I have been baking sourdough for three months now and it's starting to come together. I'm working through Mr. Hamelman's BREAD book (with other mellow bakers) and I've experimented with a few of the recipes I have found to be the tastiest (and easiest to bake). I've derived a base recipe based upon the "pain au levain with wholewheat" recipe. I know a lot of people out here love the "Vermont Sourdough" (which I also do), but I love wholewheat and don't see a lot of difference.
Read more here: http://www.savesourdough.com/baking-your-daily-bread/
It's the first time since I've seriously tried to employ the french fold technique, and it really does work wonders with wetter doughs. I've had a lot of trouble trying to mix these by hand (I refuse to use mechanical kneading). I've modified the recipe to allow for a higher hydratation value (as wholewheat does soak up a lot more water):
- 145gr. stone-ground organic wholewheat flour (got at a local mill)
- 10gr medium rye flour
- 145gr water
- 2 tablespoons of your starter (mine’s a white wheat 100% hydratation one)
- 605gr high-protein flour (all-purpose bread flour will do nicely, I didn’t have any at this point)
- 40gr medium rye flour
- 200gr wholewheat flour (also finely stone-ground)
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 590gr water
- the preferment
This should give you a 65% wholegrain bread
with 73% hydratation
. These are the methods I've used:
- autolyse for 30-60 minutes
- french fold (still very sticky & wet, stopped doing this after about 10 minutes)
- stretch & fold 3 times during 2 hours as the dough is still very slack due to the hydratation level
- retarding final proofing in baskets in the fridge
I love the big holes in the bread, it was very "mushy" and has a good bite, but there was only one problem, I want a more sour bread (not tangy but mellowy now)
I retarded the bread for 24 hours as an experiment, and another loaf for 40 hours.
After baking the latter showed clear forms of overproofing (very flat, lost it's strength after pushing it onto the baking sheet)
I wanted to taste the difference but could not find any difference! Wow, how come?
Tried another taste test this morning and let my girlfriend do the same, same conclusion - we could not find any difference. Strange.
I'm baking the very same thing right now, but tried another thing: 100% hydratation preferment and 24 hours of resting on the counter instead of 12 hours. It really smelled sour (!), hopefully it'll help. I did accidentally mess up the flour/water ratio and now it's close to 75% (gave me a lot of trouble with french folding and shaping)
Conclusion: still need to wait for the last bake, but 24 hours retarding > 40 to keep the form but not for the taste.