The recipe for this moreish loaf is by Vanessa Kimbell who runs the idyllic Sourdough School based in rural Northamptonshire. It has a chewy elastic crumb and crunchy, robust crust, that taste divine straight from the oven and smeared with cold, creamy butter. This sourdough also has longevity and makes the best toast and even better bruschetta!
Allow yourself about 3 to 4 hours for the dough to be mixed, folded and shaped ready to place in the coldest part of the fridge to prove overnight. For more wonderful recipes by Vanessa Kimbell, check out her book Food for Thought, £19.99, published by Kyle Cathie.
Makes 1 loaf
100g sourdough leaven (starter)*
100g of stoneground organic wholemeal flour
400g organic strong white flour
10g fine sea salt mixed with 15g cold water
25g rice flour mixed with 25g stone ground white flour (for dusting your banneton)
Semolina to dust the bottom of the baking surface
You will need:
A large mixing bowl
A round cane banneton
2 clean tea towels
A baking stone or a Dutch oven or La Cloche
A large heatproof pan, a sharp knife or ‘lame’ to slash the dough with
In a large bowl, whisk your water and starter and mix well. Add all the flour and mix until all the ingredients come together into a large ball.
Cover with a clean damp cloth and let the dough rest on the side in the kitchen for between 30 minutes and 2 hours – this is what bakers call Autolyse.
Add the salt mixed with the water and dimple your fingers into the dough to allow the salty water and salt to distribute evenly throughout the dough. Leave for 10 minutes.
Next lift and fold your dough over, do a quarter turn of your bowl and repeat three more times. Repeat 3 times at 30 minute intervals with a final 15 minute rest at the end.
Shape the dough lightly into a ball then place into a round banneton dusted with flour (If you don’t have a banneton then use a clean tea towel dusted with flour inside a colander). Dust the top with flour, then cover with a damp tea-towel
Leave your dough to one side until it is 50% bigger then transfer to the fridge and leave to prove there for 8–12 hours.
Bake the following morning:
The next morning preheat your oven to 220°C for at least 30 minutes before you are ready to bake. Place your cloche or baking stone in the oven and a large pan of boiling water underneath (or use a Dutch oven). The hydration helps form a beautiful crust.
Once the oven is up to full heat, carefully remove the baking stone from the oven, taking care not to burn yourself. Dust with a fine layer of semolina, which stops the bread sticking, then put your dough onto the baking stone and slash the top with your blade. This decides where the bread will tear as it rises. Bake for an hour.
Turn the heat down to 180°C (and remove the lid if you are using a Dutch oven) and bake for another 10-15 minutes. You need to choose just how dark you like your crust but I suggest that you bake until it is a dark brown – it tastes much better.
Once your sourdough has cooled, store in a linen or cotton bread bag, or wrapped in a clean tea towel. If you don’t like a crunchy crust on your sourdough bread, simply wrap your bread in a clean tea towel while it is still warm.
* To make 100g of leaven, use 2 tablespoons of sourdough starter, 50g of filtered water and 50g of strong white flour, mix well and leave, covered on the side in the kitchen in the morning. It will be lively and bubbly and ready to bake with in the evening.
Photography Laura Edwards
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