Day One - Making the Levain from your Sourdough Starter
If your starter has been fed the day before, then skip this step and go right to the "Day Two" step.
The night before mixing up the dough, remove 1 Tablespoon Starter from your jar of Sourdough Starter and place into a bowl.
Add all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and warm water.
Combine until flour is absorbed.
Place plastic wrap or use a baggie and cover. Leave in a warm spot overnight.
Day Two - Mixing and Stretch & Folds
In a mixing vessel add Levain (or fed sourdough starter, water and flour and mix with fingers just until incorporated. Do not over mix.
Cover and let Autolyse for 30-40 minutes. (leave the dough undisturbed)
Add salt and water and integrate by pinching the dough with your finger (water will not immediately integrate, but will with each stretch and fold).
Think of the bowl of dough as a square. You want to pull each side of the dough to about 3/4 to the other side. Turn the bowl after each "stretch and fold" until you have stretched and folded all four sides.
Over the next three hours, do this stretch and fold every 30-45 minutes.
The dough will change from a slipper and sticky dough to a billowy dough with air pockets. DO NOT PUNCH DOWN THE DOUGH at any time.
At the end of three hours, The dough will be elastic and resilient and be able to pass the window pane test. If it is not not, do one more stretch and fold.
Once the dough is billowy, cover the dough and bench rest in the bowl for at least an hour or until it has risen by at least 30 percent.
Transfer dough to a work surface and dust top with flour.
Cut dough into 2 equal pieces and flip over.
Fold the cut side of each piece up onto itself so the flour remains on the outside.
Using your bench knife in one hand, rotate the dough and work it into a very taut round. Set the first dough aside and do the same with the next dough.
Transfer rounds, seam-side up, to prepared baskets. Cover with a towel or plastic bag and place in refrigerator overnight, 10 to 12 hours.
Day Three - Baking Day
Remove dough from refrigerator and proof (allow to rise) at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
Place baking stone, baking vessel or Dutch Oven into oven and preheat to 500 degrees at least 4- minutes prior to baking.
Dust top of dough, still in the Banneton, with rice flour or wheat flour.
Remove baking vessel from oven and turn dough into vessel. (Alternatively, turn dough onto parchment paper, score and then place on pizza stone or into baking vessel in oven.)
With a bread lame, score (slice into dough about 1/2 inch) the dough. Score in a circle or make an X on the top of the dough.
Cover the dough and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove cover and bake an additional 15-20 minutes.
What is Autolyse?
Autolyse is a simple procedure. The water and flour combine with each other and will make the dough easier to use.
During this time, the flour will absorb the water and become fully hydrated. Doing this will activate the enzymes in the flour. They stimulate the proteins and this is where the gluten development begins.
While this is happening, the enzymes will break the starch down into simple sugars. Those simple sugars will feed the yeast during the bulk proofing time.
Potato water gives an incredible flavor to sourdough bread. If you want to use potato water, use the same amount of potato water in place of fresh water.
What is Stretch and Fold?
Stretch and fold is the act of stretching out or pulling the dough and then folding it back over itself. This method allows the gluten to develop without over working the dough.The dough is then turned a quarter of a turn and the act is done again.