Buried Bread – A Sourdough Experiment
Many years ago, when I was working with and experimenting with Desem, I would bury the Desem dough ball in the bag of flour and then later dig it out and see that it had cracked open with the fermentation going on inside. I remember thinking about how nice the skin on the dough ball was. When it was buried in the flour, the outer layer, although still moist, was thick from being in contact with flour. The flour outside of the dough ball had absorbed enough moisture to form a nice thick outer layer on the dough ball.
For some reason, that came to mind and I decided it would be fun to experiment with “buried dough.” When I usually proof my dough in bannetons, I sprinkle flour so the dough doesn’t stick, but also lightly enough so there isn’t excess flour. The banneton itself also absorbs moisture, which is why it’s so nice for proofing dough. I just took the flouring of the banneton quite a bit further just for fun.
I heavily floured the banneton with whole wheat flour and then placed the dough inside. Then I covered the dough ball heavily with flour. Now, I know this sounds wasteful, but I can just feed the excess flour to my whole wheat starter, so keep your socks on.
Next I refrigerated the dough overnight. In the morning, I took out the dough and staggered the loaves 30 minutes apart so they wouldn’t all be ready to bake at the same time. I uncovered the dough from the plastic bag, scraped off some of the flour on top of the dough and then allowed the dough to final proof.
Apologies for the low quality photos, I didn’t have a nice camera back then.
The formula is easy at 68% hydration and the whole wheat makes the dough even stiffer, so experiment with a bit more water if you are used to high hydration dough.
- 200 grams 100% vigorous starter either white or whole grain
- 500 grams water
- 580 grams white flour – try using a mixture of AP and Bread flour
- 200 grams whole wheat flour
- 17 grams salt (add after autolyse)
1497 grams at 68% hydration.
- Mix all ingredients except salt. Autolyse for 2 hours.
- Add salt and incorporate.
- Fold several times over the next three to four hours until you get a passable windowpane. The whole wheat flour in the dough will result in a weak windowpane but it should feel stretchy.
- Divide dough into two pieces.
- Shape dough and place in a banneton sprinkled thickly in whole wheat flour. Place a heavy layer of whole wheat flour on the top.
- Cover all with a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight. If you want to bake cold next morning, let the dough sit out and proof for an hour before refrigerating.
- Next morning take out your loaves, staggered and let proof until ready.
- Lift your dough out of the banneton and brush off excess flour.
- Score and bake in a pre-heated oven at 470F for 30 – 40 minutes or until done (pre-heat oven to 500F and then turn down to 470F). Use a roasting lid for the first 15 minutes of the bake for steam.
Well that’s it for the buried loaf. It was a lot of fun and the crust came out very nice! It’s not something you would want to do on a constant basis, but it is a really fun experiment.
Happy Baking, Teresa
If you enjoy experimenting , then join my newest online baking course, “Sourdough Bread Baking Experiments” (link has discount).