Experimenting on Proofing Time: Simple Seeded Sourdough
Recently, I read some comments on an old discussion topic here about the length of proofing time required for whole grain sourdough bread. Dabrownman mentioned that it is easy to over-proof whole grain bread because of the high bacterial, yeast and enzymatic activities. I wonder if I was letting my bread to proof for too long sometimes such that the oven spring was minimal at times, so I deliberately cut the proofing period by 20 minutes this time to see what its effect would be.
Simple Seeded Sourdough
270g 90% Whole wheat flour
15g 5% Dark rye flour
15g 5% Whole spelt flour
10g 3% Starter
10g 3% Bran shifted out from dough flour
10g 3% Whey
290g 97% Dough flour excluding bran for leaven
290g 97% Whey
34g 10% Leaven
10g 3% Vital Wheat Gluten
5g 1.7% Salt
3g 1% Dark barley malt powder
20g 7% Toasted mixed seeds (10g white sesame seeds,7 g golden linseed and 3 g poppy seeds)
310g 100% Whole grain
310g 100% Total hydration
Shift out the coarse bran from the dough flour, reserve 10g for leaven. Mix the rest back into the dough flour or soak them in equal amount of whey taken from dough ingredients for a minimum of 4 hours.
Combine all leaven ingredients and let sit until doubled, about 6-10 hours.
Roughly combine all dough ingredients and let ferment overnight for 10 hours. Fold in the mixed seeds and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Construct 3 sets of stretch and fold over a 1.3 hour proofing period (20+30+30), shape the dough after the last set of stretch and fold and let rise untouched for 30 minutes (part of the 1.3 hour). At the same time, preheat the oven at 250°C/480°F and pre-steam at the last ten minutes.
Score the dough and bake at 250°C/480°F with steam for 15 minutes then at 230°C/446°F without steam for 15 minutes more or until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 205°F. Let cool for at least 3 hours before slicing.
I felt the dough need longer proofing time but I still decided to bake it for experimental purpose. The resulting loaf turns out to be under-proofed indeed but the oven spring was really impressive. That’s enough to convince me that most of my loafs were slightly over-proofed. I would try cutting the proofing time by 10 minutes next time to see if it would produce a loaf with both great oven spring and open crumb.
I’m very pleased with the browning achieved for this bread. I think the dark malt plays a role in it. Although the blisters are not huge like those you find on the crust of white sourdough, there are a lot of them so it’s more than acceptable to me.
This bread actually tastes quite nice despite the slight denseness of the bottom of it. I really like the addition of dark malt, it reminds me of cocoa powder but in a sweeter and more complex way.
Sometimes I forget a simple loaf like this can taste amazing, it’s not a bad idea to bake some rather plain bread from time to time. Happy baking everyone!