880gramsBread flour (Use a digital scale for this recipe and ditch the measuring spoons and cups)
94gramsSourdough Starterabout 1/2 cup
Mixing the Dough
Mix the flours and salt together in an extra large bowl.
Add the water, honey, and sourdough starter and stir with a wooden spoon until it comes together. Start to knead it by hand until all of the ingredients form a sticky ball. It will be a mess so dump the dough onto your kitchen counter to finish kneading. A metal bench scraper comes in very handy for helping to lift the dough from the surface while kneading.
Knead for about 1-2 minutes until the dough is formed. You don't need to worry about developing the gluten, as the long fermentation will do that on its own.
Give the dough a fold by stretching the left and right side of the dough towards the center, then stretch the top and bottom of the dough towards the center. This will help strengthen the dough. Flip the dough over in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Fermenting the Dough
Let the dough ferment for about 8-12 hours. This time is flexible as sourdough bread takes longer to ferment, therefore there is a larger window that you can let the dough ferment in.
Shaping the Dough
Take the dough out of the bowl and dump onto the counter. Don't add flour to the counter to make it easier to shape.
Scrape the dough from the bowl and for two large loaves, cut the dough in half. Shape into rounds or loaf style. Watch the two-minute shaping video in this post for instructions. You can make whatever sizes you want, but two loaves work great.
Place the round or "boule" shape in a 9-inch to 12-inch wide cast iron skillet (sizes vary), or you can line a dutch oven lined with parchment paper and place the round in there. For the loaf shape, place in a loaf tin lined with parchment paper and a little oil. Put the skillet or loaf tin inside a plastic bag and tie it so that there are no air holes as long as it fits inside the bag. Watch the shaping video for visual instruction.(If you are more experienced with shaping dough, you can bake it without a vessel.)
Ferment the dough for about 90 minutes to 2 hours, or until it's doubled in size.
Baking the Dough
Preheat oven to 450 degrees before the dough is done proofing. Sift bread flour or all-purpose flour over the top of the dough to make it easier to score the dough.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until it's golden brown and hollow when you tap the bottom the bread. If it sounds hollow, it's done, if it sounds dense, it needs a few more minutes. You can put it back in the oven directly on the rack (without a baking vessel). Again, watch the video for instruction.
Let rest for at least 30 minutes before cutting for ease of slicing.
Once cut open, cool completely and cover in plastic wrap. It will keep for about a week on the counter or you can freeze it for much longer.
With a thin, small serrated knife or bread lame, "score" the top of the dough with a pattern or a line in the center from one side of the top of the dough to the other. See video for visual instruction.
This recipe is actually really simple and hands-off. You simply mix the dough together for until it forms a ball, give it a fold, and let ferment on your counter for 8-12 hours.The fermentation time is forgiving because you won't be kneading the dough much and a sourdough starter is a slower process. You can start the dough in the morning and bake it in the evening, or start the dough in the evening and bake it the next morning.