A bread with a hat - open crumb sourdough bread

I have been asked many times how I do my bread. I've tried to explain with words but I was not always successful in making myself clear. I always felt that I missed the action. The image was in my head but it was difficult for me to make others see the same image. I am then happy to announce that I pushed myself to make a video. An educational video about how I knead and proof my bread. Making videos is not my top passion or skill but if I manage to pass the message much better in this way then maybe I'll do more videos in the future.

 About this bread.... oh, how can I describe it better. The previous week I adventured myself with the same recipe but with 80% hydration. Hmm ... that was indeed a challenge, but you know what... even that the dough was very wet, the final bread raised surprisingly in the oven and even opened an ear to me. This week I went to correct the hydration to 76% and get out the best from this amazing flour. Dough was a pleasure to work with and you can see in the video the easiness of handling it.
As for baking, I used a Dutch oven. Actually 2 of them. I love baking in Dutch ovens but I always struggled to fit 2 of them in my oven. Recently I bought one that was not that high as my old one and the miracle happened, I fit 2 of them inside my electric oven. I even managed to raise the bottom of the one under so it did not get burn. Of course, you can always bake one bread after another but to me, this sounds not very efficient in terms of time or consumption of electricity /gas. So yes, I managed to bake both in the same time.
And the result... well for this, I let you look.Two breads with two royal hats.
Although the look of the breads was perfect, more than perfect was the taste and the aroma. Soft and elastic crumb, golden crust.... uh, it just make your mind jump somewhere in a remote country side in a summer evening after a tiring day when you are hungry and you enjoy your dinner with a feta cheese, fresh tomatoes and a gorgeous piece of bread.


  • 750g Manitoba flour ( I used Manitoba flour from Mulino Caputo that has protein 15g)
  • 100g rye flour (organic)
  • 600g water at room temperature
  • 360g sourdough starter at 100% hydration (make sure that you have the right quantity and that when you use it is at the peak)
  • 24g salt
This means, 1831g weight of the final dough, 76% hydration.

  1. [Day 1, Saturday, 14:00] In a big bowl, mix only the flours with water.  Cover the bowl and leave the dough to stay on the counter for 1 hour for the autolyse phase.
  2. [Day 1, Saturday, 15:00] Add the levain over the dough and press it with your fingers straight down forming a kind of a matrix. Press the dough and turn it for 4-5 minutes until the dough becomes homogeneous. At the end of this step, the dough surface will be much smoother. Cover the bowl and let it sit on the counter for 45 minutes.
  3. [Day 1, Saturday, 15:45] Incorporate the salt and knead with the Rubaud method for 4-5 minutes. Cover the bowl and let it sit on the counter for ~45 minutes.
  4. [Day 1, Saturday, 16:30] Take the dough out of the bowl, put it on the slightly wet board and divide it in 2. Stretch and fold each piece on the board and place them in squared glass bowls. Cover them with a plastic bag or a shower cap and let them sit for ~45 minutes.
  5. [Day 1, Saturday, 17:15] Take each piece out and do the lamination. Let the dough rest for ~45 minutes in the covered squared glass bowls. 
  6. [Day 1, Saturday, 18:00] We start now a set of 3 coil folds performed straight in the bowl. Do the first coil fold set for the dough in each squared glass bowl and let them sit for 45 minutes.
  7. [Day 1, Saturday, 18:45] Do a second set of coil folds in the squared bowls. Cover the bowls and let them sit for 45 minutes.
  8. [Day 1, Saturday, 19:30] Do a third set of coil folds. Cover the bowls and let them sit for 45 minutes.
  9. [Day 1, Saturday, 20:15] Shape the loaves on the lightly floured board. Place the dough face down into well floured bannetons. Repeat the proces for the second piece of dough. Cover the bannetons with a shower cap and place them in the fridge for 15 hours.
    This is a classical schedule, but actually at this stage you might want to check the state of your dough. If you are during the winter or you have low temperatures in the room you might want to keep the dough for 1-3 more hours outside before placing them in the fridge. My recipe is suitable for a medium temperature of 21ºC in the room. On the contrary, if you are during a hot summer and you have 30ºC inside the kitchen you may want to reduce the timing for all the above steps from 45 minutes to 30 minutes.
    The time to keep it in the fridge is quite flexible. Depending on your schedule, you can keep the dough 14-20 hours without the risk to over ferment it. Ensure also that your fridge gives a good temperature (4-6ºC).
  10. [Day 2, Sunday, 11:30] Preheat the oven at 260ºC with a dutch oven inside. Although I have a small oven, I manage to fit 2 Dutch ovens inside, one on top of the other one. But if you have only one dutch oven, bake one bread after another. It will take 45 minutes to heat properly the oven and the dutch oven.
  11. [Day 2, Saturday, 12:15] Take the dough out from the fridge, sprinkle some semolina on top of the dough to avoid sticking. Take also the Dutch oven from hot oven (wear heat proof gloves as it is extremely hot), remove the lid and put the dough by returning it inside. Score the bread with an incision of 1cm deep forming a circle on top of the bread. You can do more scoring to decorate if you prefer. Cover the Dutch oven with its hot lid and slide it inside the big oven. Close the oven and bake at 275ºC for 20 minutes. After these 20 minutes, remove the lid of the Dutch oven and continue to bake for 25 minutes at a reduced temperature of 220ºC.


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