Old Things, New Things, Little Things
First the old: An 85% whole wheat sourdough. I'm still tinkering with this formula and getting good bread, but I'm coming to realize that the way I handle the dough has more impact on the bread than my endless tinkering with the numbers (if only I could spend as much time baking as I do in front of a computer).
Now the new: I finally got a copy of Hamelman's Bread. Wow. Now I understand. I also tried scoring with a safety razor-on-a-stick for the first time. That was weird. I didn't think it would be so different from scoring with a bread knife. It will take some practice, but I think it will be an improvement. Lastly, but no less exciting, I recently discovered that the little health food store in town will happily special order 25lb bags of Giusto's flours at rock-bottom prices. Who would have thought?
The Little Things: That's what this bake really threw into sharp relief. These two loaves came from the same lump of dough and were meant to be exactly the same except for the scoring. I don't think scoring alone accounts for this much difference. The larger loaf isn't just larger because of a better oven spring, it actually is larger because I didn't get them divided exactly in half - there's one little difference. But obviously the larger loaf did behave quite differently in the oven. Shaping. I tried a new (to me) method, first on the smaller loaf. It seems that by the second loaf I was already better at it. The crumbs differ significantly as well, though they don't look as different in the photos. A good lesson for me - keep an eye on the little things!
And the garden is in full swing, so I put the bread to good use!