One great aspect about having to be stuck at home is that I finally had the time to own a sourdough. I’ve been wanting to own one for a very long time, but we traveled pretty often and most of the time for more than a week, so sourdough couldn’t really fit in our schedule.
Last year a friend of ours gifted us a few grams of his dried sourdough, which is a century old and originally from Karelia. Rehydrating it was quite straightforward and of course my foremost goal was to bake bread.
These are the characteristics I find necessary in a bread:
- The texture should be airy and fluffy from the inside
- But at the same time it should have a nice, crunchy crust
- It should last for many days without hardening or getting moldy
- And of course it should taste delicious
Now, I’ve been baking bread with sourdough every week for many months and tried several techniques. I started with the most common sourdough bread recipes, which all require a lot of folding and many different steps. The result was good, nothing to complain about, but also nothing amazing if weight in balance with the amount of work it required. I also tried different flours, different ratios between the flours and different hydration percentages. I’ve tried storing it in the refrigerator and keeping it at room temperature for different amounts of hours. I tried to carve the bread and not carve before it would go into the oven. I tried different temperatures. All of this, behind the scenes. I had a couple of friends that started this same sourdough process around the same time as me with whom I would talk to and we’d exchange recipes (and failures!).
Eureka, or how the Effortless Sourdough Bread was born
During this learning process I only had to throw one bread away. I’m telling you this not to brag, but to show you that there are several ways to bake a bread loaf and there is no one sole correct way to do it. Then one day I just realized, why don’t I just try to adapt the Effortless Bread Recipe and substitute the yeast with sourdough? So that’s what I did. What I want to share now with you is the recipe I’ve now stuck with for the past 10 breads or so and has always yielded to a bread loaf that satisfied all the characteristics above mentioned.
Do you remember our Effortless Bread? We published it at the early stage of the pandemic and it’s a recipe Klaus has made countless times over the years and perfected it along the way. Many of you have found the way to that recipe and have recreated it in your homes and in your ovens and we couldn’t be happier about it. So, if you own a sourdough, I strongly recommend you to try this version.
- With a 87,5% hydration, this is a very wet dough and is the reason why this bread stays so soft for such a prolonged time. It is a little bit challenging to work at first, but you’ll get used to it. As long as you remember to properly flour the surfaces you work on, you’ll be fine.
- Some people like to carve their bread before it goes into the oven, but I noticed I prefer the bread to crack by itself as it sees fit on its own.
- As aforementioned, our sourdough (who by the way is called Ryely Ryedonium, in case you’re asking), is 100+ years old, meaning that it’s a very strong and well established sourdough. So, if your sourdough is rather new, you might want to prolong some rising time such as the proofing time.
- What seeds to add? We really love to mix and usually put a mixture of sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flax, poppy and sesame seeds with a few sesame and poppy seeds on top too. Try adding some oat flakes on top of the bread!
- I usually use a mixture of flours in the ratio you will find in the recipe, but of course you can experiment with the flours you like! One thing I’ll say though: use strong wheat flours with high protein content, such as manitoba flour. Wheat flours with high protein (10-13 %) will ensure a very elastic dough that will be able to hold all the air pockets that will form during the rising time.
So, without further ado, following you will find probably the easiest recipe for a sourdough bread. Hope you’ll enjoy it and please let us know how it will turn out by commenting this post or tagging @adagioblog #adagiorecipes in Instagram!
Sourdough Effortless Bread
- Bench Scraper
- Cast Iron Pan
- 350 ml lukewarm water
- 100 g active sourdough
- 400 g flour 300 g strong wheat + 60 g graham + 40 g rye
- 10 g salt
- 60 g seeds optional
- Place in a bowl the lukewarm water, the sourdough and the salt. Mix until the sourdough and the salt won’t have dissolved in the water.
- Add the flour or flour mixture and the seeds (if you so wish) to the bowl and mix with a spoon/spatula until all the ingredients will be mixed together.
- Cover the bowl with a towel or any other cover that allows the dough to do some breathing. Let the dough rest for half an hour.
- After half an hour, wet your hands with water so that the dough won’t stick to your finger and stretch the dough by bringing one side toward the opposite side. Repeat this for about four times or until the whole dough will have stretched. Now grab the dough with both ends and turn it upside down.
- Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for about 12 hours.
- Pour the risen dough on a well floured surface (a small spatula will be your best friend in this step!) and spread it to form a square/rectangular shape.
- Take the left corner, pull it and flip it toward the middle and do the same with the right corner.
- Take the upper part and pull it all the way down to the lower part.
- With a bench scraper, tuck the dough from all sides to tighten and define a round shape to the loaf.
- Flour* a proofing basket or just any kind of bowl lined with a floured dish towel and let the dough proof under a towel for at least 1 hour to up to 3 hours. If you are planning to bake later than that, you can place your dough in a refrigerator for up to 12 hours and remember to take it out 1 hour before baking.
- Turn your oven on to 250°C/450F and place your cast iron pan in it so that it will warm up too.
- Flour a baking paper and turn your proofing bowl upside down so as to release the dough onto the paper. Slide the loaf into the hot cast iron, cover it with its lid and bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 200°C/400F and bake for another 15 minutes or until your loaf won’t have gained that nice, brown color.
- Remove the loaf from the oven and the pan and let it cool.
- Store in a breadbox or a metal tin box with a slight loose lid for up to a week.