The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Loaf 7

ninarosner's picture

Loaf 7

This didn't turn out as good as the last one, even though I used almost the same process. Differences:

- Starter refreshed night before (as opposed to a few days before)
- Slightly shorter final proof (~2 hrs)
- Didn't use as much baking paper - this may have contributed to less rise

Loaf 6
250g white flour, 250g wholegrain wheat flour.
80% hydration
15% starter
2% salt

Starter: Refreshed it with stoneground white flour the night before. 

In the morning, did 1 hour autolyse, then mixed in starter & salt. 5 stretch & folds over 2 hours, then a bulk ferment at room temp for about 6-7 hours.

No pre-shape. Shaped into a round, then,

proofed in a glass bowl, covered with a plastic bag, overnight in fridge for about 12 hours. 

When flipped over, the topside of the dough was sticky and had lost its shape. It made it difficult to slash. I wonder whether I should do a quick 'tuck under' shaping before the next bake to increase tension.

Rather than using baking paper all over, I just used it to drop it into the dutch oven, but this meant that the dough lost its shape and didn't rise as much in the oven. I think this d. oven is a bit small.

Baked in dutch oven at ~230c for 20 mins covered, 30 mins uncovered. Let cool for a day, then re-heated before cutting open.

Result: A decent crumb, though felt a little dry (maybe because I waited a day?) Still better than attempts before number 6, but not as good as number 6.




idaveindy's picture

I would guess the strength of the starter made a bigger difference than shortening the proof from 14 hours to 12.  So I'm going to suggest this was slightly over-fermented/proofed, compared to the previous bake,  due to the stronger starter.

at 50% whole wheat, things ferment a lot faster. 

Starter consistency is a big factor that I have not paid enough attention to in my bakes.


Assuming you keep with the procedure of refreshing the starter the night before, next time try these two minor adjustments and see what direction they take things.  Keep timings the same as this bake.

1. reduce hydration to 78% to help with stickiness, handling, and scoring.

2. reduce starter to 12%. 

If that  improves things, then you'll know that this one was over-fermented/proofed. 


I use 90% whole wheat in my bread, and autolyse/soak it for 2.5 hrs.  It ferments fast. At 14% starter, I do only a 4.5 hr bulk, and 1 hour proof, so as not to over-ferment.  If I want  the bulk ferment or the proof to go overnight, then I use only 7% starter.  

ninarosner's picture

Aha, this is very interesting! I didn't even consider that 15% would be a high amount of starter. I'll try your suggestions and let you know how it goes...