Modified from the recipe in Ken Forkish’s book “Flour Water Salt Yeast“.
The part I disliked most about the original recipe was how much starter I was throwing away, and that it used commercial yeast. If I’m going to bother with starters and levains, I don’t want to use commercial yeast. So I modified it to make half the amount of levain, all of which goes into the main dough.
Feed Your Starter the Night Before
If you bake once a week like I do and not every day, you’ll need to refresh your starter that’s been sleeping in the fridge.
- Mix well with a metal spoon
- Throw out all but 3/4 of a cup or so
- Add 100 grams of ~90 degree Fahrenheit water and 100 grams flour
- Put into the oven with the oven light on
- Leave until the next morning.
Make Your Levain
The next morning, around 8 or 9 am:
- Get a medium bowl and add and mix together the following:
- 50g or your starter
- 200g of white / all-purpose flour
- 50g of whole wheat or rye flour
- 200g of 85 to 90 degree Fahrenheit water
- Cover and put in your same oven with the oven light on (or some other warm place)
Autolyse the Main Dough
Around seven hours later (3pm if you started at 8am), get a bigger bowl and add the following:
- 740g white / all-purpose flour
- 60g whole wheat or rye flour
- 620g 85-90 degree Fahrenheit water
- Cover and let sit for 30 minutes
Add Starter and Salt to Main Dough
After the 30 minutes are up and the flour is nice and autolysed:
- Add all the Levain
- Add 21g of salt
- Mix (using the pincer technique) .
Stretch and Fold
Do three or four “stretch and folds” every 30 minutes or so, then let sit covered on the counter until it is a little more than doubled in size.
Divide the dough into whatever you’re making
I always make Boules. So I cut my dough in half, form into tight balls, and put into proofing baskets. Cover the baskets and then put them into the fridge for 12 hours or so (i.e. overnight and into the next morning).
Bake the Bread
The next morning or afternoon, set the oven to 450, put a dutch oven in there, and let both come up to temperature, and then stay up to temp for another 20-30 minutes to let everything get good and hot.
- Take one of your bread dough baskets out of the oven, flip it upside down to get it out of the proofing basket and onto the counter
- Take the dutch oven out of the oven, place it on top of the stove, and remove the lid (carefully!)
- Put the dough in to the dutch oven, replace the lid, and put the whole thing back into the oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes
- Remove the dutch oven lid and bake for another 20 minutes, or longer if you want darker/crispier/thicker crust.
- Remove the dutch oven from the oven, take out your loaf of sourdough, and put on a cooling rack.
- Resit the urge to cut into it right away and instead let it cool on the rack.
- If you have more dough put the dutch oven back into the oven for 5-10 minute to let it re-heat and then do your next loaf.