If you haven't tried David Snyder's SF Sourdough bread technique yet, you really should. It is a crusty, tasty bread that is very forgiving to make. I have made it a number of times, and have been making some small adjustments to fit my schedule and my tastes. In the last two weeks, I baked it twice and thought I would share some photos.
I like adding a small amount of whole spelt flour (about 10%) because of the flavor it imparts. This loaf used David's 50% hydration starter that I made with 5% spelt in place of the rye that he lists. I also wanted to try to shape it into a fendu, which I have never tried before. The loaf was shaped and retarded overnight (about 18 hours) directly in a floured banneton. In the morning it was proofed an hour at 85˚F and two additional hours at room temperature, about 68˚. The results were quite good.
Sorry, I don't have a crumb picture because I took the bread for a dinner party and didn't have a chance to take one. There is a very strong sour flavor to this bread, and it has a crispy-chewy crust and creamy crumb.
I baked a second set of batards the following week. Again I used 10% whole spelt, but instead of the 50% hydration starter, I used a 75% hydration starter to try to reduce the acidity. There have been some discussions on whether the starter hydration affects acidity recently, and I wanted to see what happens to my loaves.
The technique was mostly the same. The main difference was that I proofed the loaf in linen lined baskets for 90 minutes after shaping and then retarded them overnight. In the morning I finished proofing at 85˚ for an hour, then another 45 minutes at room temperature. To my taste, the second bake (75%H starter) seemed less tart than the first (50%H starter), but of course it is highly subjective. Both bakes gain acidity after sitting for a day or two.
Thanks again David for a great bread formula.