This started out as Carol LeValley’s delicious sourdough and morphed in to my own seeded recipe after lots and lots of practice and experimentation.
Makes 2 round ~1lb loaves, ready to bake in the late afternoon.
Mix the following, cover and let ferment for ~8 hours:
2 oz firm starter
5 oz water
5 oz flour
7 oz whole wheat flour
16 oz unbleached bread flour
2 oz sunflower seeds
2 oz sesame seeds
2 oz flax seeds
.7 oz rye flour
.6 oz salt
16 oz water
Night before baking:
Make the Levain.
Morning of baking:
The levain should have tripled in size, be full of bubbles and started to collapse onto itself.
Note: When proofing your bread, remember that under proofing is always better than over proofing, if you have to make a choice. Over proofing results in yeast that has no more food to eat and you'll end up with a rock instead of a nice, airy loaf.
Note: Unless you want a stomach ache, resist eating the bread until it has cooled 20-30 minutes. Hot dough has a tendency to ball up in your stomach.
Note about bread baking schedules:
This recipe assumes that you start the levain just about before you go to bed at night and then will be home to work on the bread all the next day, starting when you wake up. The bread does not take a lot of work during the day, but it does require that you follow its schedule. This recipe, as written above, will have bread ready for the oven mid- to late-afternoon, in time for warm bread for dinner.
If you'd like to have bread made by mid-day, make the following adjustments:
Levain: The day before you want bread, make the levain first thing in the morning.
That evening: Do the mixing, fermentation and start the proofing. Once the bread has started to move, just a little, in the baskets, put them in the refrigerator.
The next morning: Take one loaf out of the refrigerator when you wake, take off the plastic cover / shower cap and place a dish-towel on top (the bread will be moist from condensation so the dish towel will allow the bread to be covered, but lose the excess moisture). You're going to let the bread come back up to room temperature and rise a bit more. This takes about 3 hours. I like to take one loaf out first, and then an hour later, take out the second loaf, so that the second loaf has been rising in the room temperature air for the same amount as the first loaf before being baked.
When I make bread this way, the first loaf is usually in the oven around 11 or 12, depending on what time I wake up and how warm it is in the kitchen.
Turn = Place dough on lightly floured counter and, using a pastry cutter/scraper, fold the dough in on itself from all four sides. I.e. I always fold the right side to the middle, then the top to the middle, then the left to the middle, then the bottom to the middle.
Peel = A long-handled, shovel like tool used by bakers to move bread or pastries into and out of an oven. Usually made of wood. If you don't have one, a cookie sheet will work (that's what I used for a long time until I found a peel for really cheap).
Proofing baskets = Usually made of willow with a fitted linen/cotton liner. The baskets are slightly larger than the round of bread you expect to make. In a pinch, if you don't have baskets, you can use a colander and a dish towel. Baskets really are better though -- I know from experience. I found mine at Cost Plus... they were sold as bread baskets, but they make excellent proofing baskets. You can use the floured liners 5 or 6 times before washing them, by the way. They get nice and impregnated by the flour -- it makes them work better.
Email: jessicafm (at) mindspring.com