Mix and turn this delicious fermented bread with the dome® and the job is easy. You don’t need years of practice to make a well risen, crusty, moist loaf, and your hands won’t get sticky with dough! Having a sour dough starter is a must in this recipe, so if you would like to make your own sour dough starter, scroll down to the bottom of the page for directions.
Before you begin the dough, make sure your sour dough starter is well activated. If it’s been in the refrigerator for some time, take it out a few (3 or 4) hours ahead of time and add some flour and water to make the yeasts actively reproduce. Make sure you will have ½ cup of starter for the recipe and some starter left over for the next batch.
1½ cups (12 oz) of water – it can be warm or cool, but shouldn’t be hot.
½ cup of sour dough starter
3 cups of flour – a mixture of white and whole grain flours makes a more nutritious loaf.
1 rounded teaspoon of salt
Place the water in a bowl and add ½ cup of activated sour dough starter. It should look very bubbly. Stir well.
Add 3 cups of flour: you can use some whole wheat or other grains too. If you do use some whole wheat, or rye, or spelt flour, add some extra water – about 1 tablespoon per cup of whole grain flour.
Add 1 rounded teaspoon of salt and spread it around in the flour. Then push all the ingredients together with the dome to mix and moisten all the flour. Turn the bowl as needed.
Then work the dough with the dome for a full minute by pressing with the dome and spreading the dough against the bowl. This will build structure in the dough so it will be able to puff up nicely. Scrape the bowl to collect all the dough together.
Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the dough as it ferments.
The amount of time that sour dough needs to ferment, which is also called proofing, is dependent on the air temperature where it’s placed. For every 17 degree rise in temperature, the rate of fermentation or proofing doubles. In a room at 72º F, it will take around 10 hours for the dough to proof. At 89º it will take half that time – five hours. At 64º it will take about 15 hours. For this reason, we suggest that the first time you make this bread, you proof the dough in an oven with its light on. The light bulb will warm the oven to more than 80º – probably around 84º or 85º and the fermentation will be completed in about 6 hours or so. You will be able to watch and follow the dough, giving you a good basis of learning for your future sour dough baking. Then, if a different time frame will work better for you in the future, you will be able to recognize the progress of the dough by experience.
After an hour or so of proofing, you can do the first of at least 3 turnings, where you stretch and fold the dough. Scoop under a section of the dough with the dome to pull and stretch it over itself. Work around in a circle, pulling on the dough and stretching it over itself, piling the dough high. Then cover with plastic wrap again to continue the proofing process.
This stretch and fold step should be done 3 or 4 times. Evenly spaced time periods are not necessary. You can test whether the dough still needs proofing by poking a finger in the dough. If the dough just sticks to your finger without impression, it needs more proofing time. When you can make an impression in the dough and it springs back slightly after a finger poke, the dough is fully proofed and ready to be baked.
We bake it in a covered pan to steam the dough, which makes for a moist texture. A dutch oven is nice, but any covered pot with oven-proof handles can work. There are two options for handling the loaf for baking. 1. You can scrape the dough directly into the pot or 2. you can shape it in a banneton basket in its final proofing period. An 8.7 inch banneton fits this recipe well.
Simplest Shaping by Direct Transfer of Dough
Preheat the oven and a covered baking pan to 450º F. Dust the bottom of the pot with cornmeal or bran or oatmeal, so the dough won’t stick.
Take the bowl of dough and dust some flour over the pathway that the dough will take as it’s scraped out of the bowl. Then gently scrape out the dough aiming to keep the shape puffy and round, as much as possible. Aim the dough for the center of the pot. Use wet fingers if you would like to correct the shape a bit.
Cover the pot and bake it in the 450º F oven. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the pot and allow the bread to cool before slicing.
If you want the loaf to have a more polished look, you can use a banneton basket for the final proofing period.
About an hour before you expect the proofing to be complete, spread flour on your surface and scrape the dough onto it.
Dust your hands with flour and grab a section of dough and fold it over to the center of the dough. Move around the edge, taking section after section and folding it over to form a ball of dough.
Place the dough smooth side down in a well-floured banneton. Cover with a cloth and let it rise until the banneton is filled.
When ready to bake, flip the banneton over and ease the dough out. Lift the dough into a non-preheated pan. Then slash the top with a sharp serrated knife or razor to allow the steam to vent. A tool called a grignette is good for slashing bread, but is not necessary.
Cover the pot and bake it in the 450º F oven. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the pot and allow the bread to cool before slicing
Making Your Own Sour Dough Starter
Making your own starter is simple, but takes 5 or 6 days to complete. Yeast from the air and in the flour will populate and reproduce in your starter. Add 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of flour to a small container — a bowl or jar is fine. Stir the flour and water together and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Everyday thereafter, remove half the starter and add equal amounts of fresh flour and water. Within a few days, you will see air bubbles that increase everyday. Use the sour dough starter when it has developed a pleasing sourness. Sour dough starter can be stored in the refrigerator in a 1 to 1 ratio of flour and water. If the starter becomes too thick, you can add water to it. Several hours before baking with it, add some flour to activate the yeast.