Basic Open Crumb Sourdough Bread (Medium Hydration)

by - August 31, 2020

Basic Open Crumb Sourdough Bread (Medium Hydration)

Basic Open Crumb Sourdough Bread (Medium Hydration)


I rebaked this bread that I baked a year ago with an improved recipe.  You can refer to the archived recipe at the bottom of the post if you would like to see the old recipe.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.


Recipe - Basic Open Crumb Sourdough Bread 


INGREDIENTS:

240g bread flour (I used Japanese high gluten flour) - 80%
60g whole wheat flour - 20%
224g water  – 77% final hydration
6g sea salt - 2%
60g active sourdough starter (100% hydration) – 20%
  • Please reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go as each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 
  • Banneton (proofing basket)'s size - 6.5" oval shape
  • Ambient temperature after adding in levain:  26C - 27C 
  • Total bulk fermentation:  5 hours & 20 minutes
METHOD:
  1. Feed starter - Feed ratio of 1:1:1, keep at room temperature (28C – 30C) and wait until tripled, around 3 – 5 hours.  Please feed your starter at the ratio that fit your schedule as long as the starter is at its peak when use.  It is advisable to refresh your starter few times before building the levain.
  2. Autolyse – While waiting for starter, mix flour and water, stir until there is no more dry flour with hand then a spatula.   Cover and leave for 1 to 2 hours.
  3. Levain – Wet your hand, add in 60g levain to the dough and hand mixing until incorporated, about 5 minutes.  I incorporated with Rubaud method to mix and kneading.  Cover and rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Salt - Pour on top of the dough, wet your hand and dimpling and mix in the sea salt to the dough.  If you feel the dough very stiff, then all in the balance of the water.  It takes about 4 - 5 minutes until it is fully incorporated.  I incorporated with Rubaud method to mix and kneading.  Cover and rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Stretch and Fold (S&F)  - Stretch and fold will help to develop more gluten.  
    1. Long S&F 1 – Long stretch and fold like bench fold.  But, in the bowl.  Round up, cover and rest for about 30 - minutes or until dough spread. 
    2. Long S&F 2 – Repeat the same.  Transfer the dough to a pyrex square dish.  Round up, cover and rest for 30 - 45 minutes or until dough spread.
  6. Coil Fold - You may need more than 3 coil folds if the dough is weak and spread alot.
    1. Coil Fold 1 -  At this stage, the dough is still weak and extensible.  Fold the dough in the dish. Cover and rest for about 30 - 45 minutes or until dough spreads.
    2. Coil Fold 2 -  At this stage the dough still extensible but stronger compare with the dough  before the 1st coil fold.  Fold the dough in the dish.  Cover and rest for about 45 - 60 minutes or until dough spreads.
    3. Coil Fold 3 -  At this stage, the dough is quite strong and not so extensible and will be the last coil fold.  However, if the dough is still quite extensible and spread a lot, then you will need one more coil fold.   Fold the dough in the dish.  Cover and rest for 60 - 90 minutes or until dough rise 50% in size since you added the levain.  The dough should look puffy.  It should jiggling when you slightly shake it.  This is the end of bulk fermentation.   The total fermentation time is 5 hours 20 minutes. 
  7. Shaping -   Flour the counter top.  Shape and transfer to a  flour banneton.  
  8. Proofing - Proof at room temperature for 10 - 15 minutes.  
  9. Retard - Then retard overnight in the fridge (4C) for 12 - 16 hours.  This bread is about 15 hours.
  10. Baking -  
    1. Preheat oven with the dutch oven (cast iron) at 250C for 30 minutes before baking.
    2. Take bread dough out from the fridge, invert onto a parchment paper and scoring.(Slash the dough approximately 0.5 inches deep at 45-degree angle).  Immediately transfer the dough with the parchment paper to your preheated dutch oven.
    3. Bake with cover on at 250C (top & bottom heat) for 20 minutes.  Remove the cover and lower the temperature to 230C (top & bottom heat) continue bake for another 10 - 15 minutes.
    4. Remove bread from oven and dutch oven. Let it cool on rack completely before slicing.


