Step 1 - The Leaven
In a bowl, mix 2 to 3 good tbsp of your sourdough starter, 75g of strong bread flour and 75ml of water. Once combined, cover with clingfilm and allow to ferment for 5-7 hours. I usually do this in the morning and start making my dough around 2 o'clock in the afternoon.
Step 2 - The Dough
To check that your Leaven is ready to use, pull a little up with your fingers - if its bubbly and stringy, you're good to go.
Pop your leaven into a bowl or your mixer if you want your dough hook to do the work for you, along with 475ml of water. Mix until your leaven has dissolved.
Add 700 g of strong bread flour to your leaven water and either knead with your hands or use your dough hook and mixer. Once combined, you should have a very sticky dough. Cover with a cling film and leave to rest for an hour.
Whilst your dough is resting, combine 1 tbsp of salt and 50ml of water. Leave to dissolve whilst your dough rests.
Step 5 - Let the stretching and folding begin.
Pour your salt water into your dough - it won't absorb on it's own so you now need to stretch and fold your dough 4 to 6 times every half an hour for 2.5 hours (5 folds in total). If you miss a fold, don't worry too much.
After stretching and folding, your dough will still be quite wet - don't worry! Lightly dust your counter with flour and cut your dough in half. Shape your two loaves by folding the dough again. Cover and leave for half an hour or so.
Whilst your dough is resting for the last time, prepare your bread baskets. If you don't have bread baskets, you can use a bowl and a tea towel. Rub some flour into the fabric of your bread baskets or tea towels - ensure you cover all the fabric (this is to ensure your dough doesn't stick whilst it rises).
Complete one final fold and shape of your loaves and pop your dough into your bread baskets. Cover with clingfilm and pop them in the fridge to rise slowly overnight. Be sure to leave them in the fridge for 12-15 hours.
Step 9 - The Bake
Prepare your Dutch oven. All your need is a cast iron pan (like a La Creuset casserole pot) with a lid. Pop your pan in the oven and crank it up to 260 degrees. Let your oven preheat and your Dutch oven warm.
To avoid your loaf getting stuck in your Dutch oven, turn one of your loaves out onto a piece of parchment paper and carefully lift your loaf into your hot Dutch oven. Using a sharp knife, score your dough with a cut down the middle (you can make a fancy pattern if you want- scoring will not ruin your loaf).
Pop the lid on your Dutch oven and bake at 260 for 20 minutes.
Turn your oven down to 220 and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Take the lid off your Dutch oven and bake for a further 15-18 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place your sourdough loaf onto a wire rack. Allow your loaf to completely cool before you slice, otherwise you will end up with huge gaping holes.
Repeat the baking process for your other loaf.
Top tip - Once both your loaves have cooled, slice them and freeze. That way, you can simply take as much out of the freezer as an when, and all your hard work won't go stale!