The walnut and dried apricot loaf was made to test out some techniques. I will compare it to the same loaf I made last week.
This dough got the whole works - autolyse - mixed until I got a good gluten window - proofing prior to refrigerating. Retarding overnight in the fridge.
These pictures show the progress and slight growth that I was expecting.
The progression from "mixed post autolyse" to "bulk ferment prior to retarding over night" and then finally "post retarding".
This morning I removed the walnut and apricot dough from the fridge
It warmed up nicely and was bulk proofed in the airing cupboard at 70-80f for 2 hours. When it took it out of the proving bag it was breathing in and out - hope there is no alien inside. There were certainly bubbles in the dough as I knocked it back. It was then knocked back and shaped and it went into the baking tin inside a proving bag into the airing cupboard at 11.15am for its final proofing. This is a new larger tin; it is 12 inches long x 6 inches wide x 2 1/2 inches deep.
It got its final proofing. I checked it after 1 hour and it had started to move up the tin, after another hour it was almost level with the top of the tin.
I wanted to get a nice dome on the top. After the third hour the dome I wanted was there.
I pre-heated the oven to 330c- my oven is a fan type with a max temp of 240c.
I have a pan in the bottom of the oven to create steam.
I slashed the loaf and baked it for 15 minutes with steam - then 15 minutes without steam
At the end of 30 minutes I tapped the bottom of the loaf for the hollow sound
I turned off the oven but left the loaves in the oven with the oven door ajar for another 10 minutes.
I cooled it on a rack
Then i cut a slice.
The best slice, yep better than last weeks loaf.
I have to say that I was very sceptical about the value of additional techniques. The result was amazing and so different and much better than the loaf I made last week. This loaf is much lighter and has a definite bounce. The crust has a crunch to it and the crumb is very soft. The taste of the sourdough has developed more - Simply it is delicious.
As I did so many new things I can't tell which technique delivered what, so my extended test will hopefully show me which techniques deliver what.