BASIC SOURDOUGH BOULE
The very name bought me a tangy feel. The local sourdough breads, once eaten, we’re not turning back too. But the whole process is magical and like a small child, I couldn’t stay away from the magic. Boules are an absolute thing of beauty. The cuts, the crustiness. My baker friends Sujith and Samrudhi were always an encouragement pushing me to get better and better.
I read a lot about the goodness of sourdough breads and came across various tutorials in Udemy by Teresa L. Greenway that changed my total approach towards sourdough baking.
The first few trials were a total disaster. At this point I should truly appreciate n thank my wifey N for being so very patient with me through all my stunts in her nook.
I’ve baked the first few as tangy and shapeless as possible. .
But success was not so far away and I can now so confidently say that I can bake a pretty decent sourdough boule.
The cracking golden brown crust, the chewy spongy crumb and the amazing flavor that the slow fermentation imparts to the bread makes it total winner. A perfect start to your party. It goes with almost everything from butter, cheese or even a thick spicy curry.
This formula works perfect for me.
75 % hydration, with 30 minutes autolyze, 2 to 3 hours bulk fermentation, during which 4 to 5 stretch and fold is done, bench rest of 30 minutes, then final shaping and overnight retard in refrigerator, followed by final proofing at room temperature for 1 ½ to 2 hours and the scoring and baking in a hot dutch oven.
Recipe for Sourdough Starter
- 100 % Ripe starter – 200 grams
- Whole Wheat flour – 120 grams
- All-purpose flour – 380 grams
- Water – 350 grams
- Salt – 10 grams
Plan before you starting time, keeping in mind the time you want to bake the bread and schedule it according to a time you are totally free.
Mixing the dough:
Measure out the required water into a large mixing bowl. To that add the ripe starter and mix well, so that there are no lumps. Mix in the flour mix and Mix with hands to get a wet cohesive dough.
Cover it and let it rest (autolyze) for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Next add the required amount of salt and squeeze the dough thoroughly so that the salt is uniformly missed.
Stretch and Fold and Bulk fermentation:
Wet your hands with water and do the stretch and fold for next few hours. Using wet hands pick up the dough from one end, lift and fold over. Repeat the same from the opposite side, then the same with the other two sides. Turn over the dough upside down and let it rest for another 30 to 45 minutes, and repeat the same stretch and fold till you can pull a decent window pane.
Flip over the dough on a lightly floured work table, and pull all the four edges from under onto the top. Then, flip the folded dough over so that the seam is down on your work surface. By gently tacking into the base and spinning , form a loose boule. Gently lift and repeat the same a few times. Invert the mixing bowl over the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
The resting dough would spread out a little. If it spreads out too much, once again gently lift and repeat the same a few more times. Invert the mixing bowl over the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Flour gently the work table ,the dough top as well as your hands.
Spin the dough using your two hands to shape into a tight boule. Gently lift up the dough and spin it, tucking in the bottom and repeat the same several times to get a very tight surface on the top of the boule.
Gently lift the shaped dough and place it upside down (seam side up) into a dusted banneton. Dust the top of the dough also with some flour to avoid it sticking to the plastic wrap.
Cover with a greased plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
2 Hours before baking take out the dough and let it rest in room temperature, till it is proofed.
45 minutes before baking preheat the oven at 260 C or the nearest maximum temperature setting in your oven. Place the dutch oven for preheat, 30 minutes into the preheating cycle.
Once the dutch oven is also pre heated, gently slide the dough, upside down (seam side down) into the dutch oven. Lightly score on the top and spray water. Cover with the dutch oven lid and let it bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 220 C and remove the lid and continue baking for another 15 to 20 minutes. Turn around for uniform browning.
When your loaf is nice dark golden brown in colour and sounds hollow on the bottom when you tap with your knuckles the boule is done.
Remove the boule from the dutch oven and set it on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Slice with a serrated bread knife and enjoy with some hot soup/curry or butter.
Important Notes to remember:
1) Follow the recipe to the nearest grams.
2) Watch as many videos you can, on sourdough breads before you start.
3) It may look very sticky and tough for first few tries, but keep at it, cause it is worth the try.
4) Handle the very hot dutch oven with care, a little careless and you can hurt badly.
5) If you do not have a banneton, do the proofing in a deep round bowl, lined with linen and thoroughly dusted.