Sour dough is not something you make in a hurry. Not the first time anyway. The starter takes at least 24 hours to get ready, but some people would say one week or more. But don’t panic. Most of that time it is doing its own thing https://kefirgrains.ie/product/organic-certified-san-fransico-sourdough-culture-80g/.
Originally bread was flat. Then long, long ago someone left a bowl of dough exposed and some wild yeast got in. There are still those who believe that this is the only authentic way to make sourdough, but most of us will want to bought yeast.
Alaskan Sour Dough Starter
You will need
1 packet of instant yeast
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 1/4 cups hand warm water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups strong bread flour
Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm water. Add sugar vinegar, salt and flour. Add the rest of the water and stir. Place in a non metallic bowl, cover and let it sit until it starts to ferment. About 3 days for a fairly sour taste, but you can use it after 24 hours. Stir again until and measure out the amount you need for your recipe. Bring this to room temperature before using. You then need to replenish the starter with equal volumes of flour and water.
1 cup of starter
1 1/3 cups of hand warm water.
About 6 cups of flour. This can be any ratio you like of white and wholemeal strong bread flour.
1 dessert spoon of salt and the same of sugar.
A little cornmeal or semolina to sprinkle on pan.
Pour 1 cup of starter into a large bowl. Add to this the warm water and about 3 cups of the flour. Mix well and then cover and leave for at least 2 hours in a warm place. You could also leave it in a cooler place for up to 24 hours. Mix the salt and sugar into 2 cups of the flour and mix this into the yeast mixture. Now turn it out onto a floured board and knead. Add more flour until you have a fairly stiff dough. Grease bowl. Place the dough back in the bowl, turning so that dough is coated with grease. Cover and let it rise. Knock down the dough and shape it into two large loaves or into rolls. Sprinkle tins or baking sheets with cornmeal or semolina, place loaves an d then let rise for further 2 hours. Preheat oven to hot, gas mark 8, 450F, 230C. and boil some hot water. Just before baking slash tops of loaves and brush with cold water. Place in oven. On the bottom of the oven place a dish with 3 cups of boiling water to create a steamy atmosphere. Close oven and bake for 25 minutes or so.
Check loaves are done by tapping bottoms. They should sound hollow.
Different glazes will produce different effects – try milk, beaten egg or salt water.
You could try sprinkling your dough with chopped herbs, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, caraway, coriander, pumpkin seeds and so on. More elaborate finishes could include onion rings or grated cheese. If the bread is well colored, but still sounds dull, try placing back in oven for 10 minutes with heat turned off.