For the levian
- 45g of mature starter
- 45g of unbleached all-purpose flour
- 45g of whole wheat flour
- 90g of filtered water, room temperature
For the bread
- 273g of unbleached bread flour
- 500g of unbleacked all-purpose flour
- 175g of whole wheat flour
- 660g of filtered water, 32ºC to 37ºC
- 18g of fine sea salt
- 180g of mature levian (use all of the levian splinter that you made)
- Rice flour, for dusting
We all know there's nothing like the taste of homemade bread, especially when it's the light, doughy taste of fresh sourdough.
Sourdough bread is the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring yeast and other ingredients, and it's absolutely delicious. With a bit more of a sour taste (hence the name) than normal bread, sourdough goes perfectly with dips & cheeses, or as a sandwich.
As baking has gripped the nation (just ask the banana bread currently sitting on our kitchen bench), we must say a little shout out to Josh who inspired us (and apparently everyone else in the world) to make some sourdough. Keep reading for our easy to follow steps on how to make this insanely yummy bread....that we guarantee will be eaten instantly after you make it.
For the levian
1. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and thoroughly stir together until no dry clumps of flour remain. Transfer the mixture to a jar and close it, but do not tighten to the point that it’s airtight.
2. Ferment the levain for 6 hours at 25°C. If you don’t have a fermentation station, you can always leave the levain jar in the oven with only the light on. This should approximately replicate the same environment.
For the bread
3. About 30 minutes before the levain fermentation is done, it’s time to start the autolyse process (it sounds super technical but we just mean mix the flour and water together to let it mingle). Then combine the 3 flour types for the dough in a big mixing bowl and mix it by hand. Add the filtered, heated water, and also mix this by hand until all the flour is hydrated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel for the next 30 minutes as the levain finishes fermenting.
4. After the autolyse process is done, sprinkle the salt across the dough and then add all the levain on top of the dough. Wet your hands with water and spread the levain across the surface of the dough. Then dimple, pinch and stir the mixture to incorporate everything.
5. Cover the bowl back up, and place it back in the oven or fermentation station. Let the dough sit for 3 to 4 hours until it doubles in size. During this period, you’ll fold the dough (wetting your hand, stretching a bit of the perimeter as far as it can go without breaking and literally folding it over) 3 times. The first 2 folds should be 15 minutes apart; the last fold comes 30 minutes after that. After folding, let the bread sit for the remainder of the fermentation period. The dough should have some signs of bubbly activity by the end.
6. Scoop the dough out onto an unfloured surface. Make a floured line down the center of the dough, and divide the dough down that line to separate the 2 halves. Using a floured bread scraper, turn each half of the dough into a sphere, then cover it with an overturned bowl for 15 minutes. Then, let the dough sit for an additional 10 minutes.
7. Dust 2 kitchen towels with rice flour, place them each in a large bowl and set them aside. Turning back to the dough, use some all-purpose flour to dust the top of each sphere, then loosen the edges with the scraper and carefully flip the dough so the unfloured side is on top. Grab the bottom of the dough, and stretch and fold it halfway over. Repeat this process for the left, right and top sides. Gently flip the dough over so the folded seams face down, then use your fingers to pull the dough in toward yourself to form a tight circle.
8. Place the dough for both loaves, seam side up, into the large bowls, then put them, bowl and all, into a large plastic bag (or multiple, tied up, if needed) and set them in the fridge to sit for 14–15 hours or overnight. This process is called “proofing” the dough.
9. Wake up in the morning and say "today is bake day" (because it is). Place a cast iron pot into the oven on a low rack. Preheat to 260°C, and let the empty cast iron pot warm in the preheated oven for a total of 1 hour. Once you’re ready to bake, take the dough for the first loaf out of the fridge. (You’ll bake the second loaf after the first finishes, unless you have two cast iron pots). Dust the surface of your loaf and score your loaf if you want to. Using oven mitts, place the dough in the cast iron pot and place the whole thing back in the oven.
10. Bake with the lid on for 20 minutes at 260°C, then take the lid off and bake at 245° for an additional 25–30 minutes (or until the loaf is a deep, rich brown).
11. Now for fun bit, you get to eat it! Go enjoy your doughy creation that took roughly 267 hours to make. You deserve it.