1. Get to know your sourdough starter well
Over the course of 2 weeks feed your starter every day twice, once in the morning and once in the evening and keep track by placing a rubber band around your starter jar once fed exactly at the level of your starter. Watch it like a hawk, see it rise, dome, level and fall and note down the timings at which this happens. Having a healthy starter that you understand and get to know is at least half the game.
2. Don’t underestimate the importance of gluten development
Make sure to really develop your dough’s gluten right at the beginning of kneading. Knead by hand for a good 10 minutes or in a spiral mixer at a medium speed for at least 6 minutes. It helps kickstart the whole process and gives you a much better starting point.
3. Know the variables and understand what each variable can do to the process
Water temperature, room temperature, the amount of starter used, the type of flour and so many more can change how your bread comes out. Practice by keeping as many variables consistent as you can and do the same recipe over and over again until you slowly change one variable at a time to get to where you want to be.
4. Start with lower hydration levels and slowly work your way up over the course of a few months.
You can make excellent bread with lower hydration levels and it gives you a chance to really practice your skills.
5. Finally, enjoy every single loaf as you bake it
Even if it doesn’t come out perfect to your liking, it is real bread that you created from scratch and so much better than anything you can buy in the supermarket. Enjoy, learn, repeat. And if worst comes to worst, make some croutons or breadcrumbs.
Would you like to learn how to master the art of delicious, nutritious and beautiful sourdough bread at home? Visit Sourdough Sophia and attend her online course and learn how to bake proper sourdough bread from scratch!