(The vaguely yonic featured image is meant to subconsciously attract you to the bread).
This is the first sourdough bread that I’m preparing a levain for. A levain is basically the portion of the starter that you’re preparing to put into your bread. Really there isn’t much of a difference here, it just allows you to maybe use some other flour or adjust the hydration levels.
Which also means this bread will take a long time to make. But that just means more flavour!
This was also the highest hydration level sourdough that I’ve made! Gave me those lovely big air holes in the crumb.
But that also meant I wasn’t used to handling such a wet dough so I couldn’t shape and score it as well as I’d have liked.
The flavour of this bread was fantastic. There was the earthiness from the whole wheat flour and the rye flour used, and a very strong bread flavour from the two-day-long fermentation and proofing process. Toasted walnuts and cranberries are also a tried and tested combination. And the high hydration means a light, airy, and tender crumb, perfect for soaking up some good extra virgin olive oil.
I got the recipe from here.
- 25g ripe starter
- 50g whole wheat flour
- 50g strong white flour
- 100g water
- 125g levain
- 400g strong white flour
- 87g whole wheat flour
- 13g rye flour (can be substituted with whole wheat flour)
- 10g salt
- 440g water
- 100g toasted walnuts, chopped
- 50g dried cranberries
- Prepare the levain by mixing together the ripe starter, whole wheat flour, strong white flour and water in a large bowl. Cover and leave overnight.
- Mix 125g of the levain, and add 415g of water. Mix.
- Add the flours. Mix. Leave to autolyse (basically just leave it) for 40 mins.
- Dissolve the salt in the remaining 25g of water. Mix the salty water into the bread.
- Turn and fold. Learn how to do so here. Leave for 30 mins.
- Meanwhile toast off your walnuts. Leave to cool.
- When the 30 mins is up, turn and fold again. Incorporate the walnuts and cranberries in this fold. Leave for 30 mins again.
- You want to turn and fold a total of 4 times every 30 mins.
- After the last turn and fold cover and leave to proof for about 2 hours.
- Shape, and if using a banneton place the bread in the banneton. Leave to proof for at least 12 hours in the fridge.
- The next day, tip the bread onto a lined baking tray.
- Preheat your oven to 260°C with a baking tray half-filled with water at the bottom of the oven to create a steam oven.
- Score your bread and place in the steam oven. Spray into the oven with mist from a spray bottle generously to generate more steam. Bake at 260°C for 20 mins. Then reduce the temperature to 235°C and bake for 20 mins. Then reduce the temperature to 230°C and bake for 30 mins or until done.
- Bread is done when it is well browned and when you tap it it sounds hollow.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack.
- My starter was at 100% hydration. This bread was about 89% hydration. If you have no idea what I’m talking about check out my previous recipe on classic white sourdough.
- Autolysing just means letting your flour sit with the water before you add any salt or yeast. This is supposed to make the bread easier to handle and have better structure and taste since the flour absorbs the water or something. More here.
- Autolysing + turning and folding means you don’t knead the dough. This is better for higher hydration sourdoughs because high hydration sourdoughs are difficult to handle.