Second Sourdough Loaf - Great Flavor, Great Crust, But Lousy Scoring -- and Still Hooked
A few days ago, I posted about the success my first sourdough loaf, and the fact that I am now totally hooked. I baked a second loaf today, and I am both ecstatic and disappointed by the results. Ambivalent feelings aside, the bread tasted great, and the crust was that delightfully crunchy-yet-chewy texture I was looking for. The crumb was moist and delicate, but there were no large and irregular holes that I would like to have seen. The flavor was mildly sourdough (as expected), and the oven spring was amazing.
The scoring, however, didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped. My knife, although extremely sharp, dragged through the dough rather than slicing smoothly as it did on the first loaf. The dragging knife deflated one side of the loaf a bit, but I baked it anyway. It was a very pleasant surprise when the loaf turned out so well. I believe part of the problem may have been the slightly increased "stickiness" of the surface of the second loaf, as compared to the first.
For this second loaf, I used the "Mild" San Francisco Sourdough Bread recipe from chapter 4 of Mike Avery's "An Introduction To Sourdough Baking" (free sample). The recipe is:
* 2 cups starter (mine is approximately 166% hydration - equal amounts by volume)
* .5 cup whole wheat flower
* 2.5 cups white bread flower
* 1/4 cup water
* .5 tsp salt
Because of shoulder pain, I couldn't perform the manual kneading called for in the recipe, so I mixed and kneaded the ingredients in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer for about 4 - 5 minutes - just long enough to develop a minimal amount of gluten. I then put it into an olive oil coated bowl and used the "stretch and fold" method. I folded the dough at 45-minute intervals 3 times, then after a 45-minute rest I placed it in a 10-inch skillet on an oiled parchement paper to rise for 2 hours. The loaf was baked in a pre-heated cast iron dutch oven at 450 degrees with the lid on for 30 minutes, then uncovered for 15 minutes. At that time, the loaf was nicely browned and the internal temperature was 204 degrees farenheit. It had raised much more than I had expected. After cooling, the weight was just under 2 pounds. The recipe was for two 1-pound loaves, but I opted to bake it as a single loaf.
Here are the pictures of the finished loaf, as well as the cast iron pot used as a cloche, and the nice red wine that kept me company while the bread was "working". Your comments are welcome, and yes, I know that many of you only use weight for measurement, but Mike's recipe looked good and was only avaiable as volumetric.