...just kidding, there's no butter sandwich. But, I baked another loaf this morning. I made A LOT of starter for some reason, and went on a long weekend. The levain was put in the fridge and three days later it was a pile of bubbly mush.
"I'm tired of believing I need to ferment sourdough with a fresh levain.." I thought to myself. So, I decided to bake a loaf of bread with 3 day old, cold levain—without refreshing it one little bit.
I stuck with a safe 75% hydration recipe of mine and trusted my beast of a starter.
First image is always sideways...?
450g flour (5% buckwheat)
150g levain...yup. My recipe called for 81g (18%) but I had so much extra—and it was cold and unfed—I decided to throw in an ungodly amount in the name of science. (33%) Percents for total dough formula...I think.
Hydration ended up at 76%.
The next stages went well, and I gave it a nice long BF, from 1:45pm to 7pm with one hour in the fridge because I wasn't home.
Shaped at 8:30pm, thrown in a basket and cold retard for 12 hrs.
Mucho happy with the bake. I woke up, preheated to 450F for a few minutes (our oven is incredibly fast) and plopped that sucker onto the dutch oven and closed the lid. The dough was like a soft airy pillow, held shape very well and was incredibly light.
The final product ended up being so light and airy that it is hard to cut without holding on for dear life. Great earthy flavor thanks to the buckwheat, not too sour considering a third of the weight was levain!
So, does anything matter? Do "rules" of baking apply? Yes and No. My bakery believes in science, but also intuition, and feeling what is right and when is right. Talk to your dough, make sure it's happy and ready for the next step regardless of what a recipe says the timeline should be. And, if you have a strong starter, you might be able to get away without feeding it for 3 days, throwing it cold into some dough, and baking a damn good loaf.
Happy Baking, and most importantly...Relax!