I have had excellent results with my new La Cloche baker. in making sourdough bread recipes The crust is really delicious. Here is the recipe for a Classic Sourdough:
- 1 cup (240 ml) sourdough starter
- 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 1/4 cups (595 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
Combine the first three ingredients and then stir in the flour a little at a time until the dough is firm and ready to knead. Lightly flour the surface and knead until silky and smooth, at least 10 minutes. Lightly oil a bowl and let the dough proof overnight for 8-12 hours until it has doubled in size. Flour your surface again and tip the dough onto the surface, easing it out with a spatula. Fold the dough over, and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
After the dough has rested, fold it over several times and seal the bottom. Spin it around, forming it into a smooth ball. Place the dough, smooth side down into a prepared banneton basket (make sure you use flour and corn meal to dust the basket thoroughly until every crevice of the basket is covered so the dough doesn't stick). Put in a clean plastic bag and let the dough proof until it doubles in size, about four hours.
When the dough is almost ready, preheat the oven, with the La Cloche baker (including cover) inside, to 500 degrees. When the oven is up to temperature, carefully remove the lid with an over glove and place aside. Be careful as the baker is really hot! Sprinkle the bottom of the baker with corn meal and carefully place the dough inside the baker by inverting the banneton. Score the top with four lines and then cross another four lines through them creating a criss cross pattern. Use a sharp knife or bread scorer (I used a bread scorer, which really works better than any knife I've used). Bake for 30 minutes at 500 degrees with the lid on the baker; remove the lid after 30 minutes and finish baking at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the bread is a golden brown. Remove the bread from the baker and cool on a wire rack.
I have also made this recipe using whole wheat, splitting the flour, using 2-1/4 all purpose flour and 2 cups whole wheat flour.
I have had the best crust using the La Cloche baker. I highly recommend it!