I’ve referenced in some of my other sourdough posts that I think it’s a process that’s been way over-complicated! I get great results with my half-assed, hair-brained efforts as a toddler mom with little time (and short-term memory) to spare.
Here I will run through a very basic long-term care routine for your sourdough and how to use it to bake a perfect loaf of bread maybe once a week, and less often than that if needed.
First, you’ll need a good sourdough starter. You can get some from a family member, a friend, or even an online marketplace! Sourdough is having quite the renaissance in the home kitchen so now is a good time to source some starter. You can even freeze it and keep it on hand for emergencies (this is how I made it through the post-partum period without killing my two-year-old culture!)
Second, you’ll need to make sure your starter is nice and active before putting it into hibernation, as I like to call it. This can be a few days or up to a few weeks of time it’s spending on vacation in the fridge.
Third you need to find an appropriate container. A pint Mason jar may be appropriate, or you may need a larger amount of starter depending on the amount of baking you’ll be doing. I like to use this jar from WalMart, but unless you’re baking at least weekly, and making more than just one loaf of bread (perhaps cinnamon rolls, or English muffins?) it’s not worth the fridge space.
Then, all you’ll need to do is pull the jar out of the fridge before baking day, split it into two portions, and feed them both: one portion will go back into the fridge for later use and the other will be used in your baking for that day.
You always have to have a portion of starter to continue its legacy, so don’t ever use it all up! You’ll have to get or make more if you do.
Below you’ll find the feeding schedule as well as a simple recipe for a rustic loaf of sourdough bread, perfect for the first-time baker. Be sure to check out my other sourdough recipes as well.
Lazy Sourdough Starter
Hearty Sourdough Multigrain Bread
Do you love the sweet and nutty chewiness of a whole wheat loaf of bread, but want to leaven it with sourdough? Look no further. While I use a homemade seed mix, Bob’s Red Mill makes a nut & seed mix that can be added to any bread recipe for a hearty dose of heart-healthy grains and seeds.
Prep the pre-soak
Combine the multigrain/nut & seed mix and the boiling water. Stir to combine and cover to cool until ready to incorporate.
Prepare the dough
In a large bowl combine the wet ingredients and whisk together until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl mix the flours together. Add slowly to the wet ingredients, mixing as you go. A wet, shaggy dough will form but may not come together just yet. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
Add the soaked grains to the bread dough, dimpling and then folding it in until it’s thoroughly mixed and evenly distributed. Cover again and allow to rest for another 15 minutes.
Begin a series of stretches or coil folds. Inside the bowl, reach under the dough and grasp it loosely; pull the edge to the center and press down to seal. Work around the edges until the whole loaf has been folded in about 4-6 times. I like to start at 15-minutes intervals for the first hour and then perform at least 2 more at 30 minutes. Performing at least two rounds is recommended.
After sufficient gluten has formed (or windowpane is achieved) allow to rest for bulk fermentation. This can vary in time, normally between 8 and 16 hours, but requires dough to increase in size at least 1.5x.
After dough has risen sufficiently, preheat your oven to 425° with your lidded baking vessel inside. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface to shape. Gather the edges under the loaf and pull it toward you, turning and shaping into a ball to form tension. Turn into a floured banneton or other bowl, cover and allow to rest for 30-60 minutes before baking. Dough should increase in size but should not double again prior to baking.
When ready to bake, turn the dough out of the banneton onto a piece of parchment paper. Score as desired and immediately put into the baking vessel and cover with lid. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 400° to finish baking, around 40 to 60 minutes total. To achieve a darker crust, remove the lid for the last 10 minutes of baking. Remove the bread from the oven and place onto a cooling rack. Allow to rest for an hour minimum before slicing.