The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wanting more of a challenge, but-

Jay's picture
Jay

Wanting more of a challenge, but-

I've been very quiet on here the last few months, b/c RL has been pretty crazy. But I have been baking regularly, 2-3x a week, 2-3 loaves per bake, and have been really pleased with the progress I've made. After some experimenting I had great luck with Trevor J. Wilson's Champlain Sourdough. It's pretty much the perfect bread for my family texture-wise, since what we want is a good sandwich loaf that can also be used for bruschetta and garlic toast and dipping and the like, and this gives us a really nice, soft, open crumb with a great chewy crust, and not such large holes as to make condiments a disaster. 

I have to say that things improved drastically when I went from trying to steam my oven with hot water poured over cloths in a tray plus spritzing and just started overturning a stainless steel bowl over my loaves for the first 25 minutes. I'd still like to see a bit more oven spring, but over all I'm super happy. 

 

I definitely have more work to do with shaping and judging my proof, but overall this has become a pretty easy recipe I can just trot through without much difficulty... which is my problem now. I'd really like to mess around with higher hydrations and different techniques--slap and folds, the rubaud method, just... generally more challenging. But my family loves this bread. We go through half a dozen or more loaves a week and when we run out and I don't have more ready to go it's a tragedy.

Any suggestions for recipes that might get me a similar outcome? Not an overly dark but chewy crust, soft interior but not super open, and... not *too* much of a jump ahead technique wise, b/c I'm definitely still a beginner. I'm looking at maybe giving this one a try--http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/52167/san-francisco-sourdough-twist-bucharest . Any thoughts about whether this would be a good next stop for a novice hoping to move into intermediate level sourdough baking?  

jmoore's picture
jmoore

He has a bunch of good recipes and techniques to follow. If you're up for a challenge, maybe try this one:

https://www.theperfectloaf.com/best-sourdough-recipe/

It's quite a bit higher hydration than the Champlain.

Jay's picture
Jay

That might have been the first recipe I tried back at the start of the summer, and it's one I've been considering giving a shot. Basically, it's just a matter of trying to work my way up in steps, but hopefully still with the same general texture and flavor profile I've had with the Champlain. Thanks for the suggestion!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Hard to tell their weight with a photo but how about baking bigger loaves?   Try a 2k loaf or a 3k loaf (when cooled, divide down the middle and then cut slices.  

Jay's picture
Jay

I've been baking about 1.5kg loaves, and I don't really want to go bigger than that both b/c of the size of my oven and baking stone and because that's getting into the territory of hard to eat the entire loaf before it starts to stale. I find that the sourdough is really great for staying fresh much longer than storebought or loaves I've made using commercial yeast as long as it's not sliced, and even sliced it still stays nice longer, but to have the whole loaf stay nice from first slice to last I don't want to go much bigger. 

Thanks for the suggestion, though!