Lace Sourdough

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Somewhere between a ciabatta and a high-hydration sourdough lies the Lace Sourdough. At 73% hydration, it's not a ridiculously highly-hydrated sourdough, but there is enough work in it to generate the lacy open-texture of a loaf that you'd think was a good deal more highly-hydrated than it is. 


325 gms of bread flour (245 gms of strong white and 80 gms of wholemeal)

7 gms crushed sea salt

65 gms of freshly fed and active starter

230 gms of filtered water at room temperature

Total flour = 325 + 33 (from the starter) = 358

Total water = 230 + 33 (from the starter) = 263

Hydration - 263 as a % of 358 = 73%

How does this process work out in terms of your day? 

Here's a suggestion

Mid-morning - feed starter and leave somewhere warm for 4 / 5 hours 

Late afternoon - start the process. You should be complete in just under 4 hours

Overnight - it's fermenting

Next morning - chill, shape and bake. 


1. In a bowl, mix the flours together. 

2. In a separate bowl, add the water and then add the flours. 

3. Autolyse, covered,  in a warm place for 60 minutes.

4. Add 65 gms of starter, mix well and then knead for 5 minutes.

5. Leave, covered,  to rest for 30 minutes

6. Add 7 gms of crushed sea salt, mix well and knead for 5 minutes.

7. Leave, covered,  to rest for 30 minutes. 

8. Tip the dough onto a misted worktop and perform a strong stretch and fold. 

How to perform a strong stretch and fold.

Take the left hand side of the dough and pull upwards. Stretch it out and fold it over towards the right.

Take the bottom side of the dough and pull upwards. Stretch it out and fold it over towards the top. 

Repeat on all four sides. 

9. Return the dough to glass dish (e.g. a roasting dish) and leave covered for 30 minutes. 

10. On a misted work top, tip out the dough and laminate, stretching out the dough as far as you can without it splitting. 

11. Return to the glass dish. Cover and leave for 60 minutes. 

12. Perform one coil fold and then recover and leave for 9 hours at 22⁰C or thereabouts. If it's a little cooler, leave for an extra hour. If it's a little warmer, leave for only 8 hours. (e.g. overnight). Either way, you looking for the dough to expand and to fill the dish. 

13. After 8 or 9 hours, place the dish in the refrigerator for 45 minutes. 

14. Generously flour a work surface. Invert the dish onto the work surface and gently allow the dough to leave the dish. 

15. Flour the top of the dough and, with a bench cutter, divide the dough into two. 

16. Separate the two halves as carefully as you can and flour the edges. Cover with a tea-towel or couch and leave at room temperature for 2 hours. 

17. Preheat the oven to 240⁰C.

18. Slide the dough pieces into the oven and apply steam. Bake with steam for 10 minutes and then drop the temperature to 220⁰C and remove the source of the steam. Continue to bake for 15 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown and hollow when tapped on the underneath. 

A word on the baking - this is quite a dark bake. If you like your bread a little lighter. Start at 230⁰C and then drop the temperature to 210⁰C and keep an eye on the bread. 15 - 20 mins of second baking at 210⁰C might be all you need. Remember (i) all ovens are different and (ii) watch the bread, not the clock. 

19. Allow to cool thoroughly before slicing. 

Happy baking. 


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