Hearty Holiday Artisan Loaf
Served at fall and winter holiday meals, this loaf aims to be both complementary and contrasting to the star of the dinner. Rye adds hearty whole grain notes, which work well with the textures and flavors of Organic Expresso and Edison flours; it also brings out this loaf’s underlying fruity sourdough tartness. The crumb is toothsome yet light, so you can enjoy more than one slice with your meal.
24 hours 43 minutes
For the levain:
1 tablespoon (20g) active sourdough starter, recently fed at 100% hydration
2 tablespoons (40g) dark rye flour
1/3 cup (64g) water
For the final dough:
1½ cups (305g) Organic Expresso flour
2/3 cup (132g) dark rye flour (or rye flour of your choice)
½ cup (80g) Organic Edison flour
1 2/3 (370g) water
2 teaspoons (11g) sea salt
Optional: 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
- Make the levain: Refresh your sourdough starter. If it has been in the refrigerator, take it out, let it "wake up" at room temperature, and feed 1 part flour of your choice plus 1 part water. Use to make levain within 12 hours.
- Depending on your schedule, make the levain either the night before or the morning of the final dough preparation day. Mix together the starter, flour, and water until no dry flour remains. Let the mixture ferment until doubled in size, 6-8 hours.
- Make the final dough: About 1 hour before your levain is ready to be used, mix together the flours for the final dough, the water, and the salt into a shaggy homogenized dough. Let rest until ready to mix the final dough.
- Once the levain is ready, incorporate it into the shaggy dough using your method of choice, either by hand or in an electric stand mixer. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap and leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
- After the first 30-40 minutes, fold the dough: lift the dough from one side and fold to the opposite side. Do this all around like you are wrapping a parcel. Alternatively, you may use a coil fold.
- Cover the dough and let ferment another 30 minutes.
- Repeat the folds for a total of 3 times during the first 2 hours of fermentation.
- Once all the folds are complete, cover the dough and let rest for about 3-3.5 hours at room temperature (72-74°F). If your kitchen is cooler, add another 30 minutes to the bulk fermentation time. The total fermentation time will be 5-5.5 hours.
- Transfer the dough from the bowl to a clean work surface.
- Pre-shape into a "boule" (ball) and allow to rest covered for 25 minutes.
- While the dough is bench-resting, prepare the proofing baskets ("banetton") by generously sprinkling them with rice flour. If rice flour is not available, use any wheat flour.
- Do the final shaping of your dough, turning it into either boule or batard (oblong) shape, depending on the shape of your banetton.
- Gently transfer the loaf into the banetton seam side up (smooth side down).
- Cover and place into the refrigerator for an overnight cold proof. Alternatively, you may choose to proof the dough at room temperature for 1.5-2 hours, or until it springs back slowly when gently poked.
- An hour before baking, preheat the oven to 480°F.
- Place your baking vessel, such as Dutch oven, on a rack positioned in the center of the oven. If using a baking stone, preheat with the baking stone in, positioned in the bottom third of the oven.
- Sprinkle the upward-facing, "seam" of your proofed dough with rice flour and invert the banetton onto the sheet of parchment paper.
- Using a lame, an old-fashioned double-edge razor blade, or a sharp knife, score the top of the loaf in your favorite way.
- Remove the hot Dutch oven from the oven and gently slide the loaf from the parchment paper into your Dutch oven. Cover with a lid, and bake at 480°F for 24 minutes.
- After the 24 minutes of baking under the lid, lower the oven temperature to 450°F, remove the lid, and bake for 18-20 minutes until the loaf has reached your desired color and the internal temperature is 205-210°F.
- Transfer the finished loaf to a wire cooling rack and let it cool for a minimum of 2 hours before slicing.
Because all rye flours are different, you may need to add a bit more water (½ tablespoon, or 10g at a time) to the dough during the mixing to prevent it from being too dense. Also, at 25% rye content, your crumb will be even, but not necessarily as open as other sourdough loaves.
The length of your proofing will determine how sour your loaf ends up being.