Dutch Oven Whole Wheat Bread with Lievito Madre
So this was my first attempt baking with the Lievito Madre. And the results?
I love the flavor and the thin but crunchy crust. The inside is oh-so-soft and moist and the bread stays fresh for a few days, if you don’t devour it all immediately that is. Of course, it takes some time to make so if you’re looking to have bread for tonight’s dinner, plan on something else. This is worth planning for though so read on to find out how to get this (dough) ball rolling.
Placing the dough in a preheated Dutch Oven helps to get the perfect crust. No steaming needed on this one. The moisture from the bread is enough to steam itself.
Here is a close-up from a scoop of the LM starter. LM is much firmer with its 50% hydration than the sourdough which has 100% hydration.
Here’s how to make this amazing whole wheat bread. Let’s start with the starter!
200g Lievito Madre
500g Bread Flour
80g Whole Wheat Flour (I grind my own using a Wonder Mill)
Sift the flour. Then mix the LM starter in the water. Add molasses and salt to that, then half of the flour and mix it for 5 minutes or until you get a smooth texture and there aren’t any lumps.
Add the rest of the flour and knead for 10 minutes. Then, let the dough relax for 10 minutes. You should relax for 10 minutes too.
Next, you’ll do the first stretch and fold it up. Cover it and let it rest for 45 minutes. It’s another good chance for you to rest too.
Repeat the stretch-and-fold process 3 times with a resting time of 45 minutes in between each. During the second one, your dough is smoother and more elastic. After 45 minutes, you’ll go back and do it for a third time and let it rest again for 45 more minutes.
Shape the Boule and place it in a proofing basket. Proof for 4 hours at room temperature, then transfer it to the fridge for an additional 8 hours.
Here are some before and after photos…
Once it has properly gone through all those other steps, preheat your oven to 460 F including a cast iron pot for 25 minutes.
Transfer the Boule from the Proofing Basket on to parchment paper.
Score the top with a very sharp knife or even better, with a Lame.
Drop the Boule carefully inside the preheated pot. You can lift it by grabbing on to the sides of the parchment paper.
Close the lid and place the pot in the oven, reduce temperature to 430 F and bake for 30 minutes.
Pro tip: if you want a more robust color, bake it without the lid for the last 10 minutes of baking time.