Recently I had a loaf not turn out so well. Rather poorly in fact!
I'd welcome some comments and advice about what might have gone wrong. Fair warning -- this posting is a bit long. I've tried to include enough detail so that someone can figure out what happened. Or what multiple things happened, more likely!
As my initial loaves had been bigger than were ideal for me, I decided to reduce the amount of dough. I also decided that I'd try baking this one in a tin, since I have a tin and didn't have anything that looked like a good stand in for a small banneton.
I had been told my bread tin was for "750g" loaves. So I aimed at that size, and think I made my first mistake (assuming planning to use a tin isn't counted a mistake!
). Are such weights the weight of the finished loaf (as I now think ...) or dough weight (as I first thought)?
Moving along, here's what I started with. Aiming at a 750g loaf at 68% hydration:
385g white bread flour
130g starter # only refreshed once, 50% hydration
There I suspect I have my second mistake: while the starter is healthy and has worked well before, it was starting from the fridge. I think I should have refreshed it twice over 24 hours as usual instead of once over 12 hours.
The starter smelt stronger than usual: much more "yogurt"-like than it does usually. Not 100% pleasant even ... so I think the starter might have run out of food? (My notes don't say what refreshment it had, but probably 5x.)
There was little or no rise during the bulk ferment, and not too many bubbles at the end when I slashed it checking for progress. Running out of time, however, it got shaped after six hours(*) regardless.
(*) Really 3-4 hours, overnight in the fridge, ~2 hours out of the fridge before shaping. This has worked in the past and since, however.
The loaf didn't rise much or perhaps at all during its second proof. It also only had five hours as I had misjudged the time. Then I forgot to slash it.
Here's what it looked like out of the oven:
It doesn't show in the picture, but it tasted and smelled much stronger than usual. Again, not 100% pleasantly so.
Anyone got any ideas?
To show that I can make a loaf, here's one with twice the ingredients of the above, two refreshments over 12 hours, and allowed to rise in my collander&tea-towel "banneton":
No crumb picture for that one, but it had a nice open crumb, good crust, lovely flavour, and wanted just a little more rising time before going into the oven (I think!) as the crumb at the centre bottom was a little bit compressed and dense.
So ... did I just botch the starter on the first one? Or did I do other suss things too?
Thanks in anticipation!