I was worried about this loaf. We are having record low temperatures, so I wasn't sure about proofing the dough. However, the sourdoughs are a little more time intensive. They become weekend breads. But I didn't want to wait for another weekend to try this one.
Yesterday evening I made the firm starter. I used half wheat flour half bread flour because I do not have access to medium grain whole wheat flour. I added the barm to the flour and some water and let it ferment until doubled. I actually put it on top of the refrigerator, went to bed and this morning, it had just doubled.
I then added the 7 cups of flour, salt and water to the starter. I divided the dough in half and mixed and kneaded it. I am having difficulty with the arthritis in my hands in this cold weather. They don't wake up happy and perky and looking forward to kneading for 15 minutes to form a supple, tacky, but sticky dough. Usually I can talk my main stake holder into kneading, but he retains the ability to sleep past 0600 on the weekend. The mixer did a lovely job.
The dough took about 5 hours to double. The temperature in the kitchen varied with the number of time the dog went outside. Eventually, I made my oven into a proofing box. I formed the dough into a large boule and put it into my largest bowl. I was once again coveting a banneton. But the bowl lined with my linen worked fine.
After two hours, I turned the dough onto a pan and prepared the oven for hearth baking.
We are enjoying this bread. Peter says that it is good for 5 to 7 days. Good soup bread.