I shared my lievito madre with many people who wanted to make pizza with it, but some of them thought further and they eventually asked the one question: “Can I also use it to bake bread?”
Yes, of course you can! The lievito is my favorite sourdough by far. It’s mild, super springy, and very easy to take care of. And here’s the easiest overnight bread you can bake with it.
You only need 4 things for a good sourdoug bread: a starter, flour, a liquid, and salt. If you add a fifth ingredient, the bread is gonna be extraordinary. And that ingredient is time. I love to prep the dough very early the morning, give it a long, cold rise in the fridge and bake it either at night or the next day. The additional time allows the dough to develop very complex flavors.
I like to play with the ingredients. You might have noticed that I only mentioned “a liquid” instead of just water. My favorite liquid for baking bread is coffee. But I also use milk, buttermilk, different fruit and vegetable juices, beer (Guinness is great!), wine, or even pickle juice in my breads.
With the different liquids and different flours or additional ingredients like soaked seeds or dried fruits, you can make this simple recipe again and again and it’ll be different every time.
If you want to use coffee, tea, or another hot liquid let it cool to lukewarm before you mix it with your other ingredients. Then knead the dough until the windowpane test is successful.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover it, and let it either rise at room temperature or in the fridge until it’s doubled in size and well fermented. I gave mine 2 hours in the proofing box at 28°C / 84F and then nearly 24 hours in the fridge on the top shelf, where it’s about 6-8°C / 42-46F.
Pre-heat the oven including a dutch oven, a pizza stone or a baking steel to 250°C / 480F. While it heats up, carefully shape your loaf. Be gentle, you don’t want to lose any of the air bubbles that are riddling the dough. Place it in a banneton for half an hour or so, until the oven is really hot.
You can score your loaf or bake it seam side up so it’ll crack open to give it a rustic look. Bake it with steam for about 40-45 minutes. Turn the oven’s temperature down to 210°C /410F after 10 minutes.
Take your bread out of the oven, let it cool on a wire rack for an hour before you cut into it, and that’s it. Now get creative and change the recipe up for the next bake. And maybe tell me what you did. I’d love to hear from you.