The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sour Dough Batard

zeropassiv's picture

Sour Dough Batard

I've been baking with my whole wheat sourdough starter (my family fondly call it the monster) that I started two years ago from King Arthur's recipe online. I have pretty good consistency using the following formula that I developed over time.

1 Cup Starter

2 cups water

1LB 6.5 oz bread flour 

1TBS salt

I typically knead it for a good 15 minutes in my machine, then let it raise for 12 hours. I would then shape and final proof for 4 more hours. Bake at 500 for 10 mins with a tray with a cup of water in the first min and spray every 30 sec after twice. 

Sometimes, I get a darker loaf with tiny little blisters on the crust and great irregular holes in the crumb. However, I don't always get that crust or the holes in the crumb. The flavor is consistent though.

I would like to perfect this bread! Here are my questions.

1. What controls crust thickness? I would like a thin, crackling crust

2. How to get consistently get the gluten development that I see in French bakeries with irregular holes and translucent crumb?

Based on what I wrote here what would you suggest that I modify to achieve those results?

Thanks in advance.