FIRST: Make sure you have enough well-fed sourdough starter. How do you know if they’re well-fed? They look bubbly and happy and about to break loose from their bottle cribs.
TWO WAYS TO BAKE SOURDOUGH BREAD:
1) Bread Machine
In my experience, there was nothing significant with using any of the above methods except time and effort. Choose what makes you fly!
I prepared the one on the left by manually kneading the dough, while the one on the right was prepared with the aid of my bread machine,
HERE ARE THE INSTRUCTIONS:
To make with a breadmaker
Add the ingredients in the tin with the kneader in place.
1/4 cup and 3 tbps water
1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp iodized salt
1 tsp sugar or maple syrup
1 1/3 cup ripe (fed) sourdough starter
1 2/3 cup unbleached bread flour
1 tsp active dry yeast (may remove for denser bread: rising time may be longer)
Set the bread machine on dough setting. Mine runs for one hour and thirty minutes.
Once completed, transfer into a baking pan.
Score the top of the risen dough with a sharp blade as desired and dust with flour (this step may also be done after rising).
Let rise for 30 minutes.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375F for 45 minutes. You may use a Dutch Oven and bake covered all throughout for a real soft crust or put water in a baking pan and stick it at the bottom rack. Others paint the top with egg white wash (water plus egg white).
To make by hand using the same ingredients and corresponding measurements:
Pour the sourdough starter into a large bowl.
Add the maple syrup or sugar, salt, flour, and yeast and mix.
Add the oil and gradually mix in the warm water.
Knead well on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes, dusting with flour as needed.
Put in a baking pan lined with parchment paper and a dusting of flour.
Leave in a warm place, like a microwave oven or toaster oven, to rise for 45 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.
Score with a sharp blade on the surface of the dough as desired and dust the top with flour.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375F for 45 minutes. You may use the same steaming technique described in the previous section for a softer crust.