Eric Pallant, a serious amateur baker and author of “Sourdough Culture: A History of Bread Making From Ancient to Modern Bakers,” usually keeps about 1 cup of sourdough starter, stored in a mason jar, in the fridge. To make your own starter, try Pallant’s sourdough bread starter recipe.
Makes 1 sourdough loaf
- 1 cup sourdough starter (see recipe here)
- 5 cups white flour (use some whole-wheat flour for heartier bread) plus more for kneading
- 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1. Morning Day 1: In a medium bowl, stir sourdough starter and 3/4 cup water. Alternatively, shake starter and water vigorously in an airtight jar. Add 1 cup flour. Mix thoroughly. Loosely cover the bowl with a cloth (or, if using a jar, loosely cover with a lid) and leave your microbes to multiply during the day at room temperature.
2. Evening Day 1: Dump your jar of fed starter into a large bowl. Combine the starter, 1 cup water and 2 cups flour. Stir vigorously for 1 minute.
3. Morning Day 2: Remove approximately 1 cup of the starter to a new jar and cover loosely with a lid. Place this reserve in the refrigerator for later use. Use the starter remaining in the bowl for step 4.
4. Add salt and remaining 2 cups flour to the bowl. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead to form a smooth dough, about 20 minutes. Halfway through, the dough will become less sticky and more cohesive. Add small amounts of flour as you need to, but do so sparingly.
5. Let the dough rise in a covered bowl until it’s relaxed, smoothed out and risen. Depending on the vigor of your starter, it may become really puffy, or it may just rise a bit. This can take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours.
6. Preheat a cast-iron Dutch oven in the oven at 475 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Gently place the full loaf into the preheated Dutch oven, cover, and return to oven. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on and 20 minutes with the lid off.
7. Take the loaf out of the oven. Remove the loaf from the Dutch oven and let cool on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
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