You need a starter which is basically flour and water with naturally occurring yeast trapped in it.
Everyday (and I mean every day) it needs feeding with flour and water or it will not be strong enough to successfully rise the bread dough. In warmer weather it may need feeding every 12-18hrs to keep full strength. Basically you feed it and it will expand with bubbles then contract back. The warmer the ambient temperature, the faster this process will occur. It will take 7-14 days of feeding before the starter is ready to use in baking.
Day 1: in a clean sterile kilner jar or plastic tub, about 1ltr in volume, add 50g strong white bread flour and 50g water
Day 2: add another 50g strong white bread flour and 50g water
Day 3: add another 50g strong white bread flour and 50g water
Day 4-14: discard most of the starter leaving about 1-2 tablespoons in the bottom of the container and add to this 100g strong white bread flour and 100g water
After a few days you will see a few bubbles, a few more you will see it rising and falling and by the end it will double in size between every feed.
To make dough, an electric mixer with dough hook attachment will come in very handy, or if not, prepare for a bit of elbow grease. If kneading by hand, reduce water by about 30-50g or it will be a pain in the bum until you get the hang of it.
150g starter (the bit you would usually discard before adding more)
500g strong white bread flour
10g sea salt
Mix first 3 ingredients until sides of mixing bowl don’t hold the dough (5 mins ish)
Rest dough for 5 mins
Begin to knead for about 15 – 20 mins adding the remaining 50g water a bit at a time until dough is fully formed and gluten stretched. Dough should stretch 6-8 inches before snapping
Rest 10 mins
Add salt and knead again until fully incorporated.
Form into a ball and leave to prove in mixing bowl for 3 hrs for a little rise
Form into a tight ball again and place in (preferably) a floured proving basket or (if not) a bowl. Leave to double in size.
When ready place in a pre-heated 230c oven on a hot floured baking sheet (or pizza stone)
Slash the top of the dough then bake for 40 mins with a small bowl of water in the oven for first 30 mins.
Leave to cool on a wire rack before trying not to eat it all in one go!
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