New Sourdough protocol

Norwich Sourdough
(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


    1. 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.
    2. Let the dough rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.
    3. 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.
    4. Transfer the dough to an oiled container (preferably a low, wide one so the dough can be folded without removing it from the container).
    5. Ferment at room temperature (72F – 76F) for 2.5 hours, with folds at 50 and 100 minutes.
    6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Divide it into 4 equal pieces.
    7. Sprinkle the balls lightly with flour, cover loosely with plastic, and let rest for 15 minutes.
    8. Shape into batards or tight round loaves and let prove on parchment-lined baking sheet or a floured couche.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Bake for ~30 minutes, until the internal temperature is 202F.
    13. Cool on a wire rack. Don’t cut until the loaves are completely cool.

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