Some people may think of this loaf as a “Country Bread,” but when I heard the term “Table Bread,” it made perfect sense. Similar to “Table Wine,” this delicious sourdough loaf belongs on the table of every home as a casual go-to bread for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The Organic “Type 80” Old-World Bread Flour used in this formula has been milled in a single stream and then sifted to have some of the bran removed. This results in a loaf that retains some of the amazing flavors of whole wheat but with the performance, one would expect from white bread flour.
This loaf also uses a technique called “double hydration.” When mixing a dough that has high hydration, this technique will help reduce the amount of time spent mixing the dough. The first addition of water is used to help hydrate the flour and develop gluten to where the dough has enough strength to withstand the second addition. If all the water were to be added at once, it would require longer mixing to develop strength in an otherwise slack dough.
|Desired Quantity of Dough||Grams||2221|
|Number of Units||2|
|LEVAIN||Fermentation: 12–16 hours at 70–75˚ F|
|Baker’s %||Weight (grams)|
|Organic “Type 80” Old-World Bread Flour||100||190|
|FINAL DOUGH||Fermentation: 2.5 hours, then 1.5 hours, at 70–75˚ F|
|Baker’s %||Weight (grams)|
|Organic “Type 80” Old-World Bread Flour||100||1000|
|Water Temperature:||60-65˚F tap water|
|Mixing Time*||Mixer:||Mixer with hook|
|First Fermentation||2.5 hrs|
|Dividing||2 x ~1100g|
|Resting Time||20 min|
|Second Fermentation||1.5 hrs|
|Baking**||30 min + 30 min in falling oven|
*Mixing time can vary depending on mixer.
**Baking time and temp can vary depending on oven.
Two Evenings Before Baking
In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients for the Levain together until they are thoroughly combined and there is no visible dry flour in the bowl.
Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 12-16 hours.
The Day Before Baking
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and yeast until they are thoroughly mixed.
Add your levain to the dry ingredients and 90-95% of Water 1 and using a stand mixer, mix on low speed (speed 1-2) for about 5 minutes. Near the end of the slow mix, add the remaining part of Water 1 into the bowl. This water will help pick up and hydrate the leftover dry flour in the bowl.
Once the dough doesn’t have any more visible dry flour, go ahead and increase the speed of the mixer to low/medium (speed 2-3) for 4–8 minutes. This stage will help to develop the gluten structures within the dough.
The dough should start developing a smoother surface, pull clean from the sides of the bowl, and has the ability to create a window pane with slightly jagged tear. When this happens, reduce the mixer speed too low and slowly add in Water 2. This should take about 3 minutes for the water to be fully incorporated into the dough.
Once the water has been absorbed and the dough has gained some strength, stop the mixer and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. The dough will be going through the first fermentation of 2.5 hours. During this time, you want to develop the gluten with a series of “stretch and folds” every 30 minutes.
After the first 30 min, wet the surface of your table and let the dough fall from the bowl onto the table, scraping the remaining dough out if needed. Take the top part of the dough, stretch it away from you and fold it over in thirds. Now take the bottom of the dough mass, stretch it away from the center and fold it over and on top of the first fold. Do the same to the left and right side. You should end up with a dough that is now more square-like, or looks like an envelope.
Now take the top of the dough mass and fold it over the center, again in thirds, and continue the motion until it has rolled over and revealed the smooth side up. With both hands, slide them underneath the halfway point of the dough, vertically. Lift the dough mass and place this back into the bowl. The end of the doughs should tuck itself under, leaving the smooth surface on the top.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 30 min and repeat the folding technique until 2 hours have passed. With each fold, you should be able to start feeling the dough gaining strength and start seeing the surface of the dough becoming smoother.
After 2.5 hours, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into two equal portions. Take care to not use too much flour as you are shaping each portion into a ball or a boule. You don’t want the dough to be too sticky, but you also do not want to have a lot of raw flour inside the dough. Let this rest for 20 min on the table. If there is a draft, cover the dough with a towel to prevent the surface from drying out.
During this time, prepare a round bread form or banneton by either dusting the inside with flour or placing a linen cloth inside the form and dusting the cloth. After the dough has rested for 20 min, take each piece and shape it into a round ball/boule again, and place the dough into the form with the seam side facing up.
Cover the dough with a thick linen cloth and let the dough ferment a second time for 1.5 hours. Once the dough has finished the second fermentation, place it into the refrigerator for 12-15 hours.
Preheat your oven to 475˚F for about 1-2 hour prior to baking.
This bread can be baked directly on a baking steel or stone, or inside a dutch oven.
If you are baking in a dutch oven, preheat the oven along with the dutch oven. To bake, take the dutch oven out and remove the lid. Gently turn the dough out into the dutch oven or onto a sheet of parchment and score the top of the dough. Gently load the dough into the dutch oven and cover with the lid. Place it back into the oven and lower the temperature to 450˚. After 25 min, remove the lid, lower the temp to 425˚ and continue baking the loaf for another 25-35 min.
If you are using a steel or stone, make sure it has been given enough time to pre-heat. Turn the dough gently onto a light dusted peel or parchment, score the top of the dough and slide it onto the steel/stone. Quickly add steam into the oven, close the oven door, and lower the oven temperature to 450˚. Bake for 30 min, then turn the bread, lower the temperature to 425˚, and bake for another 30 min.
Either way, the crust should develop a dark golden color. The bottom of the bread should not be burnt, but when knocking on it, should sound like a hollow thud.
Take the bread out of the oven and place it onto a cooling rack and try to let it cool completely before cutting into it.