The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Oakland Sourdough 99.99999% Success

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Oakland Sourdough 99.99999% Success

Here is this weekend's Oakland Sourdough bake, attempt #2.  I was much happier with this loaf and I owe thanks to Ford and Dabrownman for all their help in crunch time.  Also, I finally made an ear! - And have no idea how I did it.  As you can see, one slash made an ear and the other flattened out and pretty much disappeared.

Any comments/suggestions/critique would be much appreciated.

John

 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

You can only get that kind of deep dark non burnt crust in DO and that crumb is spectacular too!  Glossy crumb with irregular open holes - just magnificent !  You can't make it or bake it better than that.

Way to go! 

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thanks Dabrownman!  As said, I couldn't have done it without you walking me through the panic moments.

I am still wanting to get my hands on a real dutch oven.  I have been using my turkey roaster method, posted previously here:

 http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/30020/my-steaming-method

Quite happy with the results, but I am itching for a true DO bake.

John

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

at Goodwill for $2 or less.  I'vee got quite a collection now with about $10 invested.  Your Turkey Roaster works fine anyway.

The only help you got from me was figuring the hydration wrong but as long as it works ..... :-)

PiPs's picture
PiPs

That is a beautiful looking bread!

Crust looks to die for, and then you get to the crumb which is glossy and translucent!

Flavour central!

cheers,
Phil

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

C'mon Phil.  :) You're being too kind.  Compared to your bakes, this loaf is amateur at best.  I am happy with it, but still would like to get to the quality that you turn out.

Also, any thoughts on what would have happened with the one good slash and one bad slash?

John

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hardly amateur ... i'd be really happy with a bread like that.

Regarding the slash ... perhaps they were just cut at different angles? Even a different depth between the two can have an effect on the result.

I would place my money on the angle of the cut. What are you using to score the bread with?

Phil

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Phil.  Thank you again.  It's quite pathetic what I use actually.  Probably most of my issues with slashing is due in part to the 'tools' I use.

I usually use a retractable blade, the kind you would find on a construction job site.  I run a painting company so it was out of convenience.  I have a feeling the blade is too thick and the shape of it causes pulling, etc.  The other item I tried using on this particular loaf is a small pairing knife.  It was practically useless as it did not cut deep enough.

I am planning on getting some bare razor blades and eventually a lame.

John

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Not bad for a turkey roaster :-)  What a wonderful color on the crust and the crumb looks great too.  I love it when I get ears too....I agree with Phil, it has to do with the angle and depth of the score...tho' I am pretty hit or miss still on achieving ears....Scoring remains a challange for me but I am determined to get it right and to be able to repeat what I get with precision.  Could be years :-)

You might check out thrift stores for DO's.  I bought a couple of small ones at a Le Creuset 2nds store because big ones were just too heavy.  

Before I found the LC I had used a Lodge combo cooker.  HERE  I am a big fan of anything Lodge and this combo cooker is rugged....Only problem for me was that it is just too heavy for me to use comfortably anymore.  You can't beat the price.  They also make great cast iron loaf pans that are a snap to use and heat loaves more evenly than any other pan I have used....non stick naturally too.

Janet

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thanks Janet! I will look into this.  I like the results the roaster gives but there are some issues that I would like to get away from.

Also, I forgot to mention that since the roaster lid doesn't creat a perfect seal, I do add some boiling water (about 1/2 cup) directly in the roaster before I place it in the oven.  This makes sure there's enough steam to produce the results.

John

Dannyavid's picture
Dannyavid

Maybe your scores are too diagonal? Like the one on the right in this picture: 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/18769970@N00/8133960026/

When I score I make a slightly slanted vertical line just off center of the loaf.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Lovely, John! I love the crust color. The crumb looks well fermented, and full of flavor.

Well done!!

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thank you Mebake!  I just had a few slices this morning and it has great flavour.  The texture is nice and spongy, almost like a crumpet.  I love that quality in high hydration doughs.  I have been keeping an eye on your recent bake posts and have to say very impressive as well.  Your recent olive loaf has inspired me to try one soon!