GENERAL NOTES

HYDRATION

The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

SOURDOUGH STARTER

A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  

There are so many ways and methods of how to maintain the starter.  Below is my method of starter maintenance.  This is just for your reference. Please try and find a way or schedule that works best for you.

I bake almost everyday.  So, my starter is left at room temperature and I feed it twice a day  at its peak when it is tripled.  

Example
10.00 am - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 27C - 28C
9.00 pm - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 25C - 26C 

I feed a very small amount of 1g starter + 10g water + 10g flour if I am not baking, so that I will not end up with too much discard.  When I bake, I feed the starter accordingly to make up the quantity required by the recipe to be baked. If I know that I won't be baking for a few days, I will then feed it only once a day at 1:1:1, transfer to the fridge when it is doubled, and feed again 24 hours later.

If you do not bake daily or if you bake perhaps once or twice a week, then you may place your starter in the fridge and feed once a week.  But, you will need to refresh your starter around 2 days before the baking day. There is no way around this, sourdough baking takes planning! 

How I judge my starter is healthy?  My starter usually tripled in size (or at least double) in within 3 - 4 hours at room temperature (27C - 28C) for feeding ratio of (1:1:1 = starter:water:flour)

When is a starter at its peak?  My sourdough starter is usually at its peak when it is tripled in the jar. The surface of my starter looks bubbling and uneven.  The starter will not collapse when you tap the jar.  If the starter falls it means it has already past its peak.  It usually stays at its peak within 30 - 60 minutes before it starts to reduce/fall.  

Why use starter at its peak?  This is when the starter is most active and it will result in a better rise for your bread in general.  By the way, you can use when it is doubled/before its peak too.  But, not it starts to fall.

BULK FERMENTATION

Bulk fermentation starts when you add in levain to the dough and ends when the dough is ready for shaping.  

TEMPERATURE DURING BULK FERMENTATION

Ambient temperature plays a very important part in sourdough baking.  It will affect the dough temperature and eventually affect your fermentation time.  The cooler ambient temperature will extend the fermentation time.  The greater degree of proof, the stronger the dough will be as explained by Trevor J. Wilson. 

The ambient temperature that worked for me is between 25C - 26C and bulk fermentation time is between 4.5 hours to 5.5 hours.  At the end of bulk fermentation, my dough would have increased 50% in volume.   The dough should look puffy.  It should jiggling when you slightly shake it.  This is the end of bulk fermentation.  

But, my kitchen ambient temperature (without air-conditioner) was 29C - 30C.  So, I have to bring down the temperature. 

How to bring down ambient temperature?
  1. Air-conditioner room - Rest the dough in air-conditioner room during bulk fermentation.  I used this option sometimes.  I turned on my air-conditioner when I added in levain and try to maintain temperature between 25C - 26C.
  2. Home oven (that's turned off) -  Place ice cooler packs inside along with an ambient temperature thermometer.  Then place your dough during bulk fermentation in the oven. Keep an eye on that thermometer and try to keep between 25C - 26C.

DOUGH STRENGTH AND EXTENSIBILITY

Too strong (tension or elastic) dough will take a longer time to increase (proof) in volume.  So too strong dough may not have good oven spring and open crumb.  While too weak dough (extensibility) dough may not hold it shape and rise with good oven spring too.  

So over-working the dough (too strong dough) or under-working (weak dough) may affect the crumb structure and oven spring.  

The number of coil folds is not fixed and very much depends on the strength and extensibility of the dough.  

As demonstrated in an experiment by Kristen (Full Proof Baking) the over-worked dough rose super tall but was smaller in overall size and had a more dense crumb while the control dough rose tall during the oven spring and had a better overall result.

How do we know when it is enough and no more coil folds are needed? 
We usually do 3 coil folds for this method.  However, if by the second coil fold the dough is strong with less extensibility as you lift up a part of the dough then it should be the last coil fold, or just do a half coil folds instead of full. The resistance of the dough to being folded should be an indication to refrain from folding further.

How do we know when to do the next coil fold or stretch & fold?
When the dough spreads. Please do not rely on the time given in the recipe as it is just a guideline.  Please watch your dough and not the clock.  

