Basic sourdough loaf instructions

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The sourdough starter we use at Eastcourt Manor is made up of 100g of water for every 100g of flour (what bakers call 100% hydration). The starter keeps dormant in the fridge for 6-8 weeks but needs to be fed with a water/flour mixture at room temperature for the yeast to be active enough to raise dough.

Friday morning – refresh starter

Take one tablespoon of the starter and mix with 100g of warm water and then 100g of strong white flour. Cover with cling film and keep in a warm place.

Saturday morning

You should have just over 200g of starter.

To make one loaf you will need:

Starter   200g
Lukewarm water 290g
Strong white flour 500g
Fine salt  8g (1 teaspoon)

Mix the starter with the water in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir together into a loose sloppy mixture.

Turn the dough out and knead for 10-15 seconds and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Turn out, knead and rest two more times.

Cover and proof the dough for about 4 hours in a warm place, gently stretching and folding the dough every hour.

Shape the dough into a loaf. Let the dough rest for about four hours until nearly doubled in size. You can use a tin, although bannetons give the best crust.

Slash the dough and bake for 55 minutes in a preheated oven. Start the baking at 250ºC and reduce to 180-200ºC after 10 minutes. Turn half way through if your oven gives uneven heat. When the loaf goes in it is a good idea to create some steam by spraying the  oven interior with some water or adding about half a pint of boiling water in a pre-heated cast iron tray.