Basic Sourdough Boules

My technique is improving bit by bit! This is a fairly low hydration bread at just under 70%, so it’s moderately easy to work with the dough.

Morning – Make Levain

40g bread flour
40g whole wheat flour
81g water
8g flour

Leave the levain at room temp for about 10 hours OR just use 169g of active starter near top of cycle

Early Evening – Start Dough

Mix to autolyse:
766g bread flour
161g whole wheat flour
635g water 
169g levain (see above)

Then cover and set aside.

20-30 minutes later mix in:
19g salt
< 50g water

Don’t add more water than it can take. You aren’t looking for a tight dough at this point, but you don’t want soup.  Do a few folds but don’t knead vigorously.

Evening – Bulk Fermentation

Cover and allow to rest in a warm location for 3.5 hours. Do a stretch and fold at 30 minutes and at 1 hour. Then allow to rest for the remaining 2.5 hours.

Before Bed – Divide and Shape

Dump dough onto counter. Divide bread in half and loosely shape 2 rounds. A bench knife and wet hand will help. Try not to add flour since the bread is already at a lower hydration.

Allow to rest uncovered on the counter for 30 minutes.

Gently flour the top of the round – preferably with rice flour – and then flip over. Do an envelope fold. Flip it over and drag and seal the dough, working to create tension.

Place top-down in a well-floured (preferably with rice flour, but all purpose is ok) banneton or bowl lined with a floured cloth. You can see below that there are seams on the bottom. It doesn’t matter! There are also some bubbles from the sourdough fermentation. Some bakers pop those so it’s smoother. I didn’t.

Overnight – Proof

Cover the baskets well with room to rise and put them in the fridge until some time the next day. It can be anywhere from 12 hours to 36!

Morning – Bake

Put rack near the bottom of oven and place your Dutch oven inside, open (both lid and pan). Preheat to 450*

Take 1 basket out. Using parchment paper and a cutting board or pizza peel, flip a dough out of the basket. Score the bread and load it into the Dutch oven (or load and score if you prefer). 

Bake for 20 minutes covered. Then remove lid and bake another 30-35 (it should be nicely browned and the internal temp around ~207*.

Remove to a cooking rack and reheat the dutch oven to start the next loaf.

Ideally, allow loaves to cool for a couple of hours before slicing. It’s not easy to do, but you will be rewarded!

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