Tutorial for Sourdough Bread
Now that your sourdough starter is going, it's time to make the sourdough bread. If you have just gotten your starter going, it will have been refreshed the day before, or you are now storing it in the refrigerator between bakes. If it has been in the fridge, take out two days before you are ready to bake. Let it come to room temperature. Then refresh it, following the instructions in my sourdough starter tutorial. Cover with Saran Wrap.
The next day, mix up your dough. In a large bowl, measure 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour and 3 c. unbleached white flour. In another bowl, dissolve 3/4 c. starter in 2 1/4 c. warm water.
Stir the liquid into the flour. Then beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for three to five minutes until the dough is smooth and in ribbons.
Let rest uncovered for 15 minutes. Add 1 1/2 T. sea salt. Mix vigorously to incorporate the salt. Slowly add more white flour until you have a fairly wet but manageable dough. Turn out on counter and knead adding flour as needed. I look for a smooth ball that still seems pretty moist. Put in a bowl to rise for two to three hours, covered with Saran Wrap.
Turn out onto counter. Divide into two. Shape into balls. Place seam side up on a well floured cloth in a basket or other lower side round container. Cover with lid or loose plastic bag. Put in fridge overnight.
Next day, pull out and bring to room temperature, about 2 hours. After 2 hours, take your Le Creuset pans with lids on and place in a cold oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. When oven is at temperature, carefully (they are hot!) remove pans. Grease and sprinkle flour on the bottom. Carefully, turn the doughs over into the pans, cut pattern in the top with a sharp blade, quickly sprinkle with a tiny bit of water (optional), put the lids on and return to oven. After 15 minutes, take the lids off and rotate the pans. Leave in oven 20 to 25 more minutes, until there is a nice color on the crust. Remove and cool on rack.
I have a routine down so that it doesn't take me too much time. Refresh the starter one day, mix, let rise and shape the bread the next day. Bake the third day. If you plan ahead, you can make it work into your schedule. I usually make two loaves at a time, eat one fresh and freeze the other one for later in the week.
I hope you enjoy making this bread. Happy baking!