Sourdough bread is an integral part of Polish life. Polish towns are full of piekarnias (bakeries) as bread is eaten for breakfast and supper. This recipe takes a delicate hand, as it’s quite a moist dough, but this makes for a great loaf.
- 250 g plain baker’s flour
- 250 g rye or spelt flour
- ¼ tsp dried yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 100 ml beer
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 250 ml (1 cup) water
- butter, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 8–18 hours
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
Combine the flours, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add the beer and vinegar to the flour, along with the water. Use a wooden spoon to mix together until you have a stiff dough. Cover and set aside at room temperature for a minimum of 8 hours or up to 18 hours (the sour flavour will be more prominent the longer you prove the dough). The dough will be very soft at this point.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Using floured hands, knead the dough exactly 10 times. Place a piece of baking paper on an oven tray and put the dough on top. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to prove for 2 hours until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 190˚C. Place a cast-iron pot, large enough to fit the dough, in the oven to heat for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle the dough with some flour and slash the top with a knife. Carefully transfer the baking paper and dough to the hot, cast-iron pot. Cover with the lid and bake for 40 minutes.
Remove lid, reduce the oven to 170˚C and bake for a further 25-30 minutes until golden and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
Allow to cool for 2 hours before slicing. Serve with butter.
Photography by Alan Benson