The closest-to-perfect bake I've ever had.
This is my first post, so before I get into the details, here's a little bit about me. I live in the Pacific Northwest, and I took up breadbaking a few years ago when I moved here from the Southeast. The first breads I made were Challahs, and I got pretty good at making them. I'd make pizza, too, but that doesn't really count. After a while, I decided to start my own sourdough starter earlier this year, and after baking every week (except during Passover when I wasn't supposed to), I was starting to get a little annoyed that my breads wouldn't turn out how I wanted them.
Yesterday afternoon, i decided to do some calculations and create a bread that is about 65% hydration. I also knew that I needed to adjust my flour. I like using Bob's Red Mill because it's local, but it only has about an 11.7% gluten content. I adjusted my flour by adding vital wheat gluten to the the flour I used.
So, here are the results: The holes are just right, the crumb is nice and open, and the crust is nice and crusty (duh - it's a crust, right?!). Here are some pictures, and below the pictures are the instructions.
Evening before bake:
- 300g Bread flour (13% gluten content)
- 225 grams lukewarm water
- 50g highly active firm starter
- In a medium-sized ceramic bowl, mix the starter into the water, then add the flour.
- Mix until even consistency is achieved (a couple minutes)
- Leave mixture in bowl and cover with plastice wrap.
- Let sit in kitchen for ~10 hours (overnight)
The Day of the Bake:
- 450g Bread flour (13% gluten content)
- 262g water
- Starter mixture from previous evening.
- 20g kosher salt
- 30g olive oil
- Mix flour and water in a large bowl.
- Separate 50g of starter mixture and store in a jar for a future bake. Add all of the rest of it to the flour and water mixture.
- Mix just a little bit, then add oil and salt. Mix again until fairly incorperated.
- Turn out onto a clean surface (no flour or oil)
- Knead for 10 minutes, until gluten is well-formed.
- Form the dough into a ball and roll it in a little flour (to prevent it from sticking to the bowl while fermenting).
- Put the dough in a large ceramic bowl and cover with a damp cloth.]
- After ~2 hours of fermentation, take the dough out and form it into loaves, The dough probably has not changed much in size at this point.
- Put semolina flour into two bannetons to prevent loaves from sticking.
- Place formed loaves in bannetons and let proof for 5 hours (until dough doesn't spring back when poked)
- While dough is proofing, put baking stone on the second-to-top shelf in oven and heat oven to 550 degrees. Put a metal cookie sheet on the bottom shelf in the oven for steam-creation.
- Just before baking, lower temperature to 425 degrees.
- Turn loaves out onto a peel, slash them, and put on bread stone.
- Pour ~1 cup boiling water into the cake pan to create steam.
- Bake for 45 minutes, turning loaves at the half-way mark.
- Cool loaves uncovered on wire racks.
Okay, so that's it. If you try the recipe out, let me know how it goes :-)