Would you consider this extreme Oven Spring? If so, ideas?
Hi All -
As a few might know, I've recently returned to baking, which is a first love, after many decades steeped in the world of stocks, butchery, and the like; baking was my first foray into cooking, as a child, but I haven't done it in many decades.
Relying heavily on ideas gleaned from this site, as well as Paul Bertolli's Chez Panisse Cooking, and e-gullet's sourdough "institute," I am really enjoying...no, an understatement - I am almost fiendishly in thrall to the smell of sweet starter, caramelizing flour, the crunch of a good crust, the gently yielding tear of a crumb, all derived de la nature elle-meme.
I am hopeful for some thoughts. Due to oven size issues, I am currently restricted to boules, and if my first few attempts yielded entirely satisfying loaves (my first post on the site shows some pics), now that my starter is maturing, if I am very happy with the taste and texture of my loaves, their look is almost ridiculously high, to me, to the point of being a bit ugly....not belle laide, just so high as to look misshapen. 1000 words, and all that:
This is a wet poolish, about 150%; final hydration going into bulk ferment for the loaves above was about 64%.
I use 10% rye flour by weight, the rest is KA bread flour.
The bread is being baked about once weekly, with the starter stepped up from a couple tablespoons, fed at 12 hour intervals twice, to obtain a cup of refreshed, vigorous starter.
Per the e-gullet method, I ferment the sponge for 4 hours; mix the dough (without salt) and knead, allowing free amylisation for 30 minutes. I add in the salt, knead just a couple of minutes more, and bulk ferment for 5 hours, folding at 1 hour intervals.
I then gently form a boule, and do not express much gas or otherwise knock the dough out in any way; place it in a floured, duck-cloth-lined, jury-rigged banneton, and ferment overnight, up to 18 hours, in the refrigerator. I bake at 500/400 directly out of the refrigerator - I do not temper the dough first. The dough is no more than 2-2 1/2" high going onto the peel, so the spring is quite high, as seen.
Thoughts as to why? Can't say I'm really disappointed with the sensory results, as the taste is really nice, with the proper mix, for me, of a decided, though yielding, crust crunch, and a really chewy, medium-light mouthfeel crumb, with good, complex acidity and a hint of desired spice, from the rye.
Just not a good boule shape....more like something my wife has so ungraciously described, which I'll beg off indicating here...only to say the name she has given to my loaves is better suited to elements in a Ruben sculpture (or a Russ Meyers film), perhaps, than as a loaf of bread. You get the pic. :-)
I suspect it's just a combination of factors - a really vigorous starter, a fairly hydrated dough, the 5 hour ferment, with folding (and further aeration and yeast propagation, therefore), and, going by a comment made on the e-gullet thread, something I hadn't considered before - the gentle final ferment in the cooler, preserving gases in the bread. I also suspect that with the dough being baked cold, the slashes mean the "top" square is lighter, and given a cold, stiff dough, the path of lesser resistance is up, not out....(?)
But I really don't know - at the end of the day, I'm a baby anew, in baking. Whatever troubleshooting expertise any could provide, very much appreciated!
p.s.: Sorry, all, for the weird formatting of the post, with huge gaps between pics and paragraphs; it doesn't show up this way in preview, only on actual post - no idea why this happens...anyone have any suggestions? Hate to beleaguer your eyes, all....