I have been making bread in various shapes and sizes-and with varying success-for a while now. I’ve always wanted to experiment with sourdough, as I love the flavour and it reminds me of the typical Cypriot bread I love so much. The instructions on how to make sourdough came from Ιστομαγειρέματα, although I’m not entirely sure I followed them very closely.
To make sourdough, take a handful of flour and mix it with water and a bit of salt, until you have a ball of dough that’s fairly consistent and firm. I keep mine in a glass bowl, for reasons I’ll explain in a moment. Cover it with a clean cloth and let it rest, preferably in room temperature. If it’s winter and cold, keep it near a radiator. After 2-3 days add a little water to the dough and some flour, not much, enough to give it a stir and ‘feed’ it. Again cover it and let it do its work for 2-3 days, then feed again. Do this 2-3 times. You will notice that the mix has started to develop some bubbles (easily visible if you have it in a glass bowl). It will also have developed a sour smell-the sign of success. Your sourdough is ready.
In 1 kg of flour add 2 tsp of salt and your sourdough. Add lukewarm water and knead really well until you have a nice dough that’s not sticky and has a consistent texture. Keep some of this dough in the glass bowl-that’s your next sourdough. Form your dough into 2-3 round loaves. As you see from the pictures, I made some diagonal cuts on mine, you can cut a cross shape, whatever you want. I also put the loaves straight onto the baking tray (metal), oiled and sprinkled with flour from before, to avoid moving them when it was time to bake.
Cover the loaves and allow them to prove overnight. Yes, overnight. So you need to be planning ahead. The result is well worth it. When it’s time to bake, preheat your oven to 200 degrees. I put a baking dish with some hot water at the bottom of the oven to avoid the crust getting too hard, as per the rye bread method. I baked my loaves for about 35 minutes, again this depends on your oven and the size of your loaves. Although the loaves didn’t rise very much overnight, they did so in the oven. When you think the bread is done, take a loaf and tap the bottom-it should give a hollow sound-then it’s ready. My loaves were quite substantial, not fluffy at all and very filling.
Enjoy. Repeat. Abandon sachets.