The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent Bakes

emkay's picture
emkay

Recent Bakes

I don't have anything too exciting or interesting coming out of my oven these days. I've been baking once a week just to make sure we have enough bread to feed ourselves for the week. My storage starter is still doing great. It's been in the refrigerator for 8 weeks (unfed) and amazingly there's no sign of mold. Only a tiny bit of clear hooch is developing. Every Thursday evening, I take about 6-8 g starter and feed it once (usually about 1:3:3 or 1:3:4). I build my levain Friday morning and let it ferment while I'm at work. I mix my dough Friday night and bake on Saturday.

I've been baking my bread in loaf pans recently. My formulas for naturally leavened sandwich loafs are pretty much the same as I would employ if I were to make free-formed hearth loaves. I might increase the hydration since the loaf pan helps the dough keep its shape, but I generally like 75-80% hydration, pan or not. I haven't used any recipe for bread lately. I've just been "winging it". When I first embarked on my sourdough journey in March, I never imagined that a bread newbie like me could ever get to the point where baking bread would become second nature. I am constantly amazed by the power of this newly found knowledge.

Here are two recent loaves. Both formulas are similar except that the first uses 40% levain and 2.5% salt and the second uses 12% levain and 2% salt. The higher amount of salt in the first was to help moderate fermentation. The timelines differed slightly. Even though the beginning of the bulk fermentation to hot bread was around 22 hours for the first loaf and 21 hours for the second, the first was shape retarded and the second was bulk retarded.

***

This first loaf had a very complex sour flavor. It was 20% rye. I think sourness was due to the rye flour in the starter, levain and dough. The age of my storage starter and the long shape retardation probably contributed to the lovely sourness as well. It had good oven spring and was airier than it appears in the photo. I found this one absolutely delicious.

rye_20pct_sandwich_loaf_1

rye_20pct_sandwich_loaf_2 

70% all-purpose flour
20% whole rye flour
10% whole wheat flour
80% water
2.5% salt
40% levain (100% hydration, 20% rye, fermented 12 hours)

  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl by hand.
  • Bulk ferment at room temp (74F) for 3.5 hours. S&F at 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 min then undisturbed for final hour.
  • Shape and put into a loaf pan.
  • Retard the shaped dough in refrigerator for 18 hours.
  • Bake cold dough at 450F for 45 minutes (20 min covered/steamed, 20 min uncovered, 5 min out of loaf pan).

***

The second loaf turned out less lofty than the first loaf even though I used the same amount of dough in the same loaf pan. It was still good eats and made great toast. The little bit of cornmeal added some interest and crunch.

70% all-purpose flour
10% whole rye flour
10% whole wheat flour
10% coarse cornmeal
80% water
2% salt
12% levain (100% hydration, 10% whole wheat, fermented 12 hours)

  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl by hand.
  • Bulk ferment at room temp for 5.5 hours. S&F at 30, 60, 90 min then undisturbed.
  • Bulk retard in refrigerator for 12 hours.
  • Preshape and bench rest for 45 minutes.
  • Shape and proof at room temp for 2 hours.
  • Bake at 450F for 45 minutes (20 min covered/steamed, 20 min uncovered, 5 min out of loaf pan).

2609a

2609b

2609c

2609d

Comments

isand66's picture
isand66

Beautiful crumb on these loaves.  They must have made great sandwiches and toast.

emkay's picture
emkay

They did make great sandwiches. I like the practicality of the sandwich loaf shape and it tastes the same as a boule or batard. 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Mary,

Very nice loaves.  I am always amazed how changing things in a formula just a bit can make such a difference in outcome. When I first started baking I was always puzzled when formulas looked so similar until I began experimenting  with them.  I soon learned that a small difference does indeed make a significant difference in a final loaf.  Your two loaves exemplify this perfectly.

Glad to read that your starter is adjusting well to your new schedule and that you are able to fit baking in now that you are back at work.  Love that you are using loaf pans with lean breads.  Makes them nice for making sandwiches.

Take Care,

Janet

 

 

emkay's picture
emkay

In the beginning I also felt puzzled (and sometimes still am!), but I am beginning to understand the differences and use them to fit my needs. Thanks for commenting, Janet! 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

2nd loaf was so stunted?  I love corn meal in bread and think it makes for better flavor a tip Lucy learned from Janet.  If both loaves went into the pan at the same volume and the the corn bread doubled in volume then the first one more than quadrupled in volume:but it doesn't look over proofed and the 2nd one has a fairly open crumb.   SD bread is stranger than fiction sometimes:-)  They both have to make good sandwich bread and that can't be bad at all.  Well done and

Happy baking 

emkay's picture
emkay

Yes, I was baffled as to why the second was less lofty than the first loaf. But thankfully it still had great texture in spite of being a tad on the "hearty" side. Ah, the mysteries of SD.

isand66's picture
isand66

Do you recall if your dough strength was the same on the second one?  I would guess you needed to develop the strength of the gluten more with the addition of the cornmeal.  Maybe do some additional stretch and folds next time and see if that helps.

baybakin's picture
baybakin

Looks great!

I've been doing lots of sandwich breads recently as well, we've discussed this before though.  Keep 'em coming!

emkay's picture
emkay

baybakin -  For months I've been meaning to tell you that I've never been able to get my muffins to look "bakery-style" until I tried your formula and tips in your fruity buttermilk muffin post. Thank you so much for sharing that! 

baybakin's picture
baybakin

And what muffins they make!  Once you make them once, you wonder why you ever listened to all that nonsense the boxed muffin mix tells you.  I've been on the hunt for a double acting baking powder that is aluminum free for these very muffins, so far no luck, I might have to stop by rainbow grocery on your side of the bay.

emkay's picture
emkay

For many years I used Rumford baking powder which is aluminum-free (not sure if it's double-acting). I've always gotten good results with Rumford, but I decided to try out Bob's Red Mill double-acting which is also aluminum-free. Although I haven't noticed any difference in my baked goods, I have no complaints about Bob's.