- 180g of bubbly starter, 100% hydration (mine is rye)
- 500g strong white flour
- 30ml olive oil
- 240g lukewarm water (add bit by bit until desired consistency)
- 10g fine sea salt
- 6g active yeast ( optional but it was added to the loaf I'm using for this recipe)
- fine ground cornflour or rice flour, for dusting
- For a more soft and pliable dough, you can increase the water up to 280g - 300g total.
Mix the starter, water and olive oil in a large bowl. Add the flour, salt and yeast. Squish everything together with your hands until all of the flour is absorbed. Cover the bowl with cellophane wrap, or a clean, very damp kitchen towel. Let rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour, if preferred. After the dough has rested, gently kneed the dough into a rough ball, it's okay too keep the dough in the bowl.
Cover the bowl with cellophane, or a very damp kitchen cloth. Let rest in a warm place to rise. The dough is ready when it has doubled in size, and no longer looks dense. It can take anywhere from 3-12 hours depending on the temperature of your ingredients, the potency of your starter and surrounding environment etc.
During bulk rise, you can perform a series of stretch & folds, which will strengthen the dough. Start 30 - 45 minutes into the bulk rise. Gather a portion of the dough and lift while stretching upwards, then fold it over itself. Rotate the bowl ¼ turn and repeat until you have come full circle. Do this once or twice spaced about an hour apart. (This step is not mandatory, although it will increase the total volume and height of your bread.)
Cut & Shape the Dough
Divide your work space and lightly flour one side (for cutting), leave the other half clear (for shaping). Remove the dough from the bowl and place onto the floured surface. There is no need to ‘punch down’ the dough; it will gradually deflate as you fold and shape it. You can either cut the dough in half and make two loaves, or leave it as is, for a single large loaf.
To shape the dough move it to the non-floured section (if there is any flour present, it will be difficult to shape.) One at a time, fold the top, and bottom edges of the dough towards the centre. Next do the same with the left and right edges. Then turn the dough over and gently rock the dough forward and backward to make more of a rectangle shape, then with the seems at the bottom cup the dough and tuck the left and right edges under to finish the shaping. (repeat until you get your desired shape.)
After the shaping the dough needs to rise again, but for a shorter period of time. Dust the bottom of a bread pan with cornflour or rice flour. Put the dough inside and leave to rise for about one to two hour. Cover with the lid or a very damp cloth.
Whilst the bread is rising preheat the oven to 220•C.
*Optional (Just before the bread goes into the oven, make four to five shallow slashes, diagonally across the loaf. Use a bread lame, sharpe knife or scissor.)
Bake the Dough
Place the bread into the oven on the centre rack (temp 220•C) and bake for 25 to 30 minute. Drop the temperature to 200•C, remove the lid and bake for a further 20 to 25 minute. (The loaf should sound hollow when you tap it.)
*Tip (Remember to alter the temperature in a fan assisted oven, it is usually 10•C lower.)