This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe in thekitchn.com and is an example of a style of baking pioneered by Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery. The technique using long rising times and folding to develop gluten, and baking in a hot enclosed pot to simulate the conditions used to get crusty breads.
Since I have a supply of 50/50 sourdough starter, my primary change was to use 6 oz. of the starter as a replacement for 3 oz. of flour and 3 oz. of water. This is a very wet dough and is a little hard to work with, but it ultimately bakes up nicely.
10 oz. all purpose flour
9 oz. warm water
6 oz. 50/50 sourdough starter (or 3 oz. flour and 3 oz. water)
1 tsp. kosher salt
¾ tsp. yeast
1 large head of garlic
3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
~2 Tbs. chopped rosemary and/or thyme
1 tsp. Maldon salt (or other flaky finishing salt)
The evening before baking, mix together the flour, salt, and yeast, and then the water and sourdough starter. Stir until a smooth very sticky dough/batter is developed. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on the kitchen counter until it has doubled and is very bubbly, 4-8 hours depending on kitchen temperature.
While the dough is rising, roast the head of garlic. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off the head of garlic. Place the cut head of garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle the top with 1 Tbs. of olive oil and then form the foil into a package for the garlic. Roast for 45 minutes and then remove and allow to cool. When fully cooled, remove the roasted cloves and throw away the garlic skins.
When the dough has doubled, put it on a floured counter and pat it out. Sprinkle the garlic cloves and herbs over the top and fold the dough. Spread it out again, and fold it again. Repeat a total of 4 times to mix the garlic and herbs throughout the bread. Form the dough into a ball and put it on a sheet of baking parchment to double for an hour.
After half an hour, heat the oven to 450 degrees and put a heavy pot and lid into the oven. Allow the oven and pot to heat for half an hour.
Carefully remove the pot from the oven, and using the baking parchment as a sling, carefully lower the bread dough into the pot. Sprinkle 2 Tbs. of olive oil on the top and then sprinkle the tsp. of Maldon salt. Put the pot back in the oven with the lid on and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and back for another 15 minutes until the top is brown and the bread seems done. Remove the pot from the oven. Cool the bread in the pot for 5 minutes and then remove from the pot and cool on a wire rack. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.
Note. I baked this first loaf in a Dutch oven. I think the next time I will use a smaller pot so that the bread loaf will be taller.