Weekend of sourdough
Sorry that I've not been around much lately. My wife and I have been travelling quite a bit on the West Coast. We're contemplating a move to either Corvallis, Oregon or Providence, RI and have to decide within the next 10 days where we're going to spend what's likely to be the rest of our lives. So it's a been a bit stressful. We loved Corvallis, but haven't yet checked out Providence -- that's next weekend.
So, what better way to relieve some stress than the knead the bejeezus out of some dough?
I didn't take a lot of photos, as I couldn't find where we'd unpacked the camera until this afternoon, but I started on Friday with a big 2.5 lb. boule of desem bread. It turned out beautifully, though, once again, the crust was not so crispy.
I'm wondering, could it be the use of rice flour to dust my banneton that's the culprit? I love how effortlessly even the stickiest dough pops out of the banneton or couche with just a thin layer of rice flour, but since I started using it, I've gotten chewy, not crispy crusts, which should be happening at 500 degrees F in a cloche. Anyone else have this experience? I don't mean to malign the rice flour, but it's the only thing I can think of that I'm doing differently.
We took the desem to a dinner party, where it was mostly consumed. Then, Saturday night, we had pizza, which was lovely. I used the "whole wheat overnight crust" recipe from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grains Baking  book. Next time, I want to try to stretch it out a bit thinner to the full 12 inches (it was about a 10 inch crust) because the pizza was a bit "bready", but I was terrified of tearing the dough, especially since I've misplaced the fabric for my Super Peel . I had to do it the old fashioned way, with a lot of semolina flour. Thankfully, it worked.
Then, this morning, I kneaded up a loaf of whole wheat caraway sourdough rye sandwich bread. It's derived from one of the test recipes that Peter Reinhart's been working on for his upcoming book (I can't wait) so I'd feel like a cad and a heel if I posted the recipe, but my version's got 40% rye, the rest whole wheat, salt, water, milk, butter, honey, a bit of sorghum molasses and caraway. I added the caraway and removed the yeast, since I figured, with rye sourdough, why not let it do its own thing?
It does it well. After 1 hour, it was nearly doubled, and I had to head to church. So I deflated the dough with a fold, and then put it in our unheated front room -- about 59 degrees. Three hours later, when I returned, it was tripled in size, but, luckily, not over-risen. So I divided and shaped it and then put it in my makeshift proof-box at about 80-90 degrees. Within 90 minutes, it was ready to go into the oven. Rye sourdough is amazing stuff.
For sourdough rye with no white flour, this is a high loaf. I was ecstatic. I was pleased with the color as well.
The crumb was uniform, but light. Perfect for a hearty sandwich. This is a loaf I'll be making again and again. Rye tastes great without caraway, but I've now discovered why they're partnered so often together. Delicious.