One thing you must have to make this recipe work is patience.
The whole process involves around four hours of prep and an overnight prove in the fridge.
• An accurate set of scales (digital are best)
• One (or more if you double the dough quantities) 18cm proving basket.
• A large cast iron casserole pot (the Lodge 2.84 litre Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Combo Cooker is recommended)
• An open razor blade or very sharp knife Ingredients for starter
•Ingredients for bread (makes one loaf)
1. 174g starter
2. 280g tepid water
3. 466g strong white bread flour
4. 58g wholemeal flour
5. 11g salt
6. 11g water to add to the salt
How to make the bread
A few hours before starting the process I have found it useful to feed the starter with 50g of flour and 50g of water. This booster feed results in a much greater overnight rise of the dough. It's not essential but well worth a go.
1. Place ingredients 1 to 4 into a large bowl and mix so that they are combined.
2. Cover the bowl and rest for 20 minutes.
3. Mix ingredients 5 & 6 and add to the dough, make sure it is well distributed through the dough.
4. The next three hours sees you ‘bulk fermenting’ the dough: a. Wet your hands (to stop the dough from sticking to them) b. Gently pull one corner of the dough up and over the rest of the dough c. Turn the bowl and repeat on the remaining three ‘corners’ d. Repeat this process, you will find that the dough becomes stiff and you wont be able to pull it after a couple of ‘turns’
5. Cover and leave the dough for 30 minutes
6. Repeat this process every 30 minutes for 3 hours (you should do 6 repeats over the 3 hours)
7. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and shape into a slightly flattened ball.
8. Leave for 20 minutes
9. Re-shape the loaf and liberally flour
10. Liberally flour your proving basket (if it’s a new basket follow instructions to prime it)
11. Turn the dough upside down and place it in the proving basket (some baskets come with an elasticated fabric cover, if so, pop this on. If not cover with a plastic carrier bag keeping it well away from the dough.
12. Place the basket in the fridge overnight.
13. Next day. Put the cast iron pot in the oven and set it to maximum (240 deg Celsius)
14. When up to temperate turn your dough into the pot.
15. Score the top of the bread with the razor blade or knife. You can do any pattern to suit. This will allow the bread to ‘bloom’ with splitting. It can be quite a large cut and around 1cm deep.
16. Put the lid of the pot on and place it back in the oven.
17. Bake for 25 minutes. The steam in the bread will be contained in the pot and allow it to rise without a crust forming.
18. Take the pot out of the oven.
19. Turn the oven down to 220 deg c.
20. Take the top off the pot and put the pot and bread back in the oven.
21. Bake for a further 8 – 10 minutes until golden brown (the edge of the cut may be a little burnt, this is fine)
22. Take the bread out of the pot and place it on a wire rack to cool.
23. Eat and enjoy!