Knead a little inspiration on what to bake next? Look no further than sourdough! Sourdough is a hot favourite amongst many bread-lovers today. It is also a staple in every baker’s kitchen for its versatility and amazing flavours—it’s crusty, tangy, and downright delicious. But before you get started, you need to make sure you know everything you need to know about baking sourdough breads. In this article, we share with you the three most important ingredients you need to achieve that perfect balance of flavour, texture, and aroma in a sourdough bread.
If you want to bake the perfect sourdough, you need to start with the right flour—and not just any flour, you need high-quality ones suitable for making sourdough bread. It's the yeast you can do!
Unbleached bread flour is the MVP of sourdough. With a high protein content, it gives your bread that chewy, airy texture you crave. Some bakers also like to add whole wheat flour for an even more complex flavour profile.
We recommend using Nippn Murasaki Botan—a premium Japanese bread flour—for your sourdough bread. It has an exceptional ability to absorb water, is easy to handle even at 80% hydration, and it produces moist, fluffy, and flavourful breads.
But beware of bleached flour. It's been treated with chemicals that can strip away nutrients and proteins, leaving you with a bland, flat bread that's crumby at best. You knead to steer clear of that!
The second most crucial ingredient in sourdough bread is water. In fact, it’s the main ingredient in the starter—a mixture of flour and water used to ferment the dough, giving it that distinctive tanginess.
The quality of the water you use can really make or break your loaf. Like any baking recipe, the devil is in the details—or in this case, the degrees. You don't want your water to be too chilly or too toasty, or your yeast will be in a loaf of trouble. Ideally, you want to keep things between 24℃ and 27℃, or else you risk a half-baked attempt that falls flat.
Salt is a key ingredient that can really take your loaf from 0 to 100. Not only does salt add a savoury flavour, but it also plays an important role in regulating the fermentation process.
By slowing down the activity of the yeast and bacteria, salt gives the dough more time to rise and develop those oh-so-complex flavours. It's like adding a dash of patience to your recipe. Plus, salt also flexes its gluten-strengthening muscles, giving your bread a more structured crumb that will make you say, "Oh my loaf!"
But don't use just any salt—quality counts. When adding salt to your sourdough bread, be sure to use a high-quality sea salt or kosher salt.
Flour and water are the key ingredients you’ll need to create a sourdough starter—the living, breathing mixture that gives sourdough its tangy taste and chewy texture. Without both flour and water, you won’t be able to make sourdough starters, which is the most crucial component when it comes to baking the perfect loaf of sourdough bread.
Flour brings the carbohydrates to the party, providing the perfect meal that the yeast and bacteria need to feed on to make sourdough what it is. Meanwhile, water helps to hydrate and ferment the dough. As the yeast and bacteria consume the sugars in the flour, they produce carbon dioxide gas that gets trapped in the dough.
Learn More: How to Make Your Own Sourdough Starter
Now, making a sourdough starter from scratch can be a bit of a challenge, but with some patience and time, you'll be able to dough it like a pro. You can even customise the flavour and texture to your liking, making your bread truly one-of-a-kind. Or, if you'd prefer, you can join bread making classes to learn all about making sourdough bread before you start baking it alone at home.
Learn all about artisanal baking at Bespoke Bread’s bread making class in Singapore. You dough-n't want to miss out on this opportunity to learn how to make your own sourdough bread from scratch, with step-by-step guidance from an expert baker. Sign up today!