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Troubleshooting 75% hydration country loaf

rain.coast.story's picture

Troubleshooting 75% hydration country loaf



I have been playing with different formulas for a while now with varying success. Last week I decided to try the country loaf recipe found in Tartine Bread:


Water: 75


White Bread Flour: 90

WW stone milled Flour: 10

Salt: 2


The leaven rose for 5 hours to more than double in size, passed float test.

Autolysze for 45 minutes.

Pinched in salt and remaining water and did first stretch and fold.

Continued S&F every 45 minutes at first and then every 30 minutes for 4 hours (~75-80F). During this time the dough did not seem to aerate as much as I have experienced with previous doughs. To encourage more activity I put the dough in the oven with a tray of very hot water for one  the 30 minute intervals. When I took it out it felt wayyy too warm (atleast 100F).

Took dough out of bowl (noticed it did not separate uniformly from the bowl walls), divided into two pieces and pre shaped. 20 minute bench rest. At this point I felt the dough needed some more structure/fermentation time so I gave it another preshape and let it rest for 15 more minutes. The doughs felt jiggly and billowy, seemed like I was on the right track. One was formed into a boule and the other into a batard.

The batard had a final rise of 2.5 hours. When taking out of the banneton it felt flat and spread out, lacking strcture. Moderate oven-spring. Moderately open crumb. The aroma was unreal however.

The boule had a final rise of 4 hours. Also felt like it lacked structure. Poor oven spring and more dense inside. Significantly more sour flavor. The bottom of the loaf bend inwards to create a concave bottom.


While the results were acceptable it was not the open airy crumb I was expecting out of a dough this hydrated, and the oven spring was much less impressive than other doughs Ive cooked.

This was my first time working with a dough this wet. The preshape was definitely more challenging than usual and I felt like I worked it too much. I have a feeling that it was a combination of not developing the dough enough, and perhaps overproofing, especially for the boule. I would like to hear what ideas others have in order to improve this.

Side note: The formulas that I have had them most success with have been 65-70 % hydration with a 50/50 light rye , white bread flour leaven. With this I have definitely noticed growth in the bulk fermentation and have gotten excellent loaves.


Here are pictures:



The batard (2.5 hour final rise)

Batard side view


Batard crumb




Boule crumb (notice concavity in the bottom)