Lets get right to the crumb of the matter…
- Makes two loaves
- 3 Tbsp active sourdough starter
- 75 grams ( 1/2 cup) Flour – All purpose or bread flour
- 75 grams ( 1/3 cup) Water
- 525 grams ( 2 1/2 cups) devided
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 700 grams ( 5 1/2 cups) Flour- you can replace up to half of the all purpose flour with whole grain flour.
- Mixing bowls
- Plastic wrap or kitchen towel
- Spatula or spoon
- Pastry Scraper or a wide blade chopping kniff would also do the trick
- Bread proofing baskets or mixing bowls
- Dutch Oven or oven safe pot with a lid.
- Lame or sharp knife
Lets Bake Bread!
Kudos if you’ve come this far! you’ve spent the week nursing your sweet starter to life and now this is where the magic happens.
- Make sure your sourdough starter is active. Remember if you are pulling from the fridge put it in it’s warm spot 24 -72 hours before using, feed it daily.
Make the Leaven
- Place all leaven ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth and no dry flour remains.
- Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. 11-12 hours is the sweet spot. I suggest your starter share its spot with your leaven for the night.
Take a deep breath, kick off your shoes and relax that was the easy part. xo
Well Good morning gorgeous! don’t you look ravishing. Ready to test your leaven?
Leaven float test
The Leaven Test:
Your leaven should show signs of bubbles similar to your starter in the begining. DON’T STIR! not yet. Fill a cup with some cool water, take a small spoon full of the leaven and drop it in the water. If it floats, its ready.
Well you’ve tossed and turned all night, the sights, sounds and smells of baking bread fill your dreams. You wake and race to the kitchen, drop your leaven in the water annd it sinks like a stone. Ugh! Here are some breif thoughts:
- You stired the leaven…. I told you not to do that. Leave it alone for 30min-1 hour or so come back and try again.
- Environment affects baking, your room temperature could have been too cold and its just going to take longer for it to come to fruition.
- Try removing half the leaven and feed with more flour and water let sit for 3-6 hours.
Dissolve the salt.
Combine 50 grams ( 1/4 cup) water and salt in a small bowl. Set aside to let it dissolve, stirring occasionally.
Mix the leaven and water.
Combine the remaining 475grams ( 2 cups) of water to the leaven. Stir until the leaven dissolves into the water.
Add the flour.
Add the flour to the leaven and mix until no more dry flour remains. I prefer to use my hands for this step to avoid over mixing. You will have a sticky, shaggy dough at the end.
Autolyse Stage ( 4 hours)
Cover bowl with plastic wrap or kitchen towel. Let rest for 4 hours. Your dough will enter the autolyse stage. To make working conditions more pleasent you can microwave a bowl of water for 2-3 mineuts, * carefullly remove from the the microwave, it will be hot!* and place the dough in the microwave to rest, heating the water first creates a warm box to help the dough if you live in a particually cold climate. Keep in mind sourdough doesn’t rise like other bread doughs.
Mix in the salt.
Pour the dissolved salt over the dough and work in it by squeezing and pinching with your hands. I personally think this is the best part. By the end the dough will feel loose and wet.
Coil Folds ( 2 1/2 hours)
At this stage you will incorporate air into the dough by folding. This stage also activates the gluten process as well so work gently, you wont be kneading this dough like other doughs.
Begin by wetting your hands, this helps with the stickyness of the dough. Working clockwise from the top grab the dough at one side gently stretch and fold on top of itself. Give a quarter turn and do it again until you have completed 4 rounds. Cover and let rest for 30 minuets. Repeat this process a total of 6 times. Your dough will become smoother and firmer by the end.
Cover and let rest 30-60 minutes.
Divide and Shape
Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and gently turn the dough out. I find wetting my hand and gently prying it from the bowl helps. Gently being the watchword you don’t want to deflate your dough. Divide in half using a pastry scraper or a wide blade knife.
Sprinkle some flour over each piece of dough and use your pastry scraper to shape it into a round: slip your pastry scraper under the edge of the dough and then gently turn it in a curve, half moon, like motion, do this a couple times until your dough is round. Again gently, don’t over work. You are bulidng surface tention so you don’t want it to deflate.
Initial Shaping into Rounds
Let it rest for 30 minutes before final shaping.
Prep for proofing
Line two bread proofing baskets or mixing bowls with clean kitchen towels. Dust the towels heavily with flour rubbing it in, you want a nice thin layer where the dough will sit.
Dust the top of the dough round with flour, gently flip it over so the floured side is down and the sticky side is up. Grab the bottom edge and lift up and hold in the center, do the same with the right and left side. Do the same with the top but as you pull it down to the center grab the bottom and gently roll the dough right side up. If it needs a little more help, gently cup your hands around it and rotate it against your work surface to shape it.
Dust your beautiful loves with flour top and sides. Place them in thier proofing home upside down so the seams of the folds now face up. Fold the edges of the kitchen towel over top and loosing cover with plastic wrap.
Let the dough rise in the fridge overnight 12 hours. You can advance this step and let them rise at room temperature for 4 hours until they look poofy. If you choose the overnight method bake stratight from the fridge.
Lets get baking!
Preheat the oven to 500 Fahrenheit ( 260 Celsius) Place your dutch oven or pot and lid in the oven to preheat the vessel. Once heated carefully remove from the oven and tip or place the loaf inside. Score the top of the loaf with a lame or sharp knife, cut at an angle and atleast an inch deep. ** If you want that elegant white powdered look sprinkle your loaf generously with Rice flour**
Bake at 500 for 20 minutes. Turn the oven to 450 and bake for another 10 minutes. This is the most vital stage where you achieve your oven spring. The lided pot provides enough humidity and steam for the dough to rise properly.
After the 30 minutes, remove the lid to release the moisture. Bake for another 15-20 minuets or until you achieve a nice dark brown golden color. Transfer to a cooling rack before slicing.
Remember practise makes better! Baking is a journey so enjoy the fails, it makes the victories that much sweeter.
*I’ll be updating this post with videos on some of the techniques. Stay tuned. *
To see the Sourdough starter recipe click here.