This big, tasty hemisphere is a surprisingly easy project. An energetic pre-dough, made from natural sourdough starter, provides great flavor and vigorous rise,. This bread yields solid, sandwich-perfect slices, is very slow to stale, and resists mold. Leave it on your kitchen counter and slice as needed - it's good for a minimum of 4 days.
Yield: one, 16-ounce sourdough Boule - enough bread for two adults to enjoy for three days.
Note: Pre-dough recipe makes enough for 3 loaves.
Time to make: 45 minutes active. Two resting proofs of 6+ hours each. 1 hour 40 minutes oven time.
Equipment needed: Stand mixer with paddle blade. Measuring cups and spoons, or kitchen scale. Small bowl with loose-fitting cover. Medium bowl. Silicone spatula. 2 sheets bakers parchment. Household stapler.
Unbolted buckwheat meal is made by processing buckwheat groats in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. It takes about 30 seconds of grinding, interrupted every 10 seconds or so with a good shake to the grinder. Processing buckwheat in this way yields a fresher, deeper flavor.
1) The day before baking, make the pre-dough: Place all the dry ingredients in a small bowl and stir to mix. Add the sleeping sourdough starter and the water and stir vigorously to blend. Cover loosely and place on a kitchen counter to proof: 5 - 6 hours at 72 F. Proofed Pre-Dough should be swollen with a webbed interior. It should have a sour taste and a "beer-ish" smell. Cover well and place into refrigerator.
2) The next day, place the following in the bowl of a stand mixer: The potato starch, the tapioca starch, the brown rice, the oat flour, the steel-cut oats, the buckwheat flour or meal, the xanthan gum and the salt. Stir on low speed until thoroughly mixed.
3) Measure the water into a medium bowl. Add the 1/4 cup of pre-dough and stir to mix thoroughly. Add to the stand mixer and mix on medium-low until all ingredients are wet - about 1 minute. Allow dough to rest 2 - 5 minutes, then beat again on medium-high until dough just barely begins to cling to bowl edges, about 1 minute. Cover remaining pre-dough and return to refrigeration.
4) Turn dough out onto a sheet of bakers parchment, placing dough in the middle of the sheet. Use a wet, frequently-dipped silicone spatula to shape dough into a sphere. Smooth surface as much as you are able. (For a speeded-up video of dough shaping and smoothing, click HERE). Invert a large bowl or the bowl of the stand mixer over the loaf to retain moisture. Proof for 7 - 8 hours, or until the dough becomes wiggly. It may also have deep crevasses.
5) Position an oven rack in the center slot. Heat oven to 425 F. Staple a second sheet of bakers parchment over the sheet on which the dough has risen. Place this "package" directly on the oven rack. Bake for 30 minutes, then carefully cut parchment parcel open, exposing loaf. Remove and discard parchment. Bake bread an additional 70 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely - at least 4 hours - before cutting and serving.
Bread may be stored, uncovered, at room temperature, or frozen. DO NOT refrigerate. Cut bread may be placed cut-side-down on a board or counter. Do not cover. Remains fresh a minimum of 3 days.