Makes 2 loaves
Einkorn Italian Bread with Sourdough Starter
IngredientsFor the Sourdough Levain:
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) einkorn sourdough starter
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (130 g) warm water, at 100°F
- 1 cup (120 g) jovial All-Purpose Einkorn Flour or 1¼ cup (120 g) jovial Whole Grain Einkorn Flour
- Make the sourdough levain: In a medium bowl, mix the starter and water together until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Mix in the flour with a fork until all of the flour is absorbed. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 6 to 10 hours. The levain is ready to use when the surface is covered with large bubbles.
- Make the bread: In a large bowl, combine the levain and the water. Add the flour and sprinkle the salt on top. Mix with a stiff spatula or an Einkorn Kneading Tool until the flour is well absorbed. Mix the oil into the dough until you have a shaggy dough. Cover the bowl with a plate and let stand for 15 minutes.
- Very lightly flour a work surface and place the dough on it. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough for less than a minute until it smooths out. Use your hands to gently spread the dough out to a rectangle about an inch thick. Starting from the left side, fold each side of the rectangle to the center, working your way along the four sides. You should have a square consisting of 4 layers of folded dough. Fold the square in half, gather up the dough with a bench scraper, and place it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 3 to 5 hours at room temperature.
- Using a dough scraper, transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into two equal pieces.
- Shape the loaves: Take the first piece of dough and fold it to form a 2 x 5-inch rectangle. With the long side facing vertically, pull and fold the short end of the rectangle to the center, and press with your fingertips to close the seam tightly. Repeat this step with the other side to form a tight log. Roll the log with pressure from the center once or twice, and then roll toward the ends to form pointy edges. Roll again from the center outward until you form an 11-inch cylinder. If you are not happy with the shape, try again. The second time will be easier. Repeat with the second loaf.
- Transfer the loaves to a 16-inch piece of parchment paper, spacing them 4-inches apart. Cover the loaves with oiled plastic wrap. Let rest for 1 hour.
- Place a large baking tray with a ½ cup of water on a rack at the lowest position in the oven. Place another baking sheet on the middle rack.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F for 30 minutes.
- Uncover the loaves and cut one ¼-inch deep slash down the center of each loaf, being careful to not cut too close to the ends. Brush the tops with water and sprinkle each loaf with sesame seeds. If you are not using sesame, place the bread in the oven after slashing and do not brush the dough with water.
- Carefully remove the hot baking pan from the oven. Lift the loaves up by the edges of the parchment paper and place on the baking pan. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the loaves are golden.
- Transfer the bread to a wire rack and let it cool for 1 hours before slicing. This bread is best on the day of baking, while the crust is crispy. Store the bread in a sealed plastic bag for up to 2 days or freeze for up to a month. Defrost at room temperature.