White Sourdough Bread


When you target a high hydration loaf (and this one is 80% hydration) you need to have a bit of understanding about how the dough behaves and what you need to do. I did high hydration loaves before and they were a total mess. They almost all finished in a bread pan to avoid having a flat bread on my stone.
But the dough handling is a continuous learning process. You learn specific techniques and the dough behaves much better. These techniques must be applied by yourself many times in order to develop the right skills and the right eye.
Although I bake sourdough breads for more than 6 years, I still feel myself a novice. And yes, during these years I made tasty and beautiful breads. Did I take out the best flavors from the flours? Did I raised them to their maximum potentials? Probably not, but I learn with every single bake. And you know that feeling, you feel today smarter than yesterday.
Yes, this is an 80% hydration dough and I honestly say that I didn't feel this at all. With a good strong flour, with a proper autolyse, with the right kneading and folding techniques it looks like a piece of cake. This challenges me to try an even higher hydration dough, and I know that one day I will try again my limits.
For the moment I enjoy this lovely bread made with my own hands ....


Preferment: (total 369g)

Final dough
  • 639g strong wheat flour
  • 89g rye flour
  • 529g water
  • 15g salt
  • the above preferment (369g)


  1. [Day 1, Friday, 22:00] Scaling. Start by measuring ingredients. You can measure in advance all ingredients, including the ones for the final dough. I was lazy in the evening and I measured only the ones needed for the preferment.
  2. [Day 1, Friday, 22:00] Mix preferment. Mix all ingredients for the preferment. Cover it and let it stand at room temperature until the next day. That will be around 13 hours.
  3.  [Day 2, Saturday, 11:00] Mix water + flours. Mix only the flours with water until well combined. Do not knead at this stage, just insure there is no unincorporated dry flour resting in the bowl and that's it. I did the mixing manually but you can also do it with a standing mixer. I used water at room temperature and let the dough warm slowly in a bread proofer set at 24ºC. If you have 24ºC in your kitchen than you do not need a proofer. You'll just need to cover the bowl with a lid, plastic bag, shower cap or just a plate to avoid the dough to dry at its surface.
  4. [Day 2, Saturday, 13:00] Preferment. Add the preferment over the dough and knead for 10 minutes.  I put the bowl back in the proofer without covering it as the proofer already insures a proper humidity. Let the dough relax there for 45 minutes.
  5. [Day 2, Saturday, 13:45] Salt. Incorporate the salt and knead for 5 minutes more. Then, put the dough back in the proofer and let it relax for 45 minutes.
  6. [Day 2, Saturday, 14:30] Divide and Stretch and Fold. Take the dough out of the bowl, put it on the slightly wet table board and divide it in 2. Stretch and fold each piece on the board and place them in squared glass bowls. Place them in the proofer and and let them sit for 30 minutes.
  7. [Day 2, Saturday, 15:00] Lamination. Take each piece out of the bowls and do the lamination. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in the proofer. 
  8. [Day 2, Saturday, 15:30] Coil fold 1. I start now a set of 3 coil folds performed straight in the bowl. I do the first coil fold set in each squared glass bowl and let them sit for 30 minutes in the proofer.
  9. [Day 2, Saturday, 16:00] Coil fold 2.  Do a second set of coil folds in the squared bowls. I let them sit for 30 minutes in the proofer.
  10. [Day 2, Saturday, 16:30] Coil fold 3. Do a third set of coil folds for each dough. I let them sit for 30 minutes in the proofer.
  11. [Day 2, Saturday, 17:30] 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. Put the bannetons in the proofer for 30 minutes before covering them with a shower cap and placing them in the fridge for 15 hours. This timing doesn't have to be exact. They can stay in the fridge between 14-20 hours without being overproved. Just be sure of the temperature inside your fridge to be around 4-5ºC.
  12. [Day 3, Sunday, 9:00] Score. Before scoring you need to heat the oven with a baking stone inside until it reaches 270ºC. This takes about 45 minutes for me. Under the stone, I place some lava rocks in an old pan that I'll use to create steam.
    Take the dough out from the fridge and reverse the banneton on a pizza peel. I use a custom made one covered with linen that slides in the oven. Score the bread with an incision of 1-2cm deep.  Immediately after, slide the loaves into the oven.
  13. Bake in the preheated oven at 270ºC on the hot stone for 15 minutes. For steaming, I pour 150g of hot water on the hot lava rocks to create steam. Close the oven door as quickly as possible to capture the steam inside. Be careful at this step as the hot steam can cause burns. As a trick, I use a teapot to pour water far from the hand.
    No ventilator is turned on in the oven in this first phase as I need to keep the steam inside the oven.. 
  14. After these 15 minutes, I reduce the temperature to 230ºC, turn on the ventilator of the oven to release the steam and continue to bake for 30 minutes.     
  15. [Day 3, Sunday, 9:45] Cool. The bread needs to cool for at least 2 hours until it reaches the room temperature. The cooking process continues slowly even after taking the bread out of the oven, so this is why it is important to not skip this step and to resist cutting it too early. If you can, of course...
  16. [Day 3, Sunday, 11:45] Cut. Now is the big moment to see the crumb after cutting. Can you resist tasting it? 


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