This is my “bread and butter” sourdough bread – simple, basic, and just plain bliss chewed with a spread of butter 😉 This bread has a chewy crust and a firm-ish spongy crumb, and tastes like the ciabatta I had when I travelled to Florence, Italy. However I don’t want to call this ciabatta because most people associate ciabatta with a soft and hole-y texture.
- 3 cups of high grade flour
- 1 cup of sourdough starter at room temperature
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup wholemeal flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- 1 tablespoon milk power (optional)
(The last two ingredients may make the purists shake their heads in disapproval, but it makes the bread keep longer without going stale. Just leave them out if you don’t want them.)
Follow these steps:
- Put the first 3 ingredients into a bowl and knead until just combined (1-3 minutes or so).
- Let it raise for 4-8 hours until it at least double in size. (The actual length of time will depend on your sourdough starter.)
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and knead until integrated.
- Let it roughly double in size in a lightly oiled big bowl (mine takes 1-2 hours depending on the temperature).
- Gently turn the dough out onto a well floured surface or well floured baking paper. I tend to hold the bowl virtually up side down to let the dough drop onto the flour surface.
- The side that stuck to the bowl, and therefore looks rough, would be up. Roll the dough over gently and turn this side down. To shape it into a loaf, tuck the left and right under gently like you are tucking bed sheets under a mattress.
- Preheat the oven to 200-220 C.
- Mist the loaf with water and bake for 30-40 minutes until it sounds hollow when tapped.