Crust is dark mahogany, full of flavor. When biting in about 15 minutes after cooling, end piece crust "flaked" into big 1" uneven shards, wow, so delicious.
Interior was perfectly moist, soft crumb. No gumminess in sight, at least on the end piece. Good flavor; not a lot of sour tang. Color is nearly like white bread, no grayness as in the previous loaf. Great structure; larger holes, not super uneven (not La Brea Bakery style), but not dense in any way, rather: light, airy, much drier than before but not dry-tasting at all. Much like good hard rolls found in restaurants.
Bottom crust was brown, with some nearly black spots in places, but evenly browned.
Additional baking info:
- Shaped round loaf; slashed with 4 scallop slices.
- 3/4 cup of warm water for steam in broiler pan
- Baked at 455F for 20 minutes. Removed broiler pan at 20 minutes. Baked at 450 for remaining 11 minutes
- Instant-read thermometer read ~204F when inserted into the bottom, right out of the oven.
- The total process took about 5.5 hours: from the moment when I mixed the flour, starter and water until 15 minutes after resting from finishing baking when I cut into it.
- Try some retardation tactics to increase possible sour tang. Make 3 loaves one evening. Let all rise for 1 hr. Cover 2 and place in fridge. Let remaining one rise and bake that night. Bake one from the fridge in the morning. Bake one from the fridge in the evening. Compare flavors.
- Try adding more rye to the starter; maybe add some the morning before baking that evening?
Now next up: grandma's rye bread! Some new things to try:
- Use table salt (not kosher salt)
- Check flour-to-starter ratio (3:2 by weight looks like a good start)
- Use same basic process as Pain au Levain, or Levain de Pate (sourdough + instant yeast)
- Cold dough can go right into the oven...as long as it comes out of the fridge looking like it's supposed to! Just preheat to 500 instead of 455, and once bread goes in the oven, turn the temp down to normal baking temp (450-455).