Friday, April 04, 2014

City Limits Sourdough with Levain

The last couple of loaves that I've baked have taken a different direction. Rather than use my stand mixer, I simplified by using my large wooden bowl, minimal mixing, and a liquid levain in this loaf. The previous loaf used a 110% hydration levain so I am reluctant to brand that a liquid levain. On this loaf, I deliberately aimed at 125% hydration which I suspect qualifies for that "liquid" classification. Since it works, it really doesn't make that big a deal.

I started out by first mixing and whisking the levain, water, and about 70-80g of my mixed flours with the idea that it would help  disperse the yeast beasts. Then I added the remainder of the flour and mixed it up to the well known shaggy mass, covered the bowl, and let it rest for twenty minutes. The salt was added and I used my dough whisk to mix that salt as well as I could. At this point, the dough was slack and sticky. While turning the bowl slowly, I pulled the dough up from the bottom of the mass towards the center. I repeated this around thirty times and then turned the dough over, covered, and let it rest for thirty minutes. This was done three more times and the dough had gained enough strength that I felt confident enough to just put it in a covered and oiled container for the remainder of the bulk fermentation. At a 70F room temperature, this took three hours.

When the bulk fermentation was over, I went through shaping, rested the loaf in its brotform for 45 minutes on the counter and put it in the fridge for an overnight retarded proofing. In the morning, after two hours of resting on the counter at room temperature, the loaf was ready for a simple slashing and then into a preheated oven with a baking stone at 450F. After 15 minutes, I pulled out my parchment paper, turned the loaf around 180 degrees, and then dropped the oven setting to 425F for the last 22 minutes.

These pictures were taken after three hours of cooling. The taste is slightly sour and the crumb is tender. I estimated that my hydration for this loaf ran about 73% which helped the openness.I think it looks  good considering the 25% WWW content. The most important thing or discovery has been how easy this new process has turned out to be.

170 g at 125% hydration

Main dough
270 g bread flour
90 g fresh milled Prairie Gold WWW
230 g water at 90F
10 g kosher salt
All of the levain

Outside the window, the yard is starting to green up. We had some rain a couple days ago and it has made an immediate impact. If we get warmer temperatures, things will get going at rapid pace. I bought twenty 2 cu. ft. bags of cypress mulch for the flower beds and I probably should have doubled that purchase. I checked the herbs that I wintered over in the garden and found that the rosemary was, no surprise, quite dead. The sage and oregano do look somewhat rough but they can be coaxed back into production with some long, sunny days. The last picture is our first daffodil of the year. Their disposition makes up for the discomfort from the pollen of newly budding trees.

It seems that this blog has been discovered by a web crawler from I have no idea why they'd be interested in my obscure corner of the internet but obviously, I'm not so obscure anymore.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.

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