Cheat’s Sourdough Bread

250 g bread flour
5 g instant yeast
325 ml bottled water, heated to feel slightly warm to the touch
150 g whole grain bread flour
100 g bread flour
10 g salt

In a large bowl, combine the first weight of bread flour with the yeast and water, mixing well. Cover and let rise for 8 hours. It’ll be gelatinous and will have a gorgeous yeasty smell – heaven! Add the rest of the flours and salt, and mix as well as you can to combine in the bowl before tipping out onto the counter. It will be sticky – very sticky. But knead and work the dough for 10-15 minutes – making sure you get all of the flour out of the bowl – and you’ll feel the dough slowly come together and feel silky and springy and still a bit tacky. Do a windowpane test to make sure the gluten is developed, then oil your bowl and let the dough rise until doubled (tis could take from 90 minutes – 3 hours). Punch the dough down and let it rise again until doubled (another hour or so).

Preheat the oven to 450F – if you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to get hot. Turn the dough out onto the stone and slash it across the top, then bake 15 minutes before turning the heat to 400 for another 35 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when you thump it on the bottom.

TIPS:

1) for a nice crust, put a rimmed baking sheet on the rack below the baking stone and fill it with boiling water. The steam will give the loaf a lovely hard crust.

2) you don’t have to do this as a 1-day project. Mix the starter the night before and let it do its thing overnight. In the morning, pick up on adding the 2nd round of flour, kneading, etc.