(adapted from Vermont Sourdough in Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman)
Yield: Four small round loaves)
- Mix/autolyse: 35 minutes
- First fermentation: 2.5 hours
- Divide, bench rest, and shape: 20 minutes
- Proof: 2.5 hours (or 1.5 hours, then retard for 2 – 16 hours)
- Bake: 35 minutes
Desired dough temperature: 76F
- 900 g white flour
- 120 g whole rye flour
- 600 g water at about 74F
- 360 g mature 100% hydration sourdough starter (ie, 50/50 water and flour, make sure the starter is active!)
- 23 g / 1 T salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flours, water, and starter on low speed until just combined, about one minute. I sprinkle the salt on top, but do not mix in, and proceed to the next step.
- Let the dough rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.
- Mixing on low or medium speed until the dough reaches a medium level of gluten development. This should only take about 3 or 4 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to an oiled container (preferably a low, wide one so the dough can be folded without removing it from the container).
- Ferment at room temperature (72F – 76F) for 2.5 hours, with folds at 50 and 100 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Divide it into 4 equal pieces.
- Sprinkle the balls lightly with flour, cover loosely with plastic, and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Shape into batards or tight round loaves and let prove on parchment-lined baking sheet or a floured couche.
- Put the loaves into a large plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature for 2 – 2.5 hours. Alternatively, the loaves can be proofed for about 1.5 hours at room temperature, then refrigerated for 2 – 16 hours and baked directly out of the refrigerator; this will yield a tangier bread with a lovely, blistered crust.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 400F. You will also need steam during the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now by placing a skillet or pan in the bottom of the oven.
- Transfer the proofed loaves onto a semolina-sprinkled peel or parchment (if not on a baking sheet already). Slash loaves as desired and put in oven.
- Bake for ~30 minutes, until the internal temperature is 202F.
- Cool on a wire rack. Don’t cut until the loaves are completely cool.