This loaf is a basic, everyday bread harnessing the microbial power of sourdough as natural leavening using stone-ground flours. Although commodity, industrial brands will work in this recipe, you will likely need to decrease the amount of water needed. Practice this recipe until you feel comfortable with the process and the flours you have sourced before moving on to other more complicated recipes.
Home ovens vary widely in their performance. Use an oven thermometer to gauge the proper temperature, making minor adjustments to the preheating temperatures and baking times if necessary. If your oven is equipped with a fan assist, turn it off during baking if possible to prevent the crust from setting before the loaf has fully expanded.
I prefer my crust as thick and dark as possible, but if you are using a cast iron pot, you may need to tip the loaf out of the Dutch oven after about 25 minutes of baking time to avoid the bottom from burning before the loaf is done. This must be done carefully to avoid burning yourself. Finish baking on the middle rack for an additional 12 to 20 minutes, or to your liking. —Sarah Owens