1 cup water
1 cup flour
2 tsps dried active yeast
Combine everything and let sit for 3-5 days, depending on how much wild yeast you've got in your kitchen or around. You will find it will rise and then fall back. When it's ready, it will smell sour without developing any black fungus. If it does, you have to start again.
After you've got the starter, you can replenish it once a week with the same amount of flour and water. Let sit in the fridge or in the cool place. If you find that your starter starts to separate, that is normal. Just stir to combine them before you use it for baking.
This is the classic sourdough bread I usually make. This recipe is adapted from King Flour Cookbook.
1 cup sourdough starter
5-6 cups high-grade flour (white flour with high gluten content), plus extra for kneading
1-2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
cornmeal to sprinkle
boiling water to bake in the oven
First, make the sponge by combining the starter with 3 cups of flour. Stir until well mixed, covered and let sit overnight.
Second, you will find your sponge is puffy by now, it's a good sign which means that your starter works! Now, you need to combine the rest of the flour with salt, sugar and baking soda. Add this to the sourdough sponge until thoroughly mixed and it will for a ball.
Tip this ball out on the bench top and start kneading for 3-4 minutes. Let rest while you're cleaning and greasing the ceramic bowl to sit the kneaded dough in. Knead the dough again until smooth and elastic for 3-4 minutes more. Then sit into the greased bowl, let the greased one up. Covered and let sit for 2-4 hours. I know it's a time-consuming work but certainly will worth the effort!
When the dough is puffy, punch it down and then shape it to anything you might think of. I like to make long French sticks and also round ones just for a change. Let rest for another 2 hours or so.
Third, 15 minutes before the rising period ends, pre-heat your oven to 450F. Put an oven tray on the bottom of the oven and let it be hot. While you're waiting for the oven to get really hot, put the jug on. Arrange the bread (you may brush the top with egg whites or milk, it's up to you) on the baking trays and put them on the upper racks, and then pour this boiling water on to the hot oven tray to create steam. Close the oven door and let the steam do its amazing work!
And last, remove the bread from the oven when you get nice crispy crust and chewy sponge inside. That is heavenly made for good home-made bread!