- 270g ripe starter
- 345ml warm water (250-350ml)
- 500g flour (e.g 125g spelt + 375g hard white, or whatever, use more water if using whole wheat, e.g. 100g ww, 100g spelt, 300g white)
- 13g salt (2.5 tsp)
The recipe is very flexible and fool proof as long as you adjust the time to work for your starter, which needs to have been fed and expanded when used. I use 90g starter, 90g water, 90g flour. I usually feed it in the morning so that I can make the bread dough in the evening/late afternoon (and cook the following morning).
Combine ingredients loosely with a spoon. Start with dissolving the water and salt into the starter. Let the dough rest for 20min covered, do a “stretch a fold” , rest 20min more minutes covered, then rest and fold again, then rest 20min and one final stretch and fold.
Leave the dough proof somewhere warm. It should at least double in size, but if it’s warm, it can grow much more. It usually takes about 4-5 hours depending on the starter and the temperature. It’s important to put the dough in fridge after, say overnight, but at least a couple of hours, otherwise it’s too soft to make a loaf that holds form.
Punch the dough down, flatten on a table and get any bubbles out. Fold and make a ball with tension in the surface, shape into a loaf and close off the seam. Poke gently with a finger, it should spring back almost immediately. Let proof for ~45min (poke with a finger, and it should spring back, but not nearly as fast; it can take up to 2 hours).
Heat oven to 425F not convection. Heat a cast iron skillet (or some other vessel with good heat capacity) in the oven, as well as the surface on which the bread will cook.
Make slashes on the bread to let it expand (2-3cm deep). Add 1 cup of boiling water to the skillet. Place bread in (hurry to trap the steam) and cook for 15min. Then remove the skillet and let the steam out and cook another 28min. The bread should be edible, with a thin crust. For a thicker crust, lower temp to 275F convection, and cook another 45min.
Let it cool down before slicing, ideally more than an hour!
To make baguettes instead, make 2 baguettes (make a normal loaf, with a seam on the bottom, and keep making the loaf longer, about 40cm). Heat oven to 450F with pan for water. Make 2-5 diagonal cuts on top, and place in oven with 1 cup of boiling water into the pan. After 10min of steam, lower to 425F, remove steam pan, cook another 15min (total of 25min), then lower to 275F convection for 20 min. Cool before eating. Best baguette ever.