I’m taking another shot at sourdough bread from Advanced Baking and Pastry. This is the book with the San Francisco sourdough recipe that I wasn’t happy with. One of the problems with the San Francisco sourdough bread was the shaping, and this time I ended up dumping the dough in a loaf pan; but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The dough was quite wet and sloppy, like ciabatta dough. Actually, that San Francisco sourdough was pretty wet, too, and the starter was a lot stiffer than the 100% hydration starter that I used for this. I’m weighing all my ingredients, including the water and salt, so it’s not a mismeasurement problem. Is it supposed to be this wet? This might be a question for The Fresh Loaf. Anyway, I know I have to be patient with whole wheat dough because it takes time for the whole wheat flour to absorb the moisture. Still, after the 2-hour initial bulk ferment, the dough was pretty wet and sticky. I dusted the bench with bread flour and dumped out the dough. Even dusting the dough with flour wasn’t enough and I finally oiled my hands.
The directions say to form a light ball with the dough and let that rest for 20 to 30 minutes, so I did that:
When the time was up, the dough was so soft and sticky I just oiled a loaf pan and dumped the dough in there to rise. It took about an hour to crest the pan by an inch. The directions say to bake at 450℉ for 35 minutes, which I did. I didn’t use steam. The oven spring was pretty good:
The crust is pretty chewy, as you’d expect from baking at that temperature. This might have been one of my problems with the San Francisco sourdough; I just couldn’t bring myself to crank the oven up to 450℉. The crumb is nice, and you can see how serious the crust is:
The bread is moist and tasty. I think I must be missing something about the nature of the process.