My First Attempt at San Joaquin Sourdough
Having carefully considered various names for this bread (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/19635/sourdough-typology-sjsd-sfsd-or-what), I have freely decided that it deserves to be called "San Joaquin Sourdough". I used David's SJSD Version 10.23.09 with a 60% hydration all-AP starter (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/14140/san-joaquin-sourdough-another-variation-produces-best-flavor-yet). Though there are many steps, including a lengthy cold bulk ferment, and two 3-or-so hour periods when one has to be continually close to the kitchen (one for mixing, autolysing, and stretching-folding, and the other for dividing, pre-shaping, shaping and baking), the process fit nicely into a weekend, starting with mixing the starter Friday night. A person with a 9-to-5 job could do it in a Friday and Saturday or a Saturday and Sunday, by mixing the starter on the first morning, mixing dough and getting to the cold bulk ferment the first evening, and shaping and baking the second afternoon or evening.
The process gave me a good chance (as a novice baker) to observe by sight and feel how a lean sourdough behaves at various stages. Here's the bulkly fermented dough at my "bread station", just adjacent to the all-important espresso station.
And here is the glorious dough ball just before it is cloven.
The pre-proofing after pre-shaping is the perfect time for an espresso.
Here are the ill-formed batards, once again looking like my typical batardettes, proofing.
After a 24 minute bake, the finished product looks pretty good, though not much grigne in my first attempt at scoring with my new lame.
I'm very happy with the crumb structure.
Except for my still-pitiful batard-shaping and the wimpy oven spring, this was a successful experiment. And from the still-pitiful batard-shaping and wimpy oven spring, I learned some lessons that will improve my skills next time. I should not shape the batard from such a stretched out starting point--a semi-flat football shaped oblong would be better. And I need to score the loaves slightly more deeply and consistently.
The taste and texture are marvelous. Slightly sour, very complex flavors. Very moist, chewy but tender crumb and crispy crust.
The bread came out of the oven at 3, and some friends came over for an early dinner of all sorts of things that go with sourdough bread--smoky ham, Toscana salami, Jarlsberg cheese, egg salad, tomatos. The SJSD and the re-heated Onion-Curry-Cheese Bread from Friday were both big hits.
This bread is a favorite.
And making it is pretty fun!
Thanks, David, for the recipe and all the guidance.