Vermont Sourdough a'la Kasey
Here's my first attempt this year at sourdough. For the most part this follows Jeff Hamelman's Bread book recipe for both the starter and the bread. My starter is young, this bake being the first one using it. It has just in the last day or two showed good signs if life and is at least doubling in volume after feeding it.
I followed the formula, but used all purpose flour instead of bread flour (I was out of bread flower but really wanted to bake with the starter). I also didn't follow the process due to scheduling conflicts this weekend. I had my levian built and ready in the evening and mixed the complete dough with some kneading and 1 stretch and fold before putting it in the fridge for the night. Then took it out in the AM and did 2 more stretch and folds at about 90 minutes apart. The dough wasn't rising as much as I hoped though did have some gas bubbles etc. so I knew the starter was doing it's work.. just maybe a little more slowly. I ended up letting the dough sit all day until around 9pm when I divided it, gave it a 45 minute bench rest then shaped it, and let it rise about an hour before baking.
For the bake, I preheated my oven to 550 (convection) steamed the oven 10 minutes or so before putting the loaves in (2 at a time) on my tiny baking stone. Once I loaded the loaves I turned the oven down to 475 and turned off the convection. (Davidg618 has a great blog about baguettes and K.I.S.S. that gave me some ideas here.. as well as others posting comments on his post... Thanks David).
Anyway 20 minutes later this is what they look like. I've baked quite a few true (non-sourdough) baguettes in the last few weeks - trying to improve my technique, but I really wanted to see how much of a difference the sourdough would make. Both breads taste great and my family and friends eat it so fast I barely get any myself. This sourdough is softer and moister and has at least a little more flavor than the baguettes, but it's not as sour as I thought it would be - especially after the long fermentation. I ferment the baguettes for about the same length of time (though most of the time is in the fridge vs. the sourdough which spent 12 hours at room temp after coming out of the fridge.
This is the fist sourdough of the year, so looking to improve as I go. My plan is to keep feeding the starter and hopefully it matures a bit and gets more flavor, I'll probably use a larger portion of starter next time too and see if I can get a little more sour flavor going. I'm a novice here, but all you TFLer's are really helping me improve my technique. I'm open to any observations / comments / ideas / critiques etc.