Sourdough Bread

by La Baghet

Founded in Milan by Frenchwoman Emeline Dany, La Baghet combines the best of French bread tradition with high quality Italian ingredients and technique, with the help of master Italian baker Davide Longoni.

La Baghet’s recipe for sourdough bread was developed by Davide Longoni. Longoni is considered the father of modern baking in Italy and received a prize from Gambero Rosso in 2019. Below is the recipe for their sourdough bread, adapted for the home chef.

Ingredients: 

  • 500 g flour: 100% Whole Wheat or 50% Whole Wheat /50% “Tipo 1” (or bread flour)*

  • 375 g water

  • 100 g levain (sourdough starter)

  • 10 g salt

Note: In Italy, flours are classified by how much whole grain is retained in the flour, and range from “Tipo 00”, the whitest flour, to “Tipo Integrale”, which is whole wheat. "Tipo 1" falls in the middle, and is most equivalent to an American bread flour. 

Step 1: Autolyse

 

In a large bowl, add the flour and pour in the water, mixing them together by hand until the flour is completely absorbed (see second photo below).  Leave this mixture to rest for 30 minutes. This process is called the “autolyse method,” and helps develop the gluten, flavor and texture of the bread.

 

Step 2: Add Levain and Salt

 

Add the levain and start to fold. When the dough is no longer sticky, flip it and add salt, integrating into the dough by folding. 

 

Note: the levain is added separately before the salt, because adding salt with the levain would slow down fermentation process.

Step 3: Knead

 

Begin kneading your bread by hand or with a dough hook. If you are kneading by hand, “slap” the dough on the counter before folding, on a lightly floured surface. The dough will be ready when you can stretch it without tearing it (the windowpane test), and your hands are clean. Make sure not to add too much flour during the kneading process, as it will reduce the moisture content of the dough.

Step 4: Bulk Ferment

 

Cover dough for bulk fermentation, for a total of 3 hours. Every 45 minutes, fold your dough in four sections. and let rest for 45 minutes.

Step 5: Pre-Shape and Shape

 

Reshape your dough: fold in 4, flip the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes on the counter.  Then proceed with the last set of folding, flip the dough and close the bottom by cupping the dough in your hands and rotating it. Once done, take your dough and flip it (stitch side up) and place it in a lightly-floured banneton (you can also use a bowl lined with a clean tea towel). This will help keep the shape while it proofs.

 

Note. closing the dough is important to make it rise uniformly when baking.

Step 6: Proof

 

Let your dough rest for an hour before putting it in the fridge for 16 hours to proof. 

Step 7: Score

 

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Celsius (or about 480 degrees F). 


Flip the dough and proceed with scoring, ideally using a lame, but you can also use a knife or scissor. You can see by the photos that Emy has made four score marks at the edges of our loaf, leaving space for decorating her boule with a stencil, but you can also draw a pattern with your lame.  Check out our guide to beautifying your bread.

Step 8: Bake with Steam

 

You will need steam to bake this bread. If you don’t have a steam oven, you simply add water to a separate baking pan in the oven once you start preheating.  The steam will help develop a crunchy exterior on the bread loaf.

 

Lower the heat of the oven to 240 degrees C (about 460 degrees F) and place the bread in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes

Note: If you are baking in a Dutch Oven, this will create the steam for you so you don’t need to do anything extra. Before baking your bread, you should place the Dutch Oven in the preheated oven for 15 minutes before placing your dough in to bake.

Step 9: Finish the Bake

 

After 30 minutes, lower the temperature of the oven to 220 degrees C (425 degrees F) and finish baking. You will know that the bread is done if you knock on the bottom and it sounds hollow.

Step 10: Cool and enjoy

 

Let the bread cool on a wooden tray or cooling rack. 

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