This post is a follow-up to the ever-popular Lazy Sourdough: First Attempt.
In the spirit of if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, I’ve decided to immediately try baking another round of the same recipe. This time around, I’m changing a few variables:
- shorter fermentation/proofing period: 10 hours instead of 12;
- being more precise with flour and water measurements; and
- making the dough a bit firmer than before.
I got the starter going in the same way as the first time: a day of periodic feeding with flour and water before I used it to make the dough in the evening.
Mixing The Dough
The new dough, a few minutes after mixing up. I used a little more flour than last time so that it can hold its shape a bit better (though it’s still quite wet). I would estimate that I used 1/4 cup more of flour than the recipe called for; this seemed to help the rise, but I later found out that the flour type may be more of a factor.
A few hours after mixing the dough.
I left the dough to ferment for 10 hours and woke up at 6:30am 😴 to bake it.
Forming The Loaf
After pre-heating the oven, I dumped a lot of flour on my workspace and used my fancy new silicone spatula to splap the dough out of the bowl and onto the table. After flouring my hands, I tucked over each of the four sides, then, since it was still sort of falling apart, I did that again. I’m not sure how doing it multiple times affects the rise. I flipped over the dough again and placed it on the plastic wrap for a little more proofing while the oven finished heating.
I’ve been informed that the additional folding/handling of the dough may have negatively affected its rising by popping some of the bubbles. Next time, I’ll make the dough even less wet and attempt to handle it less.
The dough on the floured table after folding over. It’s difficult to tell from this photo, but this dough has a lot fewer holes than the dough from yesterday, and holds together a bit better.
The dough on the plastic wrap (protip: you can re-use the plastic wrap that you used to cover the bowl for this step!)
I flipped the dough into the hot pot, covered with the lid, and baked for 30 min with the lid on and an additional 25 min with the lid off. I went a little longer than the prescribed time to allow the crust to brown a bit more.
The Final Bread
It’s definitely better than the first attempt, but still doesn’t have as much rise as I’d like. I think adding more flour helped but the dough was still too wet.
- Shorter fermentation time (10 hours vs. 12) may be helpful to prevent over-proofing.
- Making the dough with a higher flour to water ratio seems to help prevent all the air from bubbling up and escaping the loaf.
- A firmer dough will also reduce the amount of handling required, thereby reducing the number of bubbles that are popped.