Sourdough-ish Bread Recipe (aka THE BEST BREAD EVER)

Stop everything and make this bread! Does that sound too demanding? Too urgent? I must be understating things. YOU NEED THIS BREAD. 

I've promised my recipe for months now but I hesitated to post anything until I felt I had a really solid grasp on it and could answer any of your questions about the process from experience. Well, after about three months and over 30 kilograms of flour, I'm happy to report that I've found it... one bread recipe to rule them all. You can tell this is epic if I'm dusting off LOTR jokes ;) 

Here's the origin story of this perfect bread: I was determined to make sourdough bread from scratch. The sort where you make your own yeast, essentially. You mix flour and water, let it ferment (sour as a verb) over weeks, and then use it in a high hydration (read: very wet) dough that makes angels sing. Except after weeks and a massive Costco-size bag of flour there was no singing. Just a lot of muttered choice words as I put boule after boule in the compost bin because it never rose (did I mention the rising time for most of these recipes was 24 hours? Who has time for that?!). I had made some classic country boules before using Pinch of Yum's no-knead recipe and found it easy and good, but I'd never go on record saying it was incredible. The reason everyone loves sourdough is the complexity and depth of flavour. My country boule recipe was more Wonderbread than Sourdough, but it was still a treat to pull out of the oven. 

This recipe combines the ease of my old basic bread recipe (with it's use of commercial yeast and guarenteed rise) and the flavour of sourdough (deep, rich, sour, yeasty - all good things I promise, even if they sound like questionable adjectives). It's the best of both worlds and has become our hands down favourite thing to build a meal off of. With jam and tea. Topped with curry chicken salad for lunch. Warmed in the oven with almond butter, sliced bananas, and chocolate chips for dessert. Or just plain, this bread is perfection. Want the recipe? OF COURSE YOU DO. 

6.5 cups (2lbs) all purpose flour
1 tb yeast
1 tb salt
3 cups (1.5lbs) luke warm water

First tip: get a kitchen scale! They cost $10 at Canadian Tire, Walmart, etc. and are so useful for baking! Measuring by weight is especially helpful if you're playing around with different flours which will have different densities, plus most measuring cups are slightly off. 


In a giant bowl, add all of your ingredients at once. So easy, you can't mess this step up. 


Stir together all of the ingredients until a shaggy ball forms. It won't look pretty, don't worry. 


Cover your shaggy form of dough and let sit to initially rise for 2 hours. Completely hands off, no stress. If you leave it a bit longer or shorter, again, no stress. This recipe is insanely forgiving!


Using your scale ideally, but you could eyeball it, cut the dough into three equal portions. You'll need a good amount of extra flour for this part. Form three unique balls of dough coated in flour.

Now for the choose your own adventure bit. You can bake right away after this step or store the dough balls in the fridge for a week or so. 

Bake Today

If you're baking today, take your ball of dough and shape it into a neat ball with a good amount of flour. Once you have the shape you want, let it rest for 30-60 minutes in the vessel you're cooking it in (see notes), then slash the top (see notes), then place on parchement paper in the vessel and bake at 450 for 30 minutes with the lid on. After 30 minutes, remove the lid to brown the top for 5-10 minutes more. Let cool fully before cutting. I know it's hard to wait, but trust me, the bread is at it's best when cooled, I promise!

Fridge Rise

This recipe makes three small sized boules or two medium sized boules, so either way you'll have an extra ball or two of dough that you're not baking straight away. Place dough balls in individual containers with lids in your fridge for up to one week. Though it's cold in there, they will continue to rise! They'll probably double in size or maybe even more, so make sure you choose a container that has room for your expanding dough. When you're ready to bake, take the dough out of the fridge, shape the dough with heavily floured hands, slash, and bake with the same instructions above. You don't need to let this dough rest for 30-60 minutes, only as long as it takes for your oven to preheat (for me this is around 15 minutes). 

right after making the dough, ready for the fridge
after 12 hours in the fridge
The Vessel

I use a dutch oven, and I'm convinced they're the best option. You can find these cast iron heavy duty casserole dishes with lids almost anywhere. I have one from Cuisinart that I found at Winners, another Le Creuset which was a thrift store find. I've used this recipe in IKEA dutch ovens too. All you need is an ovenproof vessel with a lid. 


After forming your dough ball with heavily floured hands, slash the top with a sharp knife (serrated works best). Slashing adds air to the boule so more bubbles form in the dough (little holes in your bread). It's supposed to help with rising and texture but honestly, I just do it because it looks pretty. The cuts may seem deep but once the boule bakes they are usually filled completely, adding only very slight dimension. 

1 comment:

  1. Amazing, thanks for sharing! I love to make bread but have never tackled sour dough. I cannot wait to try this out. I don't currently have a dutch oven but am wondering if I should invest in one. What else do you use it for?