Rapt attention

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Staff of life

Last night was my second sourdough bake. And I mean, practically all night.

I started my levain at 4:30 p.m.. I had fed the starter in the morning and the previous evening, rescuing it from its refrigerated slumber. 

About five hours later I started my autolyze, mixing 700 grams of assorted flours and 560 grams of room temperature water. Then I added the salt and the starter, mixing it all together with my hand.

After it rested for an hour I started the stretch and fold operations for about three hours, every half hour, in order to build gluten structure.

I used all purpose flour last time, this time I used a combination of mostly bread flour, whole wheat and all purpose. I wanted a stronger loaf. The last one was great, delicate, this was just a different style.

I worked until about 12:30 or 1 in the morning, when I entered the bulk fermentation phase. 

Then I went to bed.

I woke up at 4 and continued my bread journey.  The dough had doubled in size.

I did not want to over ferment the bread dough and had to stay on top of things. All was good. I had high hopes.

Now I was ready to pre shape my loaves.

After pre shaping I let them rest and finally shaped them and stuck them in to the bannetons.

I put them in the oven with the light on to proof.

Many people prefer a cold proof which brings out sharper sourdough flavors but I honestly had no room in the fridge.

I went to work, running on fumes. Felt like a college all-nighter or a lost Grateful Dead weekend.

I came home at ten, dropped the loaves and scored them.

I must say I was bumming when I saw them. They had lost their tension and were too flat for my liking.

A step backwards.

Oh well, nothing to do but bake them.  I put them, one by one, into the dutch oven to cook at 475 degrees.

My first loaf came out pretty much as I had thought. Not nearly enough spring.

I didn't wait long to cut into it. It was delicious.

Stronger flavor with the wheat flour. Nice profile. Leslie really liked it too.

Great with butter and the house smells great.

Nice open crumb. Very consistent.

In doing my post mortem I can only think that the problem is that my starter was just not active enough. 

I was impatient and it never peaked as it should have.

Next time will be better; now a nap. Working on three hours sleep.

Looking forward to round three. Will get this.


Lena said...

How’d the second loaf come out? Glad Leslie could enjoy the warm bread with you!

Blue Heron said...

We decided to really get a deep cook on the crust on the second one. It was entirely different in its own way, maybe more of a San Francisco style.

Linda Wilson said...

Nice! I wish I had more patience for this process. I guess I’m just not committed!