Lingering Questions: Can you help me with answers?
Over the past few weeks I've been experimenting with my sourdough to get some different results. In general I've been happy with where I am at, but want the crumb to be a bit less chewy and the crumb to be more custardy. (Is that a word?)
I've also been pushing my hydration rates higher and higher. Last try was at about 78% hydration.
So here are my questions:
1) With the high hydration loaves, I find the only way to handle them after the stretch and fold is to flour them very well. I've tried the final proofing on granite counter tops, wooden cutting boards/peels, and cotton dish towels all with lots of flour under them to keep them from sticking. If I flour the proofing vessel liberally and try to transfer the loaf to the peel after the final proof is done -- I get a dome of raw flour absorbed back into the bottom of the loaf. Yuk~ If I don't flour the vessel, the dough sticks and I totally degas the loaf and it doesn't have any oven spring. Does anyone have any guidance to offer here?
2) I've been adding roughly 10% butter and 2% sugar to the loaves to improve the crumb -- to soften it up a bit and make it less chewy. Seems to be working -- but the addition of the fat and sugar rob the loaf of the BIG oven spring that I was getting before. Is there an alternate way to make the crumb more custard like and still maintain the BIG spring?
3) If I add 10% butter by weight, does that change my hydration calculation?
Any opinion is appreciated.
Here's a pic of my lean (non-butter enriched) loaves...