Glenn, inadvertently, threw down the gauntlet this week when he asked a question in his post: How to get a light and tender crumb in sourdough. I took up the challenge (even though I know Glenn didn't mean it that way) and in the process got diverted from what I had originally itended to bake this weekend.
Initially, I considered adding milk and some form of shortening, but on re-reading Glenn's thread I realised he didn't want the dough to be enriched in any way. So flour salt and water it is.
I am pretty happy with the result and I think the following all contributed to its success:
- a low protein bread flour (11.5%)
- a higher hydration than usual
- the water roux method
- extensive kneading
- lower bake temperature and shorter bake time
30g bread flour (11.5% protein)
150g water heated to 75 C
Dump flour into water. Stir until smooth. Cover tightly with cling film. Allow to cool to room temp. Refrigerate overnight.
30g ripe sourdough starter @ 100% hydration
50g WW flour
10g rye flour
Mix until smooth and leave to ferment for about 8 hours or until just about to peak.
180g water roux (pass it through a sieve if there are any lumps)
150g sourdough starter @ 100% hydration
1 level tsp diastatic malt
Whisk the above until well incorporated. Now add:
420g bread flour (11.5% protein)
Mix to shaggy mass. Autolyse for 50 mins. Now add:
Now you have to knead until you get a really good windowpane. I don't have a stand mixer, so that meant hand mixing for a long time. I didn't time it exactly, but if I had to guess, I would say that I spent anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes kneading. If I had a stand mixer I would have developed the dough even more, but I don't and I was getting tired, so I stopped. Unfortunately, there was no one on hand to help me take a pic of that windowpane. Pity, because I can't see myself doing that again in a hurry. Of all the changes I made to my regular recipe, I think the additional kneading made the least difference. Perhaps after all that time it still wasn't developed enough. Maybe I would have noticed a bigger difference if I had used a mixer.
2 hours with S&F at 50 and 100 mins respectively
Pre-shape. Rest 20 mins. Shape. Retard overnight. Usually, I three quarter prove before I retard, but it was getting late, so this one went straight into the fridge.
210 C with steam for 20 mins. 190 C without steam for 25 mins. Usually, those temps would be 230 C for 20 and 200 C for 35 mins. Then I would switch the oven off and let the bread dry out with the door cracked open for another 5 mins. This time I didn't do that because I didn't want the crumb to get dry. The internal temp was 209 F.
The crust was a bit thinner than usual due to the reduced baking time and lower temperatures. The crumb is beautifully tender and moist.
This is a nice tasting bread with a mild, but surprisingly evident, wheaty flavour despite there only being 50g of WW in the recipe.