The Foolish Baker - Cranberry Walnut WW Sourdough Batards
Tuesday's gone with the wind, along with 3 of my favorite loaves yet.
I was inspired by a recipe from The Perfect Loaf and decided it was time to change up my routine and add some more stuff to my dough. These loaves can only be appreciated by a baker. I feel like something has changed in my baking and it seems to have all come from this one bake. Have you ever felt that way? As if this is some kind of turning point and I see a bright baking future ahead.
Thanks to brdclc.com for the in-browser recipe calculator. This is my foundation formula that I work from when I need three 900g batards for dinner. By the time I add the levian the hydration is calculated to rise to 78%.
The process went on normally, or as a famous homebrewer would say "the day was uneventful."
5 a.m. Take out 40g from the starter culture and build a levian with 104g ww flour to 104g water. Our culture can rip through this percentage of food in about 5 hours. I'm currently trying to slow my culture down with smaller inoculations and larger amounts of food and it's not working. The soldiers in there are like Spartans.
9 a.m. Autolyse dough: two hours is ideal for me. Used water that is 100F so the dough knocks down to 90F, then goes to 80F at mixing. This recipe is dialed in and I know each addition is a 10 degree loss of heat. I added the cranberries and baked walnuts at this step. Incorporating the extra items in the dough is always easiest for me right as the water goes in.
11 am: Add levian after autolyse is done, add salt, mix, rest for 30 min before first fold. After mixing the dough was at 80F and remained there throughout the process until I raised the temp to 85F for the last hour of bulk. It seems that once I hit my target number, or any number for that matter, the dough holds temp extremely well. The levian is at 6 hours of work now and it is beyond active. The levian temp is about 81F.
-11:30 am First fold (when I say fold I mean really just one or two folds. Nothing serious, maybe 10 seconds of dough contact.)
-12 pm Second Fold
-12:30 pm Third Fold
-1 pm Fourth Fold
-1:30 pm Fifth Fold
-Dough rested until 3:30 because I didn't see an excessive amount of fermentation. Sometimes I don't see the real ferment progress until I flour the top of the dough and start dividing and shaping. All of a sudden there's CO2 ebullition from within. I also gauge how my last fold felt. Was it airy? Easy to pick up and let go? Who knows.
3:30 pm Divide and preshape. Each loaf was 900g but the extra items weighed more. I didn't measure for that but I might want to in the future...which is in two days. So each loaf came out to about 950g.
The loaves relaxed on the counter until 4pm. Then I did a final batard shape, just some simple rolls and folds and presses and into bannetons. They proofed next to the preheating oven for about 30 minutes. A few poke tests and I noticed their springback slowed down to half way, so I baked then. I also was running out of time as dinner was coming up and I needed some time for cooling too.
Baked at 400F in dutch ovens for 40 minutes, took lid off at 40 minutes and baked another 15-20 minutes and just watched the color. Since Dabrownman started to talk about stout the other day, I wanted to bake these loaves dark and stouty.
The crust was awesome. Thin, crispy, and really easy to slice through to the bottom. It was sweet for the first time in all my bakes, sweet and chewy but also crispy at the same time. Wow.
The crumb baked well and dry, but still having a moist spongy character. No tacky texture even though I sliced the loaves about 20 minutes out of the oven. I'm finally getting my bakes proper with these dutch oven pots and proper temp control thanks to Derek's help. I would never make beer without measuring the temp at each stage, so why would I ever make dough without measuring temp?
I thought scoring them would be more difficult, but it was fun. I have been doing the same middle or side horizontal score for the last 20 loaves so I got out of my comfort zone and did something different for two of the batards. I love how they came out all craggy and wild.
I still can't believe how great these turned out, and now they are all gone. But that gives me an opportunity to do it again...