When I started with bread baking I followed the recipes exactly. This is unfortunately not always the way to go all. Bread baking depends of different criteria like humidity, room temperature, consistency of the flour, your oven etc. For example many recipes are asking for spraying the oven with water right before baking. Of course I did it and rarely got a loaf with a crispy crumb. Or I noticed that I have to use less liquid then listed in recipes. And you know why? Due to the high humidity here everything is different. The flour absorbs less water and I don’t need to spray the oven. I have to tell it again: Bread baking needs experience, feeling, time and patience, but don’t be scared it’s fun too. ;-)

The following recipe is my own creation. That’s why I’m calling it The Z-Loaf and because of the incision. Z=zorra! ;-)

The Z-Loaf

You need 405 g active sourdough for this recipe. I made it as follows:

15 g sourdough (doesn’t need to be very active)
15 g water
15 g flour (Type 550)

Mix well, cover and leave at room temperature for 2-4 hours (depending on your room temperature it can take more) until it starts to bubble. Now feed it by adding 40 g water and 50 g flour (Type 550), again cover and leave at room temperature 2-4 hours. For the final feeding add 135 g water and 135 g flour (Type 550) cover and leave at room temperature for 1 hour, then refrigerate overnight.

I kept it in the fridge for 2 days before using. It was still active, nevertheless I used a bit of yeast, only because I had not time for rising. Next time I will bake it without yeast and will let you know about the result.

The Z-Loaf
makes 1 medium-size loaf

The Z-Loaf

405 g active sourdough*
280 g whole wheat flour (Type 1100)
320 g flour (Type 550)
290 g water
7 g fresh yeast
15 salt

* Remove from the fridge 2 hours before using it.

Dissolve yeast in 50 g water. Dissolve sourdough in rest of the water. Add all ingredients expect salt in the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed 1.5 for 4 minutes, add salt and mix for another 6 minutes on speed 2.

Cover and let rise for 60-75 minutes. Make 1 Stretch & Fold after 30 minutes.

Shape dough into a long loaf, cover and let rise 60 minutes. In the meantime preheat oven to 240 C.

Before baking make a Z-shaped incision with a very sharp knife. If you live in a place with no high humidity you can spray now water in your oven.

Bake for 10 minutes, open oven door to release steam, reduce heat to 230 C and bake another 10 minutes, than again open oven door quickly and reduce heat to 200 C and bake 20 minutes. Remove loaf from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

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This is my submission Susan’s YeastSpotting, the weekly showcase of yeasted baked goods and dishes.

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Remember! Only 8 days left until World Bread Day 2009 – Yes we bake.