Sourdough Bread #1
8:00 am: Make the Levain
40 grams mature starter
80 grams starter flour
80 grams room-temperature water
  1. Mix the levain ingredients in a clean jar. Store around 74-76°F ambient for 5-6 hours. Keep an eye on how your levain is progressing during this time. When its ready to be used it will be expanded, bubbly on top & at the sides, and smell almost a little sour. When it's ready to mixed with the autolyse around 1:00 pm it should look like this.
12:00 pm: Autolyse
748 grams all-purpose (or bread) flour
110 grams whole wheat flour
49 grams rye flour
691 grams water at 90°F
  1. Using your hands, mix ingredients in a mixing tub until all dry bits are hydrated. Cover and put in a warm place for 1 hour.
1:00 pm: Mix
18 grams fine sea salt
184 grams mature liquid levain
  1. Sprinkle salt and levain over top of the dough. Surround salt and levain with dough and incorporate using pincer technique. Target dough temperature is 78°F.
1:10 pm: Bulk fermentation
  1. At 76-82°F ambient temperature bulk fermentation should go for about 4 hours. Perform 3 sets of stretch and folds during bulk, spaced out by 30 minutes.
  2. Each set consists of 4 folds, one at the North, South, East and West sides. Wet your hands with a little water to prevent sticking and then lift up one side (North) of the dough with two hands. Stretch the dough up high enough just so that you can fold it completely over to the other side of the dough in the bowl. Rotate the bowl 180º and do the other side (South). Finish the other two sides (East and West) to complete the set. Let the dough rest 30 minutes, covered, between sets.
  3. After that third set of stretch and folds, let the dough rest the remainder of bulk fermentation. During this time we let the flour ferment further, aerating it (making it rise), strengthening it and developing flavor.
  4. At the end of bulk fermentation your dough should have risen anywhere between 20% and 50%, should show some bubbles on top, sides and the edge of the dough where it meets the bowl should be slightly domed showing strength -- it should look like this.
5:15 pm: Divide and preshape
  1. Lightly flour your work surface and dump out the dough. With your bench knife in one hand divide the dough into two halves. Lightly flour your other hand and using both the knife and your hand turn each half of dough on the counter while lightly pulling the dough towards you. This gentle turning and pulling motion will develop tension on the top of the dough forming a round circle.
  2. Cover with an inverted bowl or moist towel, and let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the towel or bowl and let the dough rest 10 more minutes exposed to air.
5:35 pm: Shape
  1. Lightly flour the top of your dough rounds and the work surface. Working with one at a time, flip the round so the floured top is now down on the floured work surface.
  2. Using two floured hands, grab the bottom of the round and stretch it lightly downward towards your body and then up and over about 2/3 the way to the top.
  3. Then, grab the left and right sides of the dough and stretch them away from each other, fold one side over toward the other and repeat with the other side.
  4. Then, grab the top of the circle and stretch away from your body and fold down and over all the way to the bottom of the resting dough. You’ll now have a tight package that resembles a letter.
  5. Then, flip, or roll down, the dough so the seams are all on the bottom and using two hands cup the top part of the round and drag the dough gently towards your body. The angle of your hands will gently press the bottom of the dough on the counter creating tension, forming a skin on the top of the dough as you drag.
  6. After shaping, let the dough rest on the bench for a few minutes and then place seam-side-up into a cloth-lined bannetton that was lightly dusted with white rice flour.
5:40 pm - 9:30 am (next day): Rest and proof
  1. Cover each bannetton with plastic wrap or stick it in a big plastic bag. Let it rest on the counter for 20 minutes.
  2. Put the covered/wrapped bannettons in the refrigerator for 16 hours. During this time overall fermentation will slow down, but (good) bacteria will continue to be active which contributes to a more complex flavor over time than if you were to proof your dough on the counter.
8:30 am: Preheat oven
  1. Place baking stone/steel in the bottom of the oven. Place combo cooker and/or dutch oven(s) in the oven to preheat. They should not be "closed", set the covers askew or something.
9:30 am: Bake the bread
  1. When you’re done preheating, take one of your plastic bag-wrapped loaves out of the fridge and unwrap it. Cut a piece of parchment paper so it fits over the top of your basket and place on a pizza peel. Invert the peel and parchment paper so they are resting on top of your basket containing your dough. Then flip the whole thing over. Remove the basket and your dough should be resting on the parchment (and on the peel).
  2. Score these loaves at a 90° angle between the razor blade and dough. If you want a more pronounced “ear” at each score line, lower the angle between the blade and the dough (so the blade is close to horizontal with the dough). I chose to do a “box” pattern that always works quite well, but feel free to be creative. If using scissors, snip the dough a few times at a very shallow angle between the scissors and the dough, forming a set of ridges down the center of the dough.
  3. Put bread in the combo cooker and/or dutch oven(s) and stick it in the oven.
  4. Turn the oven down to 475°F and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the lids and turn the oven down to 450°F. Bake for 30 more minutes until the loaf looks well cooked. If you are unsure if your bread is done, use your thermometer to test the internal temperature, it should register between 210°F and 212°F.
Recipe adapted from The Perfect Loaf's Beginner Sourdough Bread.