Letting the fridge do the work results in a delicious loaf of no knead sourdough made with minimum effort
I love making sourdough, especially the moment of discovery when the lid of the cloche is removed, half way through baking, giving me the first view of the results of my efforts. How does the loaf look? How is the oven spring? Over or under proved? Or even just right? It’s always a slightly nerve-racking time for a relatively infrequent baker like me, but so satisfying when everything comes together into a loaf I can be satisfied with.
Sourdough does take time, albeit most of which is hands off while I leave the dough to do its thing; either the bulk rise or proof, but I do need to be around at the right time, so a bit of planning is necessary. My starter and the ambient temperatures in my kitchen mean that my bulk raising time is about 4 to 6 hours, depending on the time of year, and a proofing time of a couple of hours, so I plan my day around these timings.
While these timings can work around a day working at home, it’s not the most convenient if I’m not at home. I therefore wanted to try an ultra slow raise. I mixed flour, ripe leaven and most of the water and left for an hour at room temperature. Then I added the salt dissolved into the few mililitres of water that I had kept back, and folded that into the dough.
I then transferred the dough to the fridge and left it to rise for 24 hours. During this time, it roughly doubled in volume.
I turned out the dough, formed a boule and let it rest on the counter for a few minutes, then transferred it to a well floured (with rye flour) banneton, which I covered, and returned to the fridge.
I left the loaf to proof for 12 hours, before baking. I bake in a cloche, pre-heated in a hot oven before the loaf is placed inside. After about 20 minutes, the lid is removed – the great moment of reveal, as mentioned above – and I get my first sight of the loaf. Another 20 minutes until it sounds hollow, and then take it out and let it cool for a few hours before cutting a slice: the next great discovery, when I find out the quality of the crumb.
I was really satisfied with this loaf: definitely sourdough, with a distinct but not overwhelming sour note to the flavour, a soft crumb with a well developed crust. The advantages of the extra slow raise is the longer time that the flavours have to develop, which really showed in this loaf.
Slow raise no knead sourdough
- 80 g Ripe sourdough leaven
- 280 ml Water
- 200 g Strong white bread flour
- 200 g Malted brown bread flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- Add the salt to 30ml (2 tbsp) of water. Stir well to dissolve the salt.
- Mix the leaven into the remaining water. Add the flour and mix with your hands into a rough dough.
- Leave the dough for one hour at room temperature. Then add the salt solution and knead the dough a few times to incorporate it.
- Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 24 hours
- Remove the dough from the fridge, and form into a round loaf by stretching and folding. Rest the formed loaf on the countertop, seam side down, for about 10 minutes.
- Liberally coat a banneton with gluten free flour, such as rye flour. Transfer the dough to the banneton, seam side up. Cover, or place inside a large plastic bag, and place back in the fridge
- Leave to proof for 12 hours.
- Heat a large casserole, dutch oven or baking cloche in the oven at 220C. Transfer the dough, and bake for 20 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid for the second half of baking.
- Use up leftover sourdough leaven in our leftover leaven loaf.
I definitely think that the fridge will play a much greater part in my breadmaking. The extra time really gives a full and satisfying flavour with surprisingly little hands on time. All I have to do is to plan enough to start my loaf sufficiently far in advance of needing it.
Love sourdough? Then check out my Honey and Rye Loaf!