Sourdough Bread

Homemade sourdough bread

It all started here and here. First I saw a beautiful loaf of bread on Green Kitchen Stories blog, then I watched a Dutch oven bread video by Kinfolk which suddenly sparked a fire of curiosity inside. That was when I decided I finally had to give it a try. I have been thinking of baking sourdough bread many many times before, but I have never found the right inspiration.

Fast forward a few failures later, I'm proud to announce I finally baked the perfect loaf of bread! A few days before we went to our little vacation in Italy (you can expect a photo heavy blog post soon), I baked my third sourdough bread and I was happy with the result. Actually, I was more than happy. I felt like a  child, dancing, jumping and clapping my hands.

I knew it was perfect the very moment I cut through the beautiful dark brown crust. First, the crackling sound of cutting into fresh bread that I absolutely love, then the aroma - there's nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread. The texture was just right, dense but soft with nice airy holes. All I needed was homemade butter! Bread and butter. The best combo ever.

Sourdough bread and salt

I tried two different recipes and techniques before I found the perfect one that worked for me. I knew I wanted to bake dark bread. I love Scandinavian dark breads. Every time we travel to Finland I bring back a suitcase full of Finnish rye bread and freeze it.

Sourdough starter is obviously one essential ingredient of great bread. I grew my own rye sourdough starter (after a few failures). There's been so much written about growing your own starters already, so I'm not going to repeat what others already said. Instead, I can point you to some good sources like this one or this one. It's also useful to know how to maintain your starter once you get to that point. You will find very useful info here or here.

My bread was inspired by sourdough bread recipe on Wild Yeast blog. If there is anything you want to know about bread baking, you will find it there! I also plan to buy the Tartine Bread book. Not only it was photographed by one of my favourite photographers Eric Wolfinger but it also contains detailed step-by-step instructions and images illustrating the key steps of various techniques.

Rye sourdough bread
Sourdough bread with butter

Sourdough Bread
Yield 1 loaf (1kg)

387g strong bread flour
90g rye flour
280g water
240g rye sourdough starter
12g salt

In a bowl, combine the starter and water. Add the flours and stir with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients come together. Cover and let the dough rest in the bowl for 30 minutes.

Add the salt and incorporate with your hands. Continue to knead the dough in the bowl for about 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, lightly dampen your hand with a little water. Cover and let it ferment at room temperature for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Fold the dough in the bowl. To fold the dough, gently lift one side of the dough, stretch it upward and fold a third toward the centre. Repeat the step with the opposite side of the dough. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat with other two sides (this video demonstrates how to fold a dough). This method helps to develop the gluten.

Cover and let the dough rest at room temperature for another 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Cover with a clean tea towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Place the formed loaf upside down into a floured banneton (rising basket) or a towel lined bowl heavily dusted with flour. Let the loaf proof at room temperature for 2-3 hours. You can also let it proof for 1 hour at room temperature and them place it in the fridge overnight and bake straight from the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 250℃ for at least 30 minutes to one hour before you are ready to bake. Place your Dutch oven or an oven proof dish with a lid in the oven. The dish must be very hot.

Take the dish out of the oven and sprinkle some flour on the bottom. Remove the bread from the bowl and put it in the baking dish. Slash the top of your bread, place the lid back on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Turn the heat down to 230℃. Remove the lid and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until dark brown.

Let the bread cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.




40 comments :

  1. Your bread is splendid and really tempting!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Oh... so lovely! You're an inspiration, Sárka!

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  3. ah! my baby boy, his aunt is very proud of him!

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  4. For me, there is nothing more gratifying than pulling an especially good loaf of bread from my oven. Yours is so beautiful and dark! I do think rye breads are my favorite. I also think it's important that people see baking bread is a process that takes practice, and I'm glad you shared it here. The great part is once you've figured out what works, it becomes a pleasure to work baking into your weekly routine. Lovely post!

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    1. Bread baking has definitely become on of my favourite activities. And you are right, it's so gratifying. The smell of fresh bread also makes your home feel so comfortable.

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  5. its here finally. Oh Sari! I am speechless!!!!!

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  6. Your bread looks wonderful: fresh, soft on the inside with the perfect crust!

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  7. It's absolutely beautiful, amazing and as Asha, I'm speechless too! I can't take my eyes off your beautiful photos!!!

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  8. Beautiful. I am a big fan of dark Scandinavian bread. Lucky for me, I'm all surrounded my them. Gorgeous photos, one again. I love to read about things people have gotten passionate about!

