Updated: Jul 4
We share a sourdough recipe from the late, great bread ninja, Karima Brown. A quick word on flour – it’s best to use the best flour you can find. We suggest Eureka, as it’s unbleached and stone-ground.
Makes 1 white loaf
500 g (890 ml) white bread flour
287 g water
6 g salt
200 g starter (see recipe below)
The evening before, around 6 pm:
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl to make a dough. It won’t be very smooth, but make sure to mix the ingredients well. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rest overnight.
The dough should double in size. In summer, it should be ready early the following morning; in winter, it may take until 10 am or so.
Remove the dough from the bowl and put it on the counter. Do a simple fold. (Fold the edges into the middle, rotate the dough and repeat to form a rough ball shape.
Place it with the folded “seam” at the bottom and pull the dough like a rolling ball towards you. You can do this by cupping your hands behind it and pulling the dough towards you. Turn it 90 degrees and repeat about 20 times. This will help to keep air inside the dough.
Put the dough in a bowl or basket and let it prove (rest) for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 230°C. When it’s time to bake the bread, score the top with a sharp knife or razor blade. One long line down the side or a few short ones across the top will do; you can use any pattern you like.
Now you can bake your bread in one of two ways.
Either put a pot (Le Creuset or cast iron) with your dough into the oven while it is heating up, bake with the lid closed for about 20 minutes and then take the lid off for another 15 to 20 minutes. It should brown and it’s ready when it sounds hollow when you tap it on the bottom.
Place the dough directly on a baking sheet and into the oven. Place a small uncovered ovenproof dish with water in the oven with it to need to create steam to prevent the bread from drying out. Bake for about 30-40 minutes. Tap the bread to check if it’s ready. If it sounds hollow, it’s done.
Allow the bread to cool on a rack.
Tip: To make rye or whole-wheat bread, use 175 gram rye flour or whole-wheat flour and 325 gram white bread flour.
Karima’s Sourdough Starter Tips
Mix 60 grams white-bread flour and 60 grams water in a glass or plastic jar and cover with a cloth. Muslin is great, but a kitchen towel will do. If you close it with a lid, the jar could explode.
Mix in 60 grams flour and 60 grams water every day, preferably at the same time (morning or evening). This is called feeding your starter. Do it for about a week until the starter starts to bubble and looks alive. In winter, it may take up to 10 days.
When the jar becomes too full, throw out half the starter and keep feeding the remainder in the jar. Discarding some of the starter also helps to prevent the jar from becoming too heavy.
A great trick is to put a rubber band around the jar to mark the level of the starter after you have fed it. It should almost double in size, depending how much you have in the jar.
When the starter starts bubbling and looks as if it’s alive, it should be ready to use. To test it, drop a teaspoonful in a glass of water. If it floats, it’s ready.
Keeping Your Sourdough Starter Going
If you use the starter regularly, it will have to be fed once a day with 60 grams flour and 60 grams water.
If you do not bake every day, keep the starter in the fridge and feed it once a week. When you are going to bake, take the starter out of the fridge the morning before. (For example, if you are going to bake on a Tuesday, remove the starter from the fridge on the Monday morning.) Feed the starter after removing it from the fridge and again the following morning. It will be ready to use that (second) evening. You could also freeze a starter for about three months.