SALT

You may wonder why most of the recipes asked to add salt after autolyze and adding levain.  Salt will tighten the gluten and make it harder to stretch. 



Archived Recipe

Basic Open Crumb Sourdough Bread

Basic Open Crumb Sourdough Bread



I have been baking Basic Open Crumb Sourdough Bread using the methods learned from Full Proof Baking with a high hydration of around 80% and I am very happy with the results achieved using her method and recipes.  

However, I wanted to explore a slightly different approach with lower hydration recipes. I think a lower hydration dough is easier to handle for a beginner.   My hubby prefers the texture of this bread.  The texture is not as sticky compared with the higher hydration bread that I used to bake.  

Recipe - Basic Open Crumb Sourdough Bread 


Total flour:  300g + 30g (from levain) = 330g

INGREDIENTS:

240g bread flour (I used Japanese high gluten flour) - 80%
36g whole wheat flour - 12%
24g rye flour – 8%
215g water – 74% final hydration
6g sea salt - 2.1%
60g active sourdough starter/levain (100% hydration) – 20%
  • Please reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go as each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 
  • Banneton (proofing basket)'s size - 6.5" oval shape
  • Ambient temperature after adding in levain:  24C - 25C 
  • Total bulk fermentation:  5 hours

METHOD:
  1. Feed starter - Feed ratio of 1:1:1 used at its peak.
  2. Autolyse – 2 hours
  3. Levain –  Add levain and  transfer the dough to a dish. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Stretch and Fold (S&F)  
    1. S&F 1 – Please see the diagram.  Cover and rest for about 30 +- minutes or until dough spread.  Please watch and feel the dough and not the clock.
    2. S&F 2 – Cover and rest for about 30 +- minutes or until dough spread.
    3. S&F 3 – Cover and rest for about 30 +- minutes or until dough spread. 
  5. Coil Fold - You may need more than 2 coil folds if the dough is weak and spread alot.
    1. Coil Fold 1 – Please watch the video. Cover and rest for about 30 +- minutes or until dough spread.
    2. Coil Fold 2 - Repeat the same.  Cover and rest for 60 - 90 minutes or until dough rise 40 - 50% in size.
  6. Shape 
  7. Proof at room temperature -  15 - 20 minutes.  
  8. Retard  - overnight in the fridge for 12 - 16 hours.
  9. Score and bake as usual.
Autolyse

Add In Levain

Stretch and Fold

Coil Fold 

Shape, Proof and Bake

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48 comments

  1. Hello Paws. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I'd love to try it. Sadly, my oven only goes up to 200C. How much baking time should I add?

    Thanks!

    - Vincent

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vincent,

      I have not tried baked at 200C for this bread. I guess you need to bake for another 10 more minutes or until the crust is nicely brown.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
    2. Hello again Paws!

      So I tried this recipe today but sadly my sourdough came out a bit flat with little oven spring. Do you think I Over-proved it? My room temp was 28-30C so I subtracted 20 minutes and also added one more coil fold. during bulk ferment. When It came out of the fridge after 13 hours, it also spread a bit, not like your picture (#13) that kept it shape even after scoring.

      Any help would be great.

      Thanks,

      Vincent

      Delete
    3. Hi, thanks for trying this recipe. I think not because of over proof. If your dough spread then it shown that your dough do not have enough strength. Did you use starter at peaks?

      Delete
    4. Hello Paws!

      Yes, I did. My starter triples and peaks after 3 hours.

      Should I add more coil folds?

      Delete
    5. Yes, you can. You can watch the below Youtube too. But, the below youtube is higher hydration is about 80%

      I learnt my sourdough baking from here:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlJEjW-QSnQ

      Cheers :)

      Delete
    6. Thanks, Paws! I wonder, is there any reason why you skipped the lamination?

      Delete
    7. Hi, thanks for asking. Because this is lower hydration and also lamination works better if you need to add seeds, nuts or dried fruits.
      Cheers :)

      Delete
    8. Thank you! This has been incredibly helpful. I'll remember what you said if ever I decide to add seeds and nuts in the future!

      I've read probably hundreds of recipes and videos and yours was the most helpful since we've similar room temps.

