Levain Measurements (1:1:1 Ratio)
- 33 grams Mature Starter
- 23 grams (unbleached/organic) Bread Flour
- 10 grams (stone ground/organic) Whole Wheat/Rye Flour
- 33 grams (warm 90°F) Filtered Water
Bread Dough Measurements
- 450 grams (unbleached/organic) Bread Flour
- 270 grams (warm 90°F) Filtered Water
- 90 grams (Levain) Sourdough Starter
- 9 grams Sea Salt
Easy to make and almost hands-off, beginner friendly white sourdough bread sandwich loaf made with the standing mixer.
This is hands down my preferred method for sourdough.
As a beginning, using a all white flour blend is easy and more predictable.
When using white flour, less water is required which makes the dough easier to handle!
Using the standing mixer with the dough hook attachment is not only easy but ensures that the dough is thoroughly mixed.
Most methods call for mixing the dough by hand. This process will take longer and is more messy.
Well mixed dough is key and my arms and hands can get tired easily!
With that said, to truly become one with sourdough, you should at some point mix by hand to get the feel of it but for now, let’s use the standing mixer.
When following my method, your bread will result in a light and open crumb with a thinner crust.
This bread is baked at a lower temperature and uses steam in the first 20 minutes of the bake.
The ideal sourdough bread in my opinion and very beginner friendly.
Here, I provide you with my typical 1-day bread making schedule, however, you can adjust to your needs.
Start to finish, it will take about 12 hours.
This includes 4-5 hours for the levain to grow, 3-4 hours of bulk fermentation and 2-3 hours for final proof.
So why a white sourdough bread sandwich loaf style? As the bread is proofing, the pan will guide it upwards. A sandwich style loaf is also much easier to slice!
Here’s the baker’s math of this sourdough loaf:
450g flour = 100%
270g water = 60%
90g sourdough starter (levain) = 20%
9g salt – 2%
The hydration of this loaf is 64%.
Here’s how to calculate the hydration properly:
(Total water/ total flour) x 100 = hydration
The sourdough starter is 100% hydration which means it’s equal parts flour to water. 90g sourdough starter is 45g water + 45g flour.
Total water is: 270g (water added to make the dough) +45g (water from the sourdough starter) = 315g water
Total flour is: 450g (flour added to make the dough) + 45g (flour from the sourdough starter) = 495g
(315g/495g) x100 = 64%
Why does this matter? The hydration % of your bread will result in a different texture and crumb. If you live in a dry climate, you might want to increase hydration and if you live in a humid climate like me, keeping the hydration lower is ideal.
See more bread recipes here: All Things Bread
Let's Talk Tools
You will need:
1. A Kitchen Scale (make sure to test the scale for accuracy)
7am - Build The Levain
I tend to make two loaves at a time, which is why the image will show more levain than needed for just 1 loaf.
To build your levain, mix together the mature starter, flour(s) and warm, filtered water. Water that is around 90-100°F will help speed up the process.
Mix well until all dry bits have been fully absorbed, then loosely cover and allow to grow at room temperature.
9am - Autolyse
First, warm up the filtered water to around 90-100°F.
Both the levain and autolysed dough should be the same temperature.
To measure the wight of the flours and water, I place the mixing bowl on top of the kitchen scale and then attach it to the standing mixer.
Mix with the standing mixer and the dough hook attachment until all of the flours have been fully absorbed and it comes together in a sticky dough.
10:30am - Float Test
Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, the levain will take anywhere from 3-5 hours to reach peak height.
If the levain has doubled in size, shows a lot of sign of activity and the top is no longer domed, it's most likely ready.
However, always to the float test to be 100% sure.
Get a bowl of water then spoon out just a bit of the levain (1 teaspoon is enough) and gently drop it into the water.
If sinks, the levain needs more time and if it floats it's ready to be used.
11am - Add Levain and Salt
Place the bowl with the autolysed dough on top of your kitchen scale and 0 it out.
Add 90 grams of levain then attach the bowl back to your standing mixer and the dough hook attachment and start on low speed to mix.
While the dough is mixing, measure out 9 grams of sea salt.
Once the levain is fully mixed it, slowly add the salt while it's mixing.
Allow the dough to mix for another 3-4 minutes then remove the bowl, cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
I like to transfer the dough into a clean bowl that has a lid.
Once this step is done, bulk fermentation has started. Note down this time stamp.
11:30am - Bulk Fermentation and Stretch & Fold
During bulk fermentation, you will perform 3 sets of stretch & folds 30 minutes apart.
