High hydration failure
I've been browsing around the forums for a while and I really enjoy reading about everyone's bread baking adventures. Unfortunately, my own experiences with baking sourdough to date have been more frustrating than rewarding.
I've been baking sourdough seriously for longer than I care to admit (about 3 years), and I could probably count my successes on one hand. I've had the most success with Trevor's low hydration recipe, but every time increase the hydration of my loaf, I start to run into trouble. It seems that my dough is always an unworkable puddle and nothing like what I see on youtube. Even if I shape the dough very tightly, it still feels very slack and loses its shape.
On top of that, the weather here in the southern hemisphere has really cooled down, so I'm finding it even more difficult to manage proofing times. I'm using an insulated box with a heat mat as a makeshift proofing box, but maintaining a stable temperature is really hard. Last bake, I'm pretty convinced I underproofed the loaf (it had a fairly obvious fools crumb), and I just popped one into the fridge this evening that poured onto my bench into a pancake. It seemed to have no structure at all, so I'm guessing it might have been overproofed.
Granted this is quite generaly, but can anyone offer some advice on where I might be going wrong? Also, does everyone who turns out consistent loaves have some sort of temperature control? I feel like even after all of the years, I don't have a good feel for when a loaf is proofed to perfection. Strangely enough, I have that intuition with commercial yeast, but sourdough still eludes me!
For reference, here's my process:
* 100g wholegrain flour
* 400g baker's flour
* 350g water
* 100g levain (taken from 35g ripe starter, 7g wholegrain flour, 28g baker's flour, 35g water)
* 10g salt
Mix flours and water and autolyse for 1 hour.
Add levain and salt and pinch them in.
Slap and fold 400 times.
Bulk proof for 7 hours in a proofing box (temperature fluctuates between 18 and 26 °C, but is usually around the 20 mark).
Given the fluctuation in temperature, I've been trying to improve my ability to assess when the bread is proofed. I generally wait until it's got small bubbles on the surface, it's increased in volume and it feels a bit lighter.
I then preshape and leave it for 15 mins.
Final shape and into the fridge overnight.
The next morning I bake at 320°C, covered for 10 mins, open for 20+.