Classic 50/50 Sourdough Bread
This guideline will take you step by step to your first sourdough loaf of bread. Assuming you already established your sourdough starter, we will go though the fundamental elements involved in creating the basic loaf (actually, two loaves). In order to understand the whole process from start to finish, please read this manual and watch our walkthrough video before you begin.
- Digital scale
- Stand Mixer- This is not mandatory but will ease the process. (see STEP 3 below)
- Straight-sided & transparent container (3-4 liter) for bulk fermentation
- Metal bench scraper
- Two proofing baskets ( A sieve with cloth cover is a valid option as well )
- Parchment paper
- Razor blade or any thin sharp knife
- Heavy lidded cast iron vessel (Dutch oven)
For feeding the starter :
- Your KneadAce® starter jar with 50gr of starter (discard and leave only 50gr in the jar)
- 100gr water
- 100gr whole-wheat flour
For the dough:
- 650gr water
- 450gr whole-wheat flour
- 450gr bread flour
- 20gr salt
STEP 1: Feeding your starter
One of the most important things in the process of creating the perfect loaf is having your starter fed a few hours before making the dough. Your starter will be most efficient right after it will double in volume, try to catch this “sweet spot” to start making the dough.
Start with 50gr of starter in the jar, add 100gr of water, mix well and add 100gr of whole-wheat flour. You will end up with 250gr of fed starter. Let it stay at room temperature until doubled in volume (between 4-6 hours depending on the room temperature).
STEP 2: Autolysis – Mixing the water-flour and starter
By mixing the dough ingredients (except from the salt), gluten bonds begin to form, the dough takes on a smoother texture and strengthens overall, this will help us reduce the kneading time afterwards.
Pour 650gr of cold water in your mixer bowl, add 200gr from the ready to use starter and mix well with the spatula. Add 450gr of whole-wheat flour and 450gr of bread flour and use your mixer at speed 1 to incorporate the flour with the water and starter. You will need about one minute of mixing just to have all the flour wet, no more than that is needed at this stage. After 45 minutes, you will notice that the dough becomes more stretchable; Let’s continue to the next step.
Note: you have now around 50gr of starter in your jar. Re-feed it with 50gr of water and 50gr of WW flour and leave it to rise. That will be used for your next bake.
STEP 3: Kneading
At this stage, we will knead the dough and develop the gluten so it will be ready for rise and fermentation. There are a few ways to develop gluten in dough; one of them is by using the mixer. If you prefer to use your hands for kneading instead, try to follow the “slap and fold” method, it is most efficient for hand kneading high hydrated dough.
Turn on your mixer on speed 2 and knead for about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and add 20gr of salt; turn on the mixer again and knead until the dough becomes smooth, shiny and cleans the sides of the mixing bowl.
STEP 4: Start bulk fermentation
This step is when the dough is fermenting in a large, single mass. During this time, the dough develops flavor and strength while gaining volume and lightness.
Using wet hands, transfer the mass of dough from your mixer bowl to a straight-sided and transparent container and perform the first fold- Hold the mass on both sides, lift it and “fold” the excess dough underneath. Continue and fold in all four sides of the mass. Cover the container and mark the initial mass level. Let it sit for 45 minutes.
STEP 5: Coil fold #2
Coil folds during the fermentation stage will build additional strength in your dough, and will help in creating open crumb.
With wet hands, hold the mass on both sides, lift it and “fold” the excess underneath your hands. Continue and fold all four sides of the mass. Cover the container and let it sit for 45 minutes.
STEP 6: Coil fold #3
At this stage, you will notice that the dough becomes more smooth and flexy. Less sticky but still a bit tacky.
Perform additional fold as in step 5. Now, Let the mass rest for 2-4 hours. It is hard to say exactly how much time is needed now as it depends on the environment, the condition of your starter, the type (and even batch) of flour you use and more factors. A better way to know if your dough is ready for the next step is to see if it rises around 70% from the line you drew at the beginning of the fermentation and also, check the dough consistency – It should be like an airy pillow. Gently shake the container and see if the dough is shaking too (a bit like jello). If both parameters are checked, let’s move to the next step.
STEP 7: Pre-Shape
Your dough is now ready for shaping. First, we will need to pre-shape it to balls, let is rest and relax for 15 minutes so it will be easier to shape it to a loaf.
Sprinkle some flour on top of the mass and turn the container upside down. Let the dough naturally fall to the bench. Use a metal scraper to divide the dough into two chunks. Work with the scraper and one wet hand and shape the chunk to a ball. Leave both balls on the bench and cover with a towel. Wait for 15 minutes.
STEP 8: Final Shape and retard
Final shaping of the loaves is done to create surface tension that is vital to the dough retaining its shape and achieving good oven spring, however, over tightening your dough may prevent a good rise. Follow the clip to see how to shape the balls to loaves of bread.
Dust your proofing baskets with flour and gently transfer the loaves to the baskets upside down. Move the loaves to the fridge for overnight cold proof (retard) for 12 -16 hours (up to 24 hours). Cover the loaves with a towel.
STEP 9: It is time to bake!
Your dough is ready to bake. Start by heating the oven together with your cast iron vessel (including the lid) 450f / 250c for around 40 minutes. Move one of the loaves from the fridge to your bench. Carefully, move the iron vessel out of the oven and open the lid. Turn the basket onto a parchment paper, slash the loaf with a sharp razor blade and transfer the loaf to the hot vessel holding the parchment paper at both ends. Close the lid and move the vessel back to the oven. Bake for initial 20 minutes, open the lid of your vessel and continue baking at 390f / 200c for additional 17 minutes or until the loaf is dark brown.
Wait for 2 hours to cool down (this is the hardest part…) and enjoy!
If you have any questions or want to consult with us about your baking routine, sourdough starters and our products, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We will do our best to respond right away. Support@kneadace.com
Tag us on Instagram: knead_ace