Recipe for your own unique sourdough ferment, so you can make delicious, rustic, crunchy sourdough loaves at home!
I got Richard Bertinet’s recipe book: Crust, for Christmas a few years ago, which includes a recipe for making your own sourdough ferment and bread. I made my own ferment over Christmas, and was regularly baking sourdough loaves for about six months, until I forgot to feed it, and my ferment died!
A few weeks ago, I decided that I really wanted to be able to make my own sourdough again, so I have made a new ferment and used it for a few different loaves now. This post gives Richard Bertinet’s recipe for the ferment and a basic sourdough loaf.
Hopefully I will keep my ferment alive for longer this time! It generally needs refreshing every 2-3 days, but reading his recipe through again, he does suggest that adding double the amount of flour and the same amount of water, to the all ferment you have in the fridge ( rather than only keeping 200g), if you are going away for a few weeks.
To Make the Ferment:
- 1kg Strong White Bread Flour (for all the stages)
- 200g Wholemeal/Spelt Flour
- 1tbsp Honey
- 400g Ferment
- 850g Strong White Bread Flour
- 100g Wholemeal Flour
- 600g water
- 20g Salt
Mix together 50g wholemeal flour, 150g strong white bread flour, 25g honey and 150g of warm water in a large bowl. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place (as close to 30°C as possible – I put mine in an airing cupboard), for 48 hours, until the dough has become loose, bubbly and darkened in colour.
Then add 300g of strong white bread flour to your fermented mixture, with 150g of warm water, mix well, and cover with the same piece of cling film. Leave in a warm place for a further 24 hours, until loose and bubbly again.
Take 200g of your ferment and mix it with 400g of strong white bread flour and 150g of warm water. Store in a warm place for a further 12-16 hours, and then transfer to the fridge for 2 days, to slow the fermentation.
The sourdough ferment is now ready to use!
Refreshing your ferment:
Add 400g of flour and 200g of water to 200g of ferment. Leave in the fridge for 2-3 days, by which time it will either be ready to use, or you will need to refresh it again.
Combine all ingredients for the sourdough in a large bowl, until well combined and the mixture begins to form a ball of sticky dough.
Turn out onto a work surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Form into a tight ball, and return to a well floured bowl. Cover and leave to prove for around 4-6 hours, until bubbles appear at the top of the dough.
Turn out the proved dough and divide into two. Form each piece into a ball and coat in flour, place either in wicker proving baskets or return to well foured bowls, and leave to rest for 16-18 hours.
Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease two baking trays. Place a tray of water in the bottom of the oven.
Tip out onto the greased baking trays and slash the top of the bread in a criss-cross pattern. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until evenly browned, and they sound hollow when tapped. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Cut into thin slices and serve. Tastes fantastic when dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or topped with cheese and Chutney!