BASIC SOURDOUGH BREAD
2 cups flour of your choice remembering that whole grains and rye have a tendency to be denser
½ cup non tap water
1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
2-3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
Combine 1.5 cups flour, starter and water. Let sit for 12 hours (if very hot, it may only take 4-8 hours to turn into a sponge – you can let it rise in the fridge as well to slow down the time).
On the following day, add one cup of flour and begin slowly stirring adding additional flour (1/4c at a time) until dough rolls into a wet ball, add salt. With oiled hands begin to knead the ball by gently folding each side towards the center, sprinkling flour as needed until it no longer sticks to the sides or bottom of the mixing bowl. Should feel like a marshmallow. Knead for 5 minutes adding flour if it begins to stick to hands.
If you are worried about gluten, you can place the dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl, and let sit in the fridge overnight (up to 30 hours) and return to directions below.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours or longer if want more sour or gluten to break down.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle lightly with flour and knead gently, removing any large air bubbles. Knead into a small circle, then shape into a tight ball, pinching the seams together underneath. Place on a well-floured board or baking peel, seam-side down. Cover with a kitchen towels and let rest until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Best temp is 90 degrees.
Preheat a baking stone, if available, on the bottom rack of an oven at 400 degrees F. With a sharp, serrated knife, cut a large “X” or cross-hatch pattern into the top of the dough.
Spray lightly with a mister and transfer to the baking stone (or place on a heavy baking sheet lightly dusted with cornmeal) and bake until golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, about 60 minutes. (Sourdough should have a darker crust than other breads, so leave in the oven 5 minutes after you think it is done.)
Remove the loaf from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before serving.