Neville Chun's Sourdough
Pain au Levain (natural leaven bread)
Day 1 – make the preferment the evening before
13g active mother starter
65g white flour
Stir sourdough into water then add flour. Stir to form a thick smooth wet mixture (batter like). This type of preferment is called a ‘poolish’. Cover and leave at room temp overnite, around 10-12 hours
The preferment will be very active and bubbly (see photo). To test ripeness, drop a bit into a glass of water. If it floats, its ready to use
Day 2 – make the main dough (62% hydrated)
320g white flour
40g rye flour or whole wheat flour or mix of both
2g (pinch) diastatic malt
Add water to preferment, stir to loosen. Add flours and stir until shaggy and all water has combined
Cover with a damp tea towel and let rest 40-60 minutes (autolyse)
Add salt and combine/knead (see Ken Forkish’s Youtube video)
Place into a large bowl, cover and let bulk prove until double in size (2-3 hours depending on temperature and how active your mother starter is)
When bulk proved, tip out on to bench
Reframe from flattening the dough, handle gently to preserve its light airy texture. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rest for 15 minutes (allows dough to relax and make shaping easier)
Shape loaf as required
Place into a banneton, cover with a damp tea towel and let final prove (3-4 hours depending on temperature and how active your mother starter is).
There are method options at this stage to place the banneton into the fridge overnight and let the loaf prove slowly at a low temperature (retard). In the morning you bring the loaf out and bake.
Preheated hot oven 240C
Recommend you use the Dutch Oven (DO) method for best results
The DO method …
Preheat oven & DO to 240C for at least 40mins
With oven gloved hands remove the hot DO from oven & place on to a wooden board
The proved loaf from your banneton is knocked out & placed in the DO. Give it a good misting with cold water
Put the lid back on and into oven
Bake for 20mins. Do NOT lift the lid off the loaf during this period
After 20mins remove the lid. Continue baking loaf for a further 15-20mins to develop crust colour. Longer you bake, darker the crust & flavour (don't worry loaf will not burn)
When desired crust colour is reached, take the loaf out of oven, off the skillet & on to a cooling rack to cool down & admire.
Probably the most satisfying part of the process, baking the loaves. Every baker has their own unique style. I like to bake my loaves quite dark. The dark caramelised crust permeates the crumb for a deeper rich flavour. So you are baking sourdough, don’t be scared to let it bake an extra 15 minutes for a deeper, rich flavour for crust and crumb. You can’t burn a loaf, it wont catch fire! Typically sourdough breads are baked at 240C for around 30-40mins +. For home bakers to replicate the baking properties of a commercial baking oven – bake your loaves using the dutch oven (DO) method. Your loaves will come out as good or even better than using a commercial bakers oven.