My 4th Sourdough trial...
New to this fabulous site, and instead of just sitting on the sidelines watching (while drooling) at everyone's gorgeous creations, I decided I would post all of my breads up too. I'll start by saying that I have been baking bread for a year now... focusing almost exclusively on whole grains (the full gamut) and my oh my were those first 20 serious house building bricks. Home depot actually contacted me... just kidding... Its been a fantastic learning process. It is so frustrating, though, to work for hours on something that turns out to be a total flop! But I'm thinking positive, right? So... I try to learn from these flops and keep refining and refining..
I have started to really get into sourdoughs, though, and created a starter from PR's crust and crumb (with the organic raisins) and its been great. Its just been mighty chilly in our house in Atlanta, and there has been lots of bubbles after feeding, but not more than a 40-50% rise, which is low for Betty the Barm, and I'd prefer not to think of her as developmentally delayed. Just more of a nuzzler, and she likes it warm! I have to say that the first set of loaves I made were beginners luck. They were perfection. My hubby thought he had woken up to a new wife, one with bakin' skillz. The next set I made were "eh.." and then I made a set of SD rolls to bring to a new years lunch. again... "eh..."
So I was on this site last night until 2am (where did the time go???) and I was so inspired... I started another batch early this morning and they came out of the oven about an hour ago. About a 6 hour cold ferment... after the two room temps at 2.5 hours. Today's SD was based on Susan's posting on her blog wildyeastblog.com and I have to say that they came out super tasty! They don't look nearly as pretty as hers (these are not pretty at all, in fact)... but I would love some criticism (constructive, please!) I used a steam pan and sprayed water every minute for the first 3 min, then at min 10 and 15.
My basic notes are -
1. I slashed all of the loaves, and I tried to make them deep, but they didn't come out with that "easy grip" ledge that I LOVE. Why? Did I need to go a lot deeper with the slash? I used a serrated wusthof knife.
2. Do I need to bake them a little longer to get that warm dark crust that I feel is lacking? I think that the bread would've been much tougher if I had kept the loaves in much longer.
3. I'm going to try to describe this.. the crumb texture seems "squeaky" or plasticy. I don't mean hard plastic, but I mean not like sandwich bread, not a silky smooth crumb. Does that make sense? Its even shiny... why is that. All the SD's I've had in the past have been softer and less "squeaky" or "shiny". This almost seemed more like ciabatta...
4. I need a canvas or couche of some sort.. because the loaves were definitely wider than I wanted and not as tall.
I'd love ANY tips you have!!
Thank you very much :)