Flour, water, salt. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. If you had told me many years ago that I could make enticingly crunchy, tender, healthy bread at home with only these elemental ingredients, I would not have believed you. I would have claimed that baking bread requires a professional mixer, a big oven, and a list of ingredients so long your eyes start to glaze over. And yet, I’m performing this alchemy day after day in my home kitchen: transforming three basic ingredients into wholesome sourdough bread. How does one begin the journey of making naturally leavened bread? It starts with, well, making an incredible sourdough starter from scratch.
Despite all the mysticism and lore about creating the concoction, when broken down, it’s merely a naturally fermenting mixture of flour and water. Add water to dry flour and let it sit on the counter for a few days, and you’ll see nature weave life into a once lifeless lump: bubbles will appear, and the mixture will rise. This natural fermentation can be harnessed, and, once stable, controlled to produce bread so flavorful and healthy that it’s hard to go back to anything else.