This is 'Barnaby' my sourdough starter. Barnaby maintenance is a topic for another time.
I am using a medium Pyrex bowl whose weight I have accounted for on these digital scales.
For this recipe I am using 200 g of my starter
Add 300 mL of cold water to the mix and whisk gently.
At 500 g of strong white bread flour
At 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
Mixed ingredients together until a soft dough is formed
Leave the dough in the bowl and cover with clingfilm
I left the dough to rise overnight in the fridge but you could leave it to rise at room temperature for a few hours
In the morning the dough had nearly doubled in size in the fridge over night
It helps to lightly oil your work surface so the dough doesn't stick. I used olive oil. Do not use flour.
Use both hands to spread the oil over the surface. A coating of oil on the hands makes it easier to handle the dough.
Tip the dough on to the oiled surface.
Gently stretch the dough into a rectangle.
Lift the end and fold it over, laying it about a third of the length from the opposite end.
The other end will be folded next.
Pull the other edge over so it lines up with the fold.
Next repeat the process starting with the smaller top edge
Repeat the folding process.
The folded dough will rest for 10 minutes.
Dust 2 baking trays with semolina. This will help the bread not to stick.
A good covering of the tray will allow for the expansion of the loaf.
Oiling the bowl in which the dough will rest will make it easier to remove later
Next we'll stretch the dough. Imagine the dough has eight compass points, which we'll work in turn, starting with N, S, E & W then moving to NE, SE, SW & NW.
Hold the dough in the centre and stretch each point in turn, pulling the dough out from each point out and then back to the centre, using your other hand to hold it in place.
Repeating the process for each point will form the dough into a ball. Be careful not to over-work the mixture.
This is a good opportunity to practice rounding the dough into a ball. Cup and twist the dough with your hands on the surface, gently folding underneath to form a ball.
Scoop up the dough and return it to the oiled bowl.
Cover with clingfilm and allow to rest in the bowl for 10 minutes
After 10 minutes return the dough to your oiled work surface
Halve the dough. I use a flat plastic tool for this.
Divide the dough into to equal halves
Repeat the stretching and rounding techniques used earlier on each half
Move each shaped half to the dusted trays and allow to stand for at least an hour.
I'm using an electric oven set to 200 degrees. I set it to warm about 25 mins before I'm ready to bake. 10 minutes beforehand I add water to a tray in the bottom of the oven & let it come back to temp
The dough should continue to prove. Cut the top with an oiled knife to help it expand in the oven.
Do not score the loaf too deeply.
The water tray makes steam in the oven, which helps a good crust to form. Normally the loaves might take 50 to 70 mins but these only took 35. Be careful not to remove too early.
Once removed from the oven it's normal for the loaf to crackle as it cools.
Resting the loaf on a fork can help moisture forming on the bottom and making it soggy.