Dr Doughlittle | Sourdough Bread

Cooling on a metal rack. Right baked in Dutch oven, left on stone.

“In bread baking, the term autolysis (or, more commonly, its French cognate autolyse) is described as a period of rest following initial mixing of flour and water, before other ingredients (such as salt and yeast) are added to the dough. The term was coined by French baking professor Raymond Calvel, who recommended the procedure as a means of reducing kneading time, thereby improving the flavour and colour of bread.” Wikipedia.

I came across in FaceBook, this recipe for an overnight 40% whole wheat bread by Vera Cookbook, which was adapted from Ken Forkish’s book “Flour Water Salt Yeast,” – The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza. It gave me an idea to experiment using the apple water starter, in place of the 1.5g dried yeast that Vera used. So the following is the modified recipe:

300g all-purpose white flour (Caputo 00 grade)
200g whole wheat flour, (Chakki Atta flour)
400g warm filtered water (90-95°F or 32-35°C)
​10g sea salt (2 tsp)

Dr Doughlittle | Flour mixture

Mixture of flour. 40% wheat flour, 60% APF.

​1 cup (about 270 g) of Apple water starter 100% hydration.
Plus 1-2 tbs flour if needed. (depending on the hydration of the starter).


Dr Doughlittle | Measuring ingredients

Adding 1 cup of apple water starter. (270g).

Method: First, measure out the all purpose white flour (I used the Italian Caputo “00” grade flour), and the whole wheat flour (Atta flour). Mix these in a glass bowl. I added the 400g warm filtered water and mixed the water and flour, leaving the mixture to stand for 20 minutes at room temperature to autolysis. Later I added in 1 cup (about 270g) of the apple water starter. With the Kitchen Aid, knead the mixture for 10 minutes, adding in 2 teaspoons of sea salt towards the last minutes. Ensure that the dough comes off the sides of the KA bowl, and the consistency is silky and smooth. You may need as I did, to add in more flour, as the starter may have more water than flour.

Dr Doughlittle | Flour Mixture

The flour mixture after 20 min. autolysis.

Dr Doughlittle | Proofing the dough

The Dough at commencement of proofing.

Dr Doughlittle | Mixing the flour

Kneading in KA mixer till dough is smooth.

Dr Doughlittle | Dough after proofing

The Dough after 20 hours proofing.

Transfer the dough mixture into a large glass bowl, and leave this at room temperature for 4 to 5 hours. At every hour, fold the dough several times to stretch the gluten.
Then place the fermenting dough into the fridge and leave this there overnight. The total fermenting time is approximately 20 hours, plus two hours more of proofing time the next day after removing the dough from the fridge and shaping it.

Dr Doughlittle | Shaped dough

The folded and shaped dough, the one on the left to bake on stone, the right one, inside a Dutch oven.

Removing the dough from the fridge, cut it into half and fold the dough. Then shape the halves into boules. Proof for two hours more at room temperature.  I then baked one on the stone and the other in a Dutch oven at 250˚C for 15 minutes. Subsequently, reduced the temperature to 230˚C for another 15 minutes till done.


Dr Doughlittle | Boule

Boule baked on baking stone.

Dr Doughlittle | Boule baked in Dutch Oven

Boule baked in Dutch oven.

I found that using higher temperatures (250˚C) during the first 15 minutes of baking in a Dutch oven with the lid on and removing the Dutch oven lid for the second 15 minutes to brown the crust, cooks the crust quickly,  preserving the moisture in the bread. This compared to baking at 240˚C for 30 minutes with the lid on, and a further 10 to 15 minutes with the lid off.

Dr Doughlittle | Sliced Sourdough bread

Nice soft crust, also a soft moist chewy, crumb.

“Every world religion, no matter what it’s philosophical view, is founded first and foremost on the precept that we must reduce our selfishness and serve others.” – Dalai Lama.


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