This sourdough uses a method from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice to increase the fermentation time, resulting in a more complex flavour and a well developed crumb. The method involves using cold water and an overnight fermentation, and I have added an extra proofing stage to help with the irregular, aerated crumb.
I shaped this batch of dough into 6 rough baguettes, two of which I cut into “épi” or “wheat” shaped loaves. This amount could be made into two free form loaves or three small tin loaves.
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Rest for 20 min, then stretch and fold for 5 min.
2. Rest for 30 min, then stretch and fold a dozen times. Repeat this step twice more.
3. Refrigerate the dough in a bowl, covered in cling film, overnight.
4. Remove the dough from the fridge and rest at room temperature for two hours.
5. Divide the dough into 6 portions. Rest for 5 min, then stretch the dough out into rough baguette shapes. The dough is quite wet and slack, so either flour or water your hands and the work surface. Place each baguette onto baking paper on a baking tray.
6. Preheat oven to max. Proof loaves for one and a half hours. Slash baguettes just prior to baking.
7. If making épi, cut into the dough with a pair of scissors almost parallel to the surface of the dough. Swing the cut piece away from the dough but be careful not to cut all the way through. Repeat the cut, moving along the baguette, in roughly 8cm gaps.
8. Bake for 10 min, check and reduce temperature of necessary. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.