Day 7 - Hamelman sourdough 5% rye
Inspired by the beautiful pictures of Hamelman Pain au Levain 5% Rye posted by Larry, I decided to make it. I knew that this would be tough, given my experience level, but I figured I might as well give it a try. I started yesterday with making the levain. It calls for old levain, which I didn't have, so I decided to use the sourdough starter that I've been tending for the last few months even though it is made with White Whole Wheat, for the two tablespoons of old levain that the formula calls for. There must be another way to do it, but since Hamelman didn't say what it was, this was all I could think of. Today, I realized that this bread requires A LOT of attention. I postponed a number of activities that I had been planning on, so I could give it the proper attention and not screw up the timing. When it came to pre-shaping and shaping, I read Hamelman's tutorial several times so I wouldn't forget what I was supposed to do in the heat of the moment and start ad-libbing. I did the final rise with rolled up towels to hold the shape (someone on this list - Dillbert? - suggested that for those who are coucheless.) The final rise was listed as 2-2.5 hours, but the fingertip test passed at around 1.5 hours, so I decided that was decisive. I scored with an exacto knife (which turned out to be a mistake, since it wasn't sharp enough, and I popped the two loaves in the oven apparently (another mistake) too close together given how much they had left to rise. So here they are - nothing as beautiful as Larry's but I'm just as pleased as I can be. And maybe after another dozen tries or so, these will look as good as they taste.