Me vs. The Bread, part 3
So I am now on my third attempt to get some good loaves. Things I have done differently this time:
Used a smaller weight of levain, using a 1:2:2 ratio with 10g starter and 20g each water and flour. Let it set overnight.
Oven temp set to 475F (mistake number 2, did not lower the temp after removing the steam pan).
Removed the steam pan at 20 minutes and took temp of each loaf, which was about 160F.
Checked again after another ten minutes without steam. Temp over 205F and pulled the bread to cool.
Mistake number 1, used yeast that was over a year old. Thought about using a newer packet but figured what the heck. I think I should have gone with a new packet. Also next time I'm going to bloom the yeast in the lukewarm water and maybe add a teaspoon of sugar.
So, took the 50g of levain and added to the 5 cups of flour, and the salt, sugar, and baking soda. Baked for 30 minutes at 475F (should have lowered the temp to 425F at the 20 minute mark) turning my bread in the oven at the 20 minute mark.
Things I will do next time. Start the levain the morning of the day I want to bake and let it ripen for only four hours instead of over 12 (second feedings of my starter come in around 6pm or so, so I don't get to the levain till we hours or more later). Use fresher yeast and bloom it. Make only one loaf because the two loaves this recipe is giving me are very small and I think I might have a better loaf if I don't split it up even though the recipe calls for that. I might up the amount of levain a bit, going with 20g starter and 40g each water and flour. This is still less than the 227g total the recipe calls for. Will also lower the temp of the oven after the first 20 minutes. The bottom got a bit too brown at a total bake temp of 475.
But, here's a look at the outside of the bread. I think it looks good. It has a nice brown to it and feels a bit crunchy. I'll post a picture of the inside when the loaves cool down some more. Comments as always are welcome.