Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dado Colussi's Chicago Sourdough

Chicago Sourdough Bread baked by Dado during my stay

Related post: Meet the Bakers: Jacqueline and Dado Colussi

Dado's notes
Scaling note: I like to scale this formula to 500g of total flour.

1. Dissolve the starter in the water.
2. Add the flour, and mix until homogeneous. Let ferment for 12 hours at room temperature (approximately 20ºC/68ºF).

3. Dissolve the levain in the Final Mix water.
4. Add the bread flour, and the whole-wheat flour, and mix until homogeneous. Let rest for 30 minutes.

5. Add salt to the dough, then stretch and fold.
6. Ferment for 2 hours and 30 minutes at room temperature, or until mature.
7. Stretch and fold twice at 50-minute intervals.

8. Preshape into a boule. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
9. Shape into a boule or batard, and place on a piece of baking paper.
10. Proof for 45-60 minutes.

11. Preheat the oven to 260ºC/500ºF.
12. Transfer the bread into a pre-heated Dutch oven.
13. Bake for 15 minutes, covered with a lid.
14. Remove the lid, and reduce the oven temperature to 230ºC/445ºF, and bake for another 30 minutes.

15. Transfer the bread to a cooling rack, and let the bread cool for a few hours before slicing.

Crumb from the Chicago Sourdough bread baked by Dado during my stay

My observations
  • Dado doesn't go for a specific dough temperature: he uses room temperature water as he has no way to keep his dough warmer than room temperature after mixing anyway
  • He usually bakes in a Dutch oven but during my stay, as he experimented baking with two different types of flour (bread and all-purpose) and his oven wasn't big enough for two Dutch ovens, he improvised an interesting "cloche": he made a stack of large books to the dimensions of his oven, he carefully covered those books with foil, and when he lifted the shaped foil, he had a home-made steam chamber with which he covered his two loaves after placing them in the oven.

  • Dado relies on gravity to fold his dough ("air-folding")
I won't expand on Dado's experiment with the two kinds of flour as it wasn't conclusive: at the folding and shaping stages, the all-purpose flour dough was strikingly more extensible than the bread flour one but the oven rise turned out to be better with the bread flour. Dado didn't put much stock in the difference which he attributed to oven hotspots. He gets pretty stable results when he bakes in his Dutch oven.
The folding pictures above show the bread flour dough. The ones below show the all-purpose one. Same percentages, same weights. Notice the difference?

Using the starter Dado kindly gave me to take back (see Prairie Loaf), I made his Chicago Sourdough bread (with all-purpose flour) when I got home.
I was very pleased with the results. An excellent bread for everyday eating...


  1. Your bread posts make me happy. No other way to put it. What an amazing oven-spring those boules had!

    and the air-folding, that gravity thing, loved it!

    I had chosen a sourdough recipe to make this coming weekend, one of Forkish's formulas that calls for the starter set at a higher temperature (around 85F) - but this formula is calling my name too.... what to do? what to do? ;-)

  2. Cara MC,
    sono rientrata adesso da un corso professionale sulle focacce, e vedo che nella mia posta ci sei tu che condividi tutte queste cose straordinarie. Che bello ritrovarti, tutto bene con il trasloco? Ti stati ambientando? Sei sempre a caccia di farine e lieviti straordinari?
    Credo che metterò in produzione quanto prima il pane di cui sopra, è semplicemente bellissimo!!!!!!
    Grazie MC, soprattutto della tua presenza.
    Un abbraccio Anna G.

  3. I hate to boast, but my sourdough crumb is pretty close to the ones you posted above! That makes me think I have been getting some things right. Thanks again for starting me on this road.



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