For a little more than a year I’ve been making sourdough bread. I’ve loved it but getting the extra rise that makes it a nice sandwich bread has been difficult.
So, I decided to test out adding a bit of yeast to my sourdough recipes and the difference is night and day. This won’t appeal to hardcore sour dough bakers. It feels a bit like cheating. But, for me, it’s just a pretty sure fire way to get the bread I want each and every time.
This sourdough recipe uses roughly 50% white and 50% Einkorn (and sometimes whole-grain Spelt). You could try any kind of whole grain or whole wheat flour presumably.
My pictures do not do this bread justice! I allowed the loaf in the photo to break open naturally rather than scoring it. Either method will work.
This is now my favourite sourdough. And, most definitely my husband’s favourite!
Ingredients for Easy Sourdough Bread
450g all-purpose white flour
450g einkorn flour (or another ancient or whole grain flour)
690g of water
180g of levain (see ‘Making the Levain’ below)
18g of sea salt (I often just use a level tablespoon rather than measuring by weight)
1/2 tsp good quality yeast
Timing for Sourdough Preparation
The process isn’t time consuming, it is just needed to allow for various stages.
Preparing Easy Sourdough Bread
MAKING THE LEVAIN FOR YOUR SOURDOUGH BREAD
30 grams sourdough starter
90 grams of cool water
90 grams of white flour (this seems to work best for making the levain)
- Mix the levain up the night before if you’d like to make the bread dough up the next morning and then bake it late at night (or the following morning). Or, mix the levain up in the morning, make the bread dough during the day and bake the sourdough the next morning.
- You will need 30 grams of sourdough starter to make your levain. Ask a friend who bakes sourdough, check with your local bakery to see if they have it or make it yourself. Here’s my recipe for making sourdough starter from scratch. It is not difficult … it just requires patience over several days.
- The levain needs roughly 5-6+ hours to get to the place where it is active for use in your recipe.
MAKING SOURDOUGH BREAD
- Once your levain is ready to go, measure out 180 grams of the levain into a large measuring cup or small bowl.
- Add 1/2 tsp good quality yeast plus 690g of room temperature or a tad warmer water (not cold).
- Combine the above together using a fork. The levain will be thick so stir it to break it up at least a bit.
- Combine your flour and salt together in a large bowl.
- Pour the levain, water and yeast mixture, once it is well combined, into the flour mixture.
- Use a wooden spoon, or another large spoon, to mix the flour and liquid together until there are no dry bits left. Don’t over mix.
- Cover the bowl with a cotton towel and set aside for 30 minutes, when you will do your first stretch and fold.
- You’ll do roughly 4-6 stretch and folds over the space of 3 or so hours. Do the first 3 stretch and folds closer together, roughly 30 minutes apart. And then the remaining stretches at roughly 45 minutes apart. This gives the dough a bit more time to relax between folds.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, roughly 5+/- hours after mixing the dough, turn the dough out of the bowl onto an unfloured countertop.
- Divide the dough in half and use a dough scraper to gently shape the dough into two nice round balls. Let them rest on the countertop for 25-30 minutes uncovered.
- While the dough is resting prepare your loaf pans by greasing them with butter and then lining them with parchment paper, so that the loaves come out of the pans easily once baked. For the parchment paper, I use a strip just wide enough to cover the bottom and some of either side. The parchment doesn’t need to cover the entire loaf pan to work.
- After the dough has rested on the countertop, lightly sprinkle flour over the tops of the dough. Then use the dough scraper to turn the dough over so that the flour side is now on the countertop.
- Using both hands fold the left side of the dough into the center and repeat with the right side. (You may need to keep your hands lightly floured.) Next, start at the top or bottom and carefully roll the dough up into a a jelly roll style shape. Then pick up the dough and place the seam side down in the bread baking pan.
- Next, place the dough inside a clean plastic bag and seal it or tie it off and place it in the refrigerator overnight to continue its rise.
- The next morning preheat your oven to 450F. Allow it to preheat for 10 minutes or so once it reaches that temperature. Then place a small baking dish with roughly a cup of ice in the oven along with the loaves. The dough should go straight from the fridge, after removing the bag of course, to the oven. The tray of ice can go next to the bread or on a lower shelf.
- Bake the bread for 40 minutes. As the ice melts it will create steam in the oven which helps create a nice crust for the bread, similar to what would occur in a dutch oven baked sourdough. (The steam from the ice creates a hot steam coming out of the oven, so be careful when opening your oven door.)
After removing bread from the oven, immediately remove from bread pans and cool on a wire rack completely before cutting. Or, if you can’t wait, at least give it an hour.
You can score your bread or allow it to burst open naturally. The ones in the photo I did random scoring in, but allowing them to burst open naturally works too.
IMPORTANT: Be careful removing your bread from the oven once it is baked as the melted water will create steam that can be quite hot and shocking when you open the oven to remove your loaves.
I’ve included “15 Mistakes Most Beginner Sourdough Bakers Make” as an fyi. I found it interesting and helpful to watch.