      All the best - Vincent

      Delete
    9. You are most welcome, Vincent. Glad that it helps.
      Cheers :)

      Delete
    10. Hi Paws. It's me again. My batards have slowly improved thanks to you. However, I'm still finding it hard to gauge the bulk ferment time. Similar to your kitchen, my room temp is 28-30C. How many hours does it usually take from adding the levain until I put the dough in the fridge? I've noticed I've gone from 4 up to 5 hours. Sadly, most of the time the dough is very slack sticky and hard to shape. It quickly spreads during final shaping. I've been doing a total of 2 stretch and folds and 6 coil folds with a resting time of atleast 20 mins. My crumb's has gotten better but never open/Lacy as yours.

      I may have misunderstood what you said about hot kitchens. Did you mean make all resting times only 20 mins or subtract 20 mins from total bulk time?

      Lastly, how do you feel about a longer bulk time in the proofing basket?

      Delete
    11. Hi, I usually take this long too. But, I rest my dough in air-cond room for the above mentioned method. If you rest your dough in warm kitchen that should cut down the time. Flour is also important. Some flour don't absorb water and make your dough very wet. Try not to add all water, reserve 10 to 20g aside first and slowly add in later if you think your dough is dry.

      After placing your dough in proofing basket, please proof at room temperature for 10 - 15 minutes. then retard in the fridge. Sometime I straight away put in the fridge after shaping if I find my dough rise a lot.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  2. Helo ms. Paws. Can I double recipe to make two? So 120g levain?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for asking. Yes, of course you can. Just double all the ingredients.
      Cheers :)

      Delete
    2. Thnx! How i know if I need to make more coil fold? Also How big is your banneton? Sorry, many question. - Sonya

      Delete
    3. No worry. You need more coil fold if your dough loses strength and spreads.
      The banneton size is 6.5" oval shape.
      Cheers :)

      Delete
  3. Hello, may I please know which steps in the image are for coil & fold? Is it images 1-9?

    Also, for room temp, is it 25-27 degrees for all the steps besides Step 1? I live in Hong Kong so our climate is very similar :)

    Thanks so much in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe. Please watch the video for coil fold. There is no image for coil fold.
      Room temperature 25-27C - Start from step 3, resting after adding in levain onwards. Bulk fermentation start after adding in the levain.
      For autolyse, any temperature is fine.
      Cheers :)

      Delete
    2. Thank you! Where can I see the coil fold video? Do I just watch a random one on youtbe? Thank you.

      Delete
    3. Hi Jessica,

      I have shared the video on the above post. It is after Stretch and Fold pictures on the above.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
    4. hmm strange I can't seem to see it! maybe an issue with my google chrome :)

      Delete
    5. Maybe try to search coil fold video in Youtube if you still can't find.
      Cheers :)

      Delete
  4. Thank you for sharing, but my dough is very sticky. Is it too wet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for trying. The dough is very sticky at the beginning. It will be stretchy and not so sticky over the time once the gluten is developed. I used high gluten flour which can absorb more water. You can reserve about 20g of water to add in later.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  5. Thank you for sharing, but my dough is very sticky. Is it too wet?

    ReplyDelete
  6. My dough is very sticky, is it too much water?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi many thanks for the recipe. My bread turned out nicely but it was moist inside hence difficult to cut - even made the knife sticky (the bread was left completely cool when I cut it). Could please advise? Many thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Thanks for trying and your feedback. I have the same issue too. I put in the freezer for about 15 - 30 minutes before baking and it helps with the scoring. This is my own method and I do not know whether it is the right way.
      Cheers :)

      Delete
  8. Is it okay that my starter is taking much longer to triple in size?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading and your question. May I know how long did it take? I tried myself with weak starter and my bread did not get nice crumb and oven spring. But, still edible.

      It is good to experiment yourself.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  9. Hi I enjoy following your recipe a lot. Is that ok to autolyze for only 1 hour, and add salt right after adding levain?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading my recipes. It's fine to autolyze for only 1 hour. Yes, it is better add salt after levain. Add in after 30 minutes.

