Whether you’re still nervous to try making sourdough or you’re looking to refine your process, Chef Dennis MacDonald is sharing his recipe for a no-fuss sourdough loaf…well, reduced fuss. This recipe is formulated to give you a predictable schedule so that you have more time for extra curriculars and less time stuck inside your house doing stretch and folds all morning!
First off, Starter maintenance. I use the “scrapings” method where I feed what’s left in the jar after weighing off for the dough. It really cuts down on the blobs that invade your fridge when you have too much starter around. A bubbly healthy starter is a must! I basically keep a small jar with about 15 grams in it. Feed the 55g of water and 55g of flour the night before. When I weigh off my 100g for the dough, the leftover “scrapings” represent the seeder starter ready to be fed the same amount of flour and water.
If you wanted to bake sourdough every day you can simply leave the scrapings jar on the counter all day after you weigh off your starter in the morning. Then, feed it in the evening and continue the process without having to pitch any of it! I have a 1L Camwear® Round with a tight fitting lid that I use for this as if it got knocked off the counter it’s perfectly safe. No broken glass!
Feed only a small amount of starter with substantially more flour and water allows a feeding the night before and finishes getting charged by the morning; aim for a 9 hour fermentation window.
I feed at 10pm and it’s ready by 7am for party time.
The Night Before Feeding:
Scrapings from jar (15g)
55g AP Flour
100g Bubbly Starter
388g AP Flour
- Mix starter with water in the bowl to break it up. Add flour and salt and mix until there are no dry lumps.
- Cover and rest for 10 minutes.
- Knead for a few more minutes until the surface becomes smooth. It will be less tacky, too. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
- Now, for the lamination. Lightly wet the table, this will help the dough stick as you stretch it out. Turn out the dough onto the table and work the edges out as far as you can. If any tears occur it’s no biggie, we’re going to shape it back into a tight ball anyway. Now, fold the dough into thirds top to bottom then into thirds left to right. Flip over and shape back into a tight ball by pulling the edges into yourself with both hands.
- Place into a sealed container for a 6 hour rest. I like to use Camwear Rounds for this because the measurement lines give you a good indicator when the dough has almost doubled in size!
- Next, it’s time for the final shape. It’s a strange thing to try and explain because there is a lot of “feel” involved. There are many videos on YouTube demonstrating but, for simplicity sake, you can still achieve a beautiful loaf by just shaping it into a tall rectangle, folding the left side over just past the middle and doing the same with the right side.
- Now, gently but firmly roll the front back towards yourself leaving the seam at the bottom of the loaf. Give it a little drag towards yourself, pulling the surface taunt, and there you have it.
- Place seam side up into either a banneton dusted with rice flour (it doesn’t clump when it gets wet from the dough) or shape into a ball and put into a bowl lined with a kitchen towel dusted with rice flour. Always make sure the seam side is up. When you flip it over to bake you want the seam on the bottom to hold the tight surface causing better oven spring.
- Leave on the counter uncovered for 1.5 hours then into the fridge overnight.
- You can get technical with fridge fermenting times producing a wide array of flavors and outcomes, but for simplicity just bake when you wake up!
- Preheat your oven with a Dutch oven inside to 430°F for at least an hour; make sure it’s super-hot! If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can still get a beautiful loaf of bread by creating the same environment with a steel bowl on top of a sheet pan. You want a flat fit so it can catch steam for the first 30 minutes of baking. Just heat the bowl and sheet pan up the same and follow the steps in the recipe.
- When ready to bake, remove the loaf from the fridge. I like to score it on a piece of parchment that fits inside my Dutch oven. It makes it super easy to transport the loaf to the pot.
- With a razor or sharp knife make a shallow cut from front to back. Lift the parchment into the pot, replace the lid and fire it into the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take the lid off (admire that spring!) and put back into the oven for 20 more minutes to finish up and deepen the color!
- Voila! You made it! It’s best to let it cool completely before you slice into it but good luck waiting. It smells pretty amazing.
- Happy cooking!