This crispy golden loaf is exactly what every breakfast you make at home should be served with. I call it basic for a few reasons. First, because it is a plain loaf, with no add-ins. Second, because this is the first kind of loaves I used to make when I just started baking. It is a very satisfying dough, stretchy but still holds itself together. The flour mix is not completely white, I add 10% whole wheat flour to make it just a little more interesting in flavor and texture. Regards the bubbles in the crumb. Look, I don't believe in huge holes, I think it's nice only for the baker's ego but not that practical. I eat my bread as is, as a sandwich, as a bruschetta. With big holes in my crumb, everything will just fall through them. And for the salt, don't be shy, there is nothing better than a perfectly salted bread slice.
90% bread flour
10% whole wheat flour
20% sourdough starter
- In a bowl, we pour most of the water (leave 5% aside) and the flour. Mix well until there is no flour remained.
- Cover with a towel and let it sit for 30 min. This step called "Autolyse" in which the flour absorbs the water, becoming fully hydrated. This will activate gluten development.
- Add the starter. Mix well until incorporated in the dough. Cover with a towel and let it sit for another 30 min.
- Add the salt and the remaining water. Mix well until incorporated. Cover with a towel and let it sit for another 30 min.
- For the next 3 hours perform coil fold every 30 min. Total of 6 folds. In between the folds cover the bowl with a towel so the dough won't dry out.
- After the last fold let the dough sit for an additional hour to complete the bulk fermentation (covered with towel always).
- Transfer the dough to the working surface and divide it to the desired weight. I usually prepare this recipe with 1 Kg flour which yields 2 big loaves of around 1000 gr each.
- Pre-Shape: Round them and cover with a towel. Let them rest for 15-20 min.
- Shape them and place in a floured proofing basket.
- Let them sit a room temperature for an hour before placing them in the fridge overnight.
- The following morning, heat up the oven to 460F or 240C with a dutch oven inside for an hour. Don't cut this time, it's important that the oven and the dutch oven will be very hot!
- Transfer the dough to a baking sheet on a cutting board and score it as you like. After many experiments, I found out that one cut along the dough will result in the best crumb. But I do understand the will to make the scoring exciting and special.
- Slide the baking sheet with the dough to the dutch oven.
- Close the lid and bake for 30 min.
- Remove the lid and bake for an additional 20-30 min.
- Cooldown the loaf on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing it.
- Slice and share it with your lovers. It's a really special loaf. Be proud.