Super Easy and Also Delicious Sourdough Bread

We haven't eaten wheat in ten years...but that hasn't stopped me from wishing! And my latest goal is to someday soon heal our guts enough to be able to consume gluten-containing grains. Turns out that this not the week we are ready. But the bread I made was very easy and delicious, with great texture and rise. I recommend weighing the ingredients when indicated, because the volume measurements are approximate. The process takes 24 hours. I live and bake at ~3000ft above sea level, and ovens vary, so feel free to adjust accordingly if necessary

Timing Note: I recommend taking your starter out of the fridge two or three days before you want to bake, in the morning. When you let your dough rise in the refrigerator, you really can be more flexible; choose the shorter or the longer rise-times that work for you. To begin, feed your starter by stirring in approximately 2 c. flour (half and half whole grain and white is good, but any combination works) plus water (~1.4 cups) to create a pancake-batter consistency.

By the evening of Day #1 you will have enough bubbly, happy starter to bake with (put the remaining starter back in a clean mason jar in the fridge until next time). Now it's time to mix up the bread!

After your dough rises all night (or more), you will shape it into a parchment lined pan in the morning (or afternoon) of Day #2, and then it's back into the fridge to rise for the day (or half the day and another night). Baking occurs in the evening on Day #2, or the morning of Day #3.

2 1/3 cups active sourdough starter (fed with whole wheat flour or 50/50 ww/white)
600 grams (~4 c.) all purpose white flour or bread flour
Scant 1 1/2 cups water
Scant tbsp. salt

Mix together the starter, flour, and 1 1/4 cups water. Mix thoroughly to make a slightly shaggy dough with all of its flour mixed in, that holds its shape but droops a little. Add water by the tablespoonfull if dough is too dry. Allow to rise (covered with a plate or plastic wrap) in the fridge for 8-12 hours or more.

When the dough is ready, it won't have risen a lot, but the consistency will be much finer and more smooth. Line an 8x8" pan with parchment paper. The dough should be a little loose compared with normal bread dough, but if it's too runny and can't hold its shape at all, add a small amount of flour to adjust the texture. Make sure there are no lumps of un-mixed flour.

Fold the dough using a rubber spatula, over and over itself to make a loose ball. Put the dough into the pan, smoothest side up, and allow to rise for another ~12-24 hours in the refrigerator. You'll want the bread to be covered, but you _won't_ want the cover to touch the dough. Leave some space for a bit of rise. It's useful to invert a larger, deeper baking pan over the proofing bread.

When you're ready to bake and have a preheated 450f oven ready to go, slash the top of the refrigerated dough a few times with a wet, sharp knife (1/4" deep). Transfer the loaf with its oversized cover to the oven and bake for 1 hour and five minutes. Remove the cover, turn down the oven to 400f, and bake for another 3-5 minutes, or until the bread is nicely browned, registers ~190f-200f on an instant-read thermometer, and gives a nice THUMP when you tap it on the bottom.

Cool thoroughly before slicing.

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