Sourdough Recipe

Sourdough: everyone's doing it and everyone has a different process for how they get those loaves just perfect. Well here's the recipe and process that has worked for me. You need about a day and a half to complete this, but I promise the time investment is so worth it! 

(Disclaimer: I am totally not an expert, definitely more of a novice, so if you have any suggestions for me, I'd love to hear from you!)

Here's an interesting piece of the history of sourdough for you. Three hundred years ago, people used to bake sourdough bread all the time, but they did not have home ovens for baking because they were too expensive. The whole village would take their loaves to the local baker, who would bake all of the loaves. But how did they know whose loaf was whose when the baking was done? Each person would score a different "signature" design onto their loaf and that's how they would know which loaf was theirs at the end of the day. And that's how scoring designs into loaves started!

First, just a few tips I've picked up along the way:
Tip #1: Make sure your sourdough starter is rising in a warm place: at least 74 to 80 degrees.
Tip #2: When you feed your starter, make sure it is thick and sticky, not liquid.
Tip #3: It's hard to describe certain processes like stretch and folds. You can watch the whole process on my Instagram highlights if you want to see how it's done.

So here's the recipe! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me on Instagram. I'll try to help you as best I can. 

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Ashley's No Knead Sourdough Bread

  1. Feed your starter in preparation for baking bread.
    1. Start with 1/4 cup of sourdough starter in a quart jar.
    2. Take your starter out of the fridge at 9 am, add a heaping 1/4 cup flour, and a little more than 1/4 cup water.
    3. Put jar in a warm place to rise.
    4. At 3 pm, add a heaping 1/2 cup flour and a little more than 1/2 cup water to the jar. Make sure it is a sticky consistency. If it's not sticky enough, add more flour.
    5. Put jar in a warm place to rise.
    6. When the starter is very bubbly and has doubled in size, you’re ready for the next step. (To test to make sure your starter is ready, you can take a little spoonful and put it in a cup of water to see if it floats. If it floats, it's ready to use for baking!)
  2. Around 7-8 pm, it’s time to mix your dough. 
    1. In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup of bubbly starter and 1 1/4 cup warm water.
    2. When that is fully mixed, add 3 1/8 cups of flour and a heaping 1 teaspoon of salt.
    3. Use a wooden spoon to mix all the ingredients, then switch to using your hands to make sure everything is well incorporated. You don’t have to knead the dough, but make sure it is mixed very well.
    4. Now cover and let the dough rest in the bowl for 20 minutes.
  3. Now it's time for stretch and folds.
    1. WET your hands first.
    2. While the dough is still in the bowl, pick up one edge of dough and stretch it up, then fold it over on top of itself. 
    3. Turn the bowl a half turn and stretch the opposite edge up and fold it over itself.
    4. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and stretch that edge up and over itself.
    5. Turn the bowl a half turn and stretch that edge up and over itself.
    6. Now pick up the whole dough and tuck the hanging edges under.
    7. Cover and rest 30 minutes.
    8. Repeat the stretch and fold process again.
    9. Cover and rest 30 minutes.
    10. Stretch and fold again (3rd time).
    11. Now transfer the dough to a large oiled glass or plastic bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and let rise in a warm place overnight.
  4. In the morning (around 9 am), turn the dough out onto a well-floured counter top.
    1. Stretch it out into a rectangle, then fold each corner toward the middle to form a ball.
    2. Flip the dough over so the seam side is down.
    3. Then create tension in the dough by pushing forward and pulling back over the counter top several times.
    4. Let it sit for 20 minutes uncovered.
    5. Again, stretch it into a rectangle (it will be a smaller rectangle this time), fold toward the middle, flip, and push and pull your dough to create tension.
    6. Place seam side UP in a well-floured banneton.
    7. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours (long enough so the dough has doubled in size).
  5. Time to bake!
    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees with Dutch oven inside.
    2. Tip your dough out of your banneton onto floured parchment paper.
    3. Score your loaf (at least one large score for the moisture to escape).
    4. Pick up the loaf using the parchment paper and place into preheated dutch oven.
    5. Cover and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
    6. After 25 minutes, remove the lid and bake for 18-20 more minutes. (If you like a crispy crust, leave it in the oven for about 3-5 more minutes).
  6. Remove the loaf from the Dutch oven and (this is important) let it cool completely before cutting and enjoying.

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So that's it! If you've used this recipe and like it, please let me know! Tag me on Instagram or send me a DM. I'd love to see your finished sourdough loaves!