i have been looking for a forum like this for ages!
Fantastic, just spent a great half an hour looking through posts ☺️
I have a question.
whenever I see pictures of sour dough loaves in books or on foodie programmes, they have great big air pockets in. How do they do that! Mine are light enough and usually with a good crust but no BIG air pockets.
Many thanks is in advance!
There are a number of factors including the recipe that you are using and the technique that you use for developing the dough.
A couple of factors in the recipe are the quantity of gluten forming components in the flour(s) and the presence of substances that affect the gluten that does develop. So, for instance, rye flour has a lot less gluten precursor than wheat flour and even wheat flours vary depending on the wheat variety, growing season and processing. The bran and germ in wholemeal flour will affect the continuity and strength of the gluten that does form and additions such as sugar, oils and fat and seeds, grains and fruits will also have an effect. And finally, the hydration of the dough has an effect with higher hydration favouring the formation of larger holes by keeping the starches soft for longer and by generating steam that can add to the expansion of the carbon dioxide generated during the fermentaion.
In my experience, at least, dough developed using the stretch and fold technique, spread over time, produces a more open crumb than a dough that is developed by vigourous kneading (by machine or hand) over a short time span. However, regardless, the dough must be developed sufficiently that it can be stretched into a very thin, almost transparent, sheet, without tearing, for it to be strong enough to maintain a nice open crumb formation. I also think that aiming for minimum knocking back before shaping helps in this regard as well.
Not sure what you have read here but I would highly recommend that you read the beginners blogs that are accessible from the home page side panel that give a very good primer into all aspects from getting your starter to making the loaf. The recipe Pane francesa is one that will, with practice and application on your part, make a loaf with the open crumb that you are looking for. Once you have mastered that, you can move on to bigger and, hopefully, better things.
Good luck with your projects.
Wow. What great info. Many thanks for talking the time to reply, really helpful!