Have a lot to say about this one (skip rant and go straight to Recipe) – I don’t have natural starter, no Dutch oven, or banneton, nor time to wield at my convenience! But my whole family loves artisan breads (and all breads for the matter). I’ve tried some recipes involving days of fermentation until the dough turns gummy, or made some successful ones but they were so flat because the high hydration dough just had no strength to get puffed up nicely (and also, I mentioned, no Dutch oven).
This one I will say is a huge success for me, it hits all the right spots in terms of crispy crust and soft airy interior. It puffed up a third in the oven, and showed a little round belly. First time I can get such a crumb. Tasters all gave the thumbs up – whether with a slab of butter or with oil-vinegar dip. I must thank Autumn Kitchen’s videos on her Instagram because I incorporated many of the sourdough techniques she shared.
The recipe involves very little elbow grease, but will still take minimally 5 hours.
- 200g bread flour (can replace with wholemeal up to 30%)
- 150-160g water
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
1. Add all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix using spatula till no dry flour.
2. Cover with cling wrap and leave on counter for 1 hour.
3. After 1 hour, prepare an oiled kneading mat, and oil your hands too.
4. Turn the dough onto mat and stretch dough gently in all directions till dough is thin but not broken. This gives the dough strength without kneading.
5. Fold this 1/3 up and down, then left and right. Please handle dough gently.
6. Store in a covered airtight container and rest. Every 15 mins, turn dough out onto mat and do a gentle stretch and fold, repeat 3-4 times.
7. By the 3rd S&F, I had to go for dinner, so I chucked the dough in the airtight container into the fridge for 2 hours of fermentation. You can also ferment it overnight.
8. For the final shaping, turn the dough onto mat again and stretch it out gently.
9. Fold inwards left and right then Swiss roll it up. Pinch the seams tight. This step is important to get a nice crack and ‘ears’ later. When Swiss rolling, really try to tighten and firm up the roll. Pinch the seams real tight.
10. Place the dough seam side up (meaning dough is upset down) onto a heavily floured baking paper or other surface. Proof for about 30-40 minutes till about 1.5 – 1.75 times of the original size. Proof in an enclosed space with a cup of hot water.
11. Preheat oven with an empty baking tray inside at 250 deg C.
12. Turn dough right side up onto baking paper. Dust dough with flour and make a slit. Spray water all round the dough on the baking paper.
13. Lift dough by the baking paper and placed onto the very heated baking tray in the oven. Cover with a baking tin. Turn temperature to 230 deg C.
14. After 10 min, remove baking tin. Bake for another 15 – 20 min, till golden. You can reduce temperature to 220 deg C.
15. Cool (at least 1 hour), slice and enjoy.