This recipe uses the Folding Proofer to create a perfect rise and mild acidity in wild yeast-leavened bread.

Printable Recipe

sourdough breadThis wonderful bread gets complex flavor and a mild, delicious tang from a little dark rye in the sourdough starter.  It has enough whole wheat and rye to give it a robust, earthy flavor, yet still retains a moist and open crumb and has a bit of chew.  Hearty and versatile, it’s sublime with butter and pairs well with everything from cheese to main courses.

Timing:  Mix the starter the night before baking and plan on mixing the main dough about 12 hours after the starter.

Equipment:  Brød & Taylor Folding Proofer, pizza stone and supplies for your favorite oven steaming method.  An instant-read thermometer can be helpful for gauging water, dough and internal baked bread temperatures.

Sourdough Leaven

Grams Ounces Volume
Sourdough starter* 18 0.6 1 Tb + 1 tsp
Unbleached flour,
11-12% protein
50 1.8 5 ½ Tbs
Whole grain rye flour** 20 0.7 2 Tbs + 1 tsp
Water, room temperature 38 1.3 2 Tbs + 1 tsp
sourdough bread dough in proofer

Ferment the country sourdough at 78F / 26C

*Ideally a mature, active white starter with 100% hydration.

**If dark rye flour is unavailable, medium rye, whole wheat or unbleached flour can be substituted.

Mix the Leaven.  Set up the Proofer with water in the tray and the thermostat at 72F / 22C.  Weigh or measure all the leaven ingredients into a bowl and stir until smooth and well mixed. Transfer to a clean jar or container and cover. Ferment at 72F / 22C for 12 hours, until risen by 2.5x to a volume of about 1⅛ cups.

Main Dough

Grams Ounces Volume
Unbleached flour,
11-12% protein
341 12.0 2⅜ cups
Whole wheat flour 55 1.9 ⅜ cup
Water, lukewarm 281 9.9 1 cup + 3 Tbs
Salt 8.6 0.30 1½ tsp

Mix and Autolyse the Main Dough.  Check that the Proofer has water in the tray and set the thermostat to 78F /26C.  Warm the water to about 85-90F /29-32C  (use cooler water if room temp is quite warm).  Measure or weigh the flours into a bowl, add the water, and mix until all the flour is moistened.  Make a well in the dough and add all the sourdough leaven from above. Without mixing the leaven into the dough, draw the sides of the dough up and over the top of the leaven to encase it.  Let sit for about 30 minutes in the Proofer.

dough 4-way stretch and fold

Stretch and fold

Add the Salt.  Sprinkle the salt over the main dough and mix until both the salt and the leaven are fully incorporated.  Transfer to a lightly oiled container with a volume of at least four cups (1 quart).

Ferment the Dough at 78F / 26C. Set the dough in the Proofer and ferment for about 2.5 – 3.5 hours.  During the first 90 minutes, give the dough three folds. For each fold, perform a four-way stretch and fold (all four sides get stretched and folded to the center), then stretch and fold the corners of the dough to the center as well.  After the folds are complete, leave the dough undisturbed until it reaches a volume of 4 cups / 1 liter.

Pre-Shape the Dough.  Gently stretch and fold four sides of the dough to create an even, square or rectangular shape, then cover and let rest for 15 minutes.  While the dough is resting, prepare a sheet pan or proofing basket with baker’s linen or a well-floured kitchen towel.

shaping bread loaf

Shaping the dough into an oval.

Shape into an Oval.  Place the dough seam side up on a lightly floured surface, then fold the square package in half with the seam at the long edge closest to you (see picture).  Seal the seam by pressing down.  Flip the loaf over with the seam centered and facing up, and place it on the linen-lined sheet pan.

Proof the Loaf.  Place the loaf in the Proofer, still set to 78F /26C, for 2 – 2.5 hours, until visibly larger but still able to spring back slowly after making an indentation with a finger.

Slash the surface to allow steam to escape.

Slash the loaf

Prepare to Bake.  About an hour before baking, place a pizza stone in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450F / 232C.  Prepare to steam the oven using your regular method (such as tossing ice on a preheated sheet pan) or set out a deep, oven-proof rectangular pan to cover the loaf and create a steam chamber.

Slash and Bake with Steam at 450F / 232C.  Gently invert the loaf onto parchment or a floured peel.  Brush excess flour from the top and sides of the loaf.  Using a baker’s lame or serrated knife, slash in one long line or two slightly angled lines.

Slide the bread onto the hot pizza stone and steam the oven or cover the loaf. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the crust turns deep golden brown and the internal temperature reaches about 205F / 96C.  After 20 minutes of baking, turn the loaf to facilitate even browning and remove the cover or steam pan.  Cool to lukewarm before slicing.

Overall Formula

Grams Ounces Baker’s %
Unbleached flour,
11-12% protein
400 14.1 84.3%
Whole wheat flour 55 1.9 11.6%
Whole rye flour 20 0.7 4.1%
Water 328 11.6 69.1%
Salt 8.6 0.3 1.8%