So you’ve made the dough with these instructions and now you’re ready to cook some bread! Well, righteo then. I know below will seem like a lot of steps but I’ve broken it down a lot to make it easier. After a few loaves you’ll know what “shape your dough” means and you won’t need to read steps 3.1 and 3.2. So try not to feel daunted, because I promise if I can manage it amidst study, work and wrangling four children you can too. And you’ll be so proud of yourself when you do it!
What you’ll need:
Your dough, cold from being in the fridge.
A cast-iron Dutch oven with a lid.
A hot oven.
Some waxed paper.
A pizza peel or chopping board.
Some wholemeal flour.
A sharp serrated knife or lame.
A wire rack.
2. Place some waxed paper onto a pizza peel or cutting board.
3. Shape your dough and let it rest for 30 minutes while your oven preheats.
3.1 Shape your dough by sprinkling the dough in the container with wholemeal flour so it is lightly covered. This makes it less sticky to shape in your hands and it also gives it a contrast when it cooks, as well as makes it easier to slash before baking.
3.2 Using light touch, grab your dough in your hands and quickly and gently fold the edges of the dough into itself and under, tucking under and holding your hands in a sort of horizontal open-prayer position (praying to the bread Gods mwahaha). It should take less than 20 seconds or so to shape your loaf. The less and lighter you touch it, the lighter and more delicious it will be cooked. *There is a video on my Instagram account (girl.tribe) under #girltribecooks showing me shaping the dough. Otherwise searching YouTube is a good idea too, it’s how I learn.
4. Use a serrated knife or a lame and score your bread a few times with quick, light touches. There are many ways to do this – have fun experimenting!
5. Let your dough rest for 30 minutes while your oven is heating up.
6. Using oven mitts, carefully open your oven, pull out the rack and take the lid off the Dutch oven. Grab your cutting board or pizza peel with the dough on it, and carefully slide it inside the Dutch oven pot with the waxed paper still underneath. Some people sprinkle semolina and do it without the waxed paper but I’m lazy and this way works easily and efficiently, with no malformed loaves messed up through transfer to the oven.
7. Place the hot lid of the Dutch oven back onto the pot, shut the oven door and set the timer for 30 minutes.
8. When the timer goes off, use an oven mitt and take the lid off the pot and turn the heat down to 200 degrees C. This step makes your crust all delicious, giving it colour and crunch.
9. Let the bread cook for a further 15 minutes.
10. When the timer goes off, turn off your oven and carefully get your bread out of the oven and rest it on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes to cool before you slice it.
Enjoy! You just made your own fucking amazing sourdough. How fantastic are you?!
I usually cook a loaf every day or two, and I often make up my next batch of dough while the other loaf is cooking so I can let it rise overnight and then have it in the fridge ready for whenever I am ready to bake next. Don’t wash out your dough container – that’s where the flavour develops, just add in your next lot of dough ready to mix and rest.
I allow an hour to bake a loaf including all the steps and preheating. The bread can be sliced and frozen (if it’s not gobbled up in one sitting).
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here. Tag #girltribesourdough so I can see your loaves on Instagram!