Sourdough boules pic 1
Sourdough boules pic 2
OK, I'm new to uploading images, so if I didn't do this right, somebody please let me know the right way to get one's images into a post.
I had been contributing to the responses to Somegeek's 'My First Loaves (pics)' forum thread and watching Hans bake amazing loaves and I figured it was time to stop writing and do some baking.
These are sourdough boules made using Jeffrey Hamelman's 'Vermont Sourdough' recipe in his wonderful book 'Bread' as a guide. My sourdough starter is around 7 weeks old by now. I bulk fermented the dough for around 3 1/2 hours, folding 2 times during this phase. Then I shaped the loaves and let them proof in bannetons for an hour before retarding in the fridge for 12 hours. After taking them out I let the loaves warm up for 2 hours while I preheated the oven to 465 degrees. Then I removed them from the bannetons, slashed (not so well), and baked, using a steam pan on the bottom rack and a spritzer bottle a couple of times in the first 3 or 4 minutes. After 10 minutes I turned the loaves and removed the steam-pan, turning the oven down to 440 and baking another 22 minutes.
The loaves have a lovely airy crumb, which I will take a picture of, and a nice crunchy crust. The crust is a deep dark brown, maybe a little darker than I expected, especially toward the bottom, and the internal temperature was 205 degrees (or more). There are some light and tantalizing sour notes, but I thought with the 12 hour retarding it would have gained a more full sour taste. I was reading Maggie Glezer's 'Artisan Baking' book, where she says that the temperature for developing the acetic lactobacillus is around 68 degrees, which got me thinking. My kitchen was around 75 degrees last night. Has anyone tried bulk fermentation of sourdough where the dough is retarded for just, say, a half hour at a time, alternating with longer stretches at room temperature? I ask because doing so would get several periods during which the dough would be at Glezer's optimal temp for developing the sour in the sourdough.
I'm not new to baking bread, but I am to baking sourdough. As all you experienced sourdough bakers already know, there is something magical about making great-tasting bread without commercial yeast. I felt that thrill this time!