Seriously Sourdough

CIMG397852 hours it took me from start to finish for this loaf, thus the name for this post. It is both a seriously sour tasting bread but also a serious process. This is one for the real bread lovers out there. First an active starter (if you haven’t got one see my sourdough info page) is mixed with flours and water to make a leavin. This is left for 24 hours and then added to the final dough which has to be autolysed for 3 hours. Next comes the bulking and fermenting, first a 4 hour room temperature bulk followed by a further 20 hours in the fridge. The dough then comes to room temperature for 2 hours, shaped and left to rise which takes about 1 hour and finally baked for an hour.


Even I will admit this is a lot of effort and commitment for just 1 loaf of bread.  However, I can justify all this work for the resulting taste; without a doubt it is the strongest flavoured sourdough I have personally made and the actual amount of hands on time is relatively little.

Here’s the bakers percentage table:

Starter Leavin Final Dough Total Formula
Ingredient Grams (g) % Grams (g) % Grams (g) % Grams (g) %
80% hydration starter 50 45%
Rye flour 30 29% 200 21% 230 20.7%
Spelt Flour 75 71% 75 7.0%
Whole wheat flour 225 23% 225 20.3%
Strong white flour 27.7 100% 550 56% 577.7 52%
Water 22.3 80% 200 181% 650 66% 872.3 78.70%
Leavin 295 30% 295 26.60%
Salt 19 2% 19 1.70%
Total 50 180% 295 326% 1939 198% 2294 207.0%

Mix leavin ingredients, cover and leave for 24 hours.
At 21 hour mark mix final dough ingredients except salt in separate bowl, leave for 3 hours.
At 24 hour mark mix final dough and leavin together, knead for 8 minutes, add salt and mix for further 5 minutes.
Bulk ferment 4 hours.
Retard in fridge for 20 hours.
Take out of the fridge and bring to room temperature for 2 hours.
Shape and proof for 1-2 hours (or doubled in size)
Bake at 240°C/220°C fan for 20 minutes. Lower temperature to 220°C/200°C for further 25-30 minutes.

And for those of you who don’t understand/can’t be bothered here’s the recipe:

You will need:

50g starter (80% hydration if possible)
230g Rye flour
75g Spelt flour
225g Whole wheat flour
578g Strong white bread flour
873ml Water
19g Salt

How to do it:

1. Mix the starter with the Rye and Spelt flour and the water. Mix together and cover for 24 hours.
2. After 21 hours mix the rest of the ingredients, apart from the salt, in a separate bowl and leave for 3 hours to autolyse. After the 3 hours are up mix both the leavin and final dough together.
CIMG3964Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes, then add the salt and knead for a further 3-5 minutes, or until smooth and firm. Leave this to rise for 4 hours. This is called the bulk ferment.
3. Place into the fridge (covered) for 20 hours. After the 20 hours take out of the fridge and place onto a lightly floured worktop and leave for about 2 hours until the dough comes to room temperature.

CIMG39664. ‘Knock back’ the dough by folding it inward repeatedly:
CIMG3969 CIMG3970 CIMG3971
Roll the dough into an oblong shape or whatever shape your want your final loaf to be. You can also place it into a lightly oiled tin at this time if you want to have a straight edged loaf. It’s entirely up to you.
Here I have made it into an oblong:

This now need to be left to double in size for a further 1-2 hours. Towards the end of rising time preheat your oven to it’s highest setting or 240°C/220°C fan with a baking sheet or tray in it.
5. Transfer the dough to the hot tray and throw a cup of water into the oven to create steam. At this point you need to cut the loaf so that it expands in the oven and doesn’t have any blow outs. You can be quite decorative with this, something I am still toying with. Here I made two semi-spirals:

The steam helps the loaf to continue to expand in the oven rather than cook the crust straight away, leading to a lighter higher loaf with a much better crust. Bake for 20 minutes then reduce the temperature to  220°C/200°C fan for the final 25-30 minutes. It should be a dark brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom when it is ready.
6. Leave to cool for at least 1 hour but 2-3 is best. The dough will continue to cook with the residual heat in this time.

CIMG3983I went a little deep with one of my cuts here giving me an ‘ear’ on the crust. Not necessarily a bad thing but just doesn’t look as pretty so be careful.




Here’s the crumb shot for the bread geeks out there. The ear is rather prominent here!


So if you’re feeling up to a bit of a challenge this weekend why not give this a go. Start it now (Friday) and you could have it in your Monday sandwich!

I’ve got a pretty good post coming up next so check back here soon. Thanks for reading!



One thought on “Seriously Sourdough

  1. Pingback: Soaked Rye Sourdough | A Bakers Diet

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