Provender

Rev 7.21, last revised:  12-Nov-09

Provender: (prÚvīen-der) noun; 1. Dry food,... 2. Provisions, ... [Middle English provendre, from Old French, alteration of provende, from vulgar Latin *provenda, alteration (influenced by Latin providÍre, to provide), of late Latin praebenda.].  If you like this recipe, you'll probably like my Baurenbrot too.

My Provender consists of flour, water, sourdough culture, and salt.Bake at 450F, for 35-40 min.  Here's how I bake.
NB: 
BF = Bread Flour, I recommend and use: Gold Medal "Harvest King"; but any good flour suitable for bread will do.

3-step sponge:

In a fairly large bowl, whisk/stir/mix each of the indicated quantities of water, starter, and flour as directed, and in order. Cover and ferment for the indicated time at a room temperature of 70F (~65F - 75F) or so. Ferment longer if cooler, less if warmer--but don't exceed 95F! Why 3-steps

Dough:

Dry mix together the remaining flour and salt. Add the sponge created earlier. Mix, turning it out and using your hands as it thickens up. Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes or so. It takes time for the water to be absorbed by the flour.

When done, the dough should just pull off the walls of the bowl, and not stick to everything in sight. Flour your work surface and turn the dough out. Do 6 Stretch & Fold iterations.

Gently shape into loaf, or if desired, loaves. Fold edges under and to center, overlapping and pinching them shut as you go.The point being to stretch the outer surface while wrapping the excess--being pulled tight, under.This makes a round loaf.† I prefer long loaves, as they make better sandwiches.

Transfer to a cornmeal dusted baking surface. Cover, put into COLD OVEN and let rise. The boule (round bread, pre-loaf) should have doubled or more in ~4-5 hours or so at ~72 (68-75)F. If your culture is exceptionally active, it may rise in as little as 2-hours...

If you like, you can coupe your bread at this point.Next, pour 1/2 cup boiling water into a pan or bowl at the bottom of the oven 10-15 min before baking.
Turn ON.Bake: 450F, for 35-40 min.
until crust is very dark brown. Turn oven off, open door. For a thicker crust let bread remain in oven 5 - 15 minutes more.
(NB: Cool to room temp before slicing)
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This is a cut-down version of the recipe above.  I had to make it because an oven that I'm using is too small for the "regular" recipe.  Follow the instructions & temps above.

NB:  This recipe is intended for an unknown or relatively dormant starter--as mine was so many years ago.  When it's not being stored in the fridge, I keep my starter on the counter, ready to go.  Then I collapse the multi-stage sponge start.

Mini-loaf sponge:

Mini-loaf dough: