Ballymaloe Sourdough

Ballymaloe Sourdough Bread

recipe based on Tim Allen's instruction

Yield: 2 loaves

DAY 1 

To make the sponge

About 2 cups active starter

1 cup lukewarm filtered water

2 cups bread flour

Beat all ingredients in a large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm place overnight.


Add 1 cup lukewarm filtered water and 2 cups bread flour. Beat well and cover tightly. Let stand for 5-6 hours at room temperature. The sponge will be bubbly and active in appearance.

Take out 2 cups of this sponge and put back into your starter jar. Cover and save as the base for your next loaf of bread. 

Put the remainder of the sponge (about 4 cups) into a large mixing bowl. This is the base of your sourdough bread. To this sponge, add:

5 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon wheat germ

1 tablespoon rye flour

1 cup - 1 1/2 cups water (depending on consistency you may not need all the water, you want a slightly sticky and a teensy bit shaggy dough)

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt. Knead the dough by hand for 15 minutes or in a machine for 6 minutes — the dough should stretch easily and be slightly sticky. If necessary, knead for an additional 5 minutes.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise until light and puffy — 6-8 hours at room temperature. Can be refrigerated overnight.

Punch down the dough and pour onto a clean countertop. Cut in half. Allow the dough to rest on the countertop for 1 hour, every 15 minutes use your bench scraper to pull and fold the loaf into a square parcel. This traps air inside the loaf, creating a crumb full of textural bubbles and develops surface tension of the dough. Shape into a round ball.

Dust a cotton towel with rice flour, dump the dough ball onto the flour, wrap up and place into a bread basket or Banneton. Slip inside a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.


Remove Bannetons from the fridge and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Place your kettle inside the oven and preheat to 500ºF for 30 minutes.

Turn down the heat to 450ºF.

Gently turn your dough into the hot kettle, slashing the surface of the dough with a sharp knife or razor blade, cover and place into the oven. Spray with a water mister and close the door. Bake for 30 minutes. Take off lid and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until golden brown and hollow sounding when the bottom of the loaf is tapped. Cool on a wire rack.