Make this amazing sourdough bread by using your dutch oven! This requires little work on your part, and you just have to time the bread and give it time to sit in the fridge! Its flavor is amazing! The soft pillowy crumb of this sourdough bread is perfect! We love this bread as toast and with its crusty outside contrasting the soft inside and its chewy texture, you will want to make an entire meal of it!
To begin this bread, you need to set aside about 1 hour at least to take the time to knead and let the dough rest. The rest of the time will be more passive time.
This recipe only has a small amount of active effort. You need to let the dough sit and take its time. You also need to plan time for this bread. It needs at least 12 hours in the fridge and at the least 3 on the counter.
What I like to do is to start this dough in the afternoon around 1. I can get all the kneading in by 1:30 and then it needs some rest time. After that it will be sitting in the fridge overnight.
Take your ingredients and put them in a large mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon or dough spoon to mix the ingredients together
It will begin to be too sticky and dense to manage with a spoon.
Wet your fingertips and begin kneading the dough in the bowl. Lift on corner of the dough and push it into the center of the dough. Rotate the bowl and repeat this process all the way around the dough. If it begins to stick to your hands, dip your fingers in water and repeat. Do this until all the flour is incorporated. `
Once it is at this point, cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 minutes
After 10 minutes, remove the plastic and knead. Take one corner, lift it up and push it into the center. Rotate and repeat this all the way around the dough, 4-5 times. The stretching helps develop the gluten
Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for another 10 minutes.
Take the wrap off and repeat the kneading.
Cover and let sit another 10 minutes.
Repeat this 5-6 times total
I like to set a timer and go about my business doing other things and then knead when the timer goes off.
Once you have done the kneading 5-6 times, its time to let the dough sit and rest for 3-6 hours. Yes hours!
I put the plastic wrap over the bowl and set it somewhere with ambient temperature. It needs to rise. Double in size.
I find it takes about 3 hours for mine, but it could take longer depending on your circumstances.
Once it had doubled in size, its time to shape your dough and prepare it for the fridge!
First, you will do your last knead and pull. Do this 4-5 times. Take the dough out of the bowl. and lay it on the counter
Now, you are going to form a ball, first by rolling the dough in on itself. Then flip it over and use the countertop to create tension. Push on the dough ball while rolling it under. You want to turn and roll. You can watch my video to see how to do this. This creates tension on the dough surface and gives it that good crust.
Let the dough sit and rest for a couple minutes.
While it rests, its time to get a bowl ready. You can use a regular large mixing bowl, but it is recommended to use a bread banneton proofing basket.
If you use a bowl, line it with a towel, and flour the towel heavily to prevent the dough from sticking. I like to use wheat flour for this because it tends to not absorb into the dough.
If you use a bread banneton basket, flour its heavily as well.
Take the dough and lift it up, flip it over and put the finished side of the dough down into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and use a rubber band to secure the plastic wrap around the bowl.
Put the bowl in the fridge and let it sit in there for at least 12 hours. You can go as far as 24 hours.
When you are ready, take the bowl out of the fridge and let the dough sit on the counter for about an hour. I like to let the oven preheat to 450 degrees while this is happening. Put your dutch oven in the oven to preheat with the oven. You want your pan to be hot.
Lay out some parchment paper, and take the dough gently out of the bowl and flip it over so the smooth side of the dough is on top. Lay it on the parchment paper
Cut some slits or designs in the dough to allow for more of a rise. I like to make a swirl. You can use a scoring lame or a sharp knife.
Immediately take your hot dutch oven out of the oven and take hold of the parchment paper with the dough. Put it inside the dutch oven and carefully place the lid on and put it in the oven to bake.
If you want, you can add a couple ice cubes on the outside of the parchment paper between the pan and the paper. This will give the crust a bubbly surface and allow more of a rise!
Bake the dough for 35 minutes. Check around 30 minutes and see if it is done. Tap it, it should feel hollow. You can take the top off of the pan and let it bake if the top is not golden brown.
Take ti out of the oven when it is done and let it cool completely on a rack before cutting.
This bread makes the most amazing toast, french toast, grilled cheese sandwiches, and it is fantastic with olive oil and balsamic vinegar!