This sourdough is unusual in two ways for me, a novelty. First, an ultra-long sponge fermentation time is demanded. Second, two bulk fermentation periods, with degassing in between, letting the dough double in volume each time. Wow. And then, after these, let it double in volume and bake.
I guess this technique is nearly identical to the technique of working with yeasted dough. I was curious to give it a try.
Since I was using deep loaf pans, more typical of English than American breads, I gave my loaves traditional English bread shapes: a split tin and a sisterbrick. I saw these shapes for the first time in the old baking books, before visiting England personally.
For 2 large loaves or 4 medium loaves.
1 1/4 cups unbleached white flour (I used 180g of bread flour)
1 cup liquid sourdough starter (250g total: 100g flour, 150g water)
1 cup warm water (250g)
10-24 hours at room temperature until it ferments and bubbles. I rebelled and fermented the sponge only until it doubled in volume (note: it takes from 40min to 4 hours, depending on the kind of the starter I use). It was ready at that point and I didn't want a loaf of bread that was too acidic in odor or taste.
6 1/2 cups unbleached white flour (I used 5 1/2 cups of fluffied bread flour and even that was too much)
2 tsp salt (14g)
2 Tbsp honey (80g)
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups milk (375g. Boil it, pasteurize for 30 min @95C and refrigerate)
Mix the dough, cover it and allow it to rest for 20 min before kneading. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic and gluten well developed. Don't skimp on kneading time with this recipe. Cover the dough. Once the dough has doubled, punch it down, cover again and allow it to rise a second time to double. Each of these risings may take as long as 2 hours. When the dough has doubled a second time, knead it down and shape into 2-4 loaves, depending on the size ofyour pans. The dough should fill each greased pan by about half. Brush the loaves with melted butter, cover and place in a warm spot to rise until double in bulk, for about an hour.
Note: It took my loaves 2 hours at 28C to quadruple in volume from 1 1/2 Qt to 6 Qt, to fully fill up 2 loaf pans 3 Qt each. I used 9x5x5" pans by Lincoln Wear-Ever, nearly 2" deeper than the usual American 9 x 5 x 2 1/2".
Bake for 45 min at 375F/190С. For the most tender crust, brush the loaves with butter again and cover lightly with a dry cloth as they cool.
Source: Sara Pitzer (1980) Baking with Sourdough. A Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin.