Baking bread in a bakery is a dream come true. In our bakery, we have access to all the necessary tools to ensure success. With consistent repetition and practice, we can turn out amazing loaves, day after day, with ease and grace.
In comparison, baking bread at home can be difficult and mired in frustrations. Your kitchen counter space is always just a few square feet shy of perfection. Your scale is always low on batteries. Your loaf of bread, by dint of its singularity, becomes the most important thing in the world…leading to constant poking, prodding, and worrying.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way! With adequate time and patience, success is very attainable. What follows is meant to be a set of loose guidelines that, if followed, will yield a loaf of bread you can be proud of. If you’re the scientific type, you experiment with the amount of water and flours used in the dough. If you’re more cavalier, you can immediately throw caution to the wind and replace whole wheat with more interesting flours. Good luck!
Field Company Guide to Sourdough Bread
The Night Before
If you don’t already have a sourdough starter at home, make one now, then come back once it’s ready to use.
Right before bedtime on the night before you plan on mixing your dough, you should refresh your starter with 150g of cool (around 70°F) water and 150g of flour (whatever you used to make your starter). Leave it out somewhere in your kitchen that isn’t insanely hot or cold. Go to bed and dream of the accolades and adoration showered upon you by friends and family as you pull your loaf from the oven.
The Morning Of
Wake up and grab your coffee and/or tea. It’s go time. Weigh all of the ingredients listed below except for the salt (this will make it easier for the yeast to start doing their thing) and combine them in a large mixing bowl. Using your hand, mix all of the ingredients together until everything is evenly incorporated and a shaggy mess. Use a dough scraper to scrape excess dough off your hand and the sides of the mixing bowl. Cover the mixing bowl with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for around 30 minutes.