I really love playing with my favorite sourdough recipe. I have tried all different types of flour from spelt to oat, but this version made with freshly ground whole wheat flour is my new favorite (although I am sure I am not done playing with it yet). It is about one part whole wheat to two parts unbleached bread flour, so it is a bit healthier due to the whole grains, but it is by no means a 100% whole wheat loaf. I do think you can get away with adding more whole wheat flour to it, by just removing equivalent weights of the bread flour. I did use a good amount of instant yeast as well, about 1/2 of a teaspoon, due to the added weight of the whole wheat flour and raisins. You can omit the instant yeast, but your loaf may be a bit denser, because the wild yeast does not give your loaf the same lift.
- 300 grams refreshed levain (10.6 oz, about 1 1/2 cups)
- 292 grams water (10.3 oz, 1 1/4 cup)
- 200 grams whole wheat flour (7 oz, 1 1/2 cup)
- 290 grams unbleached bread flour (10.25 oz, 2 1/4 cup)
- 13 grams salt (0.45 oz, 2 tsp.)
- 2 grams instant yeast (0.10 oz, 1/2 tsp.)
- 150 grams raisins (5.2 oz, 1 cup)
- Place your levain and water into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Stir to loosen up the levain. Add your flours and yeast and mix until a rough dough forms about 3 minutes by hand and 1 minute on low in a stand mixer. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and allow your dough to rest or autolyze for 20-30 minutes.
- Add your salt to the dough and begin kneading by hand or stand mixer. If you are kneading by hand turn your dough out onto a counter that has only a light dusting of flour on it and knead for 8-10 minutes or until you have a dough that is smooth and elastic and can pass a windowpane test. If you are kneading by machine mix on medium speed for 4-5 minutes. Your dough will have the same properties that the hand kneaded dough has. I like to turn it out onto a counter and knead it by hand for a minute to really make sure the dough is kneaded completely. Add your raisins and mix for another minute or until the raisins are evenly distributed throughout.
- Place your dough back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. After 30 minutes give the dough a turn, which is a gentle stretching of the dough onto itself for extra strength and I find it gives the dough a more irregular interior crumb. Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap again. Allow the dough to rise for another 1-1 1/2 hours or until it has almost doubled in bulk.
- Turn your risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and tuck into a rough ball. Place your bowl, inverted, over the dough and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes. This will make it easier to shape the final loaf.
- Shaping your batard: Turn your dough so that the smooth side is down on the surface of the counter and gently press it out into a rough rectangle. With the short side facing you, fold the bottom third of the dough to the center and press firmly on the edge to make a tight seam. Then fold the top third down to the center and press firmly on the edge to make a tight seam. Then fold the whole loaf in half and press firmly along the edge to create another tight seam. Lightly roll the loaf back and forth to elongate it slightly. Place the loaf in a well-floured dough rising basket (seam side up) or between the folds of a well-floured baker’s linen or couche (seam side down). Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and allow to proof at room temperature for 1-1 1/2 hours or until almost doubled in bulk. An indentation made with your finger will spring back slowly when your dough is fully proofed. If it springs back quickly let your dough rise for another 15 minutes, then recheck.
- Preheat your oven to 500 degrees an hour before you plan on baking your loaf. Position a baking stone on the middle rack and a cast iron skillet on the floor of your oven or on one of the lower racks.
- Turn your loaf out onto a floured baker’s peel or onto a piece of parchment paper. Score the top with two evenly spaced diagonal slashes, going down the center, about 1/2″ deep.
- Slide your loaf directly onto the baking stone and pour 1/2 cup of water into the cast iron skillet. Quickly close the door and reduce the temperature to 475 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes then reduce the temperature to 400 and bake for another 20-30 minutes, or until the loaf is a dark brown color and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. If you were to insert an instant read thermometer into the loaf it would register at 200-210 degrees in the center. Transfer the loaf to a wire cooling rack and allow it to fully cool before slicing.