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Rustic Sourdough Loaf

rustic sourdough loaves

1. On the night before you bake:

Prepare your levain.
Mix together:
20g starter (this is known as the “seed”) (You can take yours straight out of the fridge and just go for it, but using a ready, bubbly, fed starter is probably best practice)
60g water
100g flour
*This is a “stiff” starter. Will seem very dry and like it couldn’t possibly work. It will. Just mix it, cover and let sit on your counter overnight (12-15 hours). When you wake up it’ll be all puffed up and bubbly.
2.  Now you’re ready for your initial mix.
Get out your sturdy stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and combine:
Starter
Water
Flour
Mix until just incorporated. Let stand 15-30 minutes.
Add salt.
Mix 3 minutes at first speed.
Mix 4-6 minutes at second speed. (Bakers will say, “watch for full development.” That’s a learned response. Just watch for when it gets smooth and uniform and leave it at that.)
3.  Bulk fermentation time. This is basically when the dough rests for a LONG time and you fold it occasionally.
Scrape/dump/pour/lift the mix from the mixing bowl into a large bowl.
Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
Fold. (I do this right in the bowl. You pull up the edge of the dough furthest from you firmly, but not tearing, and fold it toward you. Now, rotate the bin 180 degrees and do the same. Now rotate 90 degrees and do the next side and then
the last. Kinda like wrapping a package—check it out on The Perfect Loaf. We all have our different styles, you’ll find what works for you.
Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
Fold. (Same as above.)
Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
Fold. (Same as above.)
Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
4.  Preshape. This is where you make an initial round shape. Check it out on King Arthur Flour’s website.
5.  Let sit for 30 minutes uncovered on the counter.
6. Shape. This is where you do the final shaping and put the dough into the proofing basket for final rise. We won’t even try explaining it. Again, see The Perfect Loaf. (Tip: remember to put the dough into the basket seam-up!)

 

7.  Let sit for about an 1-1.5 hours to proof.
8.  Preheat oven for at least an hour at 425° F. If you have a baking stone, flip the basket over and release the loaf onto a floured peel. Score the top of the loaf and load onto stone. (If you’re working with a baking sheet just flip the loaf onto the sheet and load into the oven.)
9.  Steam! A professional baker uses steam. To achieve this I put a cast iron pan in the bottom of the oven for the preheat. Right after I load the bread I pour in a cup of water.

10.  Bake for about 40 minutes. (Kinda depends on your oven, but 40 should work well.)