An initiative they started way back in March 2020, Bread 41 is reintroducing their free sourdough starter kits so you'll never be without bread.
One hundred years ago, back in March 2020, it seemed as though everyone and their mother became amateur bakers. Between snaps of homemade banana bread cluttering Instagram feeds everywhere, cinnamon rolls being the only acceptable dish for Sunday brunch at home and Mars bar slices being the nostalgic treat we all craved, 2020 was the year we all began to rival the bakers of the Great British Bake Off.
I am no exception. After attempting a single at-home workout and bingeing Tiger King in one sitting, I too turned to baking as a cure for isolation boredom. My cupboards were stocked with things like crystallized ginger, almond extract, demerara sugar and just about any type of flour I could get my hands on. There was something exceptionally grounding about baking – the simplicity of being able to produce something out of frenetic, anxious energy can make you feel rooted when you spend so much time floating around in the anger and uncertainty that was your phone. But there was one baking trend I somehow managed to miss out on: sourdough bread.
Believe me, it was not from lack of trying. One of the most important elements in baking sourdough at home is having a good starter and try as I may, it was one component I simply could not master. It seems relatively simple, just mix together flour and water to activate the wild yeasts and bacterial spores naturally found in flour. But then you have to feed it and control the temperature and environment it lives in. As someone who struggles to keep a cactus alive, you can see how I fell short.
But now, thanks to the clever minds behind Bread 41, I can finally now bake sourdough bread. During lockdown 1.0, Bread 41 helped kickstart the sourdough craze by giving out free starter packs making it even easier to bake freshly made bread from the comfort of your own home. Now, with the introduction of another level 5 lockdown confining Irish people in their millions to stay at home, the popular Dublin bakery is once again reintroducing their free starter packs. This time, however, Bread 41 will also be posting some 'bread how-to' videos up on their YouTube channel to help people not only manage their starter but learning how to make the most from it.
For each day we're in lockdown, Bread 41 will be giving out 10 free starter kits or 100 starters free of charge (or until they run out) from their Pearse Street location. Open daily from 8 am. Click here for more information.
And for all you sourdough starters (sorry) out there who may be wondering what to do next with your free starter, you've come to the right place. We reached out to Eoin Cluskey, founder and co-owner of Bread 41 and asked him to share with us his ultimate recipe for baking sourdough bread.
And oh, did he deliver...
Bread 41 Simple Sourdough Bread Recipe:
"Time is a necessary ingredient for sourdough bread," says Eoin Cluskey, the founder and co-owner of Bread 41. "Now, you've got time on your hands, and maybe you have wanted to learn to bake bread and now you have the time to do it."
- 500g strong white flour
- 300g water
- 10g salt
- 100g starter
- Mix the flour, water, starter and salt in a bowl or on a clean surface and make a well in the centre.
- Bring together with your hands or a spatula, and then turn out on to a clean kitchen surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the windowpane effect is achieved. The dough should be soft and elastic.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl and leave to prove in the fridge overnight or until it has doubled in size.
- Turn the proven dough out and knock it back. Divide the dough into desired portions. Allow to prove in the fridge (10-12 hours, outside of fridge 2-4 hours) allow to double in size, then bake.
- Heat the oven to 240 and then bake at 240 for 18 mins, drop temp 200 for 8 mins