Dr Doughlittle | Bread Baking | Sour Dough Bread

The loaf cooling on a metal rack. the crust crackling as it cools.

I acquired a packet of this Mr. Baker’s Sourdough Starter sometime in 2012 or 2013 when in SF, and kept it in my freezer all these 5-6 years. Four days ago, I decided to reconstitute the starter, and after feeding it a couple of times, baked this boule of organic bread flour with some semolina and rye flour in a Dutch Oven. 
The starter was fed every other day with1 part organic flour and 1 part water by weight, i.e. 100g flour and 100g water
In about 1 week it was already very bubbly and active.

Dr Doughlittle | Bread Baking | Sourdough starter

A very active bubbly starter.

Dr Doughlittle | Bread Baking | San Francisco Sourdough Starter

Freeze-dried San Francisco Sourdough starter.

350g organic bread flour
30g semolina flour
20g dark rye flour
1/2 tsp dried yeast

2 tsp organic coconut syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tbs caraway seeds
250g water
​100g of sourdough starter

Dr Doughlittle | Bread Baking | Sourdough Bread

The boule after 1st folding. Leave for 20 mins.

In a Kitchen Aid bowl, measure and add in the three different flours totalling 400g. Mix this thoroughly and then making a depression in the flour, add in about half of the 250g water. Use the other half of this water to dilute 100g of the sourdough starter, the coconut syrup and the yeast. Cover the flour in the KA bowl by flipping the flour edges over the water surface and allow for autolysis the flour for about 20 minutes. Let both the flour and starter mixture stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. At the end of this time, add the starter mixture into the bowl with the flours and then using the KA mixer, knead the dough at speed 1-2 for 10- to 12 minutes till the dough is silky and smooth and comes off the sides of the bowl. Around the mid point of this period, I add in the sea salt, adjust before the kneading stops add in the caraway seeds.

Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and fold the dough several times and shape into a boule. Proof for 20 minutes, and then fold again a second time and shape into a ball to proof for a further 20 minutes. At the end of this time, gently fold the dough then third time, and do a final shaping into a boule. Let this stand to proof again for 20 to 30 minutes on a baking sheet. Meantime heat up the oven to 250˚C with the Dutch oven inside.
When the dough is ready to be placed into the Dutch oven, spray some water on the surface of the dough, dust with rice powder, and then score the dough with a sharp knife. Gently holding the edges of the baking paper, lower the dough into the hot dutch oven and bake with the cover on for 30 minutes at 240˚C.At the end of this time, remove the DO cover and bake further at 220˚C for 10 to 15 minutes till the loaf is nicely dark brown. Remove and cool on a metal rack. The internal temperature I got was 98.1C.

Dr Doughlittle | Bread Baking | Sourdough Bread

After the 3rd folding, final shaping into boule.

Dr Doughlittle | Bread Baking | Sourdough Bread

Boule scored with a sharp knife.

Dr Doughlittle | Baking Sourdough Bread

After 30 mins baking in the Dutch oven, the lid is removed.

Dr Doughlittle | Measuring temperature of Sourdough bread

Measuring the internal temperature which read 98.1˚C

Dr Doughlittle | Bread Baking | Sourdough Bread

Beautifully round and nicely browned. Crispy crust and soft crumb.

The oven rise was very nice, the crust singing after the loaf was taken out of the hot oven. The internal bread temperature was 98.1˚C at this time. The crumb seems lose enough, soft and chewy without being filled with large air pockets! Great with butter and home-made marmalade!
When heating the DO in the oven I don’t place the cover on. Only after the dough is gently transferred into the very hot DO do I place the cold cover on and bake with the cover for 30 minutes. Before I place the cold cover over the hot DO, I spray a little water under the cover to generate more steam.
Steam helps keep the crust soft during the first 5 or 10 minutes so the loaf can get that final expansion. It also helps dissolve sugars on the surface of the dough that caramelise during baking and give you a glossy, crisp crust. In the last 10 to 15 minutes baking with the cover off to brown the loaf, I leave the oven door slightly open for 5 minutes to dry the crust so it becomes crispy.

“I would say to housewives, be not daunted by one failure, nor by twenty. Resolve that you will have good bread, and never cease striving after this result till you have effected it. If persons without brains can accomplish this, why cannot you?”
’Housekeeping In Old Virginia’ Marion Cabell Tyree ed. (1878).


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