Week 112: Wholemeal sourdough loaf

My very first fully natural starter loaf! Absolutely no instant yeast is used in the making of this wholemeal sourdough loaf. There is this strange sense of indescribable wonderment when I saw the dough rising. I miscalculated the hydration percentage and it ended up a bit more hydrated then I originally intend, which explains the shapeless loaf, but the result was delicious, so I’m not complaining.

I baked this in my Le Creuset Dutch oven but am sure it will work on a regular baking tray, as per the original recipe. Just add a tray of water in the bottom of the oven for steam and you are set.

Makes 1 loaf with approximately 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

120g active starter dough

70g dark rye flour

70g wholemeal flour

60g + 240g bread flour

1 tbsp olive oil

10g salt

METHOD

1) The night before you are going to bake the loaf, add to the bowl of your stand mixer the dark rye flour, wholemeal flour and 60g of the bread flour to the active starter dough, together with 300g of water. (If, like me, you keep your starter dough in the fridge, take it out 12 hours earlier to make sure it is active.)

2) Stir to mix, then cover the bowl with cling wrap, poking some holes to allow it to breathe. Set in a warm place overnight.

3) The next morning, the mixture should be bubbly and the smell of fermentation should be quite apparent.

4) Add the remaining bread flour, olive oil and salt to the mixture and mix on medium speed using a dough hook until elastic dough forms.

5) Once again, cover with cling wrap and set in a warm place to proof for 2 to 3 hours until dough has doubled in size.

6) Punch down the dough and shape it into a boule. Then allow it to proof a final time until double in size. This may take another 2 to 3 hours.

7) Preheat the oven together with the Dutch oven at 240C. If your oven has fan mode, make sure to turn it off.

8) Carefully transfer the dough into the preheated Dutch in oven, spritz generously with water (to create steam), then cover and allow to bake for 15 minutes.

9) Lower the temperature to 230C and bake for another 15 minutes.

10) Finally, remove the cover and continue to bake until crust is nicely browned. For me, this took another 30 minutes.

While I am certain this loaf would be delicious right out of the oven, I can assure you it taste pretty good even after freezing. Just pop it into a toaster oven for 15 minutes. Lovely crust with chewy and fragrant dough.

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