Your starter is ready and now you want to bake some bread. It’s most likely been a long 7 days of grueling patience, babying your starter but trust me you won’t ever have to do this again as long as you don’t use it all, maintaining it by keeping it in the fridge, and feeding it before you want to use it. I will be making a separate blog post on how to maintain and keep your starter for the many weeks, months or years to come. The longer you keep it going the deeper and better the flavour gets.
The Leaven (This makes the dough rise)
- 1 Tbsp Fed Starter
- 50 grams whole-grain flour (rye or whole-wheat works well)
- 50 ml water, warm
- The leaven
- 350 and 25 ml water, warm
- 400grams bread flour
- 100 grams whole-wheat bread flour
- 10 grams salt
- Prepare the leaven: 8 to 12 hours before you mix your dough, prepare the leaven. Place the refreshed starter and water in a large bowl and stir to break up the starter. Add the flour and mix with a spoon until no dry lumps remain. Cover and allow to ferment at room temperature. you can make this the night before you want to make your bread to save time.
- In a large bowl, use a spatula or your hands to mix the leaven with 350ml of water, 400 grams of strong bread flour and 100 grams of whole wheat flour until there are no dry bits of flour left. The dough will be sticky. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap to keep it from drying out and let it rest for 1 hour.
- Add the salt and extra water to the dough. Pour 25ml of water and 10 grams of salt on the top of the dough. Use your hands to incorporate the ingredients by pinching and squeezing the dough until it comes together. It will still be a lumpy but the dough will feel a little smoother. Cover the bowl and let it rest for an hour.
- Now you are at the fermentation stage, During this you will do 3 sets of stretch and folds over the first 1.5 hours (one set every 30 minutes). A stretch and fold is exactly as it sounds. Place your hand underneath one side of the dough, pull it upwards and stretch it over itself to the opposite side. Continue this until you’ve come full circle. Place the cover back on the bowl and perform the next set in 30 minutes. After all 3 sets let the dough rest for 3 hours.
- Place the dough on a surface take your bench scraper in one hand and push it under one side of the dough. Push the dough forward with the bench scraper while turning it in a circular motion. Repeat this process until you have a tight, round dough ball . Let it rest for 20 minutes
- To shape the dough, lightly flour the surface of the dough cup your hands around the dough and gently pull it towards yourself to help create tension on the outside of the dough. Turn the dough in a circular motion and repeat the pulling and turning motions until the dough has developed a “tight skin”.
- Place the dough, seam side up, in a bowl that is lined with a generously floured tea towel. (You can use a proofing basket if you have one.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter for 30 minutes before placing in the refrigerator. Let the dough ferment, up to 12 hours or until the next morning in the refrigerator
- It’s finally time to bake this bread!! Preheat the oven to 230 degrees C/ 450 degrees F (without the Dutch oven inside) For about 30 minutes.
- Remove the sourdough from the fridge, place a piece of parchment paper over the top of the bowl and invert it onto the parchment paper. Score the top of the dough with a sharp knife or a razor. Use the parchment paper to pick the dough up and place it into the Dutch oven. Cover the dutch oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for another 15-20 minutes
- Make sure to cool your loaf at least 2 hours before slicing. (You can cut it earlier, but the crumb is more likely to have a “gummy” texture because it continues to bake after you take it out of the oven.)
- After all that work I rustled up one of my simplest, favourite things, scrambled eggs, you bet I have a recipe for that here too, check it out! They’re too good not to.