Overnight Sourdough Bread Recipe

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There are hundreds of different recipes for sourdough but our favourite is this recipe from Tartine Bakery, based in San Francisco. They are legendary in sourdough making circles, and Chad Robertson's recipe is brilliant. What's more, it doesn't require a mixer or any kind of kneading yet the results are mouthwatering.
 
There are three stages in the bread making process; feeding the starter, the 'float test' and making the bread. Find instructions for each stage below.
 

Feed your starter

  1. Measure out 100ml of water (room temperature) and 100g strong white bread flour. 
  2. Open the bag with the starter inside, pour some of the water in and give it a gentle shake (to ensure you capture all that precious starter) and transfer into a container (eg. old soup pot or kilner jar).
  3. Add the remaining water, give it a good mix and add then 100g flour.
  4. Place a lid loosely on the container and set aside either at room temperature (if you want to make bread asap) or store in a fridge until you're ready.

The float test

After 12-24 hours (depending on how warm the room is), your starter should have roughly doubled in size and be all bubbly and happy.
    To check it's ready to make bread you need to do the ‘float test’ by simply taking a small amount out with your fingers and placing it into some water. If it floats, that means you’re ready to make bread


        Making the bread 

        You will need:

        • 200g sourdough starter
        • 1kg strong white bread flour (or mix of bread flours)
        • Water
        • 20g salt
         
        1. Pour 700 grams warm water (27degrees) into a large mixing bowl. Add 200 grams of bubbly starter and stir well. Be sure to save a couple of tablespoons of your leftover starter; it is now the beginning of a new starter so you need to keep alive by feeding it and storing in fridge to make future loaves).
        2. Add your flours (Tartine recommend 900 grams strong white and 100 grams whole wheat), and mix dough with your hands until no bits of dry flour remain. Let rest in a cool, dark place for 35 minutes. 
        3. Add salt and remaining 50 grams warm water, folding dough on top of itself to incorporate. Cover with kitchen towel. Let rest for 30 minutes. The dough will now begin its first rise (bulk fermentation), to develop flavour and strength. (The rise is temperature sensitive; as a rule, warmer dough ferments faster. Tartine recommends keeping it at around 26 degrees to accomplish the bulk fermentation in 3 to 4 hours.)
        4. Instead of kneading, Tartine develops the dough through a series of "folds" in the container during bulk fermentation - it's cleaner and simpler. Fold dough, repeating every 30 minutes for 2 1/2 hours. To do a fold, dip your hand in water to prevent sticking. Grab the underside of the dough, stretch it out up high, and fold it back over itself. Rotate container one-quarter turn, and repeat (watch a video on how to do this on our instagram stories) Do this 2 or 3 times for each fold. After the 3 hours, the dough should feel aerated and softer, and you will see a 20 to 30 percent increase in volume. If not, continue bulk fermentation for 30 minutes to 1 hour more.
        5. Pull dough out of container using a dough spatula, onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly dust dough with flour, and cut into two pieces (or three depending on the number of loaves you want) using dough scraper. Work each piece into a round using scraper and 1 hand. Tension will build as the dough slightly anchors to the surface as you rotate it. By the end, the dough should have a taut, smooth surface.
        6. Dust tops of rounds with flour, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest on the work surface for 20 to 30 minutes. Don't skip this bench rest.. Slip the dough scraper under each to lift it, being careful to maintain the round shape. Flip rounds flour side down.
        7. Flip the dough rounds so that the underside is now facing up. The final shaping. Fold the third of the dough closest to you up and over the middle third. Then stretch out horizontally to your right and fold this right third over the centre. Stretch the dough to your left and fold this third over the previous fold. Finally, stretch out the dough farthest from you and fold this flap towards you over the previous folds, and anchor in place with your fingers. Then roll the whole package away from you so that all the seams are on the bottom and you have the smooth surface once again on the top. Cup your hands around the dough and pull towards you, tightening the outer surface so it's nice and smooth.
        8. Line 2 medium (or three) baskets or bowls with clean kitchen towels; generously dust with flour (this is important as it will prevent the dough sticking). Using the dough scraper, transfer each round to a basket, smooth side down, with seam centered and facing up towards you. Let rest at room temperature (75 degrees to 80 degrees), covered with towels for 3 to 4 hours before baking. Alternatively, you can cover in a dap tea towel and place in the fridge over night and they'll be ready to bake in the morning.
        9. 20 minutes before you're ready to bake, heat your oven to 250degrees, and place in your cooking container/s. There are a multitude of options (Dutch oven etc), however we use a large Le Creuset casserole pot.
        10. Turn out one of your loaves into your baking container, so that the creased side now faces down (the part that was facing up), and the smooth part faces up. Score with a baker's blade (or sharp knife) around half a centimetre deep, Tartine suggest a simple square with four cuts, but you can have some fun here too (this allows your loaf to rise and. avoids cracking). Cover with the lid and place back in the oven to bake for 20 minutes (this keeps the steam in and allows it to rise).
        11. Carefully remove the lid (a cloud of steam will come out) and continue to bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes until a deep golden brown.
        12. Transfer loaf onto a wire rack and allow to cool. You could eat right away, however it's worth noting that this will release a lot of moisture from the loaf so unless you're going to eat it in one go, the remainder will end up being a little drier.

        Repeat the baking process with your second (and third) loaves.
         
        Enjoy!!

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