This is my favourite rustic white sourdough loaf, with just the right amount of whole grains to give it the perfect balance of flavour.
If you’ve been baking sourdough for a while and want to achieve really lovely airy loaf with an open crumb then this is the recipe for you.
Here are a few pointers before you start to bake:
STARTER – LEAVEN
Refresh your starter – do this once or twice a week, this keeps all the microbes active and happy. From your starter you will make a leaven. In this loaf I use 110g, therefore I take 15g active starter and add 50g each of dark rye flour and water. I leave it out in my kitchen until it’s grown just above the marked line, then I place it in the fridge to grow slowly, it’s then ready to use the following day.
To autolyse is a step at the beginning of the baking process where only the flour, water and leaven are mixed together NOT kneaded. This will trigger enzymatic activity in the dough and aids the flour to fully absorb the water. It also increases its extensibility (the ability for the dough to stretch out without tearing).
Bulk fermentation is the dough’s first rise. This takes place after mixing the autolysed dough and salt. During this time, fermentation continues in the dough as bacteria and yeast (from the leaven) begin to establish organic acids and alcohols. Also, this is the period when you give the dough further strength through stretching and folding.
The prove is the dough’s final rise. I routinely prove my dough in the fridge, this is called a ‘retarded’ ferment. During this time, the shaped dough continues to ferment, further strengthening the dough and leavening it.
Here is how you calculate the percentage of water in a sourdough loaf:
Simply take the total weight of the water, divide it by the total weight of the flour, and multiply it by 100. (including the leaven)
So for this recipe:
Total weight of flour = 545g
Total weight of water = 445g
This loaf has 82% hydration
I hope you like this loaf as much as I do and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve made it. Happy baking!
High Hydration Sourdough Loaf
- 420 g strong organic white bread flour
- 50 g strong organic wholemeal flour
- 30 g organic dark rye flour
- 110 g leaven made from active starter
- 390 g water
- 10 g fine sea salt
- Place all 3 flours in a large bowl, stir to combine.
- Mix 340g of the water with the prepared starter, then mix into the flour with a fork, then with your hand until you have a rough dough. Don’t knead. Leave to autolyse for 30 minutes.
- Once autolysed add the salt with a little of the remaining water, work it into the dough, it will immediately stiffen. Then proceed to add 2 thirds of the remaining water, a little at a time. Leave some of the water for the stretch and fold stage. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
- Add a few drops of water and stretch and fold 4 times, with 20 minute intervals.
- When you get to your final stretch and fold, leave again for 20 minutes to rest.
- Uncover and pre-shape the dough.
- Leave uncovered on the work surface for 20 minutes. Have your banneton basket ready, lightly dusted with flour. Lightly dust your hands and work surface with flour. Follow the video for shaping. If your kitchen is more than 23°C put the shaped dough straight in the fridge to prove overnight. If it’s below 18°C leave out for 45-90 minutes, then pop in the fridge to prove overnight uncovered.
- Place your cloche or casserole in the oven. Heat the oven 230°C fan for at least 30 minutes.
- Score the dough and put it straight in the oven, bake for 40 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for a further 8-10 minutes, depending on how dark you like your sourdough. leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Store wrapped in a waxed cloth or linen tea-towel.
If you’re new to sourdough baking then this probably isn’t the best place to start. A dough with less water content will be much easier to work with. You can find a video here for guidance.