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  1. In a large mixing bowl, or the bucket of a bread machine, combine the fed sourdough starter and 1 cup of the water, mixing until smooth.

  2. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess.

  3. Add the remaining dough ingredients, and mix and knead — by hand, mixer, bread machine, or food processor — until you've made a soft dough, adding additional water as needed. Note: If you're using a bread machine, program for the manual or dough cycle. Check the dough's consistency after 7 to 10 minutes of kneading; it should be smooth and elastic. Adjust as necessary with additional flour or water.

  4. Cover the dough in the bowl, and let it rise until it's almost doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface, and gently fold it over a few times to deflate it. Shape it into a large round.

  6. Cover the loaf with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise until it's very puffy, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

  7. Just before baking, brush with the beaten egg white. Sprinkle with seeds. Use a lame or a very sharp knife to make several slashes across the top of the loaf, asterisk-fashion.

  8. Bake the bread for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and a digital thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack.

  9. Store bread at room temperature, well wrapped, for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers