Monday, September 15, 2014

Two City Limits Soaker Sourdough Variations

Just as another SWAG experiment to resolve my problems with shaping my dough, I decided to change my procedures a little bit, tweak the hydration lower, and see if I could still get a decent crumb. These are the first experiments and they didn't turn out bad at all. I think a long retarded fermentation wouldn't hurt, but so far, so good.

I lowered the hydration in simple ways, less water, less starter, and a lower hydration starter. That wasn't rocket science. Using my large wooden bread bowl for the first loaf, I soaked the white whole wheat flour in the main dough water before adding the starter, and aerated the ingredients into a slurry with a hand whisk.

I knew that doing that would slow down the yeast action because the dough temperature at the end of mixing wouldn't be optimal but it was my experiment and I wasn't in a hurry for another loaf.

After the slurry was ready, I added the flour and mixed until I had the desired shaggy mass, covered the bowl, and let it rest for about twenty minutes.Then I lightly misted the dough and spread the salt over the dough. With my left hand turning the bowl, I used a curved dough tool turn the dough with about thirty strokes. After two more turns at twenty minute intervals, I let the dough rest for another twenty minutes and then turned it out on to my floured work surface. Then I did a quick stretch and fold before placing the dough in an oiled container to finish the bulk fermentation.
When the dough was ready for shaping, it had plenty of strength to resist me. This particular loaf had a seven hour rest in the refrigerator and was slow to finish proofing. That turned out well and I had another trial loaf almost ready to slice in the wings.

The procedure isn't quite refined enough as of yet. I still have a few wrinkles to iron out. I don't claim to have reinvented the wheel here. The method does seem to lessen some of the problems that come from using  fresh ground or stone ground whole wheat flours. Soaking allows for easier judgement in whether or not the dough is wet enough and could also diminish the cutting effect of the bran in the WW flour. The second loaf used hard red WW yet it had little of the bitterness that is accepted as part of whole wheat flour use.

Starter
110 g at 100% hydration, 75% AP/25% WWW
Soaker
230 g water
90 fresh milled WWW
Main Dough
270 g KAF bread flour
9 g kosher salt

The second loaf was done in my mixer. I used the whisk attachment to aerate the soaker/starter slurry.

Starter
150 g at 80% hydration
Soaker
90 g fresh milled hard red whole wheat
225 g water at 85F
Main dough
270 h KAF bread flour
9 g kosher salt
This dough was relatively firm despite the fact that the mix was only three minutes at first speed, then three more minutes at second speed. Still, it's not a bad looking crumb for a 25% WW loaf.

The plants in the yard and garden are starting to show the signs of shutting down. The shorter daylight and below average temperatures do make the marigolds that much brighter but it's going to be tough to give up having more fresh, ripe tomatoes than we could eat. The sage and rosemary should last another month at least before its time to pack them in straw to winter over. That will give me time enough for a loaf or two of Panmarino and some focaccia with sage.

While I'm always pleased to see that my obscure corner of the internet is visited by people from around the planet, I'm presently very puzzled by the number of visits from folks in France, at least the statistics say they're from France. Given the number of great bakers in France and the longstanding tradition of bread in the food of France, there is a certain amount of amusement for me when the French read my raggedy home baker's blog. Is there a French visitor that will take the time to explain why he or she stopped by? Perhaps they're studying to learn how to speak like a Kansan.

Comments, humor, and questions are welcome.


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