The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dutch Oven Sourdough

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redivyfarm's picture
April 20, 2007 - 1:03pm -- redivyfarm

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tigressbakes's picture
Submitted by tigressbakes on

Gorgeous! What size pot did you use?

redivyfarm's picture
Submitted by redivyfarm on

Thanks, the dutch oven is a #7 or 3 1/2 quart capacity. I think it is just right for the sourdough no knead recipe. I earlier said it was a 7 quart but I checked my cast iron guide and now need to correct that.  The first no knead I baked was in a #8 which I could tell was a little large for the recipe. It's a fun technique!

Digger57's picture
Submitted by Digger57 on

The Great use of grains is bread making. OH YA!!

Could you post the recipe for this loaf I would love to try it. Also the one you did looks WONDERFUL!! Digger57

redivyfarm's picture
Submitted by redivyfarm on

Thanks for the praise. I'm very imprecise so I love the consistent results I get from this formula. I use a formula and notes posted by Susan and JMonkey in April of this year. I only know how to do the measurements with my gram scale so I hope that works for you! It is important to use high gluten flour because it stands up to the long fermentation combined with the acidity of the sourdough. I buy from a grocery and restaurant supply store but I also notice it in the bulk bins at my local super market.

Sourdough starter at 100% hydration- 100 grams

High gluten flour- 450 grams

Water- 310 grams

Salt- 10 grams

Mix these together with a wooden spoon until the dough clings together but still looks "shaggy". Let it ferment overnight or 12 hours at room temperature and then stretch-and-fold three times at 15 to 20 minute intervals. Stretch the dough gently and fold letter style in thirds. A silicon mat is nice to have for this process. (On the loaf pictured above I could tell at this stage that my starter was not quite active enough so I incorporated 1/8 tsp of instant yeast to save the day. Usually the starter needs no help but I read in my notes on this baking that my starter hadn't been fed for three days.) The stretch-and-fold as opposed to kneading, lets the yeast produce the gases for a nice open crumb.

Before the last stretch-and-fold, spray oil into a straight sided bowl, line it with parchment, spray the parchment and sprinkle with rice flour. At the end of the third stretch and fold, you can form a boule by squeezing the dough in your hands, stretching the top to get nice surface tension and pinching the excess to the bottom of your loaf. Put the boule right side up into the bowl you prepared, give it a light spray of oil, cover with plastic wrap and then refrigerate overnight or for 12 hours. Bring the chilled dough out into the kitchen for 45 minutes to an hour while you preheat the oven to 500 degrees with your covered Dutch Oven on a high rack. Don't worry if your boule doesn't appear to have risen much; this bread has tremendous oven spring. When the oven is ready, remove the HOT Dutch Oven carefully, remove the cover, lift the boule by the edges of the parchment and carefully put it into the hot cast iron. Snip with kitchen shears, spritz with water, replace the cover and bake covered at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust looks about right to you.

After removing the Dutch Oven to a heat resistant surface, use the parchment to lift the hot bread out of the Dutch Oven and onto a cooling rack. The crust will be very crackly. If it's too hard for you, or if it lasts more than a few hours, you can store the cooled loaf in a plastic bag or container overnight and the crust will become much more chewy.

I am very fond of my cast iron and love using it for bread baking. Everyone is impressed with this sourdough because it is really tangy with the long fermentation. A true sourdough lover's sourdough! Good luck and have fun with your baking.