Sourdough September

If you haven't jumped on the craze before now, follow our steps to bake homemade sourdough from scratch!

Chef Scott at our Nightingale Place restaurant, No3 Bistro in Clapham, shared his recommendations for making homemade sourdough starter and a delicious sourdough loaf. At first glance, any sourdough recipe requires a lot of forward planning. The fermentation process itself takes two weeks, before you can even begin to make a start on your sourdough loaf. Well worth the wait though! And once you have a batch of starter dough prepared, you can continue the daily feeding ritual (feeding the dough, that is) so you have enough in stock to make yourself a freshly home-baked sourdough loaf on a regular basis. 

Step 1: Starter dough

Or 'mother dough' as it's known.

The vital ingredient needed for any sourdough, is starter dough (or 'mother dough' as it's often known).

You should ideally allow up to 14 days to create and prove your batch of starter dough. This process means there is no need to add shop-bought yeast. The dough ferments spontaneously as you remove some of the mix each day, and add fresh flour and water in it's place. This daily 'feed' causes the dough to ferment, at room temperature for the first 6 days then moving to the fridge for the following 7 days, until it is ready to form the basis of your sourdough loaf.

Top tips:

  • Once your starter dough is ready, don't use it straight away. Remove the starter dough from the fridge and keep it at room temperature for 12 hours before using it in your sourdough mix.
  • Make sure your oven has a steam setting. If it doesn't then use a bowl of water beneath the dough in the oven.
  • Be sure to keep your starter dough only loosely-covered and kept at room temperature for at least the first few days. This helps kickstart the fermentation process.
  • Investing in a rattan basket is a good idea, especially if you'll be baking bread regularly.
  • The recipe from No3 Bistro is to bake a loaf, but you could of course bread the dough into smaller bun shapes should you wish.

Ingredients

Method

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixer with dough attachment, on a low to medium speed knead until the dough comes away from the bowl. It should be almost elastic and stretch without tearing

2. Leave in a bowl and cover, then leave to prove for 3 hours

3. Knock back the dough and shape your dough

4. Put into a well-floured rattan basket, cover and prove overnight in the fridge

5. Preheat oven to 230 degrees with 40% steam or moisture

6. Turn out your sourdough onto a firm metal tray and score with a razor blade in your preferred creative style

7. Bake for 20-25 mins, then remove and place onto a wire rack for cooling

8. Slice when cool and serve with farmhouse butter and preserves or as a base for a classic Eggs Benedict. Enjoy with a hot tea, glass of Chardonnay or lemonade

9. Your sourdough loaf can be stored in the freezer for up to three months

More recipes from No3 and other Audley village restaurants.