Susan's Simple Sourdough Challenge - Take Two
SUSAN'S SIMPLE SOURDOUGH CHALLENGE - TAKE TWO
On October 4th, ehanner's blog presented Susan's Simple Small Sourdough Challenge . Eric's challenge was simple - make Susan's bread and report back. My first attempt at Susan's bread was posted to Susan's Simple Sourdough Challenge - Take One  on November 7, 2009. I was so enthralled with her bread I made it a second time a few days later.
The ingredients are straightforward: sourdough starter, unbleached bread flour (either regular or high gluten), whole grain flour, water and salt. Dough hydration is 70%.
What really makes this bread special is her method (minimal kneading and periodic stretch-and-folds, a long bulk fermentation and, after shaping, an overnight proof in the refrigerator). The only change I made to her method was to add a one hour autolyse at the very beginning (combine all the flour and water, roughly mix and let rest, covered, at room temperature, for one hour). After the autolyse, the starter and salt were mixed in and from that point I followed her instructions.
The dough can be shaped as a boule or a batard. Susan usually shapes it as a boule and covers the dough with a heat-proof metal bowl for the first 15 minutes of the bake. (If shaped as a batard, she suggests using the lid of a turkey roaster). Covered baking eliminates the need to steam the oven and results in great oven spring.
For this trial, I used my 100% hydration sourdough starter, unbleached bread flour, rye flour (home milled), ordinary tap water and sea salt. I shaped the dough as a batard (I prefer this shape) and used the bottom of an enameled metal turkey roaster as the cover.
This is a wonderful bread. A nice sourdough flavor, open crumb, crispy crust. Here are photos...
Kneaded Dough Ready for Bulk Ferment
My Rising Container - a plastic basket lined with a cotton tea towel rubbed with rice flour
Risen Dough Ready to be Baked.
On the Peel (a cookie sheet) and Slashed
Cooling After the Bake
Crumb (photo is a little blurry - sorry!)