Recipe

72% hydration sourdough (two loaves)

550 g flour
400 g water
55 g starter

1 tbl salt

Instructions (short form): incorporate all ingredients. stretch and fold at intervals during bulk rise (24 hours+).  shape into balls with taught surface. let rest. bake in covered pan at 500º for 30-35 minutes.

Instructions (long form):

  1. Incorporate (I use my hands or kitchenaid with dough hook) everything together in big bucket (mine is a very large shallow mixing bowl and/or a 24 cup rubbermaid container). I typically mix the starter and water first, then add flour and other ingredients.
  2. Bulk rise: Let sit on counter (if your house is air conditioned or not very heated) or in refrigerator for around 24 hours (I’ve gone as short as 6 hours (hot temperatures) and as long as three days- put it in the fridge after a few hours if I can’t bake it then. The temperature of the water that you add to the starter really influences how quickly it proofs, so use cold water if you want it to take longer and warm water if you have less time.). I read that sourdough’s favorite temperature is ~50º, like our unheated Davis home in the winter. I try to do at least one stretch and fold (watch this guy: https://www.instagram.com/trevorjaywilson/?hl=en) during that time.
  3. Shape: Dump in two piles on floured (or oatmeal or seedy surface or even the counter spritzed with water), fold it in on itself from the edge and tuck until the loaf is round and smooth on the bottom, flip it over and let sit for at least 30 min or 2 hours. Try to get a taut smooth surface. I also put my shaped loaves in loaf-sized bowls (either with a very floured cloth, or oil the bowl. professionals use bannetons.) for a while (even overnight in the fridge again).
  4. Preheat enameled cast iron dutch oven (or other oven-proof pot with lid, I now use a turkey roasting pan which can bake two loaves) in oven to 500º. I’ve used cermaic and cephalon for baking– anything is fine so long as it can withstand high temperatures and has a fitting lid.
  5. Slash! Immediately before putting bread in oven, slash the loaf with a serrated knife (professionals use a lame) across the top a couple of times to allow for even expansion.
  6. Bake: Place dough on parchment paper (important!) and set into preheated dutch oven. Bake with lid for 30 min and (optionally) without lid for 5 min (this time can vary depending on your oven, vessel, hydration of dough, altitude: after the first 30 min it’s fine to open lid, check, and keep baking with lid on or off).
  7. Patience: For best results, let loaf rest for 30 minutes after pulling out of the oven before slicing in to it.
A handy intro if you’re new to this: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/11376-no-knead-bread

notes:

  • baking at altitude: bake longer. I once baked a half-sized loaf at 9000 feet at 450 degrees for 55 minutes. I’ve baked full size loaves at 6000 feet at 500 degrees for 70 minutes.
  • possible to bake at 450 for 45 minutes instead
  • to make it more sour: rye flour, other whole grains, slower fermentation, lower hydration starter
  • wet hands don’t stick to high-hydration dough as much: rinse your hands in the sink and don’t dry them before handling the dough.
  • I really recommend using a good bench scraper to help you handle the dough
  • slashing the bread is important for even expansion, and the correct time to slash the bread is seconds before you put it in the oven. I favor the wolverine-style triple slash, but there are lots of pretty options.
  • I mostly make my loaves into boules, but batards are also easy if you’re making larger loaves. try an epi if you’re feeling fancy. Here’s a video on high hydration dough handling:  https://youtu.be/4a6MV1HW7_I and here’s another: https://youtu.be/vEG1BjWroT0

variations/additions

  • flour variations: whole wheat (white whole wheat and red whole wheat), high protein bread flour, rye, buckwheat, spelt, oat, pumpernickel(=whole rye), barley, cornmeal
  • grain additions: oats, hot cereal mixes, corn meal, millet (need to add more water)
  • rosemary
  • walnuts, pecans
  • dried fruit: raisins, cherries, figs, dates, apples
  • mashed potatoes
  • ripe bananas
  • roasted garlic
  • cinnamon
  • olives
  • seeds: pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, flax, poppy, caraway
  • cheese: hard cheeses like smoked gouda, cheddar, swiss, gruyere, parmesan
  • cinnamon sugar swirl
  • Honey whole wheat
  • apples (cooked)
  • orange zest and thyme
  • sage
  • figs, olive, flax, sunflower, sesame seeds (like the Trader Joe’s crackers)
  • pumpkin puree and dried cranberry
  • golden raisin and rosemary
  • dried mango and candied ginger
  • parmesan, roasted garlic and rosemary
  • Caramelized onion and gruyere
  • sundried tomatoes
  • potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • dried cherries and dark chocolate (thank you Belle and Simon!)
  • fresh corn
  • jalapenos
  • dates
  • candy cap mushrooms
  • coconut flakes