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Lifestyle Food & Drink

Cheat Your Way to Perfect Sourdough

Molly Moore / 15 June 2024

Cheats sourdough recipe

No starter? No problem! If you’re anything like me, the allure of freshly baked sourdough has its hooks in you. But let’s face it, the traditional process of nurturing a sourdough starter and waiting days for your dough to ferment can be more than a little daunting.

Enter the lifesaver known as 'Cheat’s Sourdough'—a quicker, simpler way to achieve that tangy flavor and crusty texture, without the wait. 

Cheats sourdough recipe

What is Cheat’s Sourdough?

Cheat’s sourdough isn’t a true sourdough in the traditional sense, as it skips the natural fermentation of a starter. Instead, it uses yeast to speed up the rising process, while still capturing that distinct sourdough tang by incorporating ingredients like yogurt or vinegar. This method is perfect for those who want to enjoy homemade sourdough without the long-term commitment of maintaining a starter.

Ingredients You'll Need:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar or 1/4 cup plain yogurt
Cheats sourdough recipe

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Cheat’s Sourdough:

  1. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and instant yeast. Give it a quick whisk to make sure everything is evenly distributed.
  2. Add Wet Ingredients: Pour the warm water and vinegar (or yogurt) into the bowl. If you’re using yogurt, expect a slightly creamier dough. The vinegar, meanwhile, adds that classic sour tang more directly.
  3. Form the Dough: Mix all the ingredients until they come together into a shaggy dough. It might be a bit sticky, but that’s okay! Knead it on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes, or until it’s smooth and elastic.
  4. First Rise: Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm spot until it doubles in size—about 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Shape and Proof: Once risen, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape it into a loaf. Place it on a parchment-lined baking tray. Cover it loosely and let it proof for another hour, until it puffs up nicely.
  6. Bake to Perfection: Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Score the top of the dough with a sharp knife to allow for expansion, then bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  7. Cool and Enjoy: Let the bread cool on a wire rack before slicing into it. Patience is key here; cutting too soon could result in a gummy texture!
Cheats sourdough recipe

Tips for Success:

  • Experiment with Flavors: Feel free to add herbs like rosemary or thyme to the dough for an extra flavor kick.
  • Watch Your Water Temperature: Too hot and you might kill the yeast; too cold and it won’t activate. Aim for about 110°F (43°C) for the best results.
  • Use a Dutch Oven: For an even crustier loaf, bake your bread in a preheated Dutch oven. This mimics the steam-injected ovens used by professional bakeries.

There you have it! While it might be cheating just a tad, this quick sourdough method is sure to satisfy your cravings for homemade bread without all the fuss. It’s perfect for those busy days when you want the comfort of baking without the lengthy process. Happy baking!