So after general sourdough success, I only had one qualm: the loaves were just too small. I mean, a little loaf and two boules were fine for snacking and dipping and smearing with various savory fatty foodstuffs, but what I really wanted for everyday breading was something more substantial, something I could slice a nice hunk off of and toast up in the morning, or use to make a sandwich for late-night snacking. Thus was born the dream of THE BIG LOAF.
So I did everything the same as before, whipped the soft starter with flour to create a firm starter, rested that overnight in the fridge, ripped it up the next day and added four more cups of flour, two and a half teaspoons of salt, and about a cup and a half of water. Mix, knead for ten minutes, let rise.
The firm starter, before mixing.
Then, instead of cutting the dough in half, I put the whole thing into my Dutch oven for proofing. This had better be BIG, damnit! Two hours go by and a few deft knife-slashes, and it looks like this.
Forty-five minutes in the oven at 500, then 450, with the requisite steam blasts at first, it comes out a lovely crisp golden-brown. Takes a bit of work to wrangle it out of the Dutch oven, I'll oil it up a bit more next time, but the damn thing is finally out and I've got what I want: THE BIG LOAF.
I couldn't wait the recommended half hour, so I attacked it with my bread knife and a fistful of Meadow Butter [see header image.] All in all, quite the successful gambit.
Now you try it. You won't be sorry.
Happy baking, Groupthink!