Now that my sourdough culture is stabilized (it went crazy last week, digesting flour really fast and bubbling out of control), I was able to bake some pretty good bread today. I started with my beloved feral culture (on a wheat+rye mix, because I like things complicated). Built a sponge overnight with 100% hydration on 100% rye flour. The sponge came out just fine, having expanded 2.5x. This starter culture really works. Since it has a nice "green apple" scent, I shall call it Grandma Smith (re the good old granny smith apple).
I mixed 150g of rye sponge with 280 ml water (warm), then mixed it with 440g of sifted wheat flour and 10 ml salt. I think the hydration level is 64% and the starter-flour ratio is 34%. This is half recipe; next time i’ll multiply the amounts by 1.5 or 2. Autolysis 30 minutes, basically the dough was just sitting there.
I kneaded the dough ball delicately on the kitchen counter with very little flour, about 30 folds. Then put it back in the mixing bowl with a tight cover, and folded the dough twice every hour, for 4 hours.
Then, shaped the dough, floured it, and put it in a smaller mixing bowl lined with a table towel. Waited 2 hours while I was cooking a "civet de lapin" (rabbit in red wine) in the oven. (I like cooking a meal right before cooking the bread; it’s efficient!)
Then I delicately dropped the dough on a wood board sprinkled with corn semolina, reshaped a little bit. Slit the dough with my bread knife (which does a wonderful job). Cooked 15 minutes on the pre-heated oven at 475F (with a pan filled with water), then removed the water/stream and lowered temperature to 450F.
Luckily I slit the dough in a cross pattern, but also in diamond, close to the sides. The oven spring was amazing, and the crust didn’t rip open due to the slits. This is a rather small bread, but the end result is about 3x the volume of the initial dough ball. The taste is great: very subtle inside, with marked sourness in the crust. I think the kids will like it. Plus, the blisters are very nice this time.
Overall, Grandma Smith did a great job!
Things to improve:
- I’m still not very good at shaping the dough and I’m waiting for my banneton baskets (ordered them at a store in Montreal)
- Crust is a little overcooked on the underside, to my taste