On 23rd November 2019 I carry out a couple of experiments.
Firstly, I used Neven Maguire’s starter and recipe for his wholemeal sourdough. But I made two significant changes:
- I increased the water content to 300 ml of warm water (hydration rate 80% rather than the usual 175 ml and hydration rate of 47%)
- I used the stretch and fold technique to knead it, rather than the usual technique of more vigorous pushing and pulling back
The dough was very wet and sticky and I did not attempt to knead it; I used the stretch and fold technique as per Bake with Jack and stretched and folded over as follows:
- I mixed the contents in bowl and left for 30 minutes
- Did the first fold and left for 2 hours
- Did the second fold and left for 2 hours
- Did the third fold and left for 1 hour
- Then I sprinkled the top of the dough with flour and dusted the work surface and shaped it into a ball and left if for 1 hour with a covering cloth
- Then I did a final shape and placed it in the banneton basket and left it out at room temperature for approximately 5 hours.
It puffed up quite significantly, as big as I have seen any of them, and I was expecting great things from this one.
However, it had puffed up so big that it went up the sides of the banneton basket-which were not floured-and stuck to the basket when I went to remove it and place it on the tray. I got it out, with a struggle, and placed it on the tray but it was very flat and had deflated to a certain extent when I removed it from the basket and placed it on the baking tray.
I was still hopeful that it would have good oven spring, but it did not rise up well at all and it looked like a poor, flat effort when I removed it from the oven.
However, when I cut it the crumb was probably the most open, lightest crumb I have achieved yet and the taste was probably the best insofar as it was the strongest/sourest sourdough I have made yet.
The questions which arise are:
- Was the dough over proofed or under proofed?
- Would it have made a difference to put it in the fridge, or another cool place for the proving phase?
- Why did the bread not benefit from any oven spring?
This method, and Neven’s recipe, are well worth pursuing, I believe, because if a couple of small changes remedy the small problems that arose it can be a very nice loaf of bread, not just from a taste perspective but an aeshteically pleasing loaf, too.
The second experiment involved using Bake with Jack’s recipe and starter and recipe but rathter than stretching and folding it I kneaded the dough after leaving it rest for 30 minutes.
I then let it ferment at room temperature for approximately 5 hours, then put it in the fridge overnight.
This one had an excellent rise in the oven and looks great; however, the crumb is quite thick and closed. I have not tasted it yet, though, so will have to finish this post when I do. Should be having it for my lunch tomorrow 😊
Update: it passed the taste test and was a very agreeable loaf of bread.