The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Merlin's Magic (by the book)

dlstanf2's picture

Merlin's Magic (by the book)

After some of the comments on my other post, I tried another recipe, KAF's Merlin's Magic Sourdough. This recipe omitted the sugar, but still used the Vital Wheat Gluten which I used to boost protein and make a softer crumb. I took the recipe, by volume, but I did weigh at each process.

Basic Recipe

½ Cup Sourdough Starter (130gr)
¾ Cup Warm Water (180 gr)
1 Packet Active Dry Yeast
1 ½ Tbsp Vital Wheat Gluten
1 ½ Tsp Salt
⅛ Cup Olive Oil
3 to 4 Cups AP Flour (420 gr/3 Cups A-P F)

I began by making the sponge; starter, water, wheat gluten, dry yeast, 1½ cups a-p flour . Once mixed I let this rest on the counter for 10 hours. This is what it looked liked. I had more than doubled in volume and yeast activity looked healthy.

After 10 hours I added the salt, olive oil, and the remaining 1½ cup of flour and kneaded for 10 minutes or so on top of my stove, best surface I have for kneading. The dough got elastic and had the feel I wanted, something similar to a good pizza dough. Here's the pic of the kneaded dough ball.

Next, I put this dough in the pan to rise for a few hours.

I had more than doubled and it was getting late. Two hours by the recipe, or it could have gone for 12 to develop more flavor. Here I lighlty floured my surface and used the strecth and fold technique to avoid overworking my dough. Then I formed the dough into a smooth ball, about the size of a grapefruit.

After forming the dough into a small boule, I put it on a cookie sheet, lighlty sprayed with olive oil, covered in plastic wrap, and covered that with a plastic mixing bowl, which I refridgerated overnight, another 10 to 12 hours. The recipe called for letting the dough rise for 2 hours and then baking, but it was after midnight for a loaf I started that morning, but it worked into my schedule quite well.

Here's the proofed loaf which I have just scored for baking. Recipe calls for baking at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes. I spayed the oven first, then again when I inserted the loaf, and again about 10 minutes later. I used a thermometer to bake to 200 degrees.

This is the resulting loaf.

Baked weight was 683 grams or 1lb 8 1/4 oz. Perfect size. However, the crumb had a soft and finely holed textured, I suppose from the wheat gluten. Almost sandwich bread quality, soft with a chewy crust. While lighlty soured, I want more. I've ben looking for citric salt but haven't found any locally.

I just ate a slice with orange marmalade. Um! Um! Good!!

I'm thinking about making a few tweeks. Like using less or no wheat gluten, adding a bit of WG Rye (1/4 C), and starting with a cold oven. If that doesn't work I'm going with a hotter preheat (425-10 minutes), and then dropping to 375. Maybe I can get some citric salt in the meantime.

wally's picture

and lovely scoring!  Anything that looks that good ought to taste good!


Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Rye will definitely work in a loaf like this. You can drop the VWG, the ADY, and the oil and still get a tasty loaf. I baked something similar to that yesterday and got some nice compliments for my work. A little bit of WWW will won't do any harm either.

dlstanf2's picture

Here's my second try on the recipe. Once again, a KA's recipe. I'm using a discard od my mother starter which I tried adjusting the acidity to get a more sour taste and open crumb. It still looks like sandwich bread and taste about the same. Not bad, but not the sourdough bread I want.

I left the vital wheat gluten out. Fermented the sponge for 12 hours. Then added a dash of citric acid when I made the dough. New bag of flour required about 1/2 cup more flour to knead. I formed & proofed the dough 2+ hours before scoring. Last time I retared in the fridge for 12 hours. I adjusted the oven temp to 425 degrees, sprayed the oven, and baked 10 minutes. Then I lowered the oven temp to 375 and sprayed again.

Results, 1st rise almost tripled in 3 hours.

Next I did a strecth & fold a couple of times.

Then I formed the dough and let it double.

Here's the baked loaf and crumb. At this temp the dough did not brown as well as at 375 degrees for the full time. I used the broiler to brown the crust.

I may be overkneading my dough, but I do this by hand and just long enough to form the glutens. While it taste like sandwich bread, needs a little more salt.

I'll give it more try without the additional active yeast and more proofing. Then I'm moving on to another recipe.





LindyD's picture

Hi dlstanf2,

I'm not sure if that's flour or cornmeal on your counter (can't tell from the photo), but it's being incorporated into your dough during the S&Fs.

You might try lightly oiling the counter instead, to avoid the addition of any more flour.

KAF might call it a "sourdough," but given the addition two tsp of commerical yeast, I think they're playing "let's pretend."

dlstanf2's picture

LindyD, it's flour, but it is part of the recipe. I normally hold some back while kneading and use that to help develop the glutens. I also use some spray olive oil sometimes as well.

I'm not sure if I'm over working the dough or if its just the recipe not working for me.