Sourdough new method

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Not a bad loaf! Second attempt at using Paul Hollywood’s method of making the dough, leaving it for five hours, then shaping and leaving to prove for a further 12-13 hours. This time though, I just used his timings and sourdough starter quantity and stuck to my own flour/ water/ salt ratio after last week’s mishap with adding too much water without thinking. Much better result despite the loaf leaning to one side a bit – I should have kept the proving basket level but never mind. I used 400g flour – mix of strong white, strong wholemeal and rye, 250ml water, teaspoon of salt and approximately 250g sourdough starter, possibly a little more. A good rise on the second prove and this time, the dough had a much better structure so didn’t deflate much when slashed. The slower prove allows for a ‘skin’ to develop too – it cracked a little when I slashed it, guess I should think about getting one of those ‘slashy’ baking implements. I also think the colder weather helps with a slower second prove. Not sure this method would work as well in high summer, the dough would just balloon. Here is the loaf, halved

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Looks good and smells good, haven’t tried it yet. It was baked on a hot stone in a 190C fan oven for 40 minutes as per recipe but I think I prefer blasting it at 250C first for ten minutes, then lowering the temperature to 180C. Will try that next week and also try steaming the oven to see if that improves the crust – I think the crust could be better.

While there are ways I could improve on this method, what I really like about it is that the bread was done at around 8am and not in the middle of the afternoon as with other methods I’ve been using. I’ve still got Justin Gellately’s method from St. John book to try (at least I hope it’s his method in the book!) and Dan Lepard’s from The Handmade Loaf, which I finally got the other week. I’m also thinking about doing a second starter with white flour to see if that can be used for more ‘delicate’ baking although not really sure where to keep it and whether I really want to have two starters to feed and mind.

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