Country Sourdough Bread
May 30, 2011
Tried out something I failed at before with some success; retardation. A simple way to explain it would be that I refrigerated the dough during the fermenting process. This solves a few different problems: it makes it easier to bake around your own schedule instead of tailoring your day around bread, and makes the dough much easier to shape (especially useful if working with high hydration doughs).
[350W - 150WM - 225LE - 250WA] Autolyse 30 min
[50WA - 10SA] Mix, Bulk Ferment 2 hours folding every 30 min
Bench rest 20 minutes, Shape, Retard in loaf tin 5 hours
After retarding the dough for 5 hours, I popped it out of the loaf tin, shaped it once after flouring my fingers, and then slashed and sprayed the dough with water. I put it in the oven along with pouring boiling water into another pan below the baking pan, which created a huge plume of steam as always. After my last two attempts I was worried that I wouldn't get a proper rise. And after my first attempt at retarding dough I was afraid the crust would cook much faster than the crumb or that the outer layer would peel away, but no such problems occurred this time around. Total baking time was about 1:20. Whenever a loaf crackles as it comes out of the oven I get excited.
Turned out pretty nicely and the loaf disappeared in a few hours. Perhaps because of the low temperature of the dough, the crust was not as thick and crunchy as I usually get after longer baking times, though it did produce a deep brown color and the caramelized taste that I like. I'm not sure whether I like that particular effect, but it isn't make or break at this point. The crumb had somewhat consistent pocket structure with a few big bubbles here and there, the shape held together quite well while baking. At 80% hydration, the crumb was very moist without being wet. and exhibited a healthy amount of bounce without being too rubbery or chewy in texture; for a country loaf the crumb was relatively light and airy. Feeling good about retardation and working on a wholemeal/rye dough at this very moment to see if I can replicate any success in a more dense loaf.
Submitted to YeastSpotting.