The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New Bake in Progress!

Mr Immortal's picture
Mr Immortal

New Bake in Progress!

So, armed with the things I learned from my first loaf last week, I have started my next loaf this morning.

 

I am using the Beginner’s Sourdough Bread recipe from The Perfect Loaf.  I am trying to stick closer to the recipe, and so far everything is going smoothly.  On my trip to our local Walmart yesterday, I was thrilled when I found whole wheat flour, so now no need to try to substitute something that the recipe wasn’t designed for 😁

I just mixed my flour/water to autolyse.  Last time, as I started mixing, I thought “there’s no way this is wet enough.  Look at all of that dry crumbly stuff in the bottom!”, and then I added the water that the recipe had told me to reserve.  This time, when I saw the dry crumbly stuff in the bottom, I decided to just keep mixing.  Lo and behold, it all came together!  So now I have a glob of dough that is firm yet soft, sticky but not gloopy.  

I think I can safely say that I have officially learned a lesson, and I’m only just getting started on round 2!

 

I’m going to document my moves here as I go.  It’s time to go mix my autolyse and my levain.  Wish me luck!

Mr Immortal's picture
Mr Immortal

The “Mix” portion of the recipe went well.  I did add the reserved water, just a splash at a time, in order to help incorporate the salt.  Even with the added water, the dough remained quite easy to handle, although it is a good bit stickier.  I expect that to not be an issue, as I’m sure the flour will continue to absorb moisture as it waits for the first set of stretch&folds.

 

This recipe calls for 3 sets of stretch&folds, 4 folds per set, spaced at half hour intervals.  Last time, I did extra folds with each set, and I did extra sets, since the dough was so slack.  It just felt like it was going to be a puddle, and not come together.  This time, I intend to do the stretch&folds exactly as the recipe states.

Mr Immortal's picture
Mr Immortal

Bulk fermentation has completed, and my loaf has been pre-shaped.  After BF, my dough was showing encouraging signs.  Bubbles on the top, an increase is size, and a slightly domed shape in the bowl, all exactly as the recipe describes.  For the pre-shape, I turned the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface.  No stretching, no folding, nothing that even remotely resembles kneading, just gently moving the dough toward me while putting a light pressure on the back side with my hands, turn and repeat.  Very nice smooth surface skin with no rips and tears.  I’ve never before had a dough that felt so supple, even with all of the tame yeast breads I’ve made in the past.

 

I’m starting to really get excited about this loaf...

Mr Immortal's picture
Mr Immortal

The dough is now shaped and rested, and has been settled in for an overnight retard.  I don’t (yet) own a banneton, so I placed the dough top-side-down onto a lightly floured (with rice flour) tea-towel, and placed that into a medium kitchen strainer.  All of that went into one of the plastic bags that Mrs Immortal uses for her oh-so-tasty meatloaf, and is now waiting patiently in the fridge.  


During shaping, the dough was very soft and extensible.  I had no issues with stretching it out and folding it into itself.  After a brief 5 minute rest, I noticed when I flipped it seam-side up that the seam had sealed itself up quite nicely.

Mr Immortal's picture
Mr Immortal

Loaf is now in the oven!

 

I’m very optimistic about this one.  Wasn’t sure about the proof, as I didn’t notice much of an increase in the dough’s size.  While the recipe calls for pulling it from the fridge and going directly to the oven with it, I though it needed a bit of time on the counter.  I poked it, and the dough sprang back slowly and left a small dent, so I’m hoping that means I’m correctly proofed.

 

I slashed it more deeply than I did the last time, and it was separating nicely, which I think is another sign of a good proof.

My oven setup is a little bit different, since I don’t own a Dutch oven.  I have a couple Pampered Chef stoneware pieces, that I stack together to make a dome.  I’ll post a pic of it when I open the oven to pull the top off.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

and looks like you're using way too much parchment paper. i use a square that barely fits under the dough.

Mr Immortal's picture
Mr Immortal

Yeah, I need to practice tearing off just enough.  I do a double layer, as I would prefer do deal with a slightly underdone bottom than a burnt one.  I do trim it down before I put it in the oven, but I’ve been erring on the side of preventing a mess if it spreads rather than rising.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

Very nice oven spring!  you could have scored even deeper. put a foil on top of the ear if it gets too dark next time.

Mr Immortal's picture
Mr Immortal

That’s a good tip, I’ll remember it for next time.  I didn’t even think to crack open the oven door to have a peek before the timer went off.

 

I can hardly wait to cut it open.  Mrs Immortal has chicken & noodles in the crock pot for dinner, and this loaf will be (hopefully) a perfect compliment to that.  I’ll post a crumb shot after dinner 😁

Mr Immortal's picture
Mr Immortal

So for final notes on this loaf, which was better in every way than the previous loaf:-

  1. Could still use more oven spring.  Perhaps need to look at ways to increase steam.  May want to research effects of changing to lower temperatures, in order to prolong time before the top crust sets.  Might be time to convince Mrs Immortal that I need to spend some money on some cast iron cookware. 
  2. Crumb was still somewhat dense.  Increased oven spring should help with this.  Might try to slowly bump up hydration level on subsequent bakes.
  3. Crumb was still fairly moist, although it was not gummy like the first loaf.  Might want to consider longer baking time before removing cover.
  4. Top crust got slightly too done.  Reduce baking time after taking off lid.  Also might want to make the loaf a nice shiny tinfoil hat.
Benito's picture
Benito

The outside looks awesome, post some photos of the crumb.

I've baked this recipe many times and really practiced on it last year when I started baking sourdough.

Benny

Mr Immortal's picture
Mr Immortal

Thanks, Benny!  I’m going to stick with this recipe, at least until I get my processes down pat.  I might branch out some then.

 

This is odd, but I could have sworn I posted crumb pics.  Let me fix that:

 

Benito's picture
Benito

The crumb looks good especially since this is one of your early bakes.

Justin's picture
Justin

Great looking loaf--look at the ear on that! The crumb looks just right (to my newbie eyes), it all comes down to the proof is between the teeth. If it tasted as good as it looked, you gotta be in bread heaven right now!