Looking for an easy, light, everyday bread that lasts through the week and give you chewy moist goodness? Well, look no further! Although I enjoy a healthier version for weekday breakfasts, like the multigrain sourdough which has a lot of nutritious grains and seeds, this recipe is a crowd pleaser. It's not too sour, has a decent amount of whole grain, and can be made within a day. And it makes the best grilled cheese -- crusty crisp exterior with moist and slightly chewy breadiness inside!
Why sourdough? The slow-rising process helps the grains break down better in your body and make them more digestible, and according to my dietitian, helps the body absorb nutrients more efficiently. These are all great reasons to eat sourdough, wouldn't you say?
Lately I've been really into whole spelt flour for its versatility in baked goods and high protein content. So to make things easier, I've stopped buying rye and whole wheat flour. That means my sourdough culture is now a mutt (ha!) because I feed him whole spelt flour even though he was born from rye flour. And as usual, I feed him twice, at about 3 hour intervals, before starting a recipe.
This recipe comes from the ever reliable Wild Yeast Blog. I adapted it for me by just making half the recipe, which makes one loaf, using only all-purpose flour and whole spelt flour, and slightly increasing the whole grain quota. I closely follow Susan's technique of folding the dough -- the more you do this, the larger the holes and 'open crumb' in the bread. Although I have occasionally skipped the folding and it still produces good bread, for best results, fold 2 times!
Adapted from The Wild Yeast Blog
410g all purpose flour
100g whole spelt flour
180g sourdough starter*
312g whey** or water, at room temperature
1. Add the flours, sourdough starter and water/whey to a large bowl and mix for a minute. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
2. Then add salt and knead for 10 minutes by hand or 4-5 minutes in a stand mixer. The dough should be elastic and slightly sticky. Cover with a tea towel and let rest in a warm place.
3. After 50 minutes, stretch and fold the dough over itself in four directions. Cover and repeat folds again after another 50 minutes, and then lastly again after another 50 minutes.
4. After the last fold, shape the dough on a floured surface and allow to rest in a tea towel lined bowl/basket that has a good sprinkling of flour all around (so that the dough won't stick) for 2 - 2 1/2 hours covered, until rinsen.
5. Preheat the oven to 475F or 260C with a baking stone or baking sheet. Once the oven has reached its temperature, overturn the dough onto a parchment paper sprinkled with flour or semolina or corn meal. Adjust the shape if needed, and slash the top of the bread. Place in the oven on the stone/baking sheet along with 10-12 ice cubes thrown in the bottom of the oven. Bake at 475F or 260C for 10 minutes, open the door for a second to release some heat, then reduce heat to 450F or 230C and bake further for 15 - 18 minutes. A thermometer inserted into the center of the bread should read over 100C. Leave the bread in the oven with the oven door ajar for 5 minutes. Then cool completely before slicing.
*I use a whole grain sourdough starter that I feed twice (at 3-4 hour intervals) before working with a recipe.
**Whey is the leftover liquid when making paneer or other cheese. I often have a lot on hand and use it in oatmeal, breads, smoothies and anywhere else I can think of because it's high in protein!