SJSD Experiment, Take 1
I finally got around to trying my hand at DMSynder’s San Joaquin Sourdough recipe, one that I bookmarked years ago, but hadn’t got around to trying for no good reason. I used the “Updated” SJSD recipe post, though he left me know he’s made some updates to the update, so next time I’ll make the latest tweaks as well.
To make things interesting/difficult on myself, I decided to switch up the process a bit on this bake and use the order of operations I've grown somewhat fond of with other levain recipes – specifically the "pre-shape>shape>place in banneton>place banneton in fridge overnight>score/load into oven" routine that Tartine/FWSY uses often. It seems to just fit nicely into my weekend schedule, so I made that change to this experiment as well.
Happy to report the results look pretty good! As expected, the formula appears pretty flexible, which is nice. I still need to bake a bath of this bread using David’s regular process so I can compare, but from appearances, this bake seems solid. Of course, I haven’t cut into the dough to see the crumb yet, or even tasted it, so hard to say much more than the exterior/over spring look good, but I can update the post after we dig in.
One question for the group: I've recently been using my baking steel -- previously reserved for pizza -- for sourdough bakes, as I also love the oven spring it produces. I'm having a recurring issue with burnt/scorched loaf bottoms, though, and was wondering if anyone here has experienced the same with the steel, took some mitigating measures? I've tried propping up the loaves on an inverted sheet pan halfway through the bake, but the damage seems to be done in the first 15 or so minutes. I've seen the issue across a number of higher hydration recipes, so it doesn't seem to be unique to a particular formula. I use small pieces of parchment to load the dough, and am going to experiment with sprinklings of corn meal next, see if that helps. Does the steel just transfer too much energy/heat to use it for these types of bakes? I’ve seen Maurizio (theperfectloaf.com) use the steel with great success, so I’m guessing it’s more about me than the materials, but any advice from you or your readers would be great!
Update: cut into one of the loaves for lunch. Fantastic, subtle flavor, soft crumb, not gummy but creamy. Really great for a sandwich (which I just finished). The crumb was a tad tighter than some other high hydration doughs I bake, but I actually prefer this for spreads/meats. Will definitely keep working on this one!