The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough Boule (adapted from Wildyeastblog's Norwich Sourdough)

Yield: 2 large boules


Mix/autolyse: 35 minutes
First fermentation: 2.5 hours
Proof: 1.5 hours, then retard for 2 – 16 hours
Bake: 45 minutes


900 g all-purpose white flour
120 g whole rye flour
600 g water at about 74F
360 g mature 100% hydration sourdough starter
23 g salt


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, 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 speed until the dough reaches a medium level of gluten development. This should only take about 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a well-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 surface. Divide it into two pieces. Lightly sprinkle the two pieces of dough with flour and shape into round balls.  Place each ball seam-side-up in a bowl lined with flour-dusted parchment. Cover each bowl loosely with a towel and proof at room temperature for 1.5 hours at room temperature, then cover the bowls tightly with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for 2 – 16 hours.  

When ready to bake, remove the dough from the fridge and preheat the oven and a Le Creuset dutch oven for 30 minutes at 450F. Turn the proofed loaves onto a semolina-sprinkled peel or parchment. Slash each loaf. Gently slide one of the dough balls into the dutch oven and cover with the lid.  Bake for 25 minutes with the lid on. After 25 minutes, remove the lid, and bake for another 20 minutes with the lid off. Leave the oven door cracked open for the last 5 minutes of this time. The crust should be a deep brown. Repeat baking process with the second ball of dough. Cool the loaves on a wire rack. 

Note: I've made this bread with a variety of different flavor additions... roasted garlic, chopped rosemary, caraway seeds, and kalamata olives. I usually add these when I add the salt to the dough (after the autolyse stage). 

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