Masa Madre Bread (sourdough)



I've been making sourdough for a while now, and I find that you only need one good recipe to make endless types of loaves. 

This recipe is the base I use for all my sourdough. All I do to customize the loaves is add whatever ingredient(s) I please to an amount that feels right. It's the perfect mix of baking science and intuition. For the loaf pictured above, I added turmeric until I was pleased with the color.

Using Different Flours

If you want to replace some of the bread flour with other types, it's best to start by replacing 25%. When making bread, you want to use flour high in gluten. You can still use flours like buckwheat, einkorn, and teff—however, it's best to use these flours in small amounts so that the bread stays light with an open crumb. When starting at the 25% margin, you're more likely to end up with a delicious loaf. Once you know the results, you can better adjust the recipe to your liking.


Bread Schedule

Typically, a loaf of sourdough takes a minimum of 2-3 days to make. I usually feed my starter the night before and mix the dough the following morning. I give it four folds and let it bulk rise. Once that is done, I shape the loaves and ferment them in the fridge until the morning. 


I've found that letting the loaves ferment overnight in the fridge leads to more flavor and more rise in the oven. Scoring cold loaves is also easier than at room temperature. It's a win-win situation.


Make it a Spell

When it comes down to it, any recipe can be adjusted and crafted into your little spell. So why not make a magical sourdough loaf? You can scatter the dough with cracked pepper for protection. You can add rosemary for remembrance. You can toss in preserved lemon rind for cleansing. Just have fun with it! Whenever you add in these additions, use your feeling rather than measuring. As you fold the dough, call forth what you desire.


Another way you can put intention into your bread is by using symbols. Carve something meaningful to you onto the surface of the dough—get creative! Scoring takes some practice (I'm not very good at it yet), but it's a little touch that can make all the difference.


Get Familiar with the Dough

Bread-making doesn't require a lot of skill or experience at all! All you need is to understand how to read the dough and a little bit of patience. 


When I say read the dough, I mean look for queues. If your bread isn't rising, move it to a warm area within your home. When folding the dough, notice how it becomes more smooth. When shaping the bread, feel how it becomes tense in your hands. 


There is joy in making something by loosely following a recipe or using none at all. I hope you can use this base recipe to create the loaf of bread you've been craving. At some point, you won't need to reference this recipe, as you'll have it down to memory and feeling.





RECIPE:
Yield: one large loaf, or two small loaves

Equipment:
  • Banneton, or a makeshift banneton (kitchen towels and kitchen bowls)
  • bench scraper
  • bread lame
  • dutch oven
Ingredients:
  • 380g warm water water
  • 100g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 500g bread flour
  • 11g salt
  • rice flour (for dusting)

Mixing the dough:
  • In a large mixing bowl, pour in warm water and the ripe starter, whisk together until the starter dissolves.
  • Add the bread flour to the bowl, and mix with a rubber spatula to start and finish mixing with your hands. The dough will be shaggy.
  • Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let it rest for 1 hour.
  • After an hour, add the salt and pour a small amount (about 1-2 tsp.) of water on top of the salt to help it dissolve. Squeeze the salt into the dough and mix by hand using a kneading motion. You'll want to continue kneading until the dough is smooth.
  • Once your dough is mixed, place it into a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let it rest for 30 minutes before starting the folding process.
Folding:
  • You will need to complete 4 folds, one every 30 minutes or one every hour, depending on your schedule.
  • To complete a fold, you will need to pull one portion of the dough up and stretch it towards the center, lighting pressing the dough down with your fingers. Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the process with the remaining three sides. It should look like a neat package. Cover and set aside.
  • Set a timer for 30 minutes and complete the 2nd fold. If you want to add mix-ins, this is the time to do it. The add-ins will get incorporated as you do the 3rd and 4th fold.
Bulk rise:
  • Once you have completed the folds, leave the dough in a warm place to rise until doubled. It may take anywhere from 5-8 hours.
Pre-shape:
  • You can either make one large loaf or split the dough in half to make two smaller loaves. 
  • Flour the top of the dough and turn it over onto a clean work surface. You don't need to pull on the dough gravity should release it from the bowl. 
  • Keep one area of your work surface lightly floured and another side without flour.
  • Cut the dough in half, or keep it as is. Move the dough to the floured area of the work surface.
  • With the dough in front of you, pull the farthest side of the dough up and towards you. Move that portion to the middle of the dough and push down. Turn the dough clockwise and repeat. Pull the farthest side towards you and to the center of the dough. Continue until you work your way back to where you started. Your dough should look like a circle.
  • Using a bench scraper flip the dough seam side down onto the non-floured surface.
  • Lay the dough in front of you. Cup your hands on the farthest side of the dough and drag the dough towards you. Turn the dough clockwise and continue this motion until you've worked your way around the perimeter of the dough. Be gentle as you do not want to tear the dough. If the dough sticks to the surface, lightly drag it through the floured surface and continue shaping it. 
  • The dough should feel tense and look round. Pick up the dough with your bench scraper and place it back to the floured side. Cover the loave(s) with a damp towel to rest for 15 minutes.
Preparing the banneton:
  • If you have a banneton, flour it with rice flour evenly and set it aside.
  • If you don't have a banneton (like me!) you can make your own easily! Take a kitchen bowl that will fit your loaf and line it with a clean kitchen towel made of cotton.
  • Using a small sifter, sprinkle rice flour on the entire surface of the kitchen towel. Tap out any excess flour.
Final shape:
  • To do the final shape, repeat the same steps from the pre-shape.
  • Flip the dough seam-side up onto the floured surface and pull the farthest portion up and towards you, push it into the middle of the dough. Give the dough a clockwise turn and continue until you have worked your way around the perimeter.
  • Flip the dough seam-side down onto the non-floured surface. Drag it towards you with cupped hands. Give the dough a clockwise turn and continue to drag to dough on the non-floured surface until it becomes tense and round.
  • Using a bench scraper transfer the shaped dough into the banneton, seam-side up. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and place it in the fridge overnight, or up to 48 hours.
Baking the bread:
  • Place the dutch oven into the center rack of the oven and preheat it to 450F°. 
  • Take a piece of parchment paper and cut it into a large circle. You want the parchment paper to be larger than the loaf so that you can pick up the edges and transfer it to the dutch oven.
  • Once the oven preheats, remove your loaf from the fridge and flip it onto the parchment paper.
  • Lightly flour the top of the loaf with rice flour (all-purpose works too.) and brush off any excess.
  • Use a bread lame to score the dough with your preferred design. Make sure that you are doing so at an angle. You only need to score about ¼"- ½ " deep.
  • Remove the dutch oven from the oven and take off the lid. Use the excess parchment paper as handles to pick up the loaf and place it into the dutch oven. (parchment paper and everything).
  • Place the lid back on and carefully put the dutch oven back into the center of the oven.
  • Set a timer and bake for 30 minutes at 450F°. 
  • Once your timer goes off, pull the dutch oven out and remove the lid. Transfer the dutch oven back into the center of the oven and reduce the temperature to 425F°. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes.
  • Once done, allow the bread to cool completely before slicing. If you must cut into the bread before that, wait at least 2 hours.
  • This loaf stays fresh at room temperature for a few days. It also lasts in the freezer for about 3 months.
Enjoy! If you made this recipe post it to Instagram Instagram free icon using the #ingrainedkitchen hashtag and mentioning @ingrainedkitchen


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