This is a variation on a "no knead" recipe. It's a great entry to making sourdough bread, with minimal stretching and folding and shorter fermentation times. Once you master this, you can move on to our Long-Fermented Sourdough Recipe to build more complex flavors, and get better texture and rise.
(Yield : One loaf)
INGREDIENTS 1 cup (5 oz) whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups (11 oz) white bread flour
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups water (filtered or de-chlorinated)
1/4 cup active sourdough starter
Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, dissolve your active (ie, fed within the last 6-8 hours) sourdough starter in filtered water. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to incorporate completely. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, beeswrap or a dampened flour sack towel and let sit for roughly 9-12 hours at room temperature.
With hands dusted in flour, spread out dough gently on a well floured surface. Fold the dough into itself into thirds (like a tri-fold brochure). Then fold in half from top to bottom creating a roundish blob. Cover loosely with a cloth and rest for 15 minutes. Turn the dough upside down (so the seam side is up) and gently shape from the sides into a ball, creating tension to form a taut skin. Transfer into a well floured proofing basket (or ~8" bowl lined with cloth that's been well-floured). Cover with a towel and let rise about 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 500. Slash the top of the loaf with a sharp knife or bread lame in a cross pattern. Transfer into a La Cloche or Dutch oven* (seam side down) and bake covered at 500 for 20 minutes. Remove cover, reduce heat to 450 and bake an additional 15-20 minutes. Let cool for at least 30 minutes on a rack (it's still cooking inside!).
* If you do not have a covered baker, use a cookie sheet or pizza stone to bake on. You will also need a heat-proof baking dish to create steam in your oven. Add 1-2 cups of crushed ice to the baking dish at the same time you place your dough in the oven (to create steam). Reduce the heat to 450 after 20 minutes (just as described above), but you do not need to open the oven and remove anything; the ice will have evaporated by then.
STORING YOUR SOURDOUGH: Freshly baked sourdough is always best on the first day, however you can extend that fresh flavor and texture by wrapping your bread in a cloth or with Bees Wrap and storing it at room temperature.