There’s a couple of things I’ve learned about making sourdough over the years. Patience and practice are the main things.
It’s quite a simple list of ingredients. Water, sourdough starter (I used this one last time and I believe had better results than I have ever had), flour, salt and diastatic malt powder (optional but definitely improves flavor).
And time. You’ll need probably 2-3 weeks until your starter is adequate to start making bread with, and the longer you keep and feed your sourdough, the tangier and more active it will be. Take a cup of unfed sourdough starter, and had half cup water and half cup flour. Mix. I’ve been told that using chlorinated water will impact the starter, and I’d say it’s likely to prevent some bacteria growth. I use RO filtered well water but you could probably used distilled or water that’s been boiled and cooled or exposed to sunlight for a period of time. Both can decrease/eliminate the chlorine.
Give it about 8 hours at room temperature (which is convenient for a workday) or 3 hours in a warm oven or bread proofer. I used to heat my oven just a bit and pop it in (just under 100 degrees). I do have a proofer now so it’s more convenient. It should be bubbly like this.
Add the rest of the flour, water, diastatic malt powder, and salt.
Mix and place in oiled bowl, turning once to coat
Allow to rise in warm place (warm oven as above or proofer) for 1 hour, then fold on itself 3 times. Repeat 2 more times (for a total of 3 hours). You’re not going to get a lot of rising in this step, which is fine. This is just for development of flavor.
Place in an oiled container (or you can leave in previous bowl and cover) and refrigerate at least 24 hours (48 is even tastier)
When it’s done, poke it down.
Allow to rise in warm oven or proofer (or on the counter but you will probably have to wait longer unless your house is hot as hell) until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 with your cloche in the oven. You can also use a cast iron dutch oven or a ceramic coated dutch oven. This cloche has the perfect shape for no-knead doughs though. You want to make sure that your cooking vessel is nice and hot, so a good 25 minutes after the oven has reached temperature. After you add the dough, reduce the oven and bake 25 minutes and check the temperature. The internal temp should be around 190. If you wish it to be more browned, leave the lid off and cook for a few more minutes (I never need to).
Add dough and score with a razor blade or bread lame. Having a good bread lame really does make a difference.
Beautiful cuts on the bread below…a good bread lame caused that.
On this, practice makes perfect. You can see this one is just a bit more…picturesque.
Once it is removed from the oven, I always pop it out of the cloche and onto a wire rack. That prevents the bottom from getting wet and mushy.
Find the full recipe here
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