At the “Quest for Sourdough” workshop I attended last month in Vith, Belgium, a wonderful baker, Yohan Ferrant, explained the method of making bread that he, along with some other bakers and nutritionist were working on. It was dubbed the “Do Nothing” bread by one of the attendees and it’s now all the rage. If you hashtag, #yohansbread or #donothingbread you will find many posts on Facebook about the bread.
I filmed Yohan as he explained the method and then showed how to shape the very wet dough. The method is somewhat similar to the “No Knead” bread by Jim Lahey but uses a miniscule amount of levain/sourdough starter (0.5% – 2%), is a very wet dough and is very long fermented at room temperature. Although you can ferment it even longer in the fridge or a colder environment.
The very long fermentation at a high hydration, without touching the dough is supposed to optimize the bread nutrition and glycemic index as well as brings out the full flavor of the grain. The dough is mixed, then left covered to ferment for 24 hours with only one fold.
I have to admit that when I tried it, my dough was like soup. After I folded it once, it came together fairly well for a 90% hydration dough and the shaping was similar to a ciabatta loaf.
My family raved over the resulting bread, it tastes and smells wonderful. You can vary the hydration, use different flour and even play around with the inoculation rate (the amount of sourdough or levain in the dough). Some bakers have tried using a lower hydration dough with great results. I like that you can mix it and walk away from it until you shape it and then bake it. It’s really a “do nothing” bread.
Here are the videos I took of Yohan at the workshop:
Here is my take on the method:
And here is the formula I came up with (going along with what Yohan explained)
- 10 grams of active sourdough starter @ 100% hydration(mine was fed six hours before using)
- 900 grams of water
- 600 grams of freshly ground whole wheat flour
- 400 grams of bread flour
- 20 grams of salt
1930 grams of dough at 90% hydration This was using 1% inoculation rate of starter and I mixed it all at once with no autolyse.
I made four small loaves, they were easier to handle that way. You can half the formula for two small loaves. Baked at 470F/243C with 15 minutes steam and 15- 18 minutes uncovered.
Yohan said that this method is good for “weak” flour too. I haven’t tried weak flour but I would keep an eye on how long it ferments if I tried a weak flour. He also said you can use an autolyse or not as you choose. If you have a choice, use higher protein flour. If you use a weak flour you may need to lower the hydration of the dough. See the video for more information.
If you try this bread post photos on the Facebook group, Perfect Sourdough so we can all see how you did.
Give the gift of learning how to bake real sourdough with an online course: Sourdough Bread Baking 101 for only $12.00 (psst, if someone else can bake it, you might get to eat it!)