…aka the world’s best fruit toast.
I have decided it’s time to blog some bread, because I’ve been baking a lot of it recently… like, every second day. Obsessed doesn’t even begin to describe it.
There are *sooo* many different ways of approaching making a loaf of sourdough bread, but one thing that seems to be common across the board is it ain’t ready in a couple of hours. It takes a while… as little as six or seven hours – in my current climate, anyway – or as long as days, if you choose to retard the proofing process by using the fridge. It’s a process you need to fit into your schedule and exercise a lot of patience with.
So I guess this recipe reflects the rhythm I’ve fallen into with my own schedule. I created this recipe using the cool sourdough calculator that Maths dude made for me. It’s given me so much freedom to make recipes according to what dough weight and hydration I want.
Maybe you already have a starter, and you want to try something a bit different to just flour and water, but you have your own set method of doing things. Feel free to take this recipe and make it your way. Maybe you’re pretty new to sourdough baking (like me) and need a step-by-step recipe. Then this recipe is also for you!
Don’t have a starter? I got some dried starter from Clare which I fed until it was bubbly and ripe and ready to use, and then I named her Sandra. And she has never let me down!
I see some more sourdough posts in my future, but until then happy baking!
- 200g ripe sourdough leaven*
- 255g water
- 100g organic rye flour
- 244g baker's flour
- 10g flaky salt
- 40g dried cranberries
- 40g walnuts, chopped
- 10g cinnamon powder
- In a large bowl, mix together the leaven and water gently with your hand.
- Add the rye flour and baker's flour, and mix together by hand until the mixture is just coming together. Leave on the bench, covered, for 30-60 minutes. This is called the autolyse stage and it allows the gluten in the flour to become stretchy and activated before continuing to develop the dough.
- Add the salt, dried cranberries, walnuts and cinnamon powder, and fold the dough by hand to combine.
- Leave covered on the bench in the bowl for 30 minutes.
- Now, it's time to begin stretching and folding periodically for three hours. This step is not essential if you don't have time to hang around the dough for a few hours, but it helps create the network of bubbles that you want in a sourdough! If you prefer, just leave the dough on the bench covered for three to four hours.
- To do the folding, start by wetting your hand, grabbing underneath the part of dough closest to you, stretching it upwards and folding it over the rest of the dough. Turn the bowl 90 degrees, and repeat. Do this until the bowl has done a full rotation (ie, four folds of the dough). I found it difficult to get a feel for how to do this until I watched this video.
- Return to the dough at least every 30 minutes for three hours and repeat the folding process.
- By this stage the dough should still be a bit sticky, but consistently rising by about 20 to 30 per cent in between folds. Depending on your environment, you may need to leave it bulk fermenting for a while longer.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface (don't flour the dough itself, though, as we want one side of it to be sticky). Imagine the dough has four corners, and grab each corner, stretch it out and and fold it into the centre, then roll the whole thing over so the seam is on the bottom. Use your hands, or a bench scraper, to gently shape the dough into a ball.
- Lightly rub the dough with flour, and then place, seam side facing up, into a floured or linen-lined banneton or bowl.
- Allow to prove on the bench for two to four hours - it depends on your environment. Alternatively, you can prove the dough slowly in the fridge overnight and bring it back to room temperature before baking, for example, if you want to bake at another time, or you want to develop the flavour more. To check if the dough is proved, press your fingertip firmly into the dough. It should spring back only half way. This means the dough has risen but has enough energy left to spring up in the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 230C, with a lidded cast iron pot inside. Once ready, remove the cast iron from the oven (be very careful as it is extremely hot, obviously), sprinkle a small amount of polenta or semolina in the bottom, and upturn the banneton/bowl over the pot. Score it (confidently!) with a serrated knife or baker's lame to allow the steam to escape whilst baking.
- Place back in the oven, lid on, for 20 minutes. This helps to create a crust on the bread.
- Then take the lid off, and place it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is dark golden brown in colour.
- Remove from the pot, and allow to cool completely before slicing. Keeps for around a week in a dark place.