Cecilia's Sensible Sourdough Bread
This is our favorite bread here at Janie's Mill, made with our top-selling High Protein Flour. It yields 2 loaves.
Flour, Wild or store-bought Yeast, Water, Salt
250 g active sourdough starter (my well traveled starter is called Godzilla and is over 15 years old). You can use 2 grams of store-bought dried yeast if you prefer - a little more if you are in a hurry.
650-700g tepid water
25g fine sea salt
weigh everything. Always. Cups and teaspoons are not accurate measurements for a number of reasons.
salt is important to gluten development so don’t skimp.
Not pretty right? No worries we will make a swan out of this duckling.
Mix starter and tepid water together.
Add Janie’s Mill High Protein Bread Flour.
Mix only until all the flour in incorporated, no longer, cover and let the dough rest in the bowl for one hour.
do not over mix whole kernel flours, they develop better if you use a light touch.
the flours take a while to absorb the water so a rest period before the salt makes all the difference.
this is a pre-ferment because I have already added the starter. An autolyse period is when you mix the flour and the water then rest for an hour or three (sometimes overnight) - then add the salt and proceed. This is a great method too.
After an hour turn your dough out onto the counter and pat out until about an inch thick then sprinkle 25g salt all over the dough and lightly press the salt in with your very wet fingertips. It will look a little like foccacia bread.
Using the tartine method of folding begin to work your dough. Moving around your dough, gently pull out a section, stretch and fold the dough in onto itself. I find one cycle of stretches is enough at this point.
Our flours do not like to be punched or pushed about , the flour is a gentle soul and responds well to a gentle approach.
Make sure to stretch not tear your dough.
use wet hands to stretch and fold.
Stretch and fold once every thirty minutes for the next two hours.
I usually turn my mixing bowl upside down over the dough as it rests.
Looking better. Now time for bed for this baby. This dough proofed for eight hours.
Once my dough is satiny and pushing back making it hard work to fold, I set it into a lightly oiled plastic tub, put the lid on and leave it to rest and grow for between six and twelve hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
It is better to under-proof your dough than over-proof it. Give the tub a tiny shake as you go past, if it wobbles it is almost ready. If you see bubbles it is ready to cook. If you place your floury finger on the dough and it leaves a dent- it is ready to cook.
Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide in half. Gently make each half into a tight boule. Then place it upside down into your proofing basket for the time it takes your oven to heat up to 500F. Make sure your dutch ovens are in the oven heating up as well.
When your oven is good and hot and your dough is looking puffy and happy (usually about an hour) turn the dough back out onto your counter - give one more gentle turn to tighten the ‘skin’ of the dough. Score and bake.
to get a good ear you need a tight skin and then score one deep cut around half of your boule
you need to score these lines or designs so the steam trapped in your boule has somewhere to escape or it will crack the surface of the bread in a random manner.
use floury hands to tighten your loaf -turning and tucking the dough under like tucking a sheet under a mattress before scoring.
I bake the bread for twenty five minutes with the lid on then take the lid off turn the dutch oven to ensure even cooking and bake for another twenty minutes.
Move fast so as not to let your oven cool too much. I have bricks in the base of my oven to help wit maintaining a constant temperature
Cool your loaves before slicing. (This is the hardest part of bread making!).
There is so much to discuss when we enter the world of bread baking. My advice is to keep it simple. Simple is always best.
I bake for taste and nutrition. I love how the Janie’s Mill flours give my breads a delightful light airy slice with a lovely elastic moist interior sporting a few well rounded holes that sometimes makes it hard for me to spread my butter. And I love butter second only to a good home baked loaf of bread. But most importantly the loaves crackle when they are cooling and crunch when you bite the crust and they taste really good.
Take your time. You can’t rush bread. Be gentle.
My favorite loaf is baked with Janie’s Mill High Protein Flour. I use a Kitchen Aid mixer that my Mother-in-Law gave me ten years ago, with a regular paddle for the first mix (which takes literally seconds) everything else is on my counter by hand. I bake my bread in old cast iron Dutch Ovens.
Posted on October 12 2019