Artisan wheat sourdough bread

Originally posted March 19th at www.sitbackwithme.com

Before I get started with the recipe I highly recommend you to watch one hour episode of “Cooked – Air” -documentary from Netflix. For those already keen on bread baking it is pure fuel for the flames and for those how regard bread eating as bad habit due to gluten and carbs it just might be enough to convince to get started with sourdough baking.

For this recipe you will need a strong starter. That rye bread we baked in the previous post is much more forgiving, it will always taste great and have a good texture. Wheat bread is much more demanding. Yes, you will get good tasting quality wheat bread each and every time if you follow the instructions but to really get the perfect crust, rise and crumb you need a hint of luck and a lot of experience that can not be learned by reading. At least I hope so. I have read and studied recipes for months but I am still far from the texture I am looking for in my wheat bread, but the taste is awesome!

Let’s get started. This is simplified recipe without all the “hokkus-pokkus” that the more experienced recipes include. You will need ripe starter, wheat flour, salt and two days of time.

Preparing Leaven for Wheat Sourdough Bread – for two loafs

On a large bowl mix all ingredients and store in warm place over night

50g strong sourdough starter (instructions here)

100g water

100g 50/50 wheat rye flour mixture

Preparing Dough for Wheat Sourdough Bread – two loafs

On a large bowl mix following ingredients. Do it properly, well mixed dough will have much smoother and eventually stronger consistency. If you have kitchen machine as I do, use minimum 20 minutes with dough hook. If doing this manually – mix it as long as you have strength and patience.

~220g of ready leaven ( This is how much you roughly have prepared yesterday)

400g water

700g wheat flour

Now let the dough rest for roughly half an hour. After resting, add salt water mixture and mix well.

16g (~6 ts) salt mixed into tiny amount of water

Again, let the dough rest for a while. Strengthen the dough by performing “fold routine” four to six times in 10 minute intervals inside the large bowl. This will strengthen the dough and build up texturere. The dough has high hydration percentage so this can be a bit tricky before you get used to it.

Fold the dough on all directions. From top towards bottom, left to right, bottom to up and right to left.

It is important at this stage to handle the dough carefully. You have build structure into the dough and the bacteria from leaven has started to build up gass bubbles which we do not want to break. When you feel the dough is ready, place it on table. Scrape it carefully from bottom of the bowl when pouring onto table so that it stays intact as one piece of dough. Flour slightly and divide into two equal parts. Shape into round boule or oval bâtard (both pictured in the header picture of this post) by folding from the sides into the center. Take two clean bowls, place thin cloth covering thebottom and sides and slightly flour it. Place shaped doughs on top of the floured cloth so that seam side is facing up. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge over night or for about 12 hours.

Baking

Preheat oven as warm as it gets. Mine get’s only to 275 C so that is what I am using. Leave oven tray and iron or metal jar or pan inside the oven to heat up. Take the doughs into room temperature when oven is ready. Carefully flip the dough out of the bowl into piece of baking paper. With a sharp knife, make few 2-5 millimeter deep cuts on the dough. If you use electronic thermometer, place it inside the dough now. Take warm oven tray and place bread on top of it and into the lower part of oven. Same time, through water into the jar or pan inside the oven to create steam and close the oven door. Steam is essential factor when it comes to getting that perfect thin but crunchy crust. Bake for 20 minutes without opening the oven door. You should see the bread expand to roughly double in size and the cuts should start spreading open exposing elastic and stretchy dough. After 20 minutes open the oven door for few seconds and lower temperature to 225 C and let bake for another 30 minutes. Bread is ready when inside temperature is 99C or when crust is golden brown and knocking on the bottom of the loaf makes hollow sound. Remove from oven and let cool on top of a grid for minimum one hour.

This recipe contains all ingredients and all steps required to make delicious bread. To really get into the fine tuning you should study about starter behavior, autolyze, bulking, pre-shaping and scoring. As said, I am no expert and only studying my way towards the “perfect loaf” but I guarantee that even the unsuccessful bread is more tasty than any bread you get from local super market.

Happy baking!

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