Some loaves just come out happy. This dough, made with no other ambition than having bread for the week, just happened to make loaves with a perfectly moist and open crumb and a crunchy and fragrant crust. That’s why I feel like sharing this simple, yet rewarding, recipe.
Of course the main ingredient is a lively starter, there is no way around it. So go check my previous posts on how to rise and keep a starter cause my beloved 3-year old wheat sourdough culture is a good 70% of my satisfaction in bread baking.
For the variety of shapes showed here, including the cute margueritte you can spot at the end of the post, I used the same dough. The dough was mostly made out of stone-ground organic wheat (also called high extraction wheat) where the majority of the seed is ground into the flour (80% in the one I used). Since I like to experiment with different flours I have also used a part of freshly milled barley flour and a part of finely ground semola (super fine durum) flour. Scroll down to read the simple, yet complete, method.
BARLEY SEMOLA SOURDOUGH
200 g active wheat starter, fed at least once and doubled before being used
700 g + 50 g water
700 g stone-ground (high extraction) organic wheat
150 g barley flour (mine was home-milled)
150 g semola rimacinata flour (super fine durum flour)
3 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1. Combine your active starter the majority (700 g) of the water and the flours
2. Knead a good 10 minutes by hand or with a stand mixer at low speed
3. Let rest covered for a good hour
4. Add the salt and the remaining water (50 g)
5. Knead for another good 10 minutes by hand or with a stand mixer at medium speed
6. Fold (stretch the dough on its 4 corners and close like a package) righ away and place in a air-tight container
7. Fold once more after the first 1/2 hour to 45 minutes
8. Let rest another 1 1/2 hour
9. Transfer on a lightly floured surface and shape as you wish
10. You have two choices: either you leave the shaped loaves room temp for another 1 1/2 hour or you can retard in the fridge from a minimum of 4 hours to overnight
11. Invert your proofed loaves on a baker peel and place in a hot oven (as hot as you can go) using steam in the beginning*
12. Lower the temperature -after the first 10 minutes for small loaves and after the first 20-25 minutes for larger loaves (it also depends how high you max temp is)- and bake until golden brown and lighter when lifted
Note: I almost never manage to wait until the first loaf is cooled off to cut into it…
*steam: there are infinite ways to create steam in a home oven, easiest is to throw some ice cubes in the lower rack at the beginning of the cooking, most effective is probably to pour some water in a boiling hot bottom tray, also at the beginning of the baking. You should let the steam come out after the first 10-25 minutes depending from the size of the loaves but, if your oven is as ineffective as mine in keeping steam in, you really don’t need to bother.