- 600g organic strong white bread flour for the starter
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1½tsp salt
- 50g sourdough starter
Make your starter 5 days before you want to bake the loaf. Mix 200g strong bread flour with 200ml lukewarm water, put in a nonmetallic bowl or a large glass jar, uncovered, and set aside overnight.
The next day, mix 100g of the flour with 100ml lukewarm water and mix into the starter. Leave overnight, uncovered, then repeat this process over 3 days until you have a bubbling starter. Store in the fridge, loosely covered with clingfilm, until ready to use. (To keep the starter ‘alive’ for future use, bring it up to room temperature once a month and ‘feed’ it with flour and water, as before.)
To make the loaf, put the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in 50g of the starter mixture and 360ml lukewarm water. Mix with a wooden spoon to create a soft, sticky dough. Add more water, if necessary.
Tip onto a floured work surface and knead for 10 mins until the dough is elastic when stretched.
Put in a large, well-oiled bowl, cover with a damp, clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for 3 hrs.
Tip onto a work surface and knead for 2 mins to knock out any air bubbles. Shape into a smooth ball and dust with flour.
Line a medium-sized bowl with a clean tea towel and dust with flour. Add the dough, cover with a damp tea towel and leave for 6-8 hrs until doubled in size.
Heat a large baking tray in the oven at 230C/210C Fan/Gas 8. Put a small roasting tray on the floor of the oven.
Remove the baking tray from the oven, dust with flour then gently tip on the dough. Score 2 lines 2mm deep down the middle of the loaf with a serrated knife and slash 2 cuts across. Put on the middle shelf of the oven and pour 300ml boiling water into the roasting tray. Bake for 35-40 mins until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.