After my first few weeks of sourdough baking it has bothered me that I have only been practically able to bake at weekends - during the week there just seems to be insufficient time to nurse a dough through its various stages - and so I've been interested in finding a timetable that would allow me to bake any day of the week with minimal effort.
Timetable 3 from the following link: http://sourdough.com/blog/sourdom/beginners-blog-sourdough-timetables was the one that seemed most attractive to me and after my first attempt at following it I have to say that I am amazed at the results.
I followed the Pane Francese sourdough recipe almost to the letter (apart from doubling all quantities) but shifted the timetable to an evening bake. The only other difference is that I keep a small 200% hydration wholemeal rye starter in the fridge and use it to build whatever starter is required - I have settled on this after reading "Bread Matters"
The timetable I used was as follows:
Wednesday PM: mix 1 tbsp of rye starter with 90g of white flour and 90g of warm water
Thursday AM: add another 90g of white flour and 90g of warm water
Thursday PM: Make up Pane Francese dough leaving out the salt. Wait 30 minutes, add salt and quickly knead until dough starts to get smooth. Put in a square plastic tub in the fridge.
Friday AM: One stretch and fold.
Friday PM: Divide dough into two, shape and place in proving baskets in fridge.
Saturday PM: Take loaves out of fridge, wait 2 hours and bake.
So, I still ended up baking on a Saturday, but any day would be workable.
I have just discovered that my electric oven will go up to 285C if the fan is switched off so I preheat to 285C, mist with water, load a loaf, mist again, reduce temp to 200C and bake for 40 minutes with additional misting during the first 20 minutes.
As you'll see from my pictures, I have some uncontrolled bursting of the dough which I am assuming is due to baking a little too soon after removal from the fridge along with inept slashing technique but now I have a workable timetable I'll be able to practice more often and try to sort these issues out.
But, the important things are the taste and texture and I could not be more happy: the crust is blistered, chewy and full of flavour. The crumb is fairly open, nicely sour and has the pearly sheen that I love in slowly fermented sourdough.
I can't believe how little effort was required to produce these two loaves and I am very grateful to SourDom for presenting such convenient timings.