Norwich Sourdough w/Oats
directly adapted from Susan's Norwich Sourdough
Makes: 4 petite loaves
Rise Time: ~5 hours
Bake Temp: 475F, 240C, Gas Mark 9
Bake Time: ~35 min
- 1c, 8oz, 227ml hot water
- 1tbsp, 3/4oz, 21g honey
- 1 1/3c, 4 1/4oz 120g rolled oats
- all of the soaker
- 5 1/2c, 24 5/8oz, 700g bread flour
- 1 2/3c, 7oz, 200g white whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2c, 20 1/4oz, 600ml water
- 1 1/2c, 12 5/8oz, 360g ripe 100% hydration sourdough starter
- 1tbsp, 3/4oz, 23g salt
NOTE: When measuring starter by volume, you MUST stir it down first! I am making the assumption that an average cup of wheat-based starter (whole grain or not) weighs 240g. If you have a rye starter, a spelt starter, a kamut-amaranth-potato starter, whatever, it's going to weigh differently. Possibly a lot differently. Use weights whenever possible to avoid horrible mishaps. Grams or ounces doesn't really make a difference; while grams are more rigidly precise, ounces are still very accurate. As long as your scale goes down to eighth ounces, you'll be fine.
Soaker: Mix hot water (very hot tap water works fine) and honey until well blended. Stir in rolled oats and let sit 5 minutes.
Mix/Autolyse: Combine all of the soaker, the flours, the water, and the starter in the bowl of a stand mixer on low. When just combined, turn off the mixer and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Mix in salt and knead on medium-low speed until a medium level of gluten development is reached. I could try to explain it, but Susan from Wild Yeast has already done a stand-up job of it here. Seeing as this recipe is directly adapted from her Norwich Sourdough, it's a very good place to go for advice.
Ferment: Plop (gently!) into an oiled container of some sort and cover loosely. Susan suggests a low, wide container so the necessary folds can be done at 50 and 100 minute intervals inside the container. It does make things a bit easier, but you can always oil up a surface and your hands and do it, too, if you don't have a big enough bucket.
Divide: Turn ye ol' mass of dough onto a floured or oiled surface. (I prefer oiled, since it doesn't muck with my hydration as badly.) Divide the dough in half, then in quarters. If you want to break out your scale again, cover it with oiled plastic wrap (greasy side up, please!) to make your 500g loaves as close to perfect as the laws of physics... and digital readouts... will allow.
Shape: Make the little buggers into whatever shape you so desire, keeping in mind that large deviations in shape may require adjusting of bake times. I like mine in little rounds of pillowy goodness. Susan shapes hers into pretty batards – go look! Oooo, pretty... *drool*
Proof: Gently scooch your dough shapes over to where they will rise; baking sheet if you plan to bake on that, pizza peel/parchment paper/what-have-you if you plan on baking on a stone. Sprinkle with flour, cover if you want (I rarely do and it doesn't seem to hurt anything) and walk away for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Well, actually it sorta depends on how active your starter is, but as long as it's not half-dead or a raving beast of bubbly demonic power, 2 to 2 1/2 hours is a good guideline. Now set your oven to 475 (or equivalent) and go watch a movie like a good bread baker.
Bake: Are your dough shapes poofy and at least marginally bigger than they were before? No? Go away again. Check back every half hour until they are. Yes? Wonderful! Now we score. Slice open the tops of those bad boys any which way you please, trying not to deflate and totally ruin all your hard work. When that's done, toss the method of choice into the oven and let it roasty toast away for 30 minutes. Check your bread. Not done? Go an extra five and check again. Keep doing this until your loaves are golden brown and delicious, and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Now I know your first inclination will be to take the bread out, toss it on a cooling rack, and hover over it like a nervous new mommy. It also probably involves lots of sniffing, oooing, ahhing, and steaming of unlucky eyeballs held too long over a very hot loaf. But do not give in! Leave those loaves in the oven, with the door cracked open and the oven off, for an extra five minutes.
Now you may steam your eyeballs. Cutting is not allowed until the loaves have cooled; however, sniffing is permissible. At least until your husband/wife/child/roommate/dog/cat/fish looks at you like you've finally lost it... then you might wanna stop.