      By right, the proper teaching in Sourdough School (from the book I read) the salt is added after autolyze and adding levain. Salt will tighten the gluten and make it harder to stretch.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  10. Hi bakewithpaws, if I were to double recipe, I double ingredients including starter etc. When do I split the dough, is it after autolyse before stretch&fold? That means I will have 2 bowls of dough. Or after whole S&F and C&F, where I split them into 2 bowls to regard in fridge. I guess the latter defeats the hard work of s&f,c&F! Please advise, as I need to do it tomorrow lol! Thank you so much. Anis Ramli

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe. For experienced bakers they will split after bulk fermentation right away before shaping. But, for beginner like me is better split it before stretch and fold.

      Please read the note about salt.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  11. Hi Bwp. How u? I have a few questions about sourdough bread. (1) you used 30gm bread flour for your levain. So does it mean your natural yeast starter is 30gm and water is 30 gm on a 1:1:1 ratio? And after proofing till triple u measure out 60gm to use in this recipe? What do u do with the balance 30 gm then? Can u add this 30 gm back to your natural yeast starter and keep in fridge? (2) after u remove your proofed dough from fridge (from the banetton) do u need to proof on counter little while or u score immediately and put it to bake while still score. (3) for scoring do u do a deep cut to get the Ear? The banetton basket. Do u dust it with rice flour or bread flour? Finally for your original starter do u use rye flour/whole wheat flour? Can u give the recipe for your original natural yeast starter? Thank you for your kind response. Regards Chloe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Chloe, I am well. Thanks.

      (1) I fed 20g starter + 20g water + 20g bread flour. If you feed more than the required amount the balance will be using as mother starter to continue feeding if you are doing daily feeding for maintenance. The balance will be discard to keep in the fridge.

      (2) I score and then bake immediately after removing from the fridge.

      (3)Take bread dough out from the fridge, invert onto a parchment paper and scoring.(Slash the dough approximately 0.5 inches deep at 45-degree angle). Immediately transfer the dough with the parchment paper to your preheated dutch oven. Please watch the video in this link : https://www.bakewithpaws.com/2019/05/basic-open-crumb-sourdough-bread.html

      I dust with bread flour and sometimes I used AP flour.
      I followed "Full Proof Baking" How to make sourdough from scratch. This method used 14 days.
      You may want to check out Baking with Gina starter.
      https://www.bakingwithgina.com/post/cultivating-your-sourdough-starter

      I hope I have answered all your questions.

      Cheers and stay safe :)

      Delete
  12. Hi. Thanks for quick response. I have a better understanding now. However u mentioned that u do a 1:10:10 for your levain to get a better crumb. So how much is the mother starter then. ? The rest of flour and water is 10 times ? This amount is quite a lot then and what do u do with so much balance since u using only 60gm sourdough starter in your recipe. Do u feed with unbleached bread flour for the levain? Thanks for kind response. Chloe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Chloe,

      I fed 3g starter + 30g water + 30g flour. But, I used only 60g. Some may stick to the jar.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  13. Hibwp. Since u are only using 3gm starter and 30 gm each of flour and water does so little mother starter (3gm only) affect the strength of the levain? Just wondering cos I am still a newbie in sourdough baking. Also for maintenance feeding what kind of flour do use normally use? Thanks for kind response. Chloe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Chole, Thanks for the question. I have been feeding with small amount and so far so good. I use Japan High Gluten Flour. Please stick the same brand if you can. Changes of flour may affect the starter and it will take a while for the starter to get use to the new flour.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  14. Hi hi,
    I'd like to know if I do not have sea salt. Can I use normal cooking salt? How many grams should I put since sea salt is less salty than normal Salt?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Thanks for reading this recipe. Yes, you can. I use fine sea salt or Himalaya pink fine salt sometimes. It is the same amount.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  15. Hello..I really love your breads especially ur basic sourdough breads..Just wanna ask about that, this is the medium hydration type...when say for the levein: 60g active starter (100% hydration)-20%, do u mean 30g starter+30g flour+ 24g water?...Thank you and more power��—Vanessa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for trying the basic sourdough breads. 100% hydration means the starter contain 1 part of flour and 1 part of water. 20% is the bakers percentage.

      In this 60g levain (active starter) contains 30g of flour + 30g of water.

      Cheers :)

      Delete

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