- While a preferment may take more time, it improves the structure of the dough, adds a more complex taste, a darker crust, and enhances flavor.Alternately, if your starter is very active, you might try this recipe.
- Make a preferment (levain)
- 25 - 35 g starter
- 100 g Heritage White or Bread Blend Flour or Pizza Flour
- 75 - 100 g water, non-chlorinated, 70 - 85 degrees F
- Mix thoroughly by hand so that all the flour and water are combined with the starter. Leave on kitchen counter overnight, or for about 12 hours in cool weather. In very warm weather it may take only 4 or 5 hours to become active enough to make bread dough.
- To the approximately 200 g of preferment add:
- 450 - 500 g water, non-chlorinated, 70- 85F (depends on how stiff the preferment is and how hydrated you want your final dough)
- 800 g Heritage White or Bread Blend Flour or Pizza Flour
- 1 Tbsp sea salt scattered onto the flour. (a salt with a high mineral content is best)
- Mix thoroughly - this can be done with a stand mixer or by hand in a bowl. It can be a bit messy. Wetting your hands a couple of times while mixing helps (flouring your hands can add too much flour to the dough). This mixing requires squeezing and turning the dough until all the ingredients are combined.
- Let it rest for 45 minutes
- Scrape the dough out on a clean surface. Wet your hands and stretch and fold 5-10 times letting it rest a few minutes between stretches. You should feel the dough developing strength.
- Divide into two equal portions. Round each portion into a ball and drag each on a dry surface to create surface tension.
Now it’s time to decide when to bake
Same Day Bread Pan Method
- Place divided dough in a pan greased with either melted butter and coconut oil or melted butter and olive oil (using only one will cause sticking). Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in volume. Time may vary from 30-40 minutes to several hours depending on room temperature and strength of the starter. Score the top and bake in a preheated (at least one hour) oven at 450 F for about 35 minutes until the inside temperature is 200-210F.
2-3 Day Method
- Divide and place dough in greased pan as above. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1-2 nights, or more if desired. The dough will rise a little in the refrigerator and build flavor from the slower fermentation. Remove the dough 1-2 hours before baking. Let it stand, covered, in a warm place. Score the top and place in a preheated (at least one hour) 450F oven. Bake for 35 minutes until the inside temperature is 200 -210F. If the crust is becoming too dark, make a tent cover out of foil and place over the pan for a portion of or for the entire baking time to get the desired crust color and texture.
- Place dough in a well-floured banneton, seam side up. Let rise for 1-2 hours until you see a visible increase in size but before it doubles in size. Cover with a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight, or for 12 - 24 hours.
- Preheat oven and Dutch oven at 450F for one hour.
- Flour a peel or an inverted small baking sheet with flour not cornmeal. (Cornmeal burns at high temperatures). Rice flour with wheat flour works well. Place the banneton on the peel/pan upside down so the dough falls onto it. Score the top of the loaf. Remove the cover from the Dutch oven and carefully slide the dough into it. Cover and bake for 35 minutes until the inside temperature is 200-210 F.
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