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Sourdough boule with cut malted rye grains


Sourdough rye starter consisting of 100 G dark rye flour and 100 G water

Shipton Mill organic white flour No 4. 300 G

Organic stoneground wholemeal 100 G

Cut malted rye flakes. 20G

Boiling water. 100G

Sea salt. 10G


Day 1

Feed your starter with equal amounts of water and dark rye flour

Day 2

Discard all but 1 tablespoonful of the starter and feed again with 100 G rye flour and 100 G tepid water. Do this first thing in the morning and allow it to ferment in a warm place for about 5 hours by which time it should be sufficiently aerated to float when a small piece is dropped into a bowl of water.

Place the rye grains in to a bowl and add 100 G boiling water. Set aside.

Mix the white and whole meal flours with 250 ml water until you have a rough dough. Cover the bowl and allow to stand and hydrolyze for about an hour. Then add the sourdough starter, salt and rye grains together with the soaking liquor. Mix together either by hand or dough hook until the ingredients are incorporated into a fairly wet, sticky dough.

Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes then perform the first of a series of stretch and folds. If you are not familiar with this technique there are lots of videos on You Tube that you can watch. Use wet hands to prevent the dough from sticking. Leave to rest for another half hour then stretch and fold again. Repeat this process for a total of 5 or 6 times by which time you will have detected a significant change in the nature of the dough. By now it should be smooth and elastic. It should also be less sticky and easier to handle, coming away from the sides of the bowl when you fold it. It will also be light and airy, full of bubbles.

Leave to bulk ferment until the dough is fully developed and can pass the window pane test. This will depend on the ambient temperature. My kitchen is usually about 20 degC and the dough takes about 6 hours to develop.

When you're happy with it, turn it out gently onto a floured work surface. Shape it into a rough ball, cover and allow to bench rest for 15 minutes. Shape again until you have a round boule with a nicely taut surface skin. Invert this, smooth side down into a round banneton which has been liberally sprinkled with brown rice flour or semolina. Place in the fridge and allow to prove overnight.

Day 3

You can leave it in the fridge for practically as long as you wish. I like to bake mine in time for lunch. I take it out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature while I heat up an enamelled cast iron pan in an oven set at it's maximum temperature. When it is ready, tip the loaf from the banneton onto a lightly floured surface and score it with a razor blade. Pick it up with either floured hands or two bench scrapers and carefully drop it into the hot pan. If it drops in a bit askew, don't worry. It usually straightens out with a little shake of the pan. Put the lid on the pan and return it to the oven. Bake at 230degC for 20 minutes then remove the lid. Give it another 15 to 20 minutes at 180 degC until the crust is done to your liking.

Check the internal temperature with a probe thermometer. It should be about 203 degF. If it isn't give it a bit longer.

This method of baking in a cast iron pan is fantastic. The steam generated in the lidded pan prevents a crust forming too early so that the bread can rise unimpeded then, when the lid is removed, a beautiful crackly crust is formed. If you haven't tried it, then do so.