I'm relatively new to the art of sourdough bread baking - have made about 5 loaves. I'm a long time fan of the stuff though and in particular, it's that waxy, moist but light crumb I associate with an artisan loaf that I'm really keen on recreating (if you need a visual ref., see the image at the top of the banner on the right hand side of the main webpage that reads 'make your own starter'. That's the kind of vibe I'm after!). Can anyone shed any light on the processes that go into achieving that result?
Here's the thing: I achieved it. Once. And totally without trying. In fact, I can't even provide a photo of that loaf because so low were my hopes for it, I didn't bother getting all snap happy. When it went into the oven, it was particularly flat. The dough looked so moist that it almost pancaked onto the baking tray. Lo and behold, it was a delicious loaf.
I'm wondering whether it's one of two things: either the success of the 'pancake flat' loaf was due to its increased surface area and reduced thickness, which allowed the heat to really penetrate quickly and form big, chewy bubbles OR, it's the addition of oil that makes the difference.
The loaf pictured below is the one I've just pulled from the oven, which seemed to go off without a hitch but didn't turn out well at all. I forgot to add oil to this dough...