Homemade Rye Sourdough Loaf

Servings: 1 loaf
Cooking Time: circa 3 days for the starter + overnight proving + 1 hr 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the Starter:
1/2 cup, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons Just Natural Organic rye flour, sifted
1/4 cup warm water

For Feeding the Starter:
1/2 cup, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons Just Natural Organic rye flour, sifted
1/4 cup warm water

For the Bread:
1 cup rye sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups, plus 1 3/4 tablespoons warm water
5 3/4 cups, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons Just Natural Organic rye flour, sifted, plus more for dusting
2 1/4 teaspoons sea salt

How to Make it

Making the Starter:
(1) Sourdough Is all about the starter. Mix the rye flour and warm water in a glass bowl until smooth. Cover bowl with eco-friendly alternative to clingfilm of your choice (allowing by some means a small amount of air to circulate). Set aside for 24 hrs at room temperature.
(2) After the 24 hrs, feed the starter with the ½ cup of rye flour and 1/3 cup of water. Again, mix and set aside as above for another 24 hrs.
(3) Continue in this fashion for around 5 days. You will know when the starter is ‘active’, as there will be bubbles present and a sour smell.

Making the Bread:
(1) Dissolve the salt in warm water. Mix in 1 cup of the starter (make sure this isn’t all of it, as you should always leave some to keep going for your next batch of bread) and sift in the rye flour (5 ¾ cups) with a wooden spoon.
(2) Once a smooth dough has formed, place on a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Don’t be tempted to add too much flour in the process: it should be relatively sticky.
(3) Once well kneaded, flatten into a circle and fold in at four ‘corners’. Repeat four or five times. Then, place in a bowl, dust a with little flour, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for between 6 hours and overnight.
(4) Pre-heat the oven to 220°C, with a baking tray inside, and prepare 1 cup of boiling water.
(5) Place the risen dough in a bread tin of choice and score the top and dust with flour.
(6) Place the bread tin on the baking tray and add the cup of boiling water to the tray, closing the oven door immediately. The steam will form a crisp crust on the eventual loaf.
(7) After 10 minutes, remove the tray and turn down the oven to 200°C. Continue baking for around 45 minutes.

NB: When done, the loaf is turned upside down and patted, producing a hollow, drum-like sound. If doesn’t sound right, place back in the oven for 5 minute intervals, repeating the patting process.

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