How Not to Make a Larrabura Sourdough
I was somewhat concerned with the long fermentation times and moderate to high temperatures in this recipe, but I had time on my hands, so I made the Larrabura Sourdough.
I didn't have a piece of old dough or stiff starter, so I made one with these quantities and let it ferment overnight at room temp.
- 40 g bread flour
- 20 g water
- 20 g white mother starter
I used 45 g of this old dough to make the stiff levain (sponge) and let it ferment for (what I thought to be a ridiculous) 9 hours at 85 F.
- 90 g hi-gluten flour
- 45 g water
- 45 g stiff starter
I used all of this stiff levain to create the final dough (for 2 loaves) and let it bulk ferment for (what I thought was a really, really, really ridiculous!) 3 hours at (an unbelievable!) 105 F:
- 1067 g hi-gluten flour
- 640 g water
- 21 salt
- 180 g stiff starter (all of the above)
It was already 11 pm by the time the bulk ferment was done, so I shaped the loaves, put them in linen-lined bannetons, wrapped them tightly in plasti-crap, and (here's the error:) put them in the refrigerator for an overnight retardation at 35 F.
They were just beautiful when I took them out of the refrigerator. They had that certain feeling dough gets when you know it'll hold its shape, score beautifully, and rise perfectly–and they did: They are beautiful loaves with those gorgeous retardation bubbles and all.
And they tasted of nothing!
I followed the Larrabura process (that Doc.Dough posted) as close as I could (until adding the retardation step) and really believed that a (1) overnight-fermented piece of dough followed by a (2) 9-hour ferment stiff levain at 85 F followed by a (3) 3-hour ferment at 105 F followed by a (4) 7 hour retardation would produce (5) really flavorful sourdough loaf; that it might even be especially sour (not something I particularly like, but it's edible if not paired with anything).
I knew the retardation was pushing things (and was a break with the Larrabura process), but I would have never expected it to result in no flavour at all. After all the fermentation, nothing? No taste?
I don't have an explantation for it either, other than perhaps my starter is Lactobacillus free (or the 105 F bulk killed the lactos). (No, I don't really believe that.)
The yeast didn't exhaust the food, because they browned nicely.
I just don't know what happened.
I do know, however, that breaking the Larrabura process by including a final retardation is a good way to produce beautiful loaves that have no taste whatsoever. Or that by adding the retardation step, I simply didn't make a Larrabura loaf.