San Joaquin sourdough bâtard
I recently graduated from instant yeast to sourdough and have been baking San Joaquin bâtards from DMSnyder with great pleasure.
I bake a 700 grams bâtard, 72% hydratation, 78% AP flour, 6% whole weath and 6% medium rye, and 2% salt. The levain represents 12% of the total formula and is very active, tripling in less than 10 hours at 1:4:4 inoculation and at a temperature of 69F. I use the levais when it just starts receding.
My procedure is the following: 1 hour autolyse; add salt and levain and give 150 slaps and folds; bulk ferment at 78F for 4:30 to 5 hours with 3 folds every 30 minutes and 2 more every one hour (volume increases 1.5 times, small bubles on the surface and the dough is giggly); preshape and rest for one hour; shape and final proof for 1:30 hours at 74F. Cook in dutch oven at 460F for 20 minutes covered and 18 more minutes uncovered. I am very satisfied with the texture and the taste, but I am always wondering if bulk fermetation or fianl proof could have gone longer. I would be grateful to read your opinions. The pictures I am showing represent my usual results.
The bake out of the oven looks great and If you’re satisfied with the taste and texture then there is not much to improve. The profile is good but the crumb looks somewhat condensed which could be from how it was shaped. SD should not be degassed or punched down like a yeasted dough because they recover slowly if at all. The original recipe was bulk fermented in the fridge which is why I think the pre shape is rested for an hour. That much time can create a dry skin on the dough. I would try a half hour and add that time to the final proof. Since you didn’t retard in bulk you could consider doing the final proof in the fridge which is what most people do. The easiest way to open up the crumb is to shape it with less tension which can only be learned by practice. In general a slightly underproofed loaf will bloom more and have a prominent ear whereas a slightly overproofed one will have less but a softer more open crumb. It comes down to making the bread how you like it.
Your starter is really strong but it will be at its best if you use it before it recedes. If it has doubled and doesn’t smell like flour but more like yogurt it is ready and will have less acidity.
On another note, your flour totals only add up to 90% and the percentage of levain is better described as the percentage of total flour in the levain or the amount of pre-fermented flour which is a constant whether it is a stiff or liquid levain.
Thank you for your advice Don,
I do not final proof in the fridge because I usually don't have enough space and I like to be able to start my bread early in the morning, bake it in the afternoon and eat it for dinner. But would it make a real difference in the crumb structure if I did? I remember having tried a few times without significant different results. Which method would be more efficient in your opinion to open the crumb (I am not looking for big holes but for a less condensed crumb): retarded cold final proof, longer final proof at room temperature, or gentlier handling and a bit more of water?
You are right, I made a mistake reporting the quantities. I should have written 88% of AP. And I agree it is more usual and useful to indicate what percentage of the total flour is prefermented (in my case, 9%).
Thank you again for your kind help.
It’s really what works best for you. I wait until the next day before I even slice mine because I like it better after it has dried and “cured”
If the fridge space is limited your options are limited as well. The fridge proof might help expansion but it will also have a less wheaty taste and a more sour flavor. Plus there are blisters! I prefer long slow fermentation for more flavor development and longer keeping quality.
I think you should try a gentle pre shape with less rest and extending the proof in search of the limits before upping the hydration. Judging by the gloss in your crumb you’re not far off. Let us know how it worked out.