Basic Sourdough Boule
January 13, 2021
A new crop of wheat means it was necessary to create a new recipe for our Basic Sourdough Boule. Each crop means a slightly different temperament of wheat, and this one yields a particularly beautiful loaf.
We've heard your requests to lower the hydration and provide more instruction and feedback as you begin your sourdough bread journey. We've taken videos of the most important processes to help you and adjusted the amount of water in the recipe to make it easier to work with.
Beyond that, we have also changed the recipe to be for one loaf instead of two, and we have also added the baker's percentages to the recipe so that you can easily make any changes you wish. Increase the recipe as you like to yield as many loaves as you wish to make!
Once you feel you have mastered this recipe, play around with adding more water and practice your shaping to develop your technique even further!
Basic Sourdough Boule
yield 1 loaf
440g (100%) Flourist Sifted Red Spring Wheat Flour
330g (75%) Water (80°F)
75g (17%) Sourdough Starter
11g (2.5%) Salt
Making sourdough bread in essence is a three day process. First, you need to feed your sourdough starter the evening before you plan to make your bread so that it is active and ready. The second day you will prepare the dough and let it rest overnight. The third day you will bake your loaf to enjoy.
Feeding your Sourdough Starter
The evening before, feed your sourdough starter and set aside at room temperature to become active. The actual time you want to feed your sourdough starter will vary depending on how active it is, how warm it is in your house, and how long it generally takes to double in size. Generally speaking, feed your sourdough starter before you go to bed to have it ready for you in the morning. It should take roughly 8 hours to double in size.
First, check to make sure that your sourdough starter is ready to be used by performing a float test. This is done by dropping some of the starter into lukewarm water to see if it floats or sinks. If it floats, it is ready to use and you can begin making your bread. If it sinks, it either requires more time to become active, or has over-activated and is now too mature for use. If your sourdough starter is very liquid and sour smelling it's a strong indication that it is too mature to use and needs to be fed again and given time to rise.
Weigh the water first, by adding a large mixing bowl and hitting the tare function on the scale to balance the weight at zero. Add the sourdough starter and then the flour. Mix by hand until there are no dry spots and a shaggy dough is formed. Let the dough rest in a warm place for 30 minutes covered with a tea towel. This stage is called the autolyse.
Next, add the salt to your dough. Wet your hands and squeeze the dough to incorporate it into your dough.
Once combined, transfer your dough to a new bowl that is lightly oiled and perform your first fold by grasping the top of the dough, stretching it until there is resistance, and folding it onto itself towards the bottom. Do the same from bottom to top, and side to side. You want to fold until you feel resistance from the dough and it feels nice and tight. Flip the dough over and let sit again, covered with a tea towel, for 30 minutes.
Repeat this folding process 5 more times for a total of 6 folds with 30 minutes of rest time between each fold. This is called the bulk fermentation stage.
Pre-shape & Bench Rest
After the last fold and final 30 minute rest, invert the dough onto the counter.
To pre-shape, round the dough in on itself by rotating the boule with a bench scraper and your hand. The loaf should feel taut on the surface but not tear. If you see any tearing of the loaf immediately stop shaping. Lightly dust the top with flour and let sit, uncovered, for another 20-30 minutes. This is called the bench rest.
While the dough is resting, prepare your basket. You can either flour the inside of the basket generously or insert a tea towel into the basket and flour that. Using a tea towel means that you will not get the decorative ridges from the basket, but it is also easier to remove the loaf from.
Once the bench rest is complete it is time to do the final shape. Lightly flour the top and flip the dough over with your bench scraper and stretch the dough into a rectangular shape. Fold the bottom up to the middle and press down slightly. Fold the two bottom sides into the centre and press down slightly.
Next, fold the top to the middle and press. Grab the top corners and bring towards the centre to begin what is called stitching. Pinch the sides and bring towards the centre, almost as if you are braiding the dough. Press down gently between each stitch. Repeat four or five times until you have reached the bottom, stretching only as much as your dough allows.
Grasp the top of your loaf and bring it down 1/3 of the way. Roll the dough the rest of the way towards the bottom end and press down to create a seam. Pinch the sides to bring it into a more rounded shape and form the side seams.
Transfer to your floured banneton, seam side (bottom side) up. Pinch and bring the four corners towards the centre and press down slightly to adhere it together. This will help to create more surface tension on your loaf and round it further. Cover with a tea towel and let sit in the fridge overnight before baking.
The next day, preheat your oven to 450°F. Cut a piece of parchment paper into a circle roughly an inch bigger around than your loaf. Place a dutch oven with a lid inside the oven while it is preheating. Remove the loaf from the fridge and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes while your oven is heating up. Once the oven has reached temperature, invert your loaf onto a piece of parchment paper and score as desired. Remove the dutch oven from the oven and carefully remove the lid. Picking up the loaf by the parchment paper, carefully insert it into the dutch oven and replace the lid. Return to the oven and immediately lower the heat to 425°F.
Bake for 30 minutes before removing the lid, being careful as steam will release. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the colour is nice and dark and the bottom sounds hollow when you knock on it. Alternatively, you can check the internal temperature of the loaf which should be between 190°F and 200°F. Let cool on a wire rack before slicing. Enjoy!
Have feedback on this recipe? Leave us a comment!