This sourdough bread is one of my new favorites. Even though it’s 100% sourdough, the bread can be made in one day (albeit you must start early). The bread has a wonderful fruity sourdough tang.
The dough for this bread is 80% hydration. What does that mean? It’s really wet and sticky. In order to get the dough to come together and be workable, I used the “stretch and fold” method. It really is an amazing thing to see the dough come together so that it can develop lovely pockets of air.
Whenever I write about this method, I usually send you to Peter Reinhart’s excellent video here. If you’re a total bread geek (like me), I think you’d like Craig Ponsford’s demonstration too. Go to the 4:40 mark on this video to see the “stretch and fold” method.
This bread contains a blend of bread flour, whole spelt, and a mix of different grains. Because I had some on hand, I used King Arthur Flour’s 9-grain blend, but you could easily use a blend of whole wheat, barley, oat, and rye flours. If you can’t find barley or oat flours, just play around with whole wheat and rye, or whatever you can find, until you find a blend that you like.
Although my bread did expand in the oven, I think I should have put it into the oven just a bit earlier. This dough rose much more quickly than I expected during the second rise. Check out the Finger Dent Test video here on Ken Forkish’s site for tips on how to know when your loaves are ready for the oven. He also has a great video on how to shape the loaves.
Dough scraper, bench knife, 12 quart dough rising bucket or large wide bowl, 9-inch bowls (2) or brotforms, and a baking stone or 2 Dutch ovens. You don’t “need” all of this stuff, but they do make it easier.
Multi-grain and Spelt 100% Sourdough Boule
430 grams 100% active hydration sourdough starter
750 grams bread flour
150 grams whole spelt flour
100 grams of a mixture of whole wheat, whole rye, and other flours
700 grams bottled or filtered water
20 grams salt
- Stir the starter, flours, and water together in a large bowl or bucket until everything is blended, about 3 to 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for about an hour.
- Add the salt, and using your wet hands, pinch the salt into the dough, alternately mixing the dough with your hands, and pinching the dough with your fingers. Do this until you feel the dough develop a little tension.
- Let it rise, covered with plastic, at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stretch and fold, and cover again. Stretch and fold two more times, at 30 minute intervals. Let the dough continue to rise until nearly doubled, about another 90 to 120 minutes.
- Lightly flour a work surface, and scrape the dough out of the bowl/bucket.
- With a wet bench knife, divide the dough into two pieces.
- Loosely shape the dough the pieces into two balls, cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rest for about 15 minutes.
- Flour two brotforms or line two bowls with floured dishtowels.
- Shape the dough into boules and place them, seam side up, in the bowls. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
- Prepare the oven for steam by placing a baking stone on a lower rack and a broiler pan underneath it. You will be tossing hot water into the broiler pan right after placing the loaves in the oven. If you’d rather go the Dutch oven route, see this post for instructions. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- When the loaves are ready, turn them out onto peel or the back of a baking sheet lined with good parchment paper. Slash, and slide the loaves, parchment and all, onto the stone. Place one cup of boiling water into the broiler pan and immediately shut the oven door. Turn the oven down to 475 degrees F.
- After 20 minutes, pull the parchment out from under the breads and reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Bake for approximately another 30 to 40 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches about 205 to 210 degrees F.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.