I am posting a new method of creating a sourdough loaf that may help "newbies" to over-come those initial flops we all seemed to have had at one time or another.
Assuming you have a healthy starter, if you haven't there is plenty of information available here on "The Fresh Loaf Website".
Temperature is the most important item when it comes to dough making and this includes "starters".
I find the term "at room tempt." a little misleading as it can vary up to 15°.
This being the case it is impossible to create a consistently textured loaf.
I found 79° to "my" optimum temp.
By that I mean after all the ingredients have been mixed together the final dough or starter should be left to proof at 79°.
By using a fixed temp. you will be able to define a fixed time scale that your yeast or starter takes to expend it's self thus creating a consistent loaf.
This recipe works for me every time.
250 grams of starter.
2 cups of high protein unbleached flour (13%). (+ extra 1 cup if needed)
1 cup of unbleached wholemeal strong flour. (13.6%).
2-1/2 teaspoons salt. (+ extra 1/2 tsp. if needed).
2 teaspoons of "beef dripping" (not lard).
1 cup of spring or tank water. (without chlorine).
- Combine the 250gms of starter with 1 cup of white flour and 1cup of spring or tank water. (adjust water temp. to obtain 79° overall).
Mix for 2 minutes.
Very "wet" (yes)
"Cover" and allow to stand for 4hrs at 79°.
Add 1 cup of white flour, 1cup of wholemeal flour, 2-1/2 tsp. salt, and 2 tsp. of beef dripping. (grated dripping is fine)
Combine for 1 minute.
Take tempt. (adjust with extra flour or water). (salt?).
Special note; Mixing creates heat.
You have two choices.
- Mix for 1 further minute and remove to a floured board. (cut in half if necessary).
Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
Flatten out on board and triple fold then double fold in a 90° direction to the
triple fold direction. (should finish up a round ball roughly).
Take the ball of dough in two hands and pare the top off and tuck it under the outer edgers of the dough till the top becomes smooth. (no ragged or torn edges).(about 2 to 5 minutes).
Place in a flour coated baking medium and "cover".
At 4hrs turn oven on set to 500°.
At 4-1/2 hrs you are ready to bake.
An extra 1/2 hr was added to the proofing time for the wholemeal flour.
There is no need to score the top of this dough as the starter has enough "Oomph" to make it rise.
2. Mix for 8 minutes. (result a much tighter dough).
Next operations are the same as for "choice 1", but scoring of the top is necessary as the dough is much tighter.
I found scoring in the shape of a square gives the best result for myself.
Coat top of dough with beaten egg. (color).
In the photo above both S/S-bowels have been greased with beef dripping, the one containing the dough has been dusted with flour, the larger one ("lid") has been dusted with salt.
Before placing the lid over the dough bowl a misting spray of water is applied to the salt. (moisture-steam).
Bake at 500° for 30 minutes. (check at 25 minutes).
Remove lid and turn oven down to 230° for 10 minutes and then off.
Allow the loaf to bake down for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven, check if cooked, if so turn out onto rack and cover.
I hope this helps.
PS. I am trialing a variation of a starter based on "dried sultanas" I hope to keep you informed of the results.