I like to tinker with my formulas over time. I haven’t done a country sourdough in a while and wanted to try it using a stiff levain. I kept the hydration to a comfortable 76% since I haven’t done this style of a bread in quite a while so didn’t want to go crazy high.
Overnight levain 74°F for 10 hours.
In the morning add to your bowl, water, rye and whole wheat flour, mix and allow to sit for 15 mins to fully hydrate the bran. Then add stiff levain, breaking it up into small pieces. Then add bread flour, mix well and allow to rest for 10 mins. Knead to build gluten. Add salt and bassinage hold back water until the dough feels well hydrated. Once well mixed and moderate gluten development, remove dough to bench and do a bench letterfold. Transfer dough to a bowl. Every 20-30 mins do a coil fold stopping when the dough feels strong and isn’t spreading quickly after a fold. Allow the dough to rest in the bowl for the remainder of bulk. Once the dough has risen 40% or pH dropped 1.0 then shape dough and place in a banneton. We will aim to bake when the pH has dropped by a total of 1.4 or the dough has had a rise of 70-80%. If doing a cold retard, can place in the freezer for 1 hour when the pH has fallen a total of 1.3 and after 1 hour in the freezer transfer to the fridge for baking the next day.
The next morning pre-heat the oven 500°F and set up for steam baking. 30 mins before ready to bake pour 1 L of boiling water into your metal loaf pan with the Sylvia towel rolled tightly inside to pre-steam the oven. When the oven reaches 500°F flip the dough onto a parchment paper sheet, brush off excess rice flour, score and then brush water onto the dough but not the main score. Transfer to the oven and onto the heated baking steel or stone. Pour 250 mL of boiling water into your cast iron skillet. Drop the temperature of the oven to 450°F baking with steam for 25 mins. After 25 mins vent the steam and remove the steaming gear. Drop the temperature to 420°F and bake for a further 20-25 mins, turning half way through and moving the bread to a rack instead of the baking steel.