White sourdough in bulk: bread for sale

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.

The first three loaves of sourdough out of the oven
The first three loaves of sourdough out of the oven

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.

Half a dozen sourdough ready for sale
Half a dozen sourdough ready for sale

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.

Sourdough wrapped in brown craft paper, ready to sell the next morning
Sourdough wrapped in brown craft paper, ready to sell the next morning

“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.

  1. To make handling the dough simpler, divide the recipe in two and use two containers (see images below).
  2. Combine starter and water in a large measuring jug and whisk.
  3. Add the starter and water mix to the flour and salt. Combine well in the large plastic container, then autolyse for 15 minutes.
  4. Stretch/fold the dough, and rest again for 15 minutes. Repeat the stretch/fold/rest four more times.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Cool on a wire rack.
The dough, mixed in two separate containers
The dough, mixed in two separate containers
The dough, after resting and stretch/folding, ready to bulk ferment
The dough, after resting and stretch/folding, ready to bulk ferment
The risen dough after a 12 hour bulk ferment overnight on the counter
The risen dough after a 12 hour bulk ferment overnight on the counter
dough_shaping
1) Weigh out the dough into 850g portions. 2) Take a portion of dough, fold over a third into the middle and press down. 3) Rotate 90 ° and repeat the fold. Repeat on all sides. 4) Using cupped hands, “tension pull” the dough: turn the dough, using the friction of the bench to pull the skin of the dough tight. 5) Rest the dough for 15 minutes, then repeat the tension fold. Repeat this four times.
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6 thoughts on “White sourdough in bulk: bread for sale

  1. Kelly

    How do you fit 8 loaves covered in your oven? Do you have a huge oven, or do you bake in batches? I’d love to bake in bulk to share with family and/or freeze for convenience, but I only have one covered baker, and wouldn’t be able to fit more than 2 in my standard size oven anyway.

    1. I go in batches, I have a 900mm oven that’s got big internal dimensions- you could also make the recipe and bake on baking trays, 250C for the first ten minutes then 20-30 min at 210C should do it. If you could fit two covered you could probably fit four on trays 😁

      1. Kelly

        So if I try 4 at a time, do I measure out enough dough for 4 and leave the rest in the fridge for a bit? Just trying to figure out timing so nothing over proofs. I live in a warm climate, so that’s always a challenge.

      2. So for this one I didn’t do any cold retarding- I’m in Vic, Aus and it was pushing up towards 30 on the day I baked.

        I just made sure that the second batch were in a cooler room and not near the oven. If you were going to proof in the fridge, I would just bake straight from the fridge.

        Weigh out all of the loaves after the overnight bulk ferment and shape them all, then if you have room place the bannetons into the fridge, you’ll need to proof for about 6 hours instead of 3.

  2. Pingback: Live sourdough: baking on a work night pt. 1 | Bread Bar None

  3. Pingback: Live sourdough: baking on a work night pt. 2 | Bread Bar None

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