of flour and water, and once she’s bubbly and happy, I make up two lots of dough. 

I follow the quantities in Selma’s recipe, linked above, but I replace 30g of the water with olive oil.

In two bowls I squidge two lots all of the ingredients together to a rough mix, so that the flour is completely mixed, cover the bowl with a plastic bag, and leave it for an hour.

After the hour, I fold and knead the dough in the bowl for a minute or so until it comes together and forms a smooth ball. 

I then place the dough in bannetons sprinkled with rice flour to prevent sticking. 

I cover the bannetons with plastic bags, and place them both in the fridge. 

Sometimes they’re in the fridge for a night, sometimes for 4 days – the longer proving develops more flavour. 

When I’m ready to bake one, I remove it from the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature and prove for another couple of hours. 

I heat the oven to 220c fan, and only when I’m ready to bake, I turn the dough out onto an baking tray, lined with parchment paper. If you turn the dough out too soon, it can spread. 

I quickly slash the dough then bake. 

I put the loaf in the oven, turn the temperature down to 200C fan, and bake for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180C fan for another 25 minutes.

Then remove the loaf and cool completely on a rack before slicing. I usually bake my loaves the day before I need them to ensure that they are completely and utterly cooled.

Each of my loaves covers Ben’s breakfast and lunch for two days. He loves it so much, I even made him a special loaf for his birthday earlier this month πŸ™‚ 

And that’s my sourdough conveyor belt! I hope it’s useful. 

I hope you’ve had a great week, enjoy your Friday and a visit to Fiesta Friday with Sarah and Liz


70 thoughts on “The sourdough files…

  1. sallybr

    I need my dictionary. I need new adjectives… ones that can describe my level of awe in face of this post! Truly amazing. Well, first of all, your dedication to bake so much bread and geared towards their likes, that in itself is something to be so proud about!

    but your work on the slashing, it’s clear you have talent for it, and the one for Ben’s Birthday, what a nice touch!

    I must live vicariously through your baking, I keep trying to find windows of opportunity to bake more often, but… I go for weeks and weeks of neglecting my poor starter… oh, well

    maybe I can bake this weekend, since it will be cold and miserable (Drama Queen speaking)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Elaine @ foodbod Post author

      Ha ha! Yes, you’ll need to find something to do whilst you’re wrapped up inside!!!
      Thank you for all of your lovely words πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„ you know how it is when you make things that people enjoy? Ben regularly verbalises his love for the bread which makes it pure joy to make it xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol

    That loaf is beautiful. Can I ask – do you cover the loaf for the first half hour or do you put it uncovered in the oven? Do you steam your oven and if so, how do you do that? I also follow Celia’s method but would love to one day start a micro bakery so I need to be able to make more than one loaf at a time which is what I do now in my domestic oven. I can never tire of looking at photos of sourdough bread and yours is lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elaine @ foodbod Post author

      Thank you ☺
      I’ve baked loaves covered in the past and I’ve added steam, but now I don’t do either, I just bake the loaves on the oven tray and the loaves bake well and bake consistently. I hope this helps – good luck with your plans 😊


  3. Laura @ Feast Wisely

    So inspiring Elaine – my husband is going to start making sourdough in a few months when we move place – at the moment we take the easy route as we have a few small producers hereby who make it with wild yeast and lots of loving. I’ll be sharing your post with him to give him an extra nudge! I also just bought a baking steel (post to come this week) and I’ve been reading that it’s amazing for baking bread on (I’ve used it only for pizza so far) πŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Johanne Lamarche

    I am sure the breads taste as great as they are gorgeous Elaine. I love the olive oil tip and will try it as I only make sourdough. Mine always spread so I now know why! You have become a master breadmaker. Labor of love for your family. Terrific post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Master of Something Yet

    Thanks for the update. My sourdough starter is still going but some weeks have been a bit challenging to fit in the whole bread process. I like your idea of putting the dough in the fridge and baking when ready. Your scoring is beautiful. I’ve simplified my life by baking sandwich loaves only and I don’t score them because I don’t have a blade to do it with anyway. Hey, still tastes great. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

      1. petra08

        I have been thinking about sour dough, we can’t buy a good loaf here. Your bread looks incredible. How about if we swap, I make bread and you make pasta? Just once πŸ™‚ x

        Liked by 1 person

  6. kellie anderson

    Your loaves always looks so fantastic on IG, and it was great to read your routine of how you make them. We really don’t eat much bread and are lucky to have several artisan bakeries nearby, but I will get back into bread-making one day. No doubt inspired by you xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sophie

    It is very useful. I am reading a lot about sourdough for the moment & I am gathering tips, recipes & healthy sourdough recipes like a rye starter but it seems that you need at least 5 days before you have sourdough but it seems cool, new & exciting. Do you have a simple sourdough recipe for me to begin with? Because I trust your expertise. I really can learn a lot of you, the sourdough queen, like I like to call you! Ha! Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: ELAINE’S SOURDOUGH BOULE | Bewitching Kitchen

  9. Pingback: Sourdough | Deliciously Kind Kitchen

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