Shortcut Sourdough Boule

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The aroma of homemade sourdough wafting through your home is one of life’s simple pleasures. Yet, keeping a sourdough starter can be intimidating and time-consuming. It may sound impossible, but we found a way to have fresh-baked sourdough, no homemade starter required! Our Shortcut Sourdough Boule has all the tanginess of sourdough—not to mention a chewy, open crumb and crunchy crust—but instead of building your own starter, the recipe calls for Platinum®Instant Sourdough Yeast from Red Star®. Made with dried sourdough starter, instant yeast, and natural dough strengtheners, this revolutionary product guarantees rich sourdough flavor while letting you skip the starter. It’s sourdough made simple.

4.4 from 8 reviews
Shortcut Sourdough Boule
 
Makes 1 oval boule
Ingredients
  • 4½ cups (572 grams) bread flour
  • 1 (0.63-ounce) package (18 grams) Platinum Instant Sourdough Yeast from Red Star
  • 1 tablespoon (9 grams) kosher salt
  • 1¾ cups (420 grams) warm water (105°F/41°C to 110°F/43°C)
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, instant sourdough, and salt. Add 1¾ cups (420 grams) warm water, and beat at medium-low speed until a sticky dough forms, about 30 seconds. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) for 2 hours. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, and generously dust with bread flour.
  3. Turn out dough onto a floured surface. Gently stretch and fold bottom third over to center. Stretch right side out, and fold right third over to center; repeat with left side. Finish by folding top third over previous folds. Roll loaf away from you, and using both hands, cup dough and pull it toward you to seal. Turn dough 180 degrees, and pull again until a tight, smooth, oval boule forms. (To shape dough into a round boule for a round Dutch oven, see Shaping Boule on page 37.) Place dough seam side down on prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) for 1 hour. (Alternatively, place dough on prepared pan; cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove dough from refrigerator, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place [75°F/24°C] for 1 hour.)
  4. When dough has 30 minutes left to rise, place a 5- to 7-quart oval enamel-coated Dutch oven and lid in cold oven. Preheat oven to 500°F (260°C)
  5. Using a lame or razor blade score top of loaf Carefully remove hot Dutch oven from oven; remove lid and place dough still on parchment in Dutch oven Cover with lid and place back in oven
  6. Immediately reduce oven temperature to 425°F (220°C) Bake for 30 minutes Remove lid and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 205°F (96°C) 10 to 15 minutes more Immediately remove loaf from Dutch oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Notes
SHEET PAN METHOD: Although we prefer the Dutch oven method, this recipe can be baked on a sheet pan. To bake on a sheet pan, cover loaf with foil and tightly seal foil around rim of pan. Bake at 425°F (220°C) for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 205°F (96°C), 10 to 15 minutes more.

 

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19 COMMENTS

  1. This worked very well and made a nice boule that I formed in my round brotform. The recipe takes the traditional approach to no knead bread by preheating the dutch oven. This is completely unnecessary, as America’s Test Kitchen and my experience show that you just put the bread in a cold oven, set the temp to 425, and start your timer when the oven reaches temperature. Works perfectly every time and eliminates the need to handle a 500 degree dutch oven. Here is a link to a picture of the load I baked. https://www.instagram.com/p/B4GEZ_tBaqjkr0G8Q-7yvi5FnGWBVAAsokA3mk0/

      • It’s always better to measure in grams, especially when you’re baking. Grams are more precise than volume measure, which is (though minorly) dependent on humidity and other factors that won’t be a problem if you measure with weight. Happy baking! 🙂

        • I weighed my flour in grams because of the need for precision but I still don’t do any better. When weighing, it came to 3 1/2 cups of flour instead of 4 1/2 but I went with it because grams are more precise. However, it was very difficult to work with because it ended up so wet it could barely keep its shape. Bread is tricky because I’m finding you have to learn how to tell by look and feel how much flour should be in and not at all by measurement in either cups or grams.

          NOTE: even so my bread turned out great

  2. OK, I made this bread recipe, and it was insanely good — as well as relatively quick to make. You still get the satisfaction of forming the boule, stretching and folding, good crust, good chew — but cutting out a week’s worth of attentiveness. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. That tip from Craig panned out (get it – a French pun – panned?) – you can just slash it and pop it into a cold start oven and set it to 425. Instead of the fridge overnight, I just put it out on a Chicago May night on an enclosed porch, which is the same temp. I only made half the recipe, which comes out fine. I did not make it with partly whole wheat, but I’m sure some experimenters will attest to its added flavor. I just can’t keep whole wheat flour around my house as I don’t use it enough. Pure bread flour, as in this recipe – delish.

  3. In the first refrigeration, the recipe says at least 2 hours. Is there a maximum on this? What is the purpose of doing two refrigerations?

    • Hi Alison,

      Thanks for reaching out! The second refrigeration is optional but will yield more flavorful results. In each refrigeration, we are slowing the microbes down enough so that the culture continues to produce flavor compounds, but does not ferment so rapidly as to overproof the dough. The maximum time for refrigeration will vary dependent due to environmental variables (vitality of culture and refrigeration temperature), but as a general rule, 18 hours is a good overnight time and 3 days is a good stopping point.

  4. Just to be clear… you let it rise for 2 hours….then put in fridge for 2 hours and then knead shape and let rise again?

    • Hi Myrle!

      This is correct. If you are not familiar with long fermentations, this definitely sounds odd! However, more flavor will develop the longer you let the sourdough boule proof/rise. Here, we provide the minimum time for the “shortcut,” but if you do have some time, try the longer version for more flavorful results. Hope this helps and happy baking!

  5. I made this bread last week. I measured by cup and not by grams and had to add a tad bit more water than called for. I had to go somewhere unexpectedly and left the dough in the refrigerator overnight. This is one of the best breads I’ve made of this type! The texture and crust is fabulous. My husband raves about it. I plan on making this very often.
    Thank you

  6. I made this for my family yesterday. This was one of the best breads I’ve made in a long time. Even though I skipped the overnight refrigeration step, it still turned out amazing and has a lot of flavor. I can only imagine how good it would have been if I did that step. I did the sheet method because I don’t have a Dutch oven. The crust was so crunchy and golden brown while the inside was soft. I served it to my fam with olive oil and basil.

  7. I just finished baking this and it came out entirely too salty. Are you certain 1 TABLESPOON of salt and not a teaspoon is called for? Very disappointed in the time and expense of this recipe!

    • Hi Christie,

      We’re so sorry you found the boule too salty. Did you measure the salt using volume or weight? Different sizes of salt crystals can cause inconsistencies when using volume measurements.

    • What kind of salt did you use? If Morton’s, it will come out much saltier. Morton’s kosher salt is almost 2x saltier than Diamonds kosher salt.

  8. This recipe is amazing and so easy. I have been adding caraway seeds (2-3 tbsp) to dry ingredients and the flavor is incredible. Tastes like one of those pricey European breads. I have been refrigerating the dough for maximum flavor but will experiment with a shorter refrigeration today and try rosemary instead of caraway.

    • Hello Tawyna,

      Thank you for your question!

      Yes, if you double the recipe you will need to double all ingredients, including the yeast. Baking is all about having the correct ratio of ingredients, so if any adjustment is made to one ingredient, it needs to be made to the rest as well to maintain the correct ratios.

      Hope this helps, and happy baking!

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