There is something about fresh bread that makes everyone happy. The smell of baking bread, the warm bread right out of the oven, and the doughy taste can’t compete with anything store-bought. Gluten has been under fire for years now and a lot of people avoid gluten for various reasons. Homemade, fermented sourdough is not your typical gluten bread and is a healthier option than not. If you have no idea where to start making sourdough bread, we have everything you need to start making sourdough bread.
What Makes Homemade Sourdough Bread Different
Making homemade sourdough bread might sound a bit overwhelming. You have probably heard the buzz words surrounding making a sourdough bread-sourdough starter, feeding your sourdough, bubble, weighing, scoring and it could sound like a lot of work, especially if you have no idea where to start. It really isn’t that difficult, just takes a little bit of time leading up to actually making sourdough bread, but that’s the easiest part.
Let’s start with what is sourdough bread-sourdough is bread made by the fermentation of dough using wild Lactobacillaceae and yeast. The Lactic acid from the fermentation process is what causes the sour taste while improving the shelf life. All bread has yeast, but making sourdough bread requires the fermentation of the yeast and that is what sets it apart.
Since sourdough is made from wild yeast and due to the fermentation process it has been known that even gluten intolerant people are able to handle homemade sourdough bread. There is something special about it and the way it is made Halle from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition, explains how she has been gluten intolerant but now can enjoy bread. So even if you are gluten-free, or try to stay away for other health reasons, you might just be able to add bread back into your diet by making sourdough bread at home!
Read More: Fabulous Bread Recipes
Where to start, tools you need to make Sourdough Bread
Essentially making sourdough bread, requires very few ingredients. Just flour, water, salt, and sourdough starter. You probably have all of those already in your kitchen except for the sourdough starter. So what is a sourdough starter…? Simply a sourdough start is just a pre-ferment made from flour and water. You can either make or buy a sourdough starter. If the whole process intimidates you or you just don’t have a week before making sourdough bread, buying a premade starter is the easiest way to go.
To really get into making sourdough bread, it is best to make your own starter to learn the process and really get into it. Making sourdough bread is both a science (as is much of baking) as well as an art. The starter is all part of the fun and art of it! Food Network has a great breakdown of making your own starter and feeding it. Might sound a little “si-fi”, but essentially feeding the starter is just adding four and water in a very specific ratio.
The “food” is needs helps keep it alive and is what you need to make sourdough bread. A well-kept sourdough starter can last for years, even one that has been neglected can easily last for months without being fed as long as it is stored properly. Even if you are not an avid baker, sourdough starters are very resilient, and you can even put it on hold by drying it out and preserving it for years. Might sound crazy, but King Arthur Baking has this process if you are ever interested.
One very important part about making sourdough bread is weighing the ingredients versus measuring with a measuring cup. Weighing your ingredients for homemade sourdough bread is not only more accurate but also takes out the margin for error. Luckily you can get a scale for under $20. You will also need a large bowl, a loaf tin, and a dishtowel. Some people prefer to bake their bread in a dutch oven or on a baking stone. A dough scrape, dough thermometer, and lame are also extra tools that can come in handy while making sourdough bread.
Read More: Baking Bread At Home Made Easy
Perfecting Homemade Sourdough Bread
As stated already, making sourdough bread is as much art as it is a science. There are so many ways you can go once you have the basic science of making sourdough bread down. After that, experiment with your sourdough bread and have fun, learn how you prefer your homemade sourdough bread. If you prefer it a bit airier than dense check out True Sourdough for tips on how to perfect your recipe.
The tools you use can also affect your sourdough bread outcomes. Making sourdough bread in a dutch oven helps make the bread’s crust form better by not letting the steam escape. You will also need to make sure that you ferment your sourdough start just enough, under or over fermenting can cause your bread to not turn out how you anticipate it. You want to catch your dough at that perfect moment when it has risen an ample amount but is still on the way up. Basically, your dough is like avocado and you have to catch it at that perfect moment!
Whether you just want to dabble in making sourdough bread or want sourdough bread to be a staple in your home. Having fun and learning along the way is all part of it. You can even use raisin water to make a special sourdough starter, and by using herbs or various flours, you can make a variety of sourdough bread. Use your sourdough starter to make cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, hamburger buns, or as a pizza dough. The possibilities are endless, especially now with making sourdough bread being all the rage.
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