Sunday, June 22, 2008

sourdough catch-up

In the last week or two made 2 more loaves, both using the Pain au Levain sourdough recipe from my King Arthur Flour baking book.

Loaf #1: I didn't have whole wheat flour yet, so I substituted the same amount of rye flour. I only folder it twice, and let rise between foldings. Slightly smaller quantity (only had 1lb white flour, not 1lb15oz)

Pros & cons of #1:
  • Good crust: not as shiny or blistery as last loaf, but still nice. Didn't really stretch it enough.
  • Nice texture: chewy, moist, tender crumb; bigger holes, more like I expect out of grandmas' bread, but not big uneven holes.
  • Great flavor: the rye worked really well; a bit of sour tang without tasting like sourdough
  • Long shelf life. Was good uncovered in the kitchen all week, didn't dry out.

Loaf #2: finished last night. I followed the recipe exactly this time: white flour, whole wheat flour, sourdough starter, water. Measured by weight, using exact quantities provided in recipe. Was very very wet, too wet in fact. Had to add a bunch of flour to make it manageable. This one spent a bunch of time in the fridge. I let it rise covered in the garage, which is super warm due to a recent heat spell. I folded 1st time, rise, then 2nd folding I actually folded it twice, then let rise 20 min before baking. Forgot to add salt, so added it after 1st rise and re-kneaded for 5 minutes in mixer. Forgot to slash, so it got big and broke at the top in places.

Pros and cons of #2:
  • Decent crust: didn't brown as well, wasn't as smooth and blistery, but had the same nice crackle of loaf 1.
  • Flavor: more sour, but not as flavorful, probably because of lack of rye. I missed the tang.
  • Great uneven holes. Whatever rise and folding was done worked well for a nice texture.
For next time:

  • More folding.
  • Use rye flour
  • Don't forget salt
  • Don't forget to slash!

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