Baking a Classic Sourdough in the UK
Back in the UK, and it's great to be baking again.
I was pleased with the crumb on the classic sourdough I made today. My husband liked the crust as well.
I have revived my sourdough over months in the fridge in the UK and have started baking. Lots to do to make bread for family and friends.This one was for us, and it tasted great. I always worry about my sourdough starter when I have to leave it for so long, but it bounced back nicely. Thanks to Kiseger for giving me a great UK website to find some items I couldn't pick up at the store.
The bread made a great sandwich. I pasted in my original recipe below. I didn't use my covered baker (don't have one here in the UK), so I used the steam method instead. Hope to post more from here. Best, Phyllis
Makes: One 2 pound loaf.
Method adapted from: Classic Sourdoughs by Ed and Jean Wood.
I varied the recipe by using my active starter that was a 70/20/10 mix of AP flour, WW flour and dark rye at 100% hydration. I really liked this mix, as it added a bit of texture to the loaf as the original recipe starter has no whole wheat or rye. I also changed the cold fermentation, extending it considerably by adding a bulk fermentation phase.
- 230 grams (about 1 cup or 240 ml) active starter, 70/20/10 mix of AP, WW and Rye flours at 100% hydration
- 300 grams water (Approximately 1 1/2 cups or 360 ml water)
- 10 grams salt (about 2 teaspoons)
- 500 grams unbleached all-purpose flour (about 4 cups)
- Mixing the dough. Pour the starter into a mixing bowl. Add the water and mix well. Add the flour a little bit at a time until it starts to stiffen. Hold some flour out to knead in a bit later. Let the mix autolyze for 30 minutes and then add then fold in the salt.
- Kneading the dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead in some of the remaining flour if the dough is too sticky. Knead for about 10 minutes until it the dough is smooth and easy to handle.
- Bulk fermentation. Lightly coat a glass bowl with olive oil and place the dough ball into the bowl, making sure that the top of the dough ball has a thin coat oil. Cover and bulk ferment in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. I did two bakes of this bread in the last week or so, and I bulk fermented the first loaf for 72 hours, and it came out really great. The original recipe calls for it to proof at room temperature for 8-12 hours, so I made a major change here. Over this period in the refrigerator, the dough should about double in size.
- Shaping and final proof. Use a spatula to ease the dough out onto a floured surface. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, shape it into a rough ball, cover it with a cloth, and let it rest again for 30 minutes. Now, shape the dough into a boule and place it seam-side up into a banneton coated in brown rice flour. Put in a clean plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.
- Baking the loaf. The next morning, remove the loaf from the refrigerator and let it warm up before baking. You should be the judge of how long you need it to warm up. My loaf needed to pop up a bit, so I let it warm up for several hours at room temperature before I preheated the oven. I used my Emile Henry covered baker, so I preheated it with the cover on at 500 degrees (260 degrees C). When the oven and baker are at temperature, remove the lid and pop the loaf into the bottom tray. Score it in the pattern you desire. I sprayed a light mist of water on the dough, trying to avoid the hot surface, as I was hoping for a really beautiful crust. Bake at 500 degrees with the lid on for 30 minutes, and then take the temperature down to 450 degrees and remove the lid for the final browning, which is another 10-15 minutes, depending on the type of crust you like. We tend to like a bolder crust, so I bake it a bit longer. Watch it closely during this phase. If you do not have a covered baker, you can use a baking stone or tray with parchment paper, but make sure you create steam by using your steaming apparatus or baking tray with boiling water from the start of the bake. Bake the loaf at about 480 (250 C) degrees for the first 25 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 435 for the next 15-20 minutes, depending on how bold you like the crust.
- Cooling and slicing the loaf: Remove the loaf from the covered baker tray or stone and let cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.