Sourdough bread in 3 days

Surdegsbröd på tre dagar

White sourdough bread made over 3 days

This is how I prefer to make a white sourdough loaf if I have the time. Three days may seem a long time before you actually have anything to eat, but I think the wait is worth it!

Essentially the method is the same as the "one-day" method, but the dough is refrigerated a couple of times, which improves the flavour slightly and makes the dough easier to handle. I particularly recommend this method if:
• You want freshly baked bread on a day when you are busy most of the day,
• You want freshly baked sourdough bread for lunch,
• Your kitchen is too hot, so you are worried about your dough being over-proved,
• You have had difficulties getting consistent results with the "one-day" method.
The disadvantages of this method are that you need to find space for the dough in your fridge and, of course, you've got to plan ahead!

If you think you might still struggle to find enough time to follow this method, then try our knådfritt (no-knead) recipe, which takes just 6 minutes, admittedly also spread over three days.

Of course, surdegsbröd in Sweden is no different to anywhere else in the world, but I have included some recipes on this site because it is popular in Sweden and it tastes really good! If you like sourdough bread I recommend giving this recipe a try! John Duxbury

Summary

Recipe summary for a 3-day sourdough loaf

Tips

A nice bubbly sourdough starter made using rye flour, water and honey

• The key to success is to use a nice bubbly starter (leaven). For our recipe click here.

Some sourdough starter (leaven) floating in water

• You may have read that if you drop a spoonful of sourdough starter into water it should float. Whilst sourdough starter that floats is definitely ready to use, don't panic if your starter does not float! As long as your starter is nice and bubbly it will be fine.

A selection of equipment used when baking sourdough bread

• For a guide to recommended sourdough baking equipment click here. In particular, I recommend using a baking dome (La Cloche) as it is like having a miniature brickoven in your kitchen.

A bag of strong white bread flour from Wessex Mill 

• Experiment with different flours until you find one you like. They alter the flavour, colour, crumb and crust.
• Before handling dough in a mixing bowl, run your hands under some cold water to prevent your hands sticking to the dough too much.
• The timings for resting the dough are not critical and are given as a rough guide, so adjust them to fit in with your whatever else you are doing.

Ingredients

Dough

200 g* sourdough starter (leaven)
320 g water at room temperature
500 g strong white flour (bread flour)
10 g sea salt
  oil

*All bread ingredients are normally measured in grams

For the banneton and the baking stone

2 tbsp flour, preferably white rye
  semolina flour, polenta or baking parchment

Method

Preparation

1. The night before you want to mix your dough, prepare your starter (leaven) and pour some water into a jug to give it time to come to room temperature.

Day 1: mixing the dough

2. Fit the dough hook and splashguard to your stand-mixer. (If you've not got a stand-mixer, then simply mix the ingredients by hand.) Add 200 g starter, 310 g of the water and 500 g of bread flour to the bowl of your stand-mixer and mix on a low speed for about 30 seconds, until no flour remains. Cover with the splashguard, clingfilm (plastic wrap) or a shower cap and leave to rest for about 45 minutes.

3. Add 10 g (1½ tsp) of salt and the remaining 15 g (1 tbsp) of water to the dough and then knead it on a low speed (2 with a kMix or 3 with a KitchenAid) for 7 minutes. (If you are kneading the dough by hand I suggest you knead it for about 20 seconds every ten minutes for about an hour and then move the step 4.)

4. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover the dough with clingfilm (plastic wrap) or a shower cap and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

5. Knead the dough by hand for about 15 seconds (you can do this in the bowl), until you feel the dough begin to tighten. Cover again and leave for 30 minutes.

6. Repeat step 5, cover again and leave for 30 minutes.

7. Transfer the dough to a refrigerator and leave to chill for 12-24 hours.

Day 2: preparing the dough for a proving basket

Sourdough after being folded in a mixing bowl

8. Take the dough from your fridge and uncover it. Grab the underside of the dough furthest away from you with both hands and gently stretch it up and fold it over the rest of the dough. Rotate the bowl through 180º and repeat. Cover the dough again and leave for 30 minutes.

9. Rotate the bowl through 90° and repeat step 8. Replace the cover and leave for another 30 minutes.

A lightly floured worksurface

10. Lightly flour the worksurface (or rub the surface with a little oil) and then gently transfer the dough to the worksurface. Using your hands and a dough scraper, form the dough into a hemisphere.

Shaping sourdough into a hemisphere

One way of forming the dough into a hemisphere is to do it in three steps:
a) gently pat the dough out into a circle,
b) sprinkle some flour onto your scraper and then use it to fold the dough into the centre eight times to create a very rough octagon, holding each fold in place with one hand as you do so,
c) quickly flip the dough over and finish rounding the dough with your hands, sprinkling a little flour on to the top of the dough (to prevent your hands sticking) and then smooth the surface.

Gently moving the dough from side to side to build up a taut surface

11. Move the dough slightly from side to side a few times to build up tension on the surface. When you have a taut smooth surface leave the dough uncovered for 15 minutes.

A proving basket sprinkled with rye flour

12. Brush a 1 kg banneton clean and then add 2 tablespoons of flour, preferably white (light) rye flour. Tip the basket around until the flour evenly coats the sides and bottom of the banneton.

13. Using your hand and a dough scraper, transfer the dough to the proving basket with the smooth (curved) side down. Cover the dough with a cloth and leave it to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature and then refrigerate it for 12-24 hours.

Day 3: baking

14a) If you are using a baking dome (La Cloche), place it in a cold oven and heat it to 220ºC (425ºF, gas 7, fan 220ºC), which will probably take about 25 minutes. (Note that there is no temperature reduction necessary with a La Cloche in a fan oven.)

14b) If you are using a baking stone, place it in a cold oven and heat it to 220ºC (425ºF, gas 7, fan 200ºC), which will probably take about 25 minutes.

14c) If you are using a baking tray, preheat your oven to 220ºC (425ºF, gas 7, fan 200ºC).

The base of a baking dome sprinkled with semolina flour

15a) If you are using a baking dome, sprinkle a little semolina flour (or polenta) over the bottom when it is hot.

15b) If you are using a baking stone, dust a peel or a flat board with semolina flour (or polenta).

15c) If you using a baking tray, line it with baking parchment.

Sourdough is scored to create an attractive finish

16. Take your dough out of the fridge, quickly turn it out of the banneton onto the base of your baking dome (or your peel, board or baking tray) and, using a sharp knife, score the top in a pattern that you like. Do this as quickly as you can, holding your blade at an angle of about 45° and making the cuts about 3 mm (just over ⅛") deep.

17a) If you are using a La Cloche, bake with the dome in place for 30 minutes, then remove the dome and bake for another 20 minutes, until nicely browned or until the internal temperature reaches 96ºC (205ºF).

17b) If you using a baking stone, give the top of your oven a good spray of water, quickly slide your dough onto to the baking stone and bake for about 50 minutes, until nicely browned or until the internal temperature reaches 96°C (205°F).

17c) If you using a baking tray, give the top of your oven a good spray of water and bake for about 50 minutes and bake your bread until nicely browned or until the internal temperature reaches 96°C (205°F).

A loaf of baked white sourdough on a cooling rack

18. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Downloads

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