John

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I put my money on physics with the scoring.  Beautiful loaf!  What's with the 0.00001%?   That's a "happy bake" you got there!  100%!

I think the thicker part of the loaf (left side) expanded more because it takes slightly longer to bake and the extra steam generated looks for the area of least resistance in which to expand.  Had the left score not been there, the other score (the flatter one) would have lifted and torn in the direction of expansion.  So I think the score openings have more to do with the shape and inside shaping of the loaf.  As far as the angle of the cut, try opposite angles from the top middle for fun, rotating the loaf if need be.  From the third photo, looking closely at the cut, it looks like the initial cut is on the right side with expansion to the left toward the middle main expansion of the loaf.  

Try this wacky idea:  

Visualize or look at the loaf before scoring and think of your loaf as a mountain.  Big mountain plopped on the planet.  You are a civil engineering contractor working with a limited budget for a housing development and you want to place building sites into it (think luxury apartments; please, no tunnels)  how would you go about cutting terraces into the hill knowing the hill will rise and expand to make your work easier so you don't need to remove and haul dirt?  

Keep in mind the expansion will lift the upper side of any cut you make.  The more perpendicular ⊥ the cut to the center of the earth the less dirt the  rising mountain will pull with it.  If the top of the loaf is cut, there will be less opening of lower terraces as the mountain expands.    (Disclaimer: your bulldozer results may vary.)     :)  

Next thing you know housing developments will be planned on loaves of bread...   :)   

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thanks Mini!  Some great detailed advice, which is exactly what I need.  I would have never thought that scoring bread would be so involved. 

The small percent I was not happy with is the scoring.  I am my worst critic.  Not only that, but I still see many differences between the exterior of my breads and the ones that are posted on here by many other home bakers.  I am shooting for the stars I guess!

I will get there with more practice I'm sure :)

John

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and I do it too to myself.  You can experiment a lot on one loaf of bread, once cut into slices...  no one is the wiser!  Many scoring patterns have histories behind them and become "trade marks" or are identifiable with certain kinds of flour and loaves.  Have fun is what I say.  Being raised on un-scored bread like myself, it can be rather intimidating at first.  So, don't let it bother you.  I find it rather eye opening to look at the un-scored surfaces instead of the scored ones on a scored loaf of bread.  Narrow bands of dough crust that hold the loaf together (or not.)

I don't know how you shape your loaf, but have you tried spreading it out and tightly rolling it up?  The layers inside create a "grain" that when scored across or diagonal to that grain do fun things during the "oven spring."   Much more dramatic than scoring "with the grain."    If drama is what you're looking for.

Nothing wrong with shooting for stars.

baybakin's picture
baybakin

Wonderful! I'm glad you were able to get the recipe to work for you, and the "bold bake" looks amazing.  I'm still a novice with scoring as well, and I'm betting it's a physics thing, perhaps you scored the one that flattened out deeper at a less acute angle.  I get this problem when scoring non-round loafs sometimes, sometimes to comical baseball-bat looking batards/baguettes.  My fix for this? I only do one long lengthwise score :P

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thanks Baybakin for the recipe and the advice from last week's starter/levain confusion.  I loved the scoring and ears you had on your photos of the boule.  That I believe is what attracted me to try this recipe out in the first place.  Whatever you did on that boule for slashing leaves me jealous.  I will get there eventually :)

John

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The crust and crumb both look perfect!

You may find the TFL tutorial on Scoring Bread helpful. In brief, I think you are correct that your main issues are the angle you held the blade and the kind of blade you used. Towards the end of the tutorial, there is a section of ears.

David

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

David, thank you for the comments!  Always appreciated from someone I look up to on here for baking.  There are a good handful of you that I always look to for pro advice/comments, so thank you very much.

As for the tutorial, I have read this a few times now and still produce lack lustre scoring.  As mentioned above this was my first 'ear' and it was completely a fluke.  I will get there eventually I am sure.  I only bake once a week so it will take some time to get to where I want to be.  Plus I have only been baking bread for a few months now.  I'll keep up the practice!

John