The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Good but not perfect

Riley's picture
Riley

Good but not perfect

i just finished my second time of baking the double loaf recipe of Maurizio’s Beginner Sourdough. Better than the first try but it was good too.    I followed his directions  with oven thermometers, dough temp measurements, a proofer that kept everything at 78, exact gram weighing, identical starter at full maturity,  etc.  They are beautiful loaves and the directions were so detailed and wonderful.  I found it to be a very wet dough, like the wettest ever but in comparing other hydration recipes it looks pretty normal.  I did use KA flour for bread flour and Bob’s Red Mill for the rye and One Degree for the whole wheat.  He called for Bob’s Red Mill across the board.  It was hard to handle but I watched a lot of videos, Forkish and Hamelman mostly to get the stretches and turns close to right.  The crumb is great with shiny holes and it is delicious.  One side of the first loaf is a little sloped.  Would that maybe be because I had to keep my combo cooker closer to the wall because the recipe called for leaving the top in the oven to bake the second loaf.  The second loaf doesn’t have that problem but maybe because I could center the loaf for the whole bake.  Maybe I could keep the combo top hot by heating on the stove or just do the second loaf an hour later with a whole new restart.  What else could cause a slope on one side.  I did a a big X slash, maybe too shallow?  Maybe I didn’t shape well enough?  Oh and what about super wetness, just get used to it?  

Riley's picture
Riley

Maybe pics would help.  The one on the left slopes a bit.  The one on the right was put in a wider basket.  Think that’s why it’s shorter.  Seems like they could be a little higher too.  

David R's picture
David R

Unless you notice a definite trend where the loaf is sloped the same way most of the time, it might turn out to be a wild goose chase trying to fix it.

 

If you do try possible fixes, try only one possible fix at a time. If you change two things, then you can't know which one helped, and you end up burdening yourself with complex procedures for no reason. So for example if you heat the combo top, don't fix anything else, just see if that one thing helps or not.

Riley's picture
Riley

i get that. I did notice that the second loaf that was cooked exactly the same way was even all around. It was baked in the middle of the oven.   I’ve ordered a second  deeper  9” inch banneton.  The 10” seems too wide and shallow for this amount of dough.  So does this look like a halfway decent loaf? I don’t have access to a fabulous bakery in my small town so I have nothing known to aspire to.  Maybe I’ll just move on to other recipes and see if I get  loaves that look like the pictures in the book or on this forum.  Thanks for your response.  Good advice.  

David R's picture
David R

... reply with their impressions; I'm no good with photos, I just think "Man, that looks good, can I have some?" Not very helpful. :D

wvdthree's picture
wvdthree

Riley,

        I'm with David in thinking that those look like really good loaves! I just looked at Maurizio's site and your look "very" similar. I'd like to ask if you baked seam side up or down? I am assuming you baked in a dutch oven. I too have had loaves come out a bit sloped like you describe one of your loaves and not shaped in a high,perfect dome. These loaves have been with Jim Lahey's No Knead and Hamelman's Rustic Bread.They have all had OK oven spring but I have not been able to trouble shoot the slope/dome issue. I've only been baking the past two weeks but have voraciously been reading websites/forums and books and baking daily.

 

     Anyway,thanks for sharing your great results! If I can ask how long have you been baking? More specifically,how long have you been baking sourdough? You seem quite adept. Please keep us posted as to whether or not you have been able to solve your shape issue. Happy baking.

 

Best,

        Vance

Riley's picture
Riley

I have baked one set  of combo loaves with starter and a little yeast in a cloche, one set of these loaves where I made a few mistakes and they were a little flatter, and these.  I baked in a combo cooker.  It helped that the directions were so precise.  I got several books and some equipment for Christmas so that was when this all started. I’ve been reading like crazy.   I baked seam side down and I think my slashes were too shallow.  I don’t have a lame or quite the right knife.  Good to know that others don’t always get the perfect dome either. I have a Forkish book I’d like to start baking from so I’m going to check this site to see people’s experience with those recipes.  I also want to bake more in my new cloche.  That combo cooker is really heavy.  Thanks for taking the time to reply.