Moist or dry?

I bake at home. My loaves are crumbly and soft on the inside, brown on the outside. I usually add a bit more flour to the mix if it needs, but I usually keep it a bit moist, and use oil to prevent sticking to the bench top. I don't know how the loaves which I buy locally are so chewy, and light. I know I would have to use 100% white flour, but I don't know if I should be using more flour in my mix, to achieve this tough chewy bread. Is it the flour to water ratio? Or the composition of leaven?

3 comments

Can you describe the recipe and method that you use? Both are important for the texture of sourdough.

Here are the ingredients, and a shortened procedure

250g rye starter

150g wholemeal wheat flour

50g rye flour

300g plain wheat flour

250ml water at room temperature

1 tsp salt

1 tsp barley malt

Method:

1.  Mix water with starter, salt, malt.  Add flours and bind using hands. Turn onto an oiled bench to fold 10 times.  Rest for ten minutes.

2. Fold several  times, and rest for 10 minutes in a  bowl. 

3. Fold several times and leave for 30 minutes.

4. Fold seveal times and rest for 1 hour. Fold again and rest 1 hour.

5. Turn onto a bench, knead, rest a few minutes, divide into two smaller loaves.  

6. Pat doughs out, and fold corners into center, then over like an envellope.  Wrap in a floured tea towel, and sit loaves in a banneton for about 3 hours.

9. Pre-heat oven to 210C. Removes gently from towels, place on a tray and spray with water, and bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30  minutes.

This recipe is a favourite of  mine, the only one I've stuck with.  It came from a library book.  Any suggestion you have would be appreciated Merrid.  I am a bit afraid of try a different recipe in case it fails.  I have failed so many times in the past.  

Hi Josho,

As a mug beginner baker who has made every mistake in the book (mouseholes this weekend's bake!) I am interested to compare your recipe with what I do because my texture is always fine, it is the shape and hole size that vary madly from bake to bake for me.

I use 300 g white flour plus 100 g wholemeal and 100 g starter (100% hydration rye starter) with 240 g water. Depending on your starter, you seem to be using less water than me as without counting the starter it looks like 50% hydration while mine without counting the starter is 60% hydration. I am also wondering if the higher amount of non-white wheat flour is not giving you enough usable gluten to form the good texture that you are after. If I add more wholemeal than the 1 to 3 ratio then it slices with a lot of loose crumbs. Also, you have not said that you autolysed before addind the salt- I have been told that this is a very important thing to do for overall gluten development, but the experts would know more than me!

I think my mouseholes (yes they were easily that big!) resulted from rushing the bread into the prooving basket too early so that it could be cooked before I needed the oven for dinnertime. This was a new problem but as the hurry is what was different to usual I guess that is what caused the holes.