San Joaquin Breakthrough
The credit goes to dmsnyder (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/53813/san-joaquin-sourdough-two-ways), who bakes and writes extensively on the San Joaquin sourdough bread. When you think your bread baking can't progress much, you can always count on getting fresh ideas and inspirations from other Freshloafers. Among all the sourdough breads I've made, the San Joaquin takes it to the next level. The crumb is more open and the crust is more delicate and light. I can't be happier when these loaves hit the oven with remarkable oven springs. Thanks, dmsnyder for your recent detailed post in September.
They are the same hands doing the mixing, kneading and shaping; it's the methodology of the San Joaquin sourdough that has made it the real standout. The San Joaquin comes with an exceptional pedigree: it originates from the Anis Bouabsa's baguettes which won the prize for the best baguette in Paris in 2008.
Specifically, it's the long cold fermentation before dividing that makes all the difference.
The key is the long bulk fermentation after four series of stretch-and-fold in the initial 2-1/2 hours. The bucket of dough went straight into the fridge for 18-24 hours, without dividing and shaping. The dough becomes pillowy and very stretchable. I took special care in shaping the dough in rounds. You have to because the dough feels so delicate. I use Dutch ovens as my steaming apparatus. They are mostly round in shape. Therefore, I shaped the loaves in rounds rather than in batards.
Now the crumb structure is more open, the next hurdle is to get it completely open throughout the loaf. I guess, I need more practice!
Welcome any suggestions how I can get the crumb structure to be open from one end to the other? Again I'm turning to fellow Freshloafers for their comments!