A soul-nourishing bread that crisp-crackles on the outside and melts in your mouth on the inside! Yes, it does need a little time (a little loving over three days), but it is truly a joyful experience to make!
ARTISAN SOURDOUGH BREAD (BOULE)
BEFORE YOU START
You’ll need a starter for this recipe. (Make friends with people who have a working starter because every time they feed their starter, there’s extra to be tossed out or given to friends. You don’t need very much: a 1/4 cup will do. If you don’t have this kind of friend, you can make your own.
FEEDING YOUR STARTER (Because if you have one, you’ll need to maintain it).
Except on active baking days, your starter should be stored in the fridge. Once a week or so, take it out for a feeding. You have some wiggle room with the timing, but if it starts to turn pink or orange, throw it away immediately. Here’s a great article on sourdough troubleshooting.
To make the feeding formula easy to remember, I take 111 g of the starter and add to it 111 g bread flour and 111 g of warm water (around 111°F (44°C)). You will have starter left over. This is the stuff you can pass on to friends, or add to your compost (your garden will love it).
Mix the starter well and if you’re not going to be making bread with it that day, let it sit (lightly covered) at room temperature for 3-4 hours to let it activate and then cover it and return it to the fridge. To make it easier to remember when you fed it last, put a piece of refrigerator tape on your jar and make a note of the feeding date each time you feed it.
Now we’re ready for this bread!
DAY 1 (Two days before you want to serve your bread)
Remove your starter from the fridge in the morning and feed it as you normally would, and leave it lightly covered at room temperature all day. That evening, feed it once more, cover it again and leave it overnight on your kitchen counter.
DAY 2 (Ideal to do these steps between 12-4 pm)
Measure out 200g of the starter and put it in a medium sized bowl. Return the rest of the starter, covered, to the fridge.
Here is a sample schedule:
525 g water at 80 degrees F
200 g active starter*
700 g bread flour
Mix until dough forms into a shaggy ball
12:30 pm Autolyse (rest) for 30 minutes (some say an hour is better)
1 pm Sprinkle 20 grams Diamond Crystal kosher salt over dough. Pinch it into the dough to drive salt in
*Stretch and fold 4-5 times and let sit, uncovered, for 30 minutes
1:30 pm Repeat*
2:00 pm Repeat*
2:30 pm Repeat*
3:00 pm Dough should now stretch without breaking. Cover and bulk rise for 60 minutes at room temperature
4:00 pm Cover bowl with plastic bag and put in fridge for 12-18 hours
DAY 3 5-1/2-7-1/2 hours are needed before bread comes out of oven (depending on whether you do a 2 or 4 hour rest)
8 am Remove bowl from fridge and let rise for two hours uncovered
10 am Release dough onto countertop, cut dough into two parts and shape each part into a round loaf
10:10 am Cover with tea towel and let rest for 30 minutes
10:40 am Flour two baskets liberally with rice flour (coat well)
Gently stretch dough lengthwise. Then stretch dough from the side over 1/3 of the loaf. Repeat on other side. Then fold over from the top and then again from the bottom.
Gently drop into basket, seam side up. Repeat with second loaf. Cover with a plastic bag and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
One hour before baking Preheat oven to 450°F (232°C) and place empty Dutch oven inside.
Baking Time Release first cold dough onto parchment paper and score bread with sharp knife in tic-tac-toe pattern. Open oven, take lid off Dutch oven, carefully place dough (still on parchment paper) into it and place lid back on. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake for another 15 minutes.
Remove loaf #1 and place on a cooling rack. Return Dutch oven to oven for 15 minutes and repeat with second loaf.
Adapted from homemadefoodjunkie.com.