The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Vermont Sourdough

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Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

Vermont Sourdough

Yeah, it's been a fair while. Not that I haven't made bread, I have, numerous batches in fact. But they were really mostly "sandwich" bread and all basic yeast things; specifically "Susan's Farmhouse White Sandwhich Bead" but using part whole wheat. Not as tasteless as store bought "Wonder" type stuff (which they were meant to replace) but not terribly exciting, either. On the up side, these numerous plain breads allowed me to play with the oven's temp a bit and I think I have it tweaked to be pretty accurate now so things don't burn too much. So let's get on with today's bake.

Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough

Vermont Sourdough

"Today" is a bit of a misnomer, of course. I started this batch three days prior after feeding Audrey 2 and Carl out of a two week stint in the fridge. By their third feed they were back to bouncy and fluffy within 8 hours (I was off at work, so I don't really know how quickly they doubled). So this has been a few days process. The pre-build took a while - but thats' expected - then the fermentation period took the better part of a day and the final proof took over 16 hours of fridge time. This recipe is the Hamelman Vermont Sourdough which I got off here.

This time around, the dough was decidedly stiffer than the Norwich Sourdough I'd made which is a take off from this one. Not exceedingly stiff but stiff enough that when I slashed, it didn't all just collapse and make flat brad as the others I have previously made. (This is decidedly my fault for not yet knowing what the dough should be like and adjusting.) 

The crust is also more solid although it looks like it may have been a bit overdone here. The recipe says 460ºF for 40 minutes but I pulled it out at 30 as it was already rather dark. Looking at the bottom, it's a tiny bit burned, though just a small black stripe along the center. So the oven is still not 100% accurate. But the loaves' insides had reached 200ºF therefore it was done enough already.

I picked Audrey 2 as the starter for this one simply because as I was feeding the two starters, she seemed to bulk up the most - maybe 3 times vs Carl's 2.5 times. So both would have worked well. In fact, Carl seems to have a slightly stronger smell and taste. So maybe I'll give that one a try next in this recipe.

And here's the crumb. Nice mid-sized holes, not too fine or too big, the loaf shape is decidedly oval as opposed to pancake so we're good here. The flavour is nice although not terribly sourdough-ish. Perhaps it will develop a little over the next day or so. Although I expect the loaf may not survive long enough to see. The other one needs to go in the freezer as there are already a couple of types of bread on the counter.

All in all, this one is a success. We'll be making Hamelman's Vermont again.

Comments

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The crust and crumb both look good to me.

I gather you are concerned about your oven acuracy, but also a bâtard is going to bake in a little less time than a boule, just becuase it isn't as thick. 30 minutes at 460F sounds about right to me.

If you want a lighter-colored crust, baking for a bit longer at a lower temperature should get it.


David

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

I actually think these loaves look quite nice, too. Although I still highly suspect the oven is not accurate, I don't have a problem with how the crust came out, it was quite lovely in fact, save for that tiny bit of burn on the very bottom. I'm now wondering if the thermostat isn't just letting the heat drop too low before it kicks in again and when it does, the elemets are on full blast for a longer period than they would be if the heat came on and off more often. This would, I'd imagine, cause the pan the bread was on to get quite hot, enough to burn.

I'm literally chomping on the first of loaf #2 as I type and, even though it's been two and a half days since I made the bread, the flavour is still not the "punchy" type I had hoped for. Not that it tastes bad, it's quite delish in fact, just milder than I was looking for. But I was hoping with the full 16 hr proof and two days "resting" the sour would have picked up a little. Sadly, not. So we'll try it again using Carl's for the starter which seems to have a fair tang.

So unless Audrey changes characterisitcs, I expect she'll be the "mild one" of the two starters. There's no problem having a mild and tangy choice, really. I'll simply have to confirm Carl does indeed get me the tang I'd like now and then.

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Paul

holds99's picture
holds99

Good looking loaves, inside and out and very nice scoring. 

Howard

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

I've found out that having a loaf that doesn't suddenly spread out like cake batter when you score it is quite helpful in getting nice cuts! Whooda knew?

And although I still don't have a nice serrated tomato knife like Mark's, the scalloped bread knife does a fair job.

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Paul