Don’t be discouraged if the first time you made sourdough didn’t make you the greatest home baker! We bet these top 10 tips (plus beginner sourdough recipe) from our favourite artisan sourdough maker Angelique Crystal from Sourdough Breadsmith will help.
Kitchen Warehouse welcomes Angelique Crystal into the kitchen to share her secrets to sourdough success. Don’t forget to download and print her sourdough recipes, there’s one for beginners and one for artisans.
What makes sourdough unique from other artisan bread is the sourdough starter in its recipe.
This starter is special as it doesn’t use any commercial yeast. Instead, you grow your own wild yeast culture out of flour combined with water.
This batter is left to sit at room temperature to let wild yeast and helpful bacteria thrive.
This culture is fed with a new batch of batter over the next few days until it becomes ripe, very bubbly, and ready for baking.
The distinct tangy taste that we all love in sourdough is not from the wild yeast though. Good bacteria lactobacillus and acetobacillus that grow in the culture feed on the sugar present in the batter.
In turn, they release lactic and acetic acids, which makes the bread sour—a bit too technical, but the science and art behind sourdough baking make it all the more fulfilling.
The fermentation involved is said to make sourdough a gut-friendly bread option.
Proteins and gluten present in sourdough are broken down by acids, resulting in a lower blood sugar reaction.
With all its benefits in taste and nutrition, sourdough bread is indeed worth doing at home.
To help you out, here are a few helpful and quirky tips from Angelique:
- Don’t be afraid, it can sense your fear.
- Get hold of an established starter for better results.
- Wooden or silicone utensils and glass bowls are best—don’t use metal.
- Use local organic flour with at least 10% protein and filtered water.
- Make sure your starter is in top form before baking—feed twice and do a “float test” if in doubt.
- Start with a low hydration recipe to get the hang of things and measure everything with a digital scale.
- Stick with the same recipe and the same flour until you get consistently good results.
- Watch the dough not the clock; timings are temperature-dependent and patience is a virtue.
- For best results, bake the cold dough in a very hot oven and cover for the first 20 minutes to trap steam.
- Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a great loaf; flops make the best breadcrumbs.
Incorporate Angelique’s tips the next time you try baking sourdough.
Angelique Crystal is a Perth-based bread artisan who uses her 100-year-old SanFran gold rush starter to make sourdough in all shapes and sizes. Check out her fabulous work and scoring techniques on Instagram (@sourdough_breadsmith).