Tried a whole wheat sourdough for the first time with my current starter.
Certainly not the kind of crumb I can get with regular bread flour, but not bad for something purely leavened with a starter.
Looks great. What's in it? And, how'd it taste?
Um... it contained something like...
5 oz wet starter (fed on all purpose flour)
16 oz whole wheat flour (King Arthur's)
10 oz 1% milk
1 T honey
2 t salt
I combined everything last night and then let it ferment overnight in the "cold room", a room in our house that drops to about 50 at night. This morning I folded it then let it warm up for a couple hours. Then I shaped them and gave them 3 or 4 hours to rise.
The flavor? Um.. it is good. I'm not sure how to characterize it. The whole wheat flavor dominates, though it does have a bit of a sourdough bite that almost makes it taste like it has rye in it. Not one my kids or wife will like as my normal sourdough, but I'm enjoying it.
Every time I'm amazed at the oven spring you get with an active sourdough culture. This had risen a little while rising, but I put it the oven at 550, steam it, turn it down to 460, then look in 10 minutes later and it is huge. Practically doubles in size in 10 minutes. Powerful stuff.
Floyd: I have been reading and using your great site for a few years now. I don't want to be the turkey today, but the obsession with large holes confuses me. I know they make the loave larger and lighter, but at some point the jelly falls through into my hand, or lands on my shirt. At age 69, my taste buds may be somewhat fading (like the rest of my body.) Does the flavor of the bread get dramatically better as hole size increases?
Artisan breads make from a lean dough with long, slow fermention should be characterized by a thin, crackly crust and an irregular crumb full of large holes. And, yes, bread that looks like that typically tastes a lot better (nuttier, sweeter) than pale french bread with an even crumb like what my local grocery store makes (or than I made back around the time I put together Lesson One on this site). But certainly there are other shapes and styles of bread: a good sandwich bread you typically want to have a much more even crumb. Breads with dairy, fats, other grains, or whole grains also tend to have a more even crumb. So it really is just a matter of what you are shooting for.
That's really an incredible loaf! I can never get a texture like that with WW. How often do you feed your starter, and how much? How wet is it? I'm amazed at your long proofing time. When I let my loaves proof for more than an hour they collapse.
My typical routine is to pull the starter out of the fridge on Saturday evening, take 1-2 tablespoons and mix it in with roughly 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup flour, then let it sit out overnight. The next morning, I take similar amount out, feed it the same, and throw it back in the fridge while using the rest in that day's bake.
I keep my starter on the wet side, more of a stiff batter than a dough.
You sourdough loaves collapse after an hour? That is bizarre... you must have one super potent starter.