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Homemade Sourdough

A step-by-step guide to making amazing sourdough at home with an already active starter.
Servings 1 loaf

Equipment

  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Proofing basket (or bowl lined with a kitchen towel)
  • 4-quart Dutch oven with a lid

Ingredients

For the leaven:

  • 200 g water (78 degrees)
  • 100 g AP flour
  • 100 g whole wheat flour
  • 25 g starter

For the sourdough:

  • 375 g water (90 degrees)
  • 450 g AP flour
  • 50 g whole wheat flour
  • 100 g leaven
  • 10 g salt

Instructions

  • First, make the leaven: in a jar, mix together the 200 g water (at 78 degrees), 100 g AP flour, 100 g whole wheat flour, and 25 g starter. Cover loosely with lid and leave for four hours until bubbly and almost double in size.
  • To make the dough, in a large bowl, using your hands, mix together the 375 g water (at 90 degrees), 450 g AP flour, 50 g whole wheat flour, 100 g leaven, and 10 g salt. The dough should be shaggy; if it's very wet, you can add a little more flour. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave for one hour.
  • Now we start the folding: grab the dough from one side and pull it up. You’re stretching it basically; pull it up, but don’t tear it, and lift it to the other side of the dough. So if you’re pulling the dough up from 9 o’clock, pull it to 3 o’clock. Do this four times all the way around (it helps if your hand is wet) from 9 to 3, 12 to 6, 3 to 9, and 6 to 12, and finish by flipping the dough upside down. Cover and do again every 30 minutes for the next four hours.
  • Time to pre-shape: dust a large cutting board with flour, dust the top of your dough, and flip upside down (flour-dusted side down). Do your same folding technique and then flip upside-down again and gently shape into a nice ball. Rest for half an hour.
  • The final shape: dust the top of your dough with flour again, flip upside down, then do the same four folds, only this time, instead of flipping upside down, you’re going to place it — smooth side-down, seam-side up — into the well-floured proofing basket or a bowl lined with a well-floured kitchen towel. The hard part’s over! Now you just cover this with a dish towel and place in the fridge overnight.
  • The next morning, place your Dutch oven into the oven with the lid on and heat to 475. Once your Dutch oven is hot (I leave it in there at least half an hour), CAREFULLY take it out and lift the lid off. Carefully remove the dough from the proofing basket (don’t handle too much, you don’t want to deflate it) and place it in the hot Dutch oven, smooth side up. Then take a serrated knife and carefully slash along the top.
  • Carefully put the lid back on and place back in the 475 oven and cook for 20 minutes. Then take the lid off (your kitchen is going to smell amazing right now). Look at how it’s puffed up! The final step is just to bake it another 15 to 20 minutes until it's a deep, dark brown.
  • Take it out of the oven, lift with a metal spatula on to a baking rack, and cool for at least an hour before cutting into it.

Notes

A lot of people have asked about the amount of leaven this recipe makes vs. the amount that's actually used (seems to make too much). Lately, I've just been winging the leaven step by pouring out most of my starter (until there's 2 Tbs left in the jar), adding warm water from the faucet (about 1 cup), stirring with a knife, and then adding enough whole wheat flour to form a thick paste. I just use that as my leaven in the next step.