Much of the text and all of the images below were copied from a previous post.
Just today, I thought of a way to accurately describe the dough characteristics produced when using YW. It appears to have some sort of dough conditioner properties. At least that describes what I see and feel. I have done a lot of experimentation with ascorbic acid. The strengthening of the dough in both cases are very similar. The dough becomes super resilient, much more elastic, with much stronger feeling gluten.
I use to regularly make a rye sourdough, but haven’t for years. Today I pulled out my old recipe and a couple of loaves have just come from the oven. They look beautiful and the texture is perfect, but I feel as though I need to tweak the taste. Also, after having so many years between baking them, the recipe has prompted a few questions that perhaps someone here can help me with.
First just quickly, here are the ingredients:
1 cup sourdough starter
2 cups warm water (ended up adding about 1/2 cup more)
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup gluten flour
Since working with the Swiss Farmhouse bread, I have conducted many YW test. Probably made 5 different YW lately.
I consistently find that the YW bubble much more actively when it just matures. Once a week or so passes since it was initially made the bubbling slows down dramatically. In all cases the fruit (raisins) are still viable.
Even when the fruit is replaced the results remain consistent. They are maintained @ 80-84F.
Not only does the initial YW bubble much more, it raises bread much more energetically.
An interesting episode of BBC2's "Inside the Factory" tonight.
Greg Wallace visits an Industrial scale croissant making facility in France and Cherry does some experiments in the best number of layers to use (12 apparently).
Worth a watch for those with access to BBC iplayer.
I own a beautiful, refurbished A/B Battle Creek Oven. Meaning it stand on a legs and is probably from the 1920's. Such ovens were created with very small ovens (18"deep, 14" wide, 11" high) meant to retain a lot of heat--all of which come from gas jets below. The result, as I discovered after several failures, is that at the usual recommend temp for preheating an oven for sourdough (500°) makes my oven too hot. The dough crusts before the bread has had a chance to rise (lots of flat bread). I have to preheat and bake at 450° to get any oven spring.
To get more steam in my graniteware Dutch oven, how do you think the following would work:
Place a stainless rack on the bottom (inside) and pour a little water underneath it, and loaf on top.
This would affect heat heat exchange in some fashion since loaf no longer sitting directly on bottom surface. I always put loaf in cold graniteware but preheated oven.
I've a recipe that I've been toying with for years. This comes from my Great Grandmother Neal (In Memphis, I think... She died long before I was born, probably in the 50s.) I've had good results from it, but I think I can do better with some help from around here.
Here's the recipe as given to me, with a few caveats:
The original recipe called for 2 cakes of yeast. I've converted, using 1 cake of yeast=2 1/4 tsp instant yeast.
The recipe as written called for shortening. I suspect it was originally lard.
As you can see, no flour amounts are provided.