The main feature of this recipe is the technique to cook it in a slow cooker instead of the oven. This method produces good spring, fluffy crumb and a soft crust. The shaped loaf goes straight into the slow cooker after the bulk ferment period, hence eliminating the need for a second proof.
I found the slow cooker method is particularly effective when baking 100% wholemeal breads.
225g sourdough starter (spelt, rye or wheat)
425g wholemeal wheat flour
25g golden syrup
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 cup whole seed mixture to taste (e.g. pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, rolled oats)
The night before:
Combine the sourdough starter with 125g of the flour. Knead for about 5 minutes to form a stiff biga. Put this pre-dough into a large bowl, cover and put in the fridge overnight.
The next morning:
Combine the lukewarm water with the golden syrup.
Pour the remaining 300g of flour onto a clean bench and form a well. Scatter 1/2 tbsp of salt around the rim of the well. Separate the risen biga into small chunks and place them into the well.
Pour the water and syrup mixture into the well and start combining the biga pieces with the fluid. This is best done by hand. Once the biga and fluid comes together, start to pull in the flour from the sides. Once the dough reaches a smooth and elastic consistency and does not stick anymore, work in the seed mixture. Continue to knead for about 10 minutes.
Cover the inside of a large bowl with 1-2 drops of oil. Place the dough into the bowl and leave to rise. The dough should about double its volume. This generally takes 2-3 hours, but the time depends on the ambient temperature.
Shape the dough into a round loaf.
Scatter some semolina onto the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the load into the slow cooker and turn on the heat to high.
Cook for approximately 2 1/2 hours. The loaf is ready when it sounds hollow.