I've been baking bread for some time and had a good sourdough starter some time back but circumstances that i don't actually recall caused me to give up on it and to revert to yeasted bread. However, the urge recently came upon me to go back to sourdough and I stumbled upon this site and its veritable mine of information and inspiration.
So just over a week ago I started an new starter using SourDom's beginners guide and lo and behold after very few days it seemed to be working just nicely thank you very much. Just had it in a glass jar sitting on the kitchen bench with the lid sitting on top.
After religiously discarding each day for six days, on the seventh I decided that it was time to give it a try - nothing ventured, nothing gained! The series above shows the development on the following day.
Figuring that I was onto a good thing by following SourDom I picked on his Pane Francese recipe and followed his Basic Timing Schedule. I also used the minimum kneading and stretch and fold technique. This is quite a change from my normal method which is generally the 'french' vigourous approach or, if I am feeling a bit lazy, the Kitchenaid and dough-hook.
After the final folding, the dough was shaped and placed on a rye flour dredged tea-towel and placed in a colander (don't have a banneton at this stage), covered with a damp cloth and left to rise, which it did beautifully. After rising, a circle of baking paper over the colander and inverted. Removed colander and cloth. Slashed the top and left for five minutes to relax and then into 220C oven (top and bottom heat) with terracotta tile. After 15 minutes, removed baking paper and reduced temp to 200C. After another 15 minutes reduced temp to 180C. After another 10 minutes, oven off and door ajar for 5 minutes.
I can tell you I was pretty pleased with the result and could barely restrain myself from hoeing in right away. However, I did manage to wait for an appropriate cooling interval (actually until evening meal time) before making the first cut.
I have to say that I am pretty well pleased with the result. The texture is good and nicely chewy. Only the slightest hint of sourness though behind an overall sweetness that seems a bit surprising. Maybe it's because the starter is so young.
Perhaps next time I will try some steam in the oven or the inverted bowl. I know that used to work a treat with my previous sourdough efforts - the crust crackle used to be quite fantastic.