The following “recipes” are a adapted from recipes I found on the websites of Bread Insanely Interested, bread magazine and Breadtopia.com. I recommend both sites for instruction and detailed directions for making sourdough bread and starter.
Prepare the Starter (Biga / sponge)
In a glass bowl or measuring cup mix together:
1 spoonful of sourdough starter
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to ferment at room temperature until bubbly and about double in bulk. I usually allow 8 hours (it tends to be cool in my house). The sponge will grow, and then shrink. For best bread rise try to catch it before it drops, but if not, use it anyway.
Don’t forget to refresh the starter by adding equal parts by weight of flour and water (about 50g)
400g bread flour (if you want straight white bread use 500g bread flour and skip the whole grain flour)
100g whole grain flour (oat, rye, spelt)
125g Sourdough Starter (biga)
250g Bread Flour
250g Rye Flour
70g Sourdough Starter (biga)
1 tsp. Fennel Seed
1 tsp. Anise Seed
1 tsp. Caraway Seed
Zest of 1 Orange
Place the flour(s) and salt a large bowl. Mix the starter and water in a separate bowl (and molasses & spices if making rye). Stir the wet ingredients into the flour. Allow to stand 15 minutes. Mix again, the dough should be softer. Mix again after 15 minutes.
Cover and allow to rise until double. Optimally, stretch the dough at least a few times to strengthen it by pulling a portion and folding it over itself. Work around the ball of dough. Again, I expect it to take 8-14 hours to rise (cool here, remember).
Form the loaf into the shape you desire (round or oval). Please see breadtopia.com for an excellent video on shaping the dough.
Place the shaped loaf into a form. For an oval loaf I use a bread basket lined with parchment paper, for a round loaf I use a souffle dish, also lined with parchment.
Cover loosely and allow to rise again, about 2 hours.
To bake I use a cast iron pot or clay baker to make a crusty loaf. I find this works best for me.
Preheat the oven and pot to 450F. Allow to heat for 30 minutes before baking.
Slit the top of the loaf. Optionally, brush with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Place the loaf, parchment and all in the pot and cover. Bake 25 minutes, remove lid and bake an additional 20 minutes. Internal temp. should be 200F.
Basic Bread Proportions
85% white flour
15% whole grain flour