As I mentioned a few weeks, a number of requests about how to make my mother’s peasant bread with a sourdough starter encouraged me to dip my toe into the wonderful world of naturally leavened breads. You can read more about that experiment here, which led to this simple sourdough focaccia recipe, an adaptation of my favorite yeasted, refrigerator focaccia.
It also led to this sourdough toasting bread, which is essentially the same formula, just baked in a different vessel and without the slick of oil and sprinkling of sea salt on top. I’ve been making this bread even more often than the focaccia these days because I love the shape: it’s so nice for morning toast and for sandwiches.
Simple Sourdough Toasting Bread: What You Need
- A sourdough starter. I recommend buying one (read why here).
- Time. As with the focaccia, this bread rises first for about 6 to 18 hours (depending on the time of year and strength of your starter), then again for another 4 to 6.
- A large loaf pan. I’ve been using this 10 x 5-inch loaf pan. If you only have two smaller loaf pans, such as 8.5 x 4.5-inch pans, you’ll need to split the dough in half after the first rise.
That’s it! Ready? Here’s the play-by-play:
As always, when mixing sourdough doughs, it’s best to weigh everything with a digital scale. Start with 100 g starter. (If this looks familiar, it is: this is the same basic process for the sourdough focaccia.)
Add 10 g kosher (or other) salt.
Add 440 g water.
Stir to combine.
Add 512 g bread flour.
Stir to form a sticky dough ball.
Cover with a towel or bowl cover, and let rise for 6 to 18 hours* (see recipe notes) at room temperature:
After 6 – 18 hours, it will look something like this:
Drizzle the surface of the dough with a little bit of olive oil; then fold the dough inwards from the sides to deflate.
Transfer dough to loaf pan.
Let rise till dough just begins to crown the rim of the pan, about 6 hours.
Bake for about 45 minutes.
The makeup of this dough is the same as this sourdough focaccia. Here, the dough is baked in a loaf pan, and there is no sea salt on top.
This recipe yields one large loaf. You’ll need a 10 x 5-inch loaf pan, such as this one. If you only have two smaller loaf pans, such as 8.5 x 4.5-inch pans, you should probably split the dough in half after the first rise.
Plan ahead: This dough rises first for 6 to 18 hours (or less if it is super hot out or if you live in a humid area) or until the dough doubles in volume; then again for about 4 to 6 hour or until the dough crowns the rim of the baking vessel.
If you’re just getting started with sourdough, check out this post first. You’ll find tips there on procuring a starter as well as how to feed it and maintain it.
Water: Chlorine in water can adversely affect sourdough. Leaving water at room temperature for 24 hours will allow most of the chlorine to escape. When I am in the habit of making sourdough bread, I fill a large pitcher with water and leave it out at room temperature. I use this for my sourdough breads and starter. Truth be told, I’ve used water straight from the tap and have not noticed a difference.
Water quantity: Also, depending on where you live and the time of year, you may need to cut the water back. If you live in a humid environment, for instance, I would suggest starting with 430 g water. If you are not using bread flour, you also may need to cut the water back a bit.
- 100 g (about 1/2 cup) active starter
- 10 g (about 2.5 teaspoons) kosher salt
- 440 g (about 1.75 cups) water, (or less, see notes above) room temperature
- 512 g (4 cups) bread flour, such as King Arthur Flour
- a few tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- room temperature butter, for greasing
- Place the starter, salt, and water in a large bowl. Stir with a spatula to combine — it doesn’t have to be uniformly mixed. Add the flour. Mix again until the flour is completely incorporated. Drizzle with a splash of olive oil and rub to coat. Cover bowl with a tea towel or bowl cover and set aside to rise for 6 to 18 hours — if it is super hot out or if you live in a humid environment, it may only take 6 hours. When the dough has nearly doubled in volume, it is ready.
- When the dough has nearly doubled, grease a 10 x 5-inch loaf pan with butter (or nonstick spray). Drizzle dough with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Rub your hand in the oil to coat. Use your hand to deflate the dough: pull the dough from the sides and press it into the center. Video guidance here. Turn dough over so seam-side is down and gently stretch into an oblong shape.
- Transfer to prepared pan seam side down. Leave alone for 5 to 6 hours or until dough begins crowning the rim of the pan — this may take less time when it is very warm out. Do be patient with this second rise: to get good height, the dough should be above the rim of the pan before you transfer it to the oven.
- Heat oven to 425ºF. Transfer pan to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375ºF. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or until golden all around. If you have an instant read thermometer, it should register 206-210ºF or so before removing. Remove pan from oven and turn bread out onto a cooling rack. Cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.
- Category: Bread
- Method: Sourdough/Natural Leavening
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: bread, sourdough, sandwich, toasting, natural leavening, wild yeast