A pleasant result
Well, for the 4th of July, I decided to make another batch of sourdough with my Otis starter. The family needed bread, I expected to have time, I got a new digital camera, seemed like a good idea. I am still struggling to understand Franco, so Otis was the best choice for success. I did my usual recipe, expecting to shape into 3 batards, although I thought about hamburger buns... but I am testing some 13.5% flour from Pendleton flour mills, their Power brand, which I have recently acquired.
The recipe is 600g flour, 450g water, 400g starter, 15g salt. I have recently abandoned the Kitchenaid for hand kneading so I can't really speak to whether the dough was wetter than before, but it was wet. I autolyzed the flour/water for at least an hour before working in the starter. When it was too difficult to work in the bowl, I turned it out on the counter with no more flour. Needed a dough scraper to get it off the counter; couldn't get it off my fingers... but after 5 or so minutes of 'kneading' it began to tighten up, and after the salt it really got rather manageable. I dumped it in the rising buchet for an hour, then did the stretch and fold thing. Repeated in another hour, then refrigerated over night. Next morning I took it out, let it warm up and rise to double, then divided. I couched the batards in floured linen while I went to work to put the engine back in my wife's 1977 280Z. After fighting that project for a couple of hours, I found the loaves well risen and no stone in the cold oven. So in went the stone, an hour of global warming, forgot cornmeal on the stone, tossed in a couple of the loaves, steamed and baked. I followed those two up with a very well risen last loaf, which in my haste I had slashed on the bottom instead of the top. I didn't quite lose all rise on these over-proofed loaves, but wasn't really expecting greatness... I gotta say, oven stones really work. This turned out pretty good, if I have to brag on my own behalf.
Details: the crumb is firmer, like you expect from a strong flour. I have made more tender bread, but the flavor is excellent and I don't mind the chewiness. It crackled well, and got rave reviews. I guess that's why I bake. Actually, I have been getting a little discouraged lately, but this changed all of that.