Cheat's Sourdough


2 days prep
1 day 6:00 total

Cheat's sourdough, with yeast but fermenting over 24 hours.

Time

prep 2 days       total 1 day 6:00

Yield

Ingredients

Ingredients

For the starter

3-1/2 oz. strong white flour
3-1/2 oz. dark rye flour
3/8 oz. yeast
8-7/8 oz. cold water

For the final dough

14-1/8 oz. strong white flour
1 tbsp. salt
3/8 oz. yeast
7 oz. cold water

Instructions

Mix all the ingredients for the starter thoroughly in a large bowl, cover with cling film and leave in ambient temperature for 24 hours.

The next day add the remaining ingredients to the starter, mix well, then knead on a floured surface or in a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment for at least 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and bounces off the sides of the bowl or stops sticking to your hands. Cover and leave in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in volume.

Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and fold onto itself from four sides to shape it into a round. Place it seam side up in a well-floured proving basket or a bowl lined with cloth and floured generously. Put the proving basket in a plastic bag inflated a bit so it doesn’t touch the dough (just blow into it and tie the end!) and leave for about 40 minutes. Preheat a cast iron casserole, a baking stone or a heavy baking sheet in the middle of the oven at 220C/425F/gas 7.
When ready to bake, tip the loaf into the casserole or onto the stone or tray (it might be prudent to remove whichever you're using from the oven for this stage), slash a rectangle shape on the top with a very sharp knife and put it back in the oven. With the casserole, put the lid back on and if baking on a stone, spray the inside of the oven generously with water. In the casserole: bake for 20 minutes with the lid on and 20 minutes uncovered. On a stone, bake for 30 minutes until golden, crusty and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Author's Comments

Sourdough is scary, I’ll admit, even though I have quite a few wild yeast loaves under my belt. I’ve done rye, wheat and even the famous San Francisco. But it’s fussy, all that feeding, mollycoddling it at the right temperature and then after all the effort it may still not budge or bubble.

Now this – is pure genius. The taste is almost authentic, the fuss minimal with the starter fermenting happily over 24 hours, no feeding necessary and unfailingly good result every time.

The texture is great, big air bubbles like in the real article and the taste is very, very close. Crusty on the outside, chewy crumb, you might be easily fooled into thinking it’s IT.

It can be baked in a clay cloche, in a cast iron casserole or straight on a baking stone or a heavy baking sheet - it all works.

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