With all my anticipation and positive energy that I have accumulated,  I am jumping into this task after a long-line of utter failures to bake a simple home made bread, does not matter whether it was a quick-bread or an yeast-bread (a bit more work)…. I just could not make one that is edible. With lot of blog-reading about breads and baking , now I can make a simple sourdough bread fresh from scratch with my 10 fingers. After this loaf, I instantly knew that I am going to baking this bread at least once a week, before I advance on to the sophisticated/divine-looking variations of breads and rolls.

Here are the two steps to make a sour-dough bread: 1) Make the sourdough starter 2) Make the bread itself Time taken from ‘Start to Finish’: 28 hours How to make a sour-dough starter: In a wide plastic container/ glass jar, mix 1 cup of AP/ whole wheat or bread flour with 1 cup of water + 1 tsp of sugar + 1/2 tsp of yeast.  Close it with a lid with a small opening for the starter to breathe and let it sit in a warm place for a day.  After 24 hours, your starter will produce a ***berry sweet smell which means it is ready to use. The quantity of the starter that you will get from the above measurements will be approximately 1.5 cups, which is just enough for baking 1 loaf of bread in a 9×5 loaf-pan. How to use the starter: Either you can use up all the starter in your bread or save a batch of it and keep feeding it or refrigerate it for later use. There are several site that has detailed instructions on feeding/growing and preserving the starter.  I am not planning to go over it.

How to make a sour-dough bread:

Step 1: Make the dough

In a wide mixing bowl, add flour + starter + salt+ water in the ratio of  100:66: 2: 35.  Thanks for the BakeSourdough website who shared this simple and tasty recipe.  Mix the contents using hand to make a soft pliable dough. This requires about 5-7 mins of kneading, when the dough sticks to your hand grease your palm with few drops of oil and keep kneading. I followed these measurements which makes 1 loaf of bread: 1.5 cup starter 2.25 cup bread flour 1 1/4 tsp of salt 3/8 cup water 2 tbps of oil for folding and glazing Step 2: Let it rest Shape the dough into a round ball place it in a wide bowl, cover with plastic wrap or cheese-cloth and let it rest for 1-2 hours.  Remember this stage might take longer than usual yeast-breads as we are not adding yeast to the mix, except the one in the starter. ***Note: Sourdough can be baked with ‘no yeast’ at all, however, I was unable to resist my temptation to try my first sourdough experiment, so I cheated the process, but adding yeast to the starter preparation to accelerate the fermentation. Step 3: Let it proof Once the dough has raised in double, gently punch down the dough with your fist and shape it into a loaf, tuck the uneven loose ends behind and place the loaf into the loaf pan for the second and final rise. This took about 1 hour for the bread to rise up to the rim of the pan. Before putting in the oven, brush the top with water gently as not to hurt the shape of the bread. **Note: The more time you give for the bread to rise in the second rise, the more fluffier and softer your bread would be.   Mine was soft, but a bit denser than store-bought one. Step 4: Bake & Serve Preheat the oven to 400C and bake for 40 minutesCool and serve with a coat of butter or dip it in some extra virgin olive oil flavored with italian herbs…

Tools Used: Bread Pan: I recently bought a new USA Pan 9*5 bread pan. Its strong and well built and this is my first bread in my new pan. I am V e r y V e r y proud of it.