Vermont Sourdough

banner

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Dough Yield: About

    22

    loaves at 1.5 lb each

Appears in

Bread

By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

This is an Excellent “Everyday Bread.” Variations of this basic pain au levain–style bread are found all across the country. We make this bread daily at the King Arthur Flour Bakery, and since the levain culture resides in Vermont, and thus so too the steadily toiling microorganisms that give the bread its distinctive aroma and taste, and since my mother tongue is English, I prefer to simply call this bread Vermont Sourdough.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 15%

Ingredients

Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 18 lb 9 kg 1 lb 12.8 oz 90 %
Whole-Rye Flour 2 lb 1 kg 3.2 oz 10 %
Water 13 lb 6.5 kg 1 lb, 4.8 oz 65 %
Salt .38 lb .19 kg .6 oz 1.9 %
Total Yield 33.38 lb 16.69 kg 3 lb, 5.4 oz 166.9 %

Liquid-Levain Build

Bread Flour 3 lb 1.5 kg 4.8 oz (1 cup) 100 %
Water 3.76 lb 1.88 kg 6 oz (¾ cup) 125 %
Mature Culture (Liquid) .6 lb .3 kg 1 oz (2 T) 20 %
Total 7.36 lb 3.68 kg 11.8 oz

Final Dough

Bread Flour 15 lb 7.5 kg 1 lb, 8 oz ( cups)
Whole-Rye Flour 2 lb 1 kg 3.2 oz ( cup)
Water 9.24 lb 4.62 kg 14.8 oz (1⅞ cups)
Salt .38 lb .19 kg .6 oz (1 T)
Liquid Levain 6.76 lb 3.38 kg 10.8 oz (all less 2 T)
Total 33.38 lb 16.69 kg 3 lb, 5.4 oz

Method

  1. Liquid Levain: Make the final build 12 to 16 hours before the final mix, and let stand in a covered container at about 70°F.
  2. Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the levain, but not the salt. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed just until the ingredients are incorporated into a shaggy mass. Correct the hydration as necessary. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for an autolyse phase of 20 to 60 minutes. At the end of the autolyse, sprinkle the salt over the surface of the dough, and finish mixing on second speed for 1½ to 2 minutes. The dough should have a medium consistency. Desired dough temperature: 76°F.
  3. Bulk Fermentation: 2½ hours.
  4. Folding: Fold the dough either once (after 1¼ hours) or twice (at 50-minute intervals), depending on dough strength.
  5. Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces; shape round or oblong.
  6. Final Fermentation: Approximately 2 to 2½ hours at 76°F (alternatively, retard for up to 8 hours at 50°F, or up to 18 hours at about 42°F).
  7. Baking: With normal steam, 460°F for 40 to 45 minutes. More often than not, this bread is retarded before the bake. The result is a loaf with moderate tanginess and a sturdy crust that conveys a lot of bread flavor.