For a while now I’ve been planning on baking on a larger scale – perhaps to take some loaves to sell at the local farmer’s market, or to people at work. Since getting a new oven, I’ve finally been able to have a go at baking more than my usual 2 or 3 loaves.
This recipe comes courtesy of the administrator of the Sourdough Bakers group on Facebook, W Forrest, and all credit goes to him for the method, and the extremely helpful messages that I received when I asked him for some advice. One of the great things about baking – like many “crafts” – is that there is a diverse community of interested people who are always willing to share ideas.
The method, and the recipe, is similar to other sourdough recipes, with the exception of a few more shapings, which help the dough “spring” in the oven and retain the open crumb. The technique I have used to shape the loaves is a “letter fold” – taking a third of the dough, stretching it, and pressing it into the middle. This is repeated on all sides of the dough, and then the dough is shaped into a ball with cupped hands. The rotation with cupped hands, called a “tension pull”, is then repeated four times at 15 minute intervals. I’ve included a step by step photo after the recipe.
All in all, I baked 8 loaves, kept two, and sold the other six. The bread sold out quickly, and I’ll definitely be making this a regular bake whenever I have the time.
“Bulk” white sourdough – Makes 8 boules
- 4000g strong white bread flour
- 80g salt (kosher salt or ground rock salt)
- 2600g water at 27°C
- 200g white starter*
*The day before starting, I refreshed my rye starter with white flour to “convert it” and get it ready for use. I used 100g white flour and 100g water to 50g rye starter, and left the mix overnight at room temperature. The starter can be refrigerated and used straight from the fridge.
- To make handling the dough simpler, divide the recipe in two and use two containers (see images below).
- Combine starter and water in a large measuring jug and whisk.
- Add the starter and water mix to the flour and salt. Combine well in the large plastic container, then autolyse for 15 minutes.
- Stretch/fold the dough, and rest again for 15 minutes. Repeat the stretch/fold/rest four more times.
- Tip the dough out onto the counter, oil the container, and then shape the dough into a ball and roll around in the oil to coat. Bulk ferment overnight at room temperature for 10 hours, until doubled.
- Weigh out 850g portions and shape into boules. Rest for 15 minutes, then reshape. Repeat the shape/rest 3 more times. Put dough into floured bannetons and proof at room temperature for 4 hours, until risen.
- Preheat oven to 230°C. Score loaves, then bake in a cast-iron or ceramic lidded pot. Bake for 15 minutes with the lid on, and 15 minutes with the lid off.
- Cool on a wire rack.