Simple Sourdough Loaf – 2

In my previous post, you witnessed my first attempt at baking a Sourdough (SD) sandwich loaf, which is a softer bread than the usual crusty SD boule. Though I prefer using 100% wholegrain in my bakes, I usually start off my new experiments with maida aka All Purpose Flour (APF) and once I master that, I then move onto blends and combinations of other flours.

While that was my intention while baking the previous loaf, I managed to miscalculate the hydration and ended up needing a little more flour and for this additional flour I decided to use whole wheat flour since it was a small quantity.

But now in this recipe, I have tried to correct that hydration error and I have come up with a 100% maida loaf for those who prefer completely refined flour breads.

In the process, this also happened to serendipitously become eggless and vegan.

And now that I am sort of satisfied with the outcome, you will see me plunging headlong into a 100% whole wheat SD loaf, the next time. Let’s hope that I do not create a brick and instead turns out like a soft pillow to cushion my plunging head 😀

So let us get on with this SD loaf 2, which as you can see, is rather pretty or maybe I am biased? Let’s go with the former shall we? 😉


Sourdough bread – 

I have explained what SD is about in the earlier posts on SD starter 1  and SD Starter 2 and before you can attempt any bake with SD, you will need to have a nice, enthusiastic starter ready. I would recommend that you read those posts first, in case you are a beginner.

The process – 

So this recipe is more like a variation of the earlier one and both have worked well for me. In this one I have eliminated the egg, and dairy and hence it is pretty much vegan. It also does not have any whole grain flour.

The steps – 

The steps are similar to the previous SD bread but I will repeat here again for easy reference.

As I mentioned, the process is quite similar to making bread with commercial yeast, the difference being that the SD dough takes much longer to rise.

1. Make or have your SD starter ready –

Refresh your starter a day or two before baking, depending on how neglected it has been.

2. Prepare the Levain –

About 5 – 6 hours before making the dough, take a portion of the starter and feed it with equal weights of flour and water in a 1:4:4 ratio.

For example if I need 90 gm of levain in the recipe, I will take 10 gm starter and feed with 40 gm water and 40 gm flour at least 6 hours before beginning to make my dough. If my starter is known to double in less than that time, I will create my levain accordingly.

Usually the quantity of levain used is 20% by weight, of the total flour in the recipe. For a quicker sandwich loaf, I have used 40% of the total flour (exact figures in the recipe below).

The float test is a good method to see if the levain is ready. Drop a teaspoon of levain gently into a glass container of water. If the blob floats for a while and does not sink right away, the levain is ready to be used.

3. Autolyse the dough –

Around 1 -2 hours before the levain is ready, mix the rest of the flour and water from the recipe and let it sit covered in a bowl. Autolyse has many benefits and loosely speaking they include helping the dough to fully hydrate, giving a better flavor and texture to the finished product etc. Of course there is much chemistry behind this but I will not get into that here.

4. Kneading –

One can perform hand kneading or machine kneading with a stand mixer. This is done till the dough comes together as a soft, cohesive mass.

5. Bulk Ferment –

The kneaded dough is rolled into a ball and smeared with a bit of oil and left to ferment and rise in a covered container (sometimes if the hydration is high, I also prefer to do around 3 Stretch and Folds aka SnF at intervals of 30 min – 1 hr).

6. Shape the dough and place in loaf pan –

When the dough has increased to around 1.5 times its original volume (around 3 hours in my warm Indian kitchen), it is then shaped and placed in the greased/lined loaf tin.

7. Final rise –

The tin is covered in plastic wrap and set aside till the dough  rises again to nearly double (around 2 hours in my kitchen)

8. Preheating oven –

Around 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to maximum temperature.

9. Scoring and baking –

Slash or score the dough and bake it in the oven. Timing will depend on individual ovens.

SD loaf recipe –

Time –

Approximately 11 – 12 hours from start to finish.

