I’m so giddy I can barely type.
It’s been a little over a year and a half since I started baking [edible] bread, and here we are at last, a naturally leavened loaf! I decided to stick with a basic sourdough recipe to start and halved it, but next time I’m going to make the full batch for sure.
Yield: 2 kg (four or five small, or two large, loaves)
I halved the recipe and made one large, round loaf with some dough left over for pizza.
- Mix/autolyse: 35 minutes
First fermentation: 2.5 hours
Divide, bench rest, and shape: 20 minutes
Proof: 2.5 hours (or 1.5 hours, then retard for 2 – 16 hours)
Bake: 35 minutes
Desired dough temperature: 76F
- 900 g (450 g) white flour (I used King Arthur Flour unbleached all-purpose flour)
120 g (60 g) whole rye flour (I used Hodgson Mills stone ground rye flour)
600 g (300 g) water at about 74F
360 g (180g) ripe 100% hydration sourdough starter*
23 g salt
*Mine is actually a 100% hydration sourdough starter with 1/3 rye and 2/3 all-purpose, instead of an only white-flour starter. Don’t ask.
(These instructions are taken from Susan’s post, but know that I made this using only a mixing bowl, a spatula and my hands, so it can be done!)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flours, water, and starter on low speed until just combined, about one minute.
- Let the dough rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.
- Add the salt and continue mixing on low or medium speed until the dough reaches a medium level of gluten development. This should only take about 3 or 4 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to an oiled container (preferably a low, wide one so the dough can be folded without removing it from the container).
- Ferment at room temperature (72F – 76F) for 2.5 hours, with folds at 50 and 100 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Divide it into 400g – 500g pieces. I usually make four 400g loaves and refrigerate the rest to use for pizza dough later. [I made one large boule (~700 g) and saved some dough (~300 g) for pizza another day.] Preshape the dough pieces into light balls.
- Sprinkle the balls lightly with flour, cover loosely with plastic, and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Shape into batards and place seam-side-up in a floured couche or linen-lined bannetons. [I shaped mine into a boule and let it rise in a makeshift banneton dusted with wheat bran.]
- Slip the couche or bannetons into a large plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature for 2 – 2.5 hours. [I proofed it at room temperature for 2.5 hours.] Alternatively, the loaves can be proofed for about 1.5 hours at room temperature, then refrigerated for 2 – 16 hours and baked directly out of the refrigerator; this will yield a tangier bread with a lovely, blistered crust.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 475F. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
- Turn the proofed loaves onto a semolina-sprinkled peel or parchment. Slash each one with two overlapping cuts that are almost parallel to the long axis of the batard.
- Once the loaves are in the oven, turn the heat down to 450F. For 400g loaves, bake for 12 minutes with steam, and another 15 – 18 minutes without steam. I leave the oven door cracked open a bit for the last 5 minutes of this time. The crust should be a deep brown. Then turn off the oven and leave the loaves in for 5 minutes longer, with the door ajar, to help them dry. Larger loaves will need to be baked longer. [Since my loaf was larger, I baked it for closer to 14 minutes with steam, and another 20-22 minutes without steam. I also used the Magic Bowl method instead of baking on a baking stone.]
- Cool on a wire rack. Try not to cut until the loaves are completely cool.
I’ll have to post a shot of the crumb later, after I bring it to the lab to share tomorrow. This is taking all my will power not to slice it and try now.
This loaf had a nice tang to it in addition to a very wheaty aroma and flavour. I can’t wait to bake another loaf with my starter!
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I’m sending this loaf to Susan at Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting, sharing her version of Hamelman’s Vermont Sourdough and her fabulous post on raising a starter, and Bill for his excellent post on starter basics via The Fresh Loaf.