Monday, October 13, 2008

Joanna's wonderful sourdough bread

IMG_8267 par vous I've been baking bread, from scratch and by hand for for now well over 2 years (see here for my inital receipe in French) and have had wonderful experiences, all very tasty.

I've never however been fully satisfied with the size of the bubbles, those air pockets forming in the bread, so when I read Joanna's post on French sourdough loaf (and lots of lovely holes!!!) I read it attentively!

She very kindly dropped off a jar of starter (levain) on Friday I set out to follow her instructions. Well, about as well as men can follow instructions I guess...

In the evening, I revived the starter using 50g Shipton wholemeal flour (I ran out of the Shipton Mills organic flour I buy from Oliver's) and about 60g water (to keep the same consistency). I did let the starter bubble all afternoon because I felt it did not work enough, and then it went back into a larger glass jar and into the fridge overnight.

On Saturday noon I augmented the dough with another 100g water +100 grammes of white flour this time -that's 100% hydratation. This time, I bought "Waitrose Extra Strong White Flour" made from "Canadian Red Spring Wheat -a mouthful of unwarranted capitalisation.

In the afternoon, I mixed the dough following Joanna's proportions with a mixer and dough hook for about 4 mn (I usually do it all by hand) and then folded it three times, with a few hours intervals: the dough was very wet with your proportion, I guess I usually work with less than 60% hydratation. By the end of the afternoon, the dough was still very soft but quite strong so I shaped it (on my brand new silicon mat from KooksUnlimited in Richmond). By the evening, I shaped the dough and although it still had not proven to what I would usually expect, I baked it -with a tray in the oven where I added some boiling water to create steam.

Dunring the baking, the bread experienced a much stronger "oven spring" than usual which added something like 20% in volume -amazing. I baked it for about 45 mn.

So, in the end, I got a soft white bread (I did not add rye flour because I ran out) and with A LOT OF BUBBLES!

Conclusion: I have a wonderful bread, and tried it with some Neufchatel cheese from my friend Michel and this morning with my home made honey -FAN-TAS-TIC!

But why?
  • Was that the very slow fermentation? (I plan to try with very little -like 20g/kg flour- fresh yeast and double the proving times from my initial receipe)
  • Was that the mixer kneading and folding technique?
  • Was that the increased hydratation?
  • Or is the dough stronger? (it's really annoying that flours in the UK aren't graded like they are in France, from T40 to T100)

, , ,

No comments: