My Story

I’ve been baking naturally leavened bread for a little over two years now. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve got a lot to learn. I’ve come up with a new way for me to really learn. I don’t know how it’s going to work out, but I’m going to share my thoughts and experiments here as a How I’m Going to Learn series of posts.

I’m trying to learn about strength and structure, so what better way than to start with an already strong dough: a 100% all-white flour, 60% water, 2% salt, 20% liquid leaven. I used a mature leaven here because it was convenient for my schedule. I went Tartine-style with a fermentolyse meaning I mixed my flour, water, and leaven together. I let this sit for 40 minutes.

I held back 5% of the water and added it with my salt. I used water about 90F. I mixed this until it all felt incorporated and smooth, but didn’t try too hard to develop the gluten. I let this sit on the counter for 30 minutes.

I then took an aliquot of the dough and put it in a small jar. I put my dough in a rectangular glass baking dish because I decided I wanted to try coil folds. I put the jar and baking dish in my Brod & Taylor proofer. I did a series of folds every 30 minutes until the dough reached 30-50% rise on my jar. — not quite 3 hours.

I did another coil fold to help the dough release from the container. I did a tight pre-shape. Covered it with a damp towel, and let it bench for 45 minutes hoping it might be somewhat extensible. It wasn’t, but it felt puffy and light.

I did a gentle tuck and roll shape and tried to develop good tension on the outside of my loaf. I then stuck it in the fridge for 12 hours at about 39F. I preheated my oven to 550F for a couple of hours. I baked it in the first prototype of my new bread pan for 20 minutes with an ice cube. I took the cover off and baked it for 20 minutes more (with convection turned on). I also turn my oven down to 425F the minute I load my dough.

I’m really happy with the nice shape of my loaf. I could have scored it better it looks like, but overall stoked about everything. I figure if I can can get a tall, well-shaped loaf, then I’m happy. I’m hoping the crumb will be nice, but I’m not worrying about the crumb at all until I learn more about strength and structure.