Hello from Renton Washington! First time post
I have been bumping around trying to bake bread for several years. My Grandmother had a recipe that used half a box of the old ban cereal that looked like twigs and sticks, but the result was a firm, excellent, basic white sandwich bread. I remember spending what seemed like to my 7 year old mind an hour at least kneading the dough, although I'm sure it was not that long. So far doing my own kneading by hand most of my attempts have not been very successful. I am not sure I am kneading correctly and I should probably watch a couple of Youtube videos on the subject. I have to admit that I have arthritis in my hands and kneading by hand is not that wonderful of an experience for me.
I love sourdough and I have managed to create a wonderful sourdough starter that I have kept alive for several months now and I call it Frank, (Yes as in Frankenstein). I have made a sourdough cornbread that was almost more like a creamy pudding! It was wonderful, but my breads have for the most part tasted okay but the crumb has been poor.
I am now trying to use weight measurements for my ingredients since it can be tricky determining how much flour to use, packed or fluffed? I live in Northwest Washington State, just South of Seattle and it is usually between 45 degrees F/7.2 degrees C to 69 degrees F/20.5 degrees C. So I have a finished, insulated shed in my back yard that I can heat up to 80 degrees F/26.6 degrees C and I have found that I can do all my rising and proofing in the shed and get decent reactions from my dough.
Yesterday I started the 100% Calvel sourdough Pain au levian bread. I have to admit that I was extremely surprised when I made the refreshed culture and this time I put it in a tall, 6 inch diameter juice container and marked the container where it should be at about triple the volume and after 6 hours it had actually reached that mark! I was skeptical that it would actually rise that much!
Since I had not thought the recipe through very well I found myself up at 1:00a.m. to mix the dough, which to some extent was almost a disaster since I had also not figured out the measurements ahead of time
Where does this website hail from? Australia? I'm just curious since almost all of the measurements are in grams and I have to convert everything to ounces which can be difficult when the conversion is an odd number like 1.18 ounces and my scale is a physical needle with one ounce markings. I will have to pick up a nice new digital scale. Any suggestions?
Anyway I digress, I found out quickly that slightly over 4 cups of flour and the amount of water is more than my nice little Cuisinart 5.5 quart stand mixer can handle! It was too late to do it all in two batches so when I was finished I had to hand kneed the dough to make sure everything was incorporated and then I had to spend a half an hour with a tooth pick and paper towels removing dough from the upper housing of my mixer! Ooof! That was a lesson I will not forget.
Well I am doing the mix the dough and refrigerate until tonight when I will divide, shape, proof and bake half of the dough. According to the threads in the
100% sourdough bread from The Taste of Bread by R. Calvel
forum topic I should be able to get 3, 1.5 pound loaves from half of the dough. I am going to also see if I can find a stainless steel bowl to cover the dough for the first 20 minutes and see how that does for helping my pathetic old gas oven bake a springier loaf. If I can't find a bowl I do have a stainless steel pot but it is Teflon lined and I am not sure I want to get it up to the heat levels that it might inside my oven. I also have a medium sized dutch oven that I can invert over the loaf as well but I am not sure how much room it has inside to allow the loaf to rise as far as it might.
Anyway, this is my first rambling hello message in these forums! I will post my results after tonight! So far at least the measuring by weight has been more successful for the first results!