Once bulk fermentation has started, set a 30 minute timer.
After the timers, goes off, lightly wet your hand then gently scoop and grab one side of the dough and stretch it up and over the dough to the other side. Rotate the bowl 90° and perform another stretch and fold slightly overlapping the first. Continue to rotate the bowl and perform stretch and folds until all sides are complete. You can leave the dough as it or gently lift it up and place it back into the bowl with face-side down so that the top is round and smooth.
Cover the bowl again and set another 30 minute timer.
After 30 minutes perform your second set of stretch & folds, then cover, set another 30 minute timer and perform a third set of stretch & folds.
Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for the remainder of bulk fermentation.
3:30pm - Pre-Shape
Depending on how well your dough ferments, it may be ready after 3-5 hours. The colder your kitchen, the longer fermentation takes.
The dough should have risen during bulk fermentation, have a smooth and slightly domed top, and show some bubbles on the sides and surface or the dough. It should also feel alive and aerated.
If the dough does not seem ready, allow it to bulk a but longer. I do not recommend going past a 5 hour bulk fermentation.
Lightly flour your clean work surface then gently remove the dough from the dough using a wet hand or bench scraper, being careful not to deflate the dough too much. You want as much of the air pockets to stay in tact.
Place the dough on top of the lightly floured work surface then gently pre-shape using a lightly floured bench scraper or your hands. Gently shape the dough into a ball shape by pushing the dough and rotating it with a bench scraper or your hand into a ball shape.
Allow the dough to rest uncovered for 20 minutes. During the bench rest, the dough will spread and flatten a bit.
4pm - Final Shape
First, lightly oil the loaf pan on all sides and set aside.
Now it's time for final shaping.
Using lightly floured hands or a bench scraper, loosen the edges of the dough ball then gently flip it over.
Brush off any excess flour.
To shape the dough into an oval (sandwich style loaf), stretch the right side of the dough then fold it into the center on the dough, pressing it down so it adheres.
Then stretch the bottom of the dough and fold it into the center of the dough, pressing it down so it adheres.
Repeat the stretch and fold with the left side.
Stretch and roll the top of the dough down into a long tube, similar to rolling a beach towel.
Roll the dough so it's seam-side down.
Place your hands on either side of the loaf with your palms facing the loaf.
Gently push the dough from both sides and slightly cup the bottom edges to seal the bottom and all four sides.
Place the shaped dough seal side down into your bread loaf pan.
Lightly flour the top of your loaf then place it inside a large plastic bag (making sure the bag does not touch the top of the dough).
I use a plastic produce bag.
4:30pm - Final Proof
Allow the dough to proof at room temperature and in a draft-free area in your kitchen for 2-3 hours.
Alternatively, you can proof the dough at room temperature for 1-2 hours then move it to the refrigerator and cold proof for 10-12 hours.
6:30pm - Pre-Heat The Oven
Place a large cast iron skillet or large rimmer baking sheet on the very bottom rack and fill with water, about 3/4 way full.
Place the second rack in the middle.
Preheat the oven at 425°F.
7pm - Poke Test
To see if the dough has fully proofed, perform the poke test.
Remove the loaf pan from the bag and using a floured finger, gently press the finger into the dough.
If the dough springs back right away it's not ready yet and needs a bit more time to proof.
If the dough springs back slowly and leaves a small indentation, it’s ready to be baked.
7:30pm - Bake
First, check to see if the water in the cast iron skillet or baking sheet is simmering. If you don't see the water dancing, give it more time as you want as much steam in the oven as possible.
Try not to open the oven to check as all of the steam will quickly escape.
Once the steam bath is ready, it's time to score the loaf and bake.
If the top of the dough seems sticky, sprinkle with a bit of flour (or rice flour) then score the loaf.
To score, hold the bread lame or sharp knife at an angel then slash la bit off-center and lengthwise from top to bottom.
Place the loaf into the oven 425°F for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, carefully remove the steam bath and lower the heat to 420°F.
Bake for another 30-35 minutes or until the internal temperature is at 208°F.
Allow To Cool Completely Before Slicing
Once the bread has fully baked, remove the loaf from the pan and move it to a wire cooling rack.
Allow the bread to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing in. I like to wait to slice in until the next morning.
If you slice in too soon, the crumb will be gummy and the bread will go stale faster.
Store the cooled bread in a bread basket with a lid or a plastic bag at room temperature.
You can also slice and freeze the loaf and toast each slice before eating.
For bread that is kept at room temperature, keep the bread whole and slice as needed. After day 2, toast the bread slices for the best taste and crunch!