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    1. You are a lucky girl! We should visit you soon. :)

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  9. HAD to jump in here off of TS because that loaf is so very very beautiful!

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  10. Your photos are amazing, what a beautiful loaf of bread!

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  11. Nadherny! I love making sourdough bread and I'm always so happy to see someone else discovering it. You will love the Tartine book, as I'm sure you know. There are great variations on the basic recipe (which I make nearly every week, as it's the easiest I've found to work into a busy weekend with kids or even a work day). The sourdough brioche is amazing too. Looking forward to pics of all sorts!

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    1. I can't wait to get the book. You made me even more curious! :) Sourdough brioche sounds amazing indeed.

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  12. Your bread ( and photos ) look incredible.Once you get your starter growing and make as couple of loaves it is truly addictive isn't it?. A pity I haven't made any for some time!

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  13. I, too, love Scandinavian dark breads, but I tend to make lighter breads at home. Your loaf looks beautiful and I can't wait to try my hand at the recipe.

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  14. Oh gosh. Being Lithuanian, I too love dark breads. I must make this!

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  15. Wow, it turned out amazing! I love that recipe, the starter , everything. I just think it is great, and you (and Juls, I believe she made it too at the same time?) mastered it amazingly well!! Great photos. baci

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  16. Tantalising images of a most exquisite loaf. I must have another go at sour dough.

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  17. There are few things as satisfying as a loaf of homemade bread - odd, but true.

    Definitely buy the Tartine Bread book - it's my neighborhood bakery, and their bread is the best I've ever had (home loaves included).

    Looking forward to the photos from your latest trip!

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    1. You are a lucky girl. I wish I lived near Tartine Bread bakery! :)

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  18. This is really remarkable. I'd love a slice of this smeared with Irish butter. This is my first visit to your blog, so I took some time to browse through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. You've created an interesting place to visit and I'll be back often. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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    1. Thank you Mary for your kind comment. I'm really glad you like my work. Have a nice day!

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  19. Love the colour and the holes! great dough ;-)

    I've just discovered your site: amazing pictures!
    I'm following you on Fb and, if you don't mind, I will upload some of your pics to Pinterest: this blog must be shared!

    See you around

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    1. Hi Helena, welcome here! Thank you for your comment. Feel free to pin my photos on your boards, but please link back to my blog.

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  20. The bread looks positively scrumptious. Well done!

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  21. Wow...this is wonderful. You have a great blog.

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  22. The bread looks really nice with crispy crust!

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  23. Hi, I've just heard there's a new way to make a pizza with a sourdough crust. You know, that's the part on the bottom. I love the sourdough taste and think it's a great idea but I've looked through half of Kentucky for a Pizza Hut that makes one or even knows how.
    Has anyone out there found one? Let me know?

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  24. Hi Sari,

    This bread looks fantastic! I love the idea of making your own bread so you know exactly whats in it. This bread is just what im after as it uses rye flour too. Quick question, do you know if you could make this bread in a kithen aid mixer?

    Love your blog and photos and too!

    Rani

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    1. Hi Rani, you can definitely use a mixer, however this dough doesn't need much kneading. Thank you for the nice words about the photos and blog!

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  25. Making this as i type this comment, hope it turns out well.
    One suggestion I would make is that you could take pictures of the process so it would be easier to follow because when I was making this I wasn't sure what consistency to look for. S

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    1. Hi Grace, I hope your bread turned out well! Would love to hear if you liked it.
      Thank you for the suggestion. I don't usually take photos of the process but I agree that they would make sense for this recipe.
      I actually took a few photos in the process but never posted them. I think I'll add some.

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  26. sister. i have pinterested the crap out of this awesome loaf. my stars! you are a woman after my own heart. i love it!

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  27. I love your blog!!!
    Have you ever used any starters from a company called Sourdough's International?
    I keep hearing about them but I want some reviews from some fellow bakers.. If anyone knows, let me know! Thanks : )

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    1. Hi Rachel, thank you! I always made my own starter, never bought one.

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  28. Hey Sari!
    I absolutely love your pictures! So much so they inspired me to make my own first sourdough this weekend. That's the result of it: www.mirimiri.net
    (I gave you credit of course!)
    It turned out a little too sour and flat too - but then it was my first one. I love your pictures too - any tips on what I could do to improve my photographs? Do you use a light?
    Miri

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    1. Hi Miri! So pleased to hear you like my photos, thank you. Your bread looks amazing and so do your pictures. Keep up the good work!

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