John's Ridiculously Springy Bread

Rev 0.50, last revised:  10-Aug-05

This recipe was posted onto a bread baking news group by a friend.  I've taken it, and posted it here for posterity.  Although he insists on making these insipid yeast based breads, I'll forgive him that transgression if he'll forgive mine for converting it to a proper sourdough recipe a bit later...(:-o)!

Lean rustic dough, indirect method, 2 days to make.

Yield - 2 large loaves (ca. 850 gm each)

Day 1:  The short Poolish

Mix all ingredients to a smooth batter, a hand whisk is enough.  Leave, covered to ferment for 4 hours.

Day 1:  The short Soaker

Mix all ingredients and leave to soak for 4 hours.

Day 1:  The Dough:

Mix all together roughly with a big fork, a wet spoon or a wet hand until all the flour is hydrated but the dough is still lumpy and nowhere near smooth.  Takes less than a minute by any method.  Scrape onto a well floured counter, roll in flour until the dough can be handled and perform a stretch and fold cycle. 

Leave for 45 minutes to 1 hour and do the stretch 'n' fold again.  Repeat twice more, keeping flour to a minimum. Put into a sealed plastic bag in the fridge for 12 hours or so.  Please note - my normal interval between s&f cycles is 10-15 minutes.  These longer gaps between S&F cycles are very important to the taste and elasticity of this bread.

Day 2:  The Bread

Take the dough out of the fridge, out of the bag onto the lightly floured counter and perform 2 more stretch and fold cycles.  Divide the dough into 2; shape each piece into a boule and place, rough side up in a basket or Banneton, HEAVILY floured.

Preheat oven to 550F (290C).  Leave to proof until just about doubled, tip out onto whatever device you use to move the dough to the oven, slash and bake at flat max, on stones, turning down to 425F (220C) after 15 minutes.  Cooking time about 45 minutes, to an internal temp of 201F (94C).

Very elastic, long keeping, deeply flavored bread with a crust that gladdens a baker's heart.