80% whole grain sourdough
This is a modified bake that I last did in the winter and wanted to do again now that I have a good pH meter. 40% whole Kamut, 40% whole spelt and 20% bread flour, so lots of whole grain.
I did an overnight levain build at 74ºF but starting with 3ºC water. I also did an overnight saltolyse without the holdback water also starting with 3ºC water. This was left a cool room temperature to saltolyse.
The next morning about 9.5 hours later the levain had peaked at > 3.5 x rise and was added to the dough. Once mixed well with Rubaud kneading it was left for 15 mins. The hold back water was gradually added and once completely incorporated 15 mins rest was done again followed by 400 slap and folds to ensure good gluten development. pH was 5.49.
After 30 mins rest a bench letterfold was done. At this point aliquot jars were prepared, one for measuring rise and the other to measure pH.
Four sets of coil folds were done at 30 mins intervals each time the dough had relaxed. By the end of the fourth and final coil fold the pH was 5.13 and the rise was already 20%. What I found with this dough was that the pH drops were less than expected for the degree of rise attained. A few possible reasons for this. First spelt is very extensible, so that for the same degree of fermentation a dough that has a large percentage of spelt may rise more. This was also the reason I didn’t do a lamination because of spelt’s poor gluten quality. Second, as you know whole grains are a better buffer of acid than low extraction flours so for the same degree of fermentation a dough with more whole grains will have a higher pH.
The dough reached a pH of only 4.64 with a 60% rise. Typically since measuring pH I have found that I am shaping at a rise of 40-50% with a pH of 4.2 or so for doughs with < 25% whole grain. Finally final bench proofing ended when the dough reached 95-100% rise and a pH of only 4.41 which is much higher than I usually shoot for with lower whole grain doughs where the pH might be 3.9-4.0 at the start of cold retard.