Bread is one of the most popular morning meals, and until recently, the bread business has seen a significant increase in consumption when compared to pre-quarantine days. During the lockdown, many people began baking their own bread, demonstrating to others that they, too, can bake fresh bread at home.
Sourdough bread is the most popular of all the types of bread being prepared. The only explanation for its appeal is that sourdough has a high hydration level, which means it contains more water than regular bread, which makes the dough sticky. Even though it is becoming more popular, many people still have no idea what sourdough bread is!
All about sourdough bread
Sourdough is a more than 5,000 years old fermentation-based breadmaking technique. Due to the industrial revolution and the mass production of commercial yeast, it was mostly forgotten about 150 years ago. However, sourdough is making a comeback, and it has its own beautiful history to talk about.
It's a naturally leavened slow-fermented bread created with a live fermented culture, such as a sourdough starter. Many individuals are unaware that it is easier for the body to digest than other types of bread. Sourdough bread has a crunchy and chewy texture and a tangy flavour, making it great for pairing with any cuisine. It's even said that making the perfect sourdough is difficult. However, on the contrary, it’s super easy and doesn’t even involve kneading of any kind.
If scriptures and cave paintings are to be trusted, the bread dates back to ancient Egypt. In the Middle Ages, the method fell out of favour and was practically forgotten, only to be reintroduced in the early 1800s. Sourdough was almost rendered obsolete with the invention of commercial yeast.
Parvinder S Bali, a chef specialising in Indian cuisine, relates bread-making to wheat cultivation, he said, “The earliest bread's origins are unknown, but wheat has been grown for over 5,000 years. The bread's leavening was unintentional, as the previous day's dough would have been left over. The baker would have been enticed to bake it by the lovely fermenting aroma. Khameeri roti is an amazing example of that.”
Do you believe you can't make sourdough bread at home? Don’t worry! Your go-to reference for a basic, homemade loaf without kneading is 'Sourdough Bread: a Beginner's Guide'. Make the dough early in the morning or late at night; it will be ready.
Though the process to make this bread is a little lengthy and takes time, but the taste is super amazing. Traditionally, it’s made using 4 simple ingredients – flour, water, yeast, and salt. While making this bread, it is important to understand each and every single technique, as that plays a vital role in making it.
How to make your own sourdough starter:
1 small handful (1/4 cup) white flour
2 tablespoons of water
A piece of cloth
1. Make a small well in the flour and pour in the water.
2. Slowly combine the flour and water, gradually adding additional flour to the centre. The ingredients will turn from a paste to a little piece of dough over time.
3. Using your fingers, knead this little amount of dough for 5-8 minutes, until it turns springy.
4. Place the dough in a small bowl, cover with a moist towel and set aside for 2 or 3 days in a warm location.
5. The dough will be wet, wrinkled, and crusty when it's done. You'll notice little bubbles and a pleasant scent if you tear off a piece of the crust.
6. The starter will have a new, fresh appearance after 1 or 2 days. Remove any dried dough and add 1 cup of flour to the mixture.
7. Cover the bowl with a moist cloth and set it aside for another 8-12 hours in a warm location.
8. When the starter is done, it will appear fully risen and will not spring back when a slight indentation is made with a finger. The starter is now ready for use in almost any sourdough recipe.
Baking the Sourdough bread:
Preheat your oven to 450°F (225°C) and a baking pan. Gently turn the dough out onto a separate floured flat baking tray (not preheated). Carefully make it round again pushing the seams underneath.
Score the bread on top with any design you like.
Turn down the oven to 400°F (200°C) and slide your bread from your floured tray onto your preheated tray.
Bake for roughly 55-65 minutes or until a gorgeous golden brown colour.
Cool the bread completely before cutting.
You can try many recipes with sourdough bread at home. Enjoy!