Updated: Nov 4, 2020
This bread has it all: great sourdough flavor, wonderful crust, and a soft and chewy texture. The wild yeast is definitely the star of this show, and most people think that’s what makes the bread sour. That sour flavor actually comes from two kinds of good bacteria: Lactobacillus and Acetobacillus, which grow along with the wild yeast and eat up the sugar from the dough. This bread has a nice touch of sour and sweet earthy flavors and is perfect to pair with any meal of the day, whether it be toast for breakfast or as a side for soup or salad.
Before you make this bread, I just want you to know this is the healthiest sourdough bread in my household. The longer fermentation time compared to commercial yeast-based breads and the great ingredients make this bread truly artisan.
Anyone can make this delicious and simple sourdough bread; just by following the directions. The Dutch oven makes it so much easier to create steam and gives us that beautiful cracking crust.
Making a starter from scratch takes weeks (I have done it, and it’s worth it). But it is so much easier to get from your local bakery or online. These days you can buy everything online.
To keep your starter happy, all you need to do is feed her about every 24 hours. Or keep her in the fridge and check on her every week or so.
How to Feed Your Starter?
Add an equal amount of all-purpose flour and room temperature water. Stir together with a wooden spoon, cover with a lid, and leave her on the top corner of the fridge or in the fridge itself.
How to Wake Her Up?
If your started has been tucked safely away in the fridge for a while (ten days or so), she may start to separate, with a few tiny bubbles in the bottom and liquid (alcohol) on top. Please don’t panic! I have had that happen many times. This unhealthy-looking starter can come to life again in a few days.
First, stir everything together, then discard half. Feed her by adding 1 cup all-purpose flour and ½ cup water. Repeat this 3-4 times at 12-hour intervals while keeping her at room temperature. Once she looks very bubbly again, that means she is ready to do her sourdough magic!
Author Inna of innichkachef.com
2 teaspoons pink salt
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1⅔ cups rye flour
1⅔ cups whole wheat flour
2½ cups bread flour
2 cups warm water or whey
1½ cups sourdough starter (ripe and active)
1. Mix all ingredients together with the hook attachment for 2 minutes on medium speed or by hand. Make sure all ingredients are incorporated and that nothing is stuck on the bottom of the bowl.
2. Let rest 5-10 minutes
3. Mix again for 10 minutes on medium speed. The dough should be very elastic when you're done.
4. Do a “window test” (see my previous post on how to do this test) to see if the dough will stretch but not break.
5. Cover with a kitchen towel and forget about it for 6-8 hours. I usually do this first thing in the morning or right before bed.
6. The dough will double in size. Transfer the dough we a well-floured surface. It's time to fold the dough, which is different than kneading. Lift one corner of the dough, then fold it into the center of the dough and press it. Repeat with the other three sides.
7. Move the dough into the Dutch oven with baking paper on the bottom.
8. Cover the Dutch oven with a lid and leave for 3-4 hours.
9. The last touch of love for this loaf is to make a slash with a knife and sift flour on top for an artisan look.
10. Put the Dutch oven (with the lid on) into the oven preheated to 450F, and bake for 30 minutes.
11. Uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the crust is deeply brown.
12. When the bread is done, lift the loaf out of the pot using a spatula. Transfer the bread to wire racks to cool completely. As soon it reaches room temperature, slice and serve.
The bread should be stored in a paper bag for no more than 3 days or wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 3 months.
If you want to make delicious soup to go with your bread, check out my Buckwheat Soup with Wild Mushrooms recipe.
I hope you'll make this recipe soon. If you do, please tag me #innichka_chef on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.