Making 2 Pounds of Bread Dough From a Sourdough Starter
Day 1 Poolish
Make a one pound poolish preferment. This includes:
8 oz starter
5 oz Sunrise Flour Mill Turkey Red Refined Flour
3 oz water
Mix thoroughly by hand so that all of the flour and water are combined with the starter. (This is a 60% hydration). As your starter ages, the proportions can be adjusted eg 5 oz starter, 8 oz flour, 4.8 oz water.
Refrigerate for one day.
Day 2
To the one pound poolish add:
10 oz Sunrise Flour Mill Turkey Red Refined Flour
1 heaping Tbsp sea salt dissolved in 6 oz water
Add the flour, then the salt and water to the poolish. Mix thoroughly. This can be done with a stand mixer but I prefer to do it by hand. It can be a bit messy. Wetting your hands a couple of times while you’re mixing helps. This mixing requires squeezing and turning the dough so that everything mixes well.
Bulk ferment – let the dough sit in a large bowl with some type of lid over it for an hour or so. The dough also could be refrigerated for a day (slow fermentation). If you do a slow fermentation, the dough should be taken out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before proceeding to the next stage.
Fold and Stretch – from here on the dough should be handled as gently as possible to retain all of the rise and bubbles that it are building.
Dust flour around and under the dough while it’s in the bowl and scoop it out onto a smooth and floured countertop or large floured cutting board.
Place a dough scraper under one edge, then grab as much dough as you can, and lift up without tearing it, and pull back toward the middle of the dough ball. Think of this round ball as a clock. Pull and stretch the four sides at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock.
Stretching and folding takes the place of kneading and you will get a feel for how many times you want to do this before your final proof and bake. Two or three times is a rule of thumb. Don’t do it so often that it’s too stiff to bake. Each time of stretching and folding, the dough should become a little stiffer. Make sure you space these 30 to 40 minutes apart to allow the dough to relax between the stretch and folds.
Heat oven – place a Dutch oven in your baking oven and set temperature at 475  F.
Dividing dough – After the last stretch and fold, divide the dough into two one-pound balls. Cover them on the counter and let sit while your oven heats.
In about 45 minutes you are ready to bake. Bake the one-pound loaves individually in the preheated Dutch oven. Depending on the oven, one pound  should bake in about 25 minutes with the cover on, and then 5 to 10 minutes  with the cover off depending on how brown you want the crust.
Another option is to bake the entire 2 pound proofed dough. This will nearly fill the Dutch oven after the dough expands in the oven but it will work. The bigger loaf should bake about 30 minutes with the cover on and 10 minutes with it off. Be careful with the hot Dutch oven. Use good quality hot pads or mitts.
When the bread is finished baking, remove with the hot pads and place on a wire rack that will allow air to circulate under the loaf.
Make sure you allow to cool completely before placing in a bag or bread box.
Tips and pointers – the information here is not exact. Use your judgment which will become easier to do with practice. For example, on the final stretch and fold, if the dough seems too wet, add more flour. Remember, though, you’re trying to develop a wet dough which is what makes the nice holes of an artisan loaf.
All ovens are different so you have to get to know yours. It may bake hotter or cooler then the indicated temperature, and it may have hot and cool spots. I find mid-level rack placement in my oven has the best temperature.
The instructions sound complicated but once you get familiar with the process you will be amazed at how easy it is to make artisan bread.
If you have a smart phone, use the timer to remind you to complete each step while you do other things around the house or even outside. For instance, for stretch and fold, set the timer on your phone for 30 minutes, stick it in your pocket and do something else. That way you don’t have to stay where you can hear a stationery timer for each step.
Note on mixing the poolish with the final flour, salt, and water. Once you feel comfortable with this recipe you can make a whole wheat bread by substituting the first day’s poolish flour with Sunrise Flour Mill’s Turkey Red Whole Wheat Flour instead of the Refined. You will then use Refined on the second day. The different colors of the two flours will show you how important thorough mixing is because you can see the colors of the two different flours when you are mixing them the second day.

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