I started with these two recipes:
Bread-making is a very forgiving process. I don't exactly follow these two recipes (in one of the steps. I didn't realize that I wasn't adding enough flour until the third time I made it) but the dough seems to happily rise in this Seattle weather no matter what I choose to do.
The recipes above make 2 loaves but I make only one loaf at a time. I start with their portion of leaven (for 2 loaves) and only use 1/2 of it to make just 1 loaf. I let the other 1/2 of leaven hang out and ferment until I make the next loaf.
The whole process takes about 36-48 hours.
This is enough for 2 loaves.
- Wet sourdough starter 30g
- Whole Wheat 120g
- Water 120g
This makes 1 loaf.
- Leaven: 125g
- Warm water 375ml: About 75-80F.
- Bread flour 400g: I use King Arthur's.
- Whole wheat + Rye flour 50-100g: I was doing 50g and that worked well but the recipes above use 100g. When I used 100g, I added a lot more water. I put in a little more whole wheat than rye but I don't measure each ingredient separately.
- Salt 8-10g + Water 25g: I once forgot salt and the resulting bread was good-looking but not tasty. Mako rescued it by making ploughman's sandwich with brown pickle and cheddar cheese.
For shaping and baking
You can use whatever flour is available for this, I think. I use the following.
- all purpose flour for shaping and dusting (not too much).
- rice flour for coating banneton.
- a mix of a couple big pinches of polenta and all purpose flour for coating the bottom of the dutch oven.
- Day 1: Make leaven at room temperature overnight.
- Day 2: Make dough; stretch and fold for a few hours. Fridge overnight.
- Day 3: Bake.
1. Mix 30g sourdough, 120g whole wheat, and 120g warm water (="leaven"). No need to knead. If you just want to make enough leaven for 1 loaf, use 1/2 the amounts.
2. Cover and let the leaven rest at room temperature (i.e. Seattle autumn temp) until the next day. I've done 12-36 hours at this step and all worked. I usually do this step sometime between 3 and 11 PM. It may look dry first but eventually it becomes gooey.
3. Mix 125g leaven and 375ml warm water in a large deep container with a lid.
4. Add 400g bread flour and 50g whole wheat/rye flour mixture to Step 3. Mix well but no need to knead.
5. Cover and let them sit for about 1-2 hours ("autolyse" stage).
6. Add 8-10g salt + 25ml water mixture to Step 5. Massage the bread to make sure the salt water is well incorporated into the bread. Lucy says that it's ok to do this step at Step 4 too.
7. Stretch and fold (there are a bunch of videos online on how to do this). I wash my hands under warm water and use *wet* hands to stretch and fold. The Perfect Loaf recommend this step be repeated 4-6 times (every 30 minutes) over 2-3 hours. I usually let the dough hang around for 2-6 hours at room temperature and stretch and fold whenever I remember. Towards the end of this process, you can stretch out a thin layer of dough (you can see through it). When that happens, I think it's ready to rest.
8. Cover and put the dough in the fridge for 12-18 hours.
9. Take the dough out of the fridge a few hours before baking. The Perfect Loaf says you can just bake it directly out of the fridge but I usually let it sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours while the oven heats up.
10. Put the Dutch oven and the lid in the oven. Heat the oven at 500F for about an hour.
11. Shape the loaf either on a parchment paper or in the banneton (coat with rice flour or all purpose flour). Look for videos on how to shape bread.
12. Let the loaf rest for 1-2 hours at room temperature.
13. Mix polenta and all purpose flour to put on the bottom of the Dutch oven (to prevent the dough from sticking to the pot). Just enough to cover the bottom of the pot.
14. Take out the dutch oven and its lid when the oven is ready. Cover the bottom with Step 12. Put the loaf in. Score the loaf (make cuts on top) in any ways you like.
15. Bake at 500F for 20 minutes with the lid on. Turn it down to 450F for 10 minutes with the lid still on.
16. Take off the lid and turn it down to 400F for another 25-30 minutes.
17. Cool the loaf on a cooking rack for 1-2 hours. I like the crackling sound during cooling. :)
There are tons of different ways to do each step, so you can read different recipes and create your own method. It's a really fun activity!