I made this bread twice, because the first time I under-proofed the dough before it went into the oven so it blew way out and had a weird shape and no big holes in the crumb, and cut into it after it had only cooled for about an hour so the flavor wasn’t great, and I made the mistake of explaining this to my dad so when we both tasted it and I wasn’t impressed, my frickin’ DAD accused me of not giving the recipe a fair shake.
So I was guilt-tripped into making it a second time instead of moving on to testing the recipes from my next two books up for review, Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible and Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
Which was fine, since I did it on my telework day so I was able to follow the instructions exactly as written and give it the time it required while I did my work in the living room.
This recipe can be found in William Alexander’s excellent book, 52 Loaves. My review of the book is here.
The first time around, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stick to the 4-5 hour rise he calls for because I have to work. So instead of waking up and bringing my starter up to room temperature the night before, I stirred cold starter into the dough and gave it a 10 hour rise. I think that part was actually ok. It was what happened after that. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
For one round loaf, you will need:
260g 100% hydration sourdough starter
300g all-purpose flour
60g whole wheat flour
30g rye flour
- Mix together your ingredients in a large bowl. Let rest for 20 minutes, then mix again into a ball.
- Let rise 4-5 hours. Gently punch down, re-shape into a ball and place into a floured banetton seam-side down.
- Let rise for 1.5-2 hours (this is where I messed up, since I only let it rise for one hour before baking the first time. I think it really does need a lightly longer second proofing time).
- Preheat the oven to 550 degrees F with a pizza stone on a low rack and a cast iron skillet resting on the bottom of the oven. Flip the dough onto the pizza stone and score with a sharp knife or razor blade.
- Ugh, that shirt does me and my butt no favors. Yeesh. Ok. At this point, wearing an oven mitt, pour a bowl of water into the skillet. Quickly close the oven door to trap the steam.
- Drop the temperature down to 480 degrees F and bake for 25 minutes. Drop the temperature down to 375 degrees F and bake an additional 20 minutes. Turn the oven off, prop the door slightly open, and keep the dough in the oven for a final 15 minutes.I was pretty disappointed when I looked in and saw that my dough looked like this. But there was nothing I could do but let it finish baking and see what it looked like on the inside.Not great, Bob. As I mentioned before, I tasted some and wasn’t impressed. But as the dough cooled a bit more, it did become more complex and tasty. It wasn’t bad, all things considered. Maybe it was true that I needed to give this recipe another shot. So I did.I started with an active sourdough starter this time, and let it rise 5 hours. I placed the dough in a banetton, and let it rise 2 full hours. I think that longer second rise really helped.This is the dough once I flipped it onto the pizza stone.After baking, I shut the oven off and propped it open with a wooden spoon.I was much happier the second time around. The dough didn’t explode on contact with the hot pizza stone. Also, this time I used a combination of water and ice and I think it worked well. My one disappointment the second time around is that I didn’t score the dough deep enough. I was worried that with the longer second rise, the dough would deflate upon scoring.The crumb was an improvement too.Not great, considering the long second rise and wet dough. I would’ve expected much bigger holes. But I’m pretty satisfied. I went from this:to this:and this:to this:I’ll take it! And with that, I bid adieu to William Alexander. Next stop: Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible.