Ingredients

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups starter
  • 1 spoonful fine salt
  • 1 spoonful sesame seeds (optional)
  • Semolina flour to prevent sticking when scoring loaf (optional; regular flour also works)
  • 2 spoonfuls olive oil
  • 1.5 cups water

Process

First, make sure that your sourdough starter is bubbly and active. You’ll need two cups of it for this recipe. A good rhythm is to take your sourdough starter out of the fridge the day before you plan to bake and start feeding it, stir in a half cup of flour and some water a couple of times in the day and let it get nice and bubbly. I like to leave it overnight then start the bread the following morning.

  1. Mix dry ingredients in bowl, then add olive oil and starter, and gradually mix in water until the dough is wet and sticky but can hold a shape.
  2. Allow the dough to rest for ~10 min.
  3. Knead for about 10 min, adding flour as needed but sparingly so the dough doesn’t become too stiff. I find that I can sometimes use the stickiness of the dough to help with stretching during kneading. A bench scraper comes in very handy for this.
    • During this process, the dough should become much more stretchy and elastic!
  4. Place into lightly oiled pot, covered with plastic wrap, for ~3 hours of fermentation. Every 45 min or so, gently stretch the dough and fold it over itself a few times. You want to let the dough stretch as much as possible, but don’t tug it – allow the gluten to release on its own, and try to avoid tearing the dough.
  5. Form a loaf and place into a covered proofing basket for 2 hours. It should expand significantly during this time.
    • My loaf didn’t quite double, but it did get larger. When it’s soft and pillowy, it’s ready to bake.
    • I don’t have a proofing basket, but I find that a small colander lined with a floured dish towel works well.
  6. Start pre-heating the oven to 500F before the proof is finished. Place your pot in the oven so it’s already hot when you transfer the dough to it.
  7. Transfer the dough out of the proofing basket and onto a work surface covered lightly in semolina flour. (Regular flour is fine too, but I like the texture of the semolina).
  8. Lightly score the dough (I have a razor blade from a safety razor that works well for this). This is easiest if done quickly and decisively.
  9. Transfer the dough to the pot. This is also easiest if you do it quickly. I like to pick up the cutting board and slide the dough into the pot as fast as possible, then I shake the pot side to side a little if I need to realign the dough inside of it. Don’t overthink it.
  10. Bake at 500F in a covered pot for 30 min followed by 15 min at 450F in an uncovered pot (or until your desired crustiness).