Hi all! I am a senior in high school and I just recently finished my senior final project on sourdough bread. Throughout the year I interviewed bakers and had them try different loaves of bread. I took this information to develop my own country sourdough recipe. I made a documentary about the whole process which will be linked. Enjoy the recipe and happy baking!
Time: 4 Days
Yield: 2 Loaves
For feeding starter
Unbleached all purpose white flour (preferably organic)
For making bread
Whole wheat flour (preferably organic)
Unbleached white bread flour (preferably organic)
Salt (preferably non-iodized)
Extra flour for work surface
Vegetable or olive oil for bulk fermentation
2 glass jars (for starter)
Medium and very large mixing bowls
Large wooden spoon
2 bread proofing baskets
Multiple cloth towels
Lame (Bread scoring knife)
1) Feed Starter
Starting 2 days before bread making, remove starter from fridge and begin feeding. Each day leading up to the feeding it should be fed. To feed, in a medium mixing bowl, combine 20g starter with 100g purified water, and dissolve the starter into the water using a rubber spatula. Next, add 100g unbleached all purpose white flour and mix until there are no dry spots. Put into a glass jar with lid lightly placed on top (not screwed on), then let sit until next feeding. Two jars of starter should be made if the feeding is leading up to baking sourdough.
Note: If feeding without intention of baking, simply let starter sit for 2 to 3 hours after feeding then return to fridge. Feed once per week.
In a very large mixing bowl (Glass or metal), combine 250g whole wheat flour, 750g unbleached white bread flour, and 750g water. Mix well with a large wooden spoon, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 30 minutes to 2 hours. This step develops glutens in the dough
Note: During this time the starter should be checked for readiness. To do so, fill a small bowl with water and using a spoon, put a small dollop of starter on the water. If it floats, the starter is ready for use.
3) Make Dough
Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl that autolyse was done in. Measure 200g starter and pour into bowl of dough. Pinch starter into the dough using middle and index fingers and thumb until mostly combined. Add 20g salt and 50g water and mix until combined using hands.
4) Slap and Fold
Remove dough from bowl. On a clean and unfloured surface, lift dough all at once, with bench scraper in one hand, and slam it onto the surface, allowing it to fold onto itself. Repeat for 5 minutes and dough is less slack. This step helps to achieve the desired texture for the bread.
5) Bulk Fermentation
Clean the bowl used for autolyse. Lightly oil it using a paper towel. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Put into an oven with the light on and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove from oven, pick up dough using oiled hands, and gently lift it up so that it stretches and fold back onto itself. Fold 2-3 times, then recover bowl with plastic wrap and return to oven. Repeat this step 6 times for 3 hours. (3 hours of proofing and 5 rounds of folding). This step helps to rise the dough and achieve a good crumb in the loaf.
Note: It is recommended to feed the starter during the first 30 minutes of bulk fermentation. If you are planning on making another batch the next day, then feed two jars and let it stay out until the next day. If you wish to return it to the fridge, feed into one jar and let it sit for 2-3 hours, or until bulk fermentation has finished, then return to fridge.
6) Basket Prep
Put two cloth towels into the bread proofing baskets. Pat them down so they match the concave of the basket. Put the extra flour into the sieve and heavily dust the towels in the area where they hug the baskets. Also, during this time cut two pieces of parchment paper the size of the dutch oven, you will use these tomorrow.
Note: This step can also be done during bulk fermentation.
After bulk fermentation, gently remove dough from bowl onto an unfloured work surface. Using a bench scraper, estimate the middle of the dough and cut into 2 equal sections. Using a lightly floured bench scraper, swoop under the edge of the dough in a circular motion, gently coaxing it into a circular shape. Give a medium dusting of flour on top of it, and put a towel over it to rest for 10 minutes. After resting, remove towels and flour the surface just behind the two pieces of dough. Using a bench scraper, gently and quickly flip the dough back onto the floured surface. Gently tug the top bottom and sides of the dough out to elongate them and flatten them slightly. Fold the bottom of the dough up towards the middle, the sides in, and the top down. Pull pieces of dough from the sides and stretch them up to the seam and stitch it together by pinching and twisting the dough simultaneously. Do this a series of times along the whole seam of the dough. After, turn the dough over to rest on the seam and attach to itself. This process allows for the gluten to stick to itself and strengthen the bread and dough. Let the dough rest on the seam for 2 minutes. After resting, quickly flip the dough into the basket using a bench scraper, making sure to leave the seam side up in basket. Flour the top of the dough and fold the excess flaps of towel over the dough to cover. Put in the fridge overnight.
In the morning. Preheat oven to 500 degrees and set the dutch oven in the middle of it. Let the dutch oven sit in the oven for 1 hour to heat up. Put the round piece of parchment paper on a dinner plate and flour it. Once one hour has elapsed remove one loaf from the fridge and turn out onto the plate with the parchment paper on it. Using the lame put multiple scores in the loaf, this will create nice ridges in the crust during baking. Remove dutch oven from oven, remove lid and slide the parchment paper with dough on it into the dutch oven. Put the lid back on the dutch oven and put it back in the oven. Bake with lid on for 15 minutes, this helps to create a crispy bubbly crust. After 15 minutes, remove lid and bake another 30 minutes with lid off. Remove loaf from dutch oven after baking and put on a cooling rack for two hours. Repeat process with second loaf. After the two hours of cooling, the loaves are ready for consumption!
Note: I recommend serving right after the cooling, and with room temperature salted butter.