Back to Basics.
I love fun add-ins to bread, but sometimes I just want bread: flour water salt yeast. Also, many of my recipes have a small amount of commercial yeast to speed up the process a little bit, but truly naturally-leavened dough has a slightly silkier texture that is satisfying to handle and develop. So, I present to you a truly naturally-leavened bread with two timings. Both include a cold proof, but is one at the final rise (more traditional) and the other is up-front (something I’ve been playing around with). I’ve not noticed a huge difference in quality, so I’ll use whichever timing fits my schedule best those days.
Valentine’s Sourdough Recipe
Yield: 2 medium loaves
Ingredient List (Total Weight 1629g)
540g Bread Flour (60%)
180g Whole Wheat (I like Red Fife or Turkey Red) (20%)
90g Spelt (10%)
90g Rye (10%)
675g Water (75%)
36g Sourdough (4%)
18g Salt (2%)
140g Bread Flour
400g Bread Flour
180g Whole Wheat
Twelve to sixteen hours before building the final dough, assemble the levain. Dissolve the active sourdough culture into the water, then add the flour.
Once the levain is bubbly and active, build the final dough. First mix the flours (but don’t add the salt), then warm the water to approximately 100 degrees F. Dissolve the levain in the water, then add to the flours, mixing until you get a shaggy mass with all of the flour hydrated. Let autolyse (rest covered) for 20 minutes, then sprinkle in the salt and knead well for a few minutes.
Timing 1 (Traditional)
Bulk rise at room temperature for 3-4 hours, slapping and folding every 30-40 minutes. After the bulk rise, divide the dough into two equal-weight pieces. Preshape and let rest for 15 minutes. Shape as boules, then place in well-floured proofing bowls. Cover with a towel and plastic and refrigerate overnight for 12-16 hours.
After the cold proof, remove the loaves from the fridge and let sit for an hour while the oven preheats to 500F. Transfer the loaves to your baking surface, score the loaves, then bake at 500F for 5 minutes, then reduce to 475F for an additional 30 minutes. Steam for the first 20 minutes of baking.
Timing 2 (Somewhat of a WIP - I’ve had success)
Cover the bowl your dough is in with a towel and plastic and refrigerate for 12 hours. After the initial cold proof, slap and fold every 30-40 minutes for 3-4 hours. After this time, divide the dough into two equal-weight pieces. Preshape and let rest for 15 minutes. Shape as boules, then place in well-floured proofing bowls. Let rise at room temperature for 60 minutes while the oven preheats to 500F. Bake at 500F for 5 minutes, then reduce to 475F for an additional 30 minutes. Steam for the first 20 minutes of baking.
Tip: If you are using timing 2 and the dough seems to cold to work with, fill a larger bowl with lukewarm water and float the bowl with the dough in the larger bowl, almost like a double boiler.