This recipe is my attempt to streamline the daily breadmaking in my house. A saltless dough is mixed up using a stiff levain type sourdough starter and a portion is set aside which becomes the exact amount of levain needed for the next day's batch. I don't like the clean-up and fiddly-ness of refreshing aseparate starter every day. This recipe also serves as a cheatsheet for making the other chewy rustic not-so-sour baguettes I posted prior to this.
Also this dough makes excellent soft pretzels! Which I will post sometime soon.
overnight / MIX THE DOUGH: Mix the flour and water until it becomes a "shaggy mass." Allow to rest in fridge for 12-24 hours.
1 hour / ADD STARTER: Mash in small chunks of cold starter into the cold dough; then stretch and roll. Let sit 1/2 hour. Stretch and roll. Let sit 1/2 hour.
1 minute / REMOVE PORTION FOR NEXT STARTER: Make a third stretch and roll. Remove a portion that weighs 160 grams (about 3/4 c. + 1 T.) Allow this to sit out - covered - at room temp until doubled in size, then refrigerate.
3 hours / S&R + ADD SALT: Scrape out dough with spatula and oil bowl with one hand while holding dough in other. Continue to do "stretch-and-rolls" every half hour, except this time you are sprinkling salt after the stretch and before the roll. Get all salt in by fourth S&R.
overnight / BULK RISE: Cover and store in fridge for another 12-24 hours.
4 - 5 hours / DIVIDE, SHAPE, PROOF: Divide dough into 3 pieces, shape and place in couche. Do POKE-TEST to determine readiness.
10 mins. / HEAT OVEN, SLASH & BAKE: Heat oven to 450 deg F. Place cast iron skillet on bottom rack. When hot. slash and slide into oven. Add ice to skillet and close door. Bake 10 minutes; turn stone/sheet around. Lower temp to 425 and bake another 11 or 12 minutes. Allow to cool one hour before eating.
Growing up I was the world's pickiest eater, that is, until my children were born. Karma. Neither of my parents were much into cooking; it was the height of eating fat-free or anything with oat bran added. I taught myself some basics, mostly baking, following the guidelines of a well-worn copy of Joy of Cooking. I was a ballet dancer and a teacher suggested I lose weight. As I began reading about diet and nutrition I became interested in natural foods, which led to a job at a macrobiotic natural foods market in Center City Philadelphia; this was way before Whole Foods came to the area. I learned a lot about food in general. I ate strictly vegan for a while, although I don't now, but I still like it when a recipe can taste great without butter or bacon! In short, my approach to cooking is idiosyncratic, and I don't know very much about cooking meat or proper technique. I love to bake and I am still working on expanding my palate and my repertoire. The hardest part is getting the whole family to try new things!
So aside from my food status, I am an architect who likes to garden and play music. I'm married with two kids, and I hope to get a dog someday.