Wild Yeast Levain
- 1/4 cup sourdough starter
- 1 and 3/4 cups unbleached bread or all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
Mix the ingredients by hand for a few minutes. The mix should be slightly sticky but doughlike. Transfer the starter to a work surface and knead for a minute. Transfer to a bowl with oiled surface and leave it until it has doubled in size. The temperature in my apartment falls to about 60F at night and I just leave it out on my countertop overnight. To retard the growth, you can store the levain in the refrigerator for a few days.
Dough (makes two loaves)
- all of levain
- 1 and 3/4 cup lukewarm water
- 4 and 1/2 cup of unbleached bread or all purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons of coarse salt
- [optional] 4 tablespoons of potato flour
- [optional] nuts and seeds, about 4 tablespoons
Sift the flour and salt, then add in the levain and water. Mix by hand for a few minutes until the dough coarsely holds together and then let it rest for 5 minutes. By giving the gluten time to form the bonds, time helps me strengthen the dough and makes the next mixing and kneading steps easier.
After a short rest, continue mixing, adding flour and/or water until the dough is soft and only slightly sticky. This is also when I add the nuts and seeds. Then transfer to a work surface and knead for a few minutes.
Use stretch and fold technique to develop the dough. Let the dough rest for 10 to 30 minutes in a bowl or container, and then stretch and fold the dough. Repeat one or two more times.
After last stretch and fold, transfer to a lightly oiled bowl which is big enough for the dough to double in, and cover. Leave the bowl out for 1 to 2 hours and then leave in the refrigerator until baking day.
I bake in the morning, so I take the dough out the night before. I leave it for 2 hours to warm to room temperature, and then I split the dough into halves. I then shape the dough and leave them overnight (about 10 hours) to proof.
In the morning, I preheat the oven to 500F for 30 minutes. The oven has two pizza stones and a metal pan. So even though the oven might say it's reached the right temperature, I do not proceed until the baking stones are warmed up too.
Turn the shaped dough onto a pizza peel, and then score it ([boule] and [batard]) just before placing it in the oven. Repeat for the other dough. Before closing the door I add one cup of hot water to the metal pan.
After one minute, I spray water to the side of the oven, and then again the next minute. I then lower the oven temperature to 450F. After 15 minutes I rotate the loaves so that the baking is even. I leave the loaves in for another 20 to 30 minutes.
|Bread with sourdough starter|