High Hydration Boule: Explosive Fermentation (and size)?
Playing with different hydration rates, to get a loaf I'm really happy with. Very puzzled by my latest loaf:
(clothespin for scale).
-as the size of this monster is through the roof, comparatively speaking, and the fermentation was much more explosive than previously; with the only variable I've changed, beside more time for this starter,***was a slightly higher hydration rate in the finished dough.
You can see from the pics, while the crumb has, to my eyes, anyway, a nice mix in terms of openness, the loaf profile is very flat. In truth, all the way through the bulk ferment/folding, to placing the dough on the peel, the dough was very, very "flabby," for want of a better word (I'm sure there's a baker's term for this). I am confident this isn't due to a lack of gluten development, but would strongly suspect the hydration rate - is this a correct assumption?
Here's the particulars:
Refreshed the starter with 2 tbsp starter, 1/2c water, 1/4c white whole wheat (I'll call it "WWW") flour, 1/2 cup KA bread flour; allow to ferment to 12 hours, feed again, yielding an active, 100% hydration starter.
Day 1 of dough, 1 cup of this starter, 1c/5.5oz KA bread flour, 1.250c/10.4oz water; ferment for 4 hours.
Mix in 29.3 oz. KA bread flour, 3.7oz. WWW, 2.125c/17.7oz. water.
Rest/amylisation for 30 minutes. Add in 2 tsp. salt, french fold/knead, bulk ferment 5 hours, folding every hour. Shape into boule, placed in floured banneton overnight, 12-15 hours. Temper for 75 minutes (with other loaves, I temper up to 2 hours, or until 75% bulk; because this dough was going into the banneton already quite expanded, I didn't want to push the tempering time before baking too much).
I get a starter hydration of 101%, poolish hydration of 188%, final hydration of 76%. Originally, I was getting 151% poolish, and about 70.7% dough hydration, but I wanted a wetter poolish, and to experiment with an overall higher hydration on the finished dough.
Previously, the dough went into the banneton considerably smaller in size - the bulk ferment yielded nothing like this size, and the finished loaf, even with a longer tempering post-retardation, was considerably smaller (about half-volume, by memory); but interestingly, the previous loaves had a much, much higher vertical spring (most of that, it seems, from what folks were saying, was apparently due to my baking the loaves right from retardation, without any tempering/final proofing).
Any thoughts as to whether the hydration is the key, both to the explosive growth, and the lack of "hold" to the dough, and vertical spring?
Not really disappointed - the bread is really, really chewy (I like it like this), well-developed crust, and delightfully sour. The only visual I'd hope for would be a bit higher loaf, but I guess, anticipating answers, I expected this, with this level of hydration. It literally poured out, moved like a blob, on the peel, and it was a dash to slash and drop it on the stone, to attempt to slow the outward movement. Perhaps a lower hydration? Different slashing technique? Different flour, or some wheat gluten?
Thanks for any thoughts, all.
***Meaning, to me, anyway, more "teaching" of the yeast and bacterias to undergo, and complete, the fermentation cycle....at least from my brewing days, something I learned is that younger yeast will start off like gang-busters, but will typically peter-out when it comes to finishing off the last bit of available free sugar, or chewing off the longer or more branched chains of available complex sugars, to "finish," or "attenuate" the beer...successive generations of propagation/pitching/fermentation always prove better "finishers," up to a certain generation cycle, at which time the population tends to tire, requiring a new master inoculation/propagation, etc. This was my experience, anyway.