So now my starter is bubbling away nicely it was time to make a loaf.
My first attempt resulted in a boulder, so I’m not writing up that recipe, whereas the second (thanks Jan) proved a lot more successful.
The recipe comes from the Clever Carrot site and they describe it the “longest post ever.” It’s definitely worth reading through carefully as they explain why and not just what the process is.
But I need something I can refer back to quickly without a lot of scrolling, so here’s a cut down version of the what without the why. This is how I do it, the full recipe offers variations.
- 150g bubbly, active starter
- 250g warm water
- 25g olive oil
- 500g bread flour
- 10g fine sea salt
- fine ground cornmeal, for dusting (or baking parchment)
1. Whisk the starter, water, and olive oil in a large bowl. Add the flour and salt. Squish everything together with your hands until all of the flour is absorbed. Rest for 30 minutes.
2. After the dough has rested, work the dough in the bowl into a rough ball. Cover with plastic or silicon wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Leave overnight to double in size.
3. Flour half of work surface. Remove the dough from the bowl onto the floured section. DO NOT ‘punch down’ the dough; it will gently deflate as you fold and shape it.
4. Shape using a bench scraper to move your dough to the non-floured section. Starting at the top, fold the dough over toward the center. Give it a slight turn, and then fold over the next section of dough. Repeat until you have come full circle. Then flip the dough over and place it seam side down. Using your hands, gently cup the sides of the dough and rotate it, using quarter turns in a circular motion. You can also pull it towards you to even out the shape. Repeat this process until you are happy with its appearance.
5. Line Dutch oven (I use lidded casserole pot) with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Place the dough inside for a second shorter rise, about 1-2 hours. It is ready when the dough is slightly puffy.
6. Preheat your oven to 230 C
7. Make a shallow slash about 2 inches long in the center of the dough. Use a bread lame, a sharp pairing or serrated knife.
8. Place your pot into the oven (lid on) and reduce the temperature to 200 C. Bake for 20 minutes.
9. Remove the lid, and continue to bake (uncovered) for an additional 40 minutes or until deep, golden brown. Internal temperature of bread to should be about 96 C.
10. During the last 10 minutes of baking, crack open the oven door. This allows the moisture to escape, leaving your bread with a crisp crust.
11. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing. Don’t cut too soon or else the inside will have a gummy texture!