Have a lot to say about this one (skip rant and go straight to Recipe below) – 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.
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.
If you like fancy scoring patterns like the ones here, I have also added additional notes at the end of this post.
Recipe (2 medium loaves)
- 300g bread flour (can replace with wholemeal up to 30%)
- 220 -240g water
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1.5 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. Fold into half, rotate 90 degrees and stretch out to fill out the mat again. As below. This gives the dough strength without kneading.
5. Fold this 1/3 left and right, then up and down. Please handle dough gently.
6. Cover dough. Every 20-30 mins, wet your hands and do a gentle stretch and fold on all 4 sides of dough, then flip it round. When stretching, try to pull the dough long without tearing. Do a total of 3 stretch and folds, with 20 – 30 min intervals.
7. After the 3rd S&F (including waiting for 20 min), it is ready for the final shaping. Dust flour on top of dough and around. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.
8. Roll out dough on mat and stretch it out and flatten gently. Pat out the big air bubbles. Don’t roll too thin.
9. Swiss roll it up. Roll the dough tightly and 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 outer surface of the roll. Pinch the seams real tight.
10. Repeat for other dough. Place the dough onto a heavily floured baking paper and then into a baking tin. Place into the fridge for cold fermentation for 3-5 hours.
11. After the few hours, remove doughs from fridge. Proof on counter-top for about 15-30 minutes till about 1.5 – 1.75 times of the original size.
12. While proofing, preheat oven with an empty baking tray inside at 250 deg C, with lower heating element only.
13. Dust doughs with flour and make a slit. Spray water all round the dough generously onto the doughs and the baking paper.
14. Lift doughs by the baking paper and placed onto the very heated baking tray in the oven. Turn temperature to 230 deg C, still with lower heating element only.
15. After 10 mins or so when ears are fully formed, turned on both upper and lower heating elements and bake for another 10-15 mins till bread is golden brown.
16. Cool (at least 30min), slice and enjoy.
At step 11, when you have just taken the bread out of the fridge, dust heavily with flour.
Using a normal sewing string, make markings to divide the dough into sections lightly
My makeshift lame is as shown. Use the binder clip to hold the razor safely and adjust the angle to your convenience.
Proceed to score wheat designs along the guiding lines.
By this time, the resting time of 15-30 mins should be up, you can proceed to put the doughs to bake as per step 14 in the heated oven. Do not spray the doughs with water, but you can leave a cup of water in the oven to create steam for the first 15 min of baking.