Hi, just wanted to let you know that this post ended up being a little long, and rambly. It’s late here and I just want to talk about my bread :)
I know when you first start out the goal should just be making a consistently decent loaf or at lease being able to repeat what you created the last time. But I’m so eager to learn, I just had to try something a little different. And after a week of watching Trevor and @fullproofbaking (sorry I don’t know her name) mix and fold and shape (they are amazing!) I had to try and make this bread with my hands. So I used the same formula I used the week before. 100% King Arthur bread flour, 70% water, 38% levain, and 2% salt and I set to work.
I didn’t learn about my first mistake/lesson until after my loaf was in the oven this morning. I was reading post by fullproofbaking on how to calculate bakers percentages and realized I didn’t account for the levain. Last week when I used 527g of flour, 369 water and 200g 100% hydration starter, I actually had 72% hydration. And this week when I upped my flour to 700g, 490g water, and 250g levain (less percentage wise than last week, but all I had) I actually had 75% hydration. So this would explain why the dough was much more difficult to handle than it was last week.
A side note about my Starter: I’ve named her Wilhelmina after my great grandmother. She’s almost as old as she would have been, being born sometime in the late 1800’s. Also, she’s demanding and tough. My mother hated her grandmother, apparently she would make her do chores and redo them when she wasn’t satisfied after school. Even though my great grandmother was very well off and had her own staff. Also, apparently a billboard fell off a building and hit her in the leg and she walked to the hospital without help with a broken leg when she was 85. She also lived into her late 90’s and she couldn’t have been all bad because she hid and fed people in her walls during WWII. So my tough, demanding, long lived dough is named for her. And I’ve been trying to do well by her and feed her 3-4 times before building my levain. I’m happy I discovered I could do this with very small portions.
To make my dough, I mixed (by hand) all my flour and most of my water and left it on the counter (in the sun) for 2 hours. I then added the rest of the water, the salt, and my starter. Here I attempted to copy Trevor by spreading the starter over the dough and dimpling it in. I then did some kind of stretching and folding to incorporate the ingredients as well as some of that fancy scooping/stretching motion in the bowl. (notice that I know exactly what I’m talking about :) ) I had wanted to attempt the slap and fold method but I chickened out. I did these various “mixing” motions for 10ish minutes and took a break because my arm was killing me. ( I lift weights 5 days a week but apparently I don’t have enough strength to mix dough for more than 8mins. ) After I let is rest for 15 minutes, I did another 5 mins of the scooping thing.
It should be noted that I did all of this with a toddler sitting on my counter. I had to stop frequently to keep her from sticking things in the bowl, eating the dough, and trying to grab knives or run on the counter. (Mom of the year, I know ;) )
I then put the dough in a new bowl (b/c that’s what Trevor does) and covered it and left it on the counter in the sun again (not sure if this is bad?) for a 4 hour bulk. I did 4 sets of folds in the bowl 30 - 60 mins apart.
Pre-shaping was disastrous with one half and went okay with the other half of the dough. So I let it rest 25 minutes and attempted to shape again. The disastrous one had spread out in a blob on the counter. But I managed to form a somewhat decent boule with it and then tightened it up a bit one it was in the towel lined bowl.
Then I thought I would be fancy and make a batard with the other half... it looks so easy when Trevor and fullproof do it!!! I could watch videos of them shaping dough all day long. (I do this at night and my husband things I’m crazy) Anyway, some sort of oval was created and in the bowl it went. I also pinched it a bit tighter then too. And into the fridge for an overnight proof.
This morning I preheated my oven to 500 an hour before baking and heated my crocks up too. With the lids this time. Reduced the heat to 475 and baked them 20 mins lids on, 35 no lid.
This pictures above are of my “batard” or wonky log thing. Anyway, I’m still really pleased with it and it tastes amazing.
All I want to do is bake more bread. I’m considering making a pan bread this weekend. I even bought some local organic whole wheat flour that I want to add to it. But my only loaf pan is 9x4.5x 3 and I’m probably going to have to do some more math to adapt someone’s recipe to fit my pan. Any tips on working with whole wheat or making sourdough pan breads?
Thanks and I hope you’re having a good day!