Makes – One 9x5x3 inch loaf


For the dough –

1 – Levain – 160 gm – See Notes

2 – All-purpose flour (maida) – 320 gm – See Notes

3 –  Water at room temperature – 120 gm – See Notes

4 –   Salt – 8 gm/1 teaspoon

5 –  Oil/ghee/butter  – 40 gm (I used oil)

6 –  Raw sugar (or any sugar) – 20 gm

7 – Oil for coating the dough – 2 teaspoons

Ingredients for greasing the pan and dusting –

Oil (any neutral type. I used Sunflower oil) – 2 teaspoon

Flour for dusting the loaf – 1 tsp

Equipment that I used – 

Kitchen Aid Bowl Lift Stand Mixer

Kitchen Aid Professional Grade Loaf Pan 9x5x3 inches

You can hand knead it just as easily and use any shape of pan or even bake a free form bread.

Method – 

1. Refresh your starter a day or two before baking, depending on how neglected it has been.

2. Prepare the Levain – About 5 – 6 hours before making the dough (say 8 am), take 20 gm of the starter and feed it in a 1:4:4 ratio with 80 gm flour + 80 gm water. If the starter is active, the levain should double in around 5 – 6 hours or less.

Perform the float test if you need to confirm if the levain is ready. Drop a teaspoon of levain gently into a glass container of water. If the blob floats for a while and does not sink right away, the levain is ready to be used.

3. Autolyse the dough – Around 1 – 2 hours (say 12 pm) before the levain is ready, mix 220 gm of maida (APF) with 120 gm water and let it sit covered in a Kitchen Aid mixer bowl or regular bowl. The mix will not be too wet.

4. Kneading – At around 2 pm, add 160 gm of levain, sugar and 100 gm maida (APF) to the autolyse. Knead for 5 minutes in the Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Add the salt and oil and knead for another 5 minutes till the dough comes together.

Perform hand kneading if you do not have a stand mixer. Knead till the dough comes together as a soft, cohesive mass.

5. Bulk Ferment – Roll the kneaded dough into a ball and smear  with a bit of oil and leave it covered in a greased bowl. I use my Kitchen Aid bowl itself.

The dough should rise to 1.5 times in volume in 3 hours (say 5.30 pm). You can also place the dough in a tall see through container so that the rise in volume is clearly visible.

6. Grease the loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

7. Gently press the dough into a rectangle whose length is equal to the length of the loaf pan. Tightly roll up the dough into a cylinder and place it seam side down in the loaf pan.

8. Cover the pan with cling wrap and set it aside till the dough  rises again to nearly double (say 7.30 pm)

Remember it will not rise significantly like with regular commercial yeast.

9. Around 15 minutes before baking (7.15 pm), preheat the oven to maximum temperature.

10. Dust some flour on the dough through a tea strainer. Score the dough with a blade and place it in the oven (excuse my amateur scoring).

11. Baking time will depend on individual ovens. In my oven I left it at maximum 250 deg c for the first 15 minutes until I saw the top browning. Then I reduced to 200 deg c for another 25 minutes.

12. Take out the loaf and invert it on a cooling rack. Slice ONLY when completely cool. Enjoy it plain (because it is so flavorful) or get all creative and perch an avocado rose atop your slice 😎


Notes –

The levain quantity I have used, is around 40% of the total flour. The total flour is 400 gm hence the levain is 160 gm.

The maida is 320 gm and is derived from subtracting 80 gm which the levain has, from the total 400 gm in the recipe.

The water is 120 gm, which means a total of 200 gms if you include the 80 gm that is used in the levain.

The hydration (meaning how much water you wish to use) is up to you. For a beginner, the hydration level in this recipe, is easy to deal with.

I hope you will successfully try this recipe and I would really appreciate if you leave your feedback in the Blog comments.

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About Currylines

A food and travel enthusiast who plays with words
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2 Responses to Simple Sourdough Loaf – 2

  1. Ruffina says:

    Thrilled to have visited your website Your foodie blogs and the photography that goes with them are both captivating, and encouraging for those looking for vegan and gluten free diets.

    • Caroline Radhakrishnan says:

      So glad to have you here and thank you for your kind words. People like you are my incentive to keep writing 🙂

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