This bread recipe has been taken from the Tartine Bread book by the owner of the famous Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. If you are looking to learn how to make sourdough bread, this is the best book ever. Here is the link to buy it from Amazon:
Making bread with natural leaven can be divided into 3 stages. First you must develop a vigorous starter. Second you make a leaven to raise your dough. And finally, you shape and bake the dough. It takes anywhere from 24 to 36 hours to make a sourdough bread but it is definitely worth every second.
|Preparation Time:||36 hours|
|Servings:||1 round loaf|
|UNBLEACHED all Purpose Flour||450 gm|
|Whole wheat Flour||50 gm|
|Sourdough starter at 100% hydration||100 gm|
|Warm Water 80F||350 + 25 gm|
|Rice flour + whole wheat flour||For dusting|
- Combine 350 gm of 80 degree F water and starter in a large bowl thoroughly.
- Now add both the flours and mix it so that no dry flour is left.
- Cover and rest for 40 minutes. Don’t skip this step. This is to autolyse the dough. While resting, glutens swell and form chains that become the gas trapping structure of the dough. Autolyse improves the effectiveness of the time spent mixing while shortening the time needed to actively develop the dough.
- After the resting period, fold the dough and transfer to a bowl that is a poor conductor to maintain the warm temperature. Dough will now begin to rise. This is called bulk fermentation. The primary purpose of this step is to develop the flavor and the strength in the dough. This step is highly temperature sensitive. The dough should be kept at temperature between 78 to 82 F to accomplish full bulk rise in 3 to 4 hours.
- So for the next 3 hours, fold the dough 4 times every 30 minutes. To fold, dip your hand in water to prevent sticking and grab the underside of the dough, stretch it up and fold it back over the rest of the dough. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat the fold. Do this total 4 times.
- After the first fold, add the salt and the remaining warm water. Incorporate both in dough by squeezing the dough between your fingers.
- The dough development that bakers usually achieve by kneading is accomplished here by folding the dough with much less work.
- By the end of 3 hours, the dough will feel aerated and softer. A well developed dough is more cohesive and releases from the sides of the bowl when you do the turns. You will see 20 to 30% increase in volume. More air bubbles will form along the sides of the container. Now the dough is ready to be shaped.
- Flour the work space lighly and bring out the dough. Gently push the sides under using the bench knife or pastry scraper and make a round dough using as little flour as possible and a good surface tension.
- Leave the dough to rest on the work surface for about 30 minutes. This stage is called bench rest. Cover the dough so that it does not dry up. The dough will spread like a pancake.
- To give the final shape, lightly flour the top of the dough, lift it and flip it over on the work area. Now you have to make 5 fold very gently, ensuring that the dough does not deflate.
- First fold the dough from your side to the other side. Then fold it from right to left. Next fold it from left to right. Then from far side to your side. Finally from your side to the far side.
- Cup your hand on the dough and gently pull it towards you, rounding it against the work surface to tighten the surface tension and stretch the outer surface.
- Line a bowl with a kitchen cloth. Dust it generously with 50/50 mixture of rice flour and wheat flour. Lift the dough and transfer it to the bowl, smooth side down.
- At this point, you can leave the dough at about 80F for 3 to 4 hours before baking. This is called the final rise. Or you can retard the process by storing it covered in refrigerator for up to 12 hours. In refrigerator, the dough will develop more complex and mildly acidic flavor.
- When you are ready to bake, and if the dough is in refrigerator, take it now before you start heating the oven. Preheat the oven to 500 F with a dutch oven or a pyrex bowl with cover. After the oven is heated, wait for extra 20 minutes for the the dish to get heated thoroughly.
- Transfer the loaf to the hot pyrex dish upside down. Score the dough deep so that it can expand fully. Quickly place the lid and put it back in the oven. Reduce the temperature to 450 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes. The moist heat inside the pyrex dish helps in the expansion of the loaves without forming a crust.
- After 20 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes for browning.
- Once it is browned to your liking, switch off the oven and take out the bread and let it cool on the wire rack for at least 1 hour before cutting it.
- Sourdough bread is ready to be cut and served.
- 1.5 cups black olives, coarsely chopped, 1 cup of walnuts or hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped, 1 tsp dried herbes de Provence, grated zest of 1/2 lemon, mix everything in a bowl and mix in the dough after the first fold during bulk rise.
- 0.5 cup toasted sesame seeds, mix in the dough after the first fold during bulk rise.
- 1.5 cups walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped, mix in the dough after the first fold during bulk rise.
- Making a bread using natural starter is the oldest form of making bread. This is how our ancestors made bread. Commercial yeast can’t match the complexity of natural fermentation because of all those flavor-producing bacteria milling about.
- You can get the starter from stores or you can make it yourself. It takes 7 to 10 days to make the starter.
- Always use unbleached all purpose flour for sourdough breads because the starter is natural, the chemicals in bleached flour may kill the starter.
- Baking the bread in Pyrex dish makes it chewy. If you don’t want the bread to be chewy, bake it on a greased baking sheet uncovered.
- If you want your bread crispy, bake it on a pizza stone or pizza steel and let it cool in the oven itself with oven door open a couple of inches after it’s switched off.
- The longer you keep the dough after mixing, the sour it gets.
- It is better to underproof the bread instead of overproofing. Overproofing makes the bread hard. In bread baking, proofing means letting the dough rise.
- The hole structure of the bread is called the crumb of the bread. The more wildly inscribed and chaotic the hole structure, the better the bread. Why? Because such a structure indicates that the dough has been properly kneaded or aerated and/or given the luxury of a long fermentation time, both of which lead to the development of the carbon-dioxide-gas bubbles that inflate the air pockets in the dough and allow for a light and tender loaf.
- The more wet the dough, the larger will be the holes in the crumb and more moist will be the crumbs.
- Scoring is slashing the dough with a blade or a sharp knife to allow it to expand during baking. The purpose is primarily to control the direction in which the bread will expand during ‘oven spring.’
- In bread baking, the final burst of rising just after a loaf is put in the oven and before the crust hardens is called ‘oven spring’. This ‘oven spring’ is a good indicator of the crumb of your bread: more oven spring means a light and airy interior and little oven spring indicates a dense, compact crumb.