Traditional large sourdough
500gr Canadian Strong White Bread Flour
315gr Tepid Water @ 28-29C
11gr fine salt
180gr Levan - from approx. 70gr active starter, 70gr white bread flour, +/- 70gr tepid water (28-29C use a thermometer). Mix to a smooth paste adding just enough water to achieve this. It shouldn't be too stiff and should find it's own level in a bowl. Cover with cling film and leave for 8-12 hours in a warm place. Make sure there is plenty of space in the bowl as this should nearly double in size.
Weigh flour and add water to mix to a dry pastry-like consistency.
leave this uncovered for 30 minutes to allow the gluten to develop.
Add levan & salt and knead for 10-15 minutes or until dough passes the window pane test. This can be done in a mixer.
Transfer dough to a lightly-oiled container, cover with oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes. I use a rectangular Tupperware as it needs to be large enough to facilitate the next stages. You will find what suits you best.
Leaving the dough in the container and starting from one end, GENTLY pull the dough up from one end lifting from each side using you for fingers and thumbs. GENTLY stretch and fold under itself a little at a time, moving down the dough until it is all stretched folded over itself. Turn the container a quarter and repeat. You may find this less sticky on the hands if you run your fingers under the cold tap first and just shake of the excess but do not dry them.
Cover the dough and leave in a warm place for a further 30 minutes.
Repeat the stretch and fold/roll process another 3 times, including the last 30 minute rest.
Transfer dough to a clean, dry board (timber or glass works best) - do not flour the board at this stage.
Using a dough scraper, work around the dough from the outside edge in one direction, gently shaping it into a ball. At this point, you could divide the dough into 2 loaves if preferred. Leave uncovered for 30 minutes to "bench rest" during which time the dough will develop a "skin".
Now is the interesting bit - you may develop your own preferences here but what we are doing is enclosing all the air and further developing the structure; I've heard it called knitting or finishing. As always, you need to handle the dough with care so you do not loose air and make it too heavy.
Now, both the surface and your hands should be lightly floured. Turn the dough over an let it relax a bit, you should see it spread out a little. Gently pull it into a rectangular shape and then fold up the bottom third away from you. Fold each side in towards the centre overlapping one side over the other to make a parcel and then pull the top "tab" gently over the whole ball. Gently shape the dough with your hands into a round or oblong as preferred. You can add more knitting to this stage and there is more information and instructions to be found on the internet.
Rest in a banneton or in a tea towel-lined bowl, uncovered, in the fridge overnight.
Preheat oven to 240C. If you have a steam option that's great otherwise put a small container of water in the bottom of the oven.
Carefully transfer the loaf onto a floured baking tray (I use baking parchment or a silicon liner), using a very very sharp knife, make a few deep scores across the whole width of the top and sprinkle the loaf with flour.
Turn the oven down to 220-215C just before putting your loaf in the oven. Do not take the loaf from the fridge until your oven is up to temperature.
Overall baking time is approx. 35-40 minutes but you need to keep an eye on it to make sure it's not getting too dark. I turn my oven down to 195C after 15 mins. This is a little cooler than most recipes state so I think I must have a "hot" oven.
When you think it is done, knock gently on the bottom - it should sound hollow. If you need, return it to the oven for a further 5 minutes placing it upside down on the tray.
Leave to cool on a wire rack for about an hour before cutting - this is a real test of willpower.
Added by: Joedechambers
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