As you get into baking bread with Motherdough you will realise that there is really not that much variation with the base recipes. After all you can only change the ratios of flour and water so much. Bread recipes are more of a method than an actual recipe.
The variables that affect your results are temperature and humidity of the environment, of the dough itself throughout the whole process, the techniques used to knead and development gluten, and the passive development through fermentation and proving.
The kind of bread you want to produce is entirely up to you. Some of us love a rustic spontaneous bread. Others strive to create pieces of art featuring intricate scoring with the skill of a plastic surgeon.
Classic Sourdough Bread
This is a really flexible base recipe for making a typical Sourdough. You can vary the flour types that you use white bread flour, wholewheat and brown. To support the rise, crust colour, and flavour, the addition of classic Baker's Malt will take this bread to the next level.
In many respects it can me more convenient in that most of the work is done by the time it goes into the fridge for a long cold proof/retard. Having done the Pane Cafone and Rustic Sourdough you have practiced the different skills that come together in the method for this bread.
One of the benefits of this method is that the dough is baked pretty soon after you take it out of the fridge. The cold dough and the long cold proof in a banneton or couche help with a nice skin which make scoring easier.
- 200g Motherdough
- 400g Flour
- 8g Bakers Malt
- 360g Water, filtered, room temperature
- 10g salt
- 30g Extra virgin olive oil (optional, see notes)
- Blitz the Motherdough with 300g water and oil.
Add the Motherdough blitz to the flour, baker's malt.
Bring together to form a shaggy mass and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Sprinkle on the salt.
- Turn the dough out and slap & fold until you have fairly good gluten development (10-15 minutes), or knead 5-10 minutes in a mixer on a medium-high speed. Rest 10 minutes and repeat.
- Add the remaining 60g of water a teaspoon or two at a time and knead until the water is completely absorbed each time. When you are complete with this step the temperature of the dough should be around 26 deg. C.
- Give the dough a set of a stretch and fold and transfer for a container brushed with oil. Rectangle or square would work best. Cover with plastic or a popped lid.
- Leave the dough to prove for warm bulk fermentation at 25-30 deg C. (Oven light method works well). During this phase repeat one set of stretch & fold directly in the container every 30 minutes. Repeat 7 times for a total of 8 sets including the initial one.
- This should take 4 hours. At the correct temperature you should notice a lot of air in the dough and a substantial increase in volume. It may not be double but it must be noticeably bigger.
- After the final stretch & fold, leave to rest for 30 minutes and then shape and place in a well floured banneton or couche. Cover with plastic and leave in the fridge for a cold proof of at least 12 hours. You can go up to 20 hours for more development of the sour flavour profile.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven for 45 minutes to maximum temperature. A baking stone or dutch oven is definitely advised for this bake as you need the hot base to drive oven spring.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Turn onto baking paper, gently rub the rice flour from to even it out and score as desired.
- Place into the oven immediately after scoring, reduce temperature to 200 deg. C and bake with steam (or lid on) for 20 minutes, and then for 35 minutes. Reduce temperature to 190 deg C and bake for a further 10-15 minutes with the door cracked with a wooden spoon to vent the oven.
- As always leave the bread to cool before cutting open.
Addition of oil changes the crust. Oil definitely changes the crust, and whether or not it's "better" depends on what you would like to achieve. Oil in the dough tends to give a softer and thicker crust, while a lean dough tends to give a crisper and thinner crust. The oil also helps retain some moisture so the loaf with oil will stay a little fresher for longer.
It is important that you get good rise during the bulk fermentation, and 4 hours is based on quite a warm environment.
When scorning always score the smaller cuts first and the longer cuts last, and gentle support the dough with your hand when you cut. Use a very sharp lame. If scoring to produce an ear, score towards you the the lame at an angle. The flow of the movement is almost like when you want scoop bubbles off the surface of a liquid.
This classic recipe is 80% hydration, which is wetter than the Pane Cafone and the Rustic Sourdough. However having done these two breads you should be able to handle the 80%.
Wet doughs are tricky to master. If you would like to build up your confidence in levels, adjust the hydration and practice over a few bakes, and change the water as follows start at 65% and then increasing with each subsequent bake:
65% 280g water (235g and then 45g)
70% 305g water (255g and then 50g)
75% 335g water (280g and then 55g)
80% 360g water (300g and then 60g)
Level of difficulty: Intermediate
Skills to develop: Kneading - high hydration. Perfecting your poke test (proving), Getting surface tension into the dough (shaping), Scoring.