I eventually stepped my toes into the Sourdough game. Still thrilled.
No recipe has ever taught me so much about baking and patience like the making of Sourdough bread. For a first timer, it takes weeks to bring a sourdough bread to life from scratch. I jotted down a lot of memos, but I'll make it snappy here.
🔰Starter and levain: Impossible to fail, even when one tries.
⏳The headache is to plan the timings. This is important. Unlike instant yeast, with wild yeast, the dough should be allowed sufficient time to rise. Luckily, the high humidity and temperature in HCMC help reduce proofing time by 30-40%. That means instead of a 5-hour bulk fermentation, the dough can be ready within 3 hours. However, I still let it sit for another hour because I've become enjoying long proofing process, in a way that I have time to run other chores. Gosh, housekeeping is an endless rat race🙄.
💧Hydration: 100% is way too far from realism for me. Currently, I'm willing to wave my white flag to soggy 100% doughs😭. The photo is my first 75% trial which was a rather beautiful turn-out that I had bragged about...until the second 100% hydrated attempt. Loaf #2
gave me such a hard time struggling to control a sludgy mixture. Lesson learned: don't mess with success! I'd better settle for 65%, maybe 75%.
🌾Flour mixture: I love to add rye flour to bread flour. It gives the loaf a touch of rustic ancient look by its greyish color. Notwithstanding that more rye means more troubles, I just couldn't help.
💪🏼Kneading by hands: The rewarding part. You might want to give up after 5-10 minutes as the dough seems to refuse pulling itself together. But from the 15th minute, the gluten net's formed, the dough becomes smoother and only a little sticky. After 25 minutes, the dough is nothing but a miraculously tamed supple clump. That's when you know it's a success and your tenacity's paid off.
❄️ Retardation: It should be at least 12 hours but no more than 18 hours. In the fridge overnight is the optimal solution for bakers who have jobs.
(to be continued)
🥁Ladles and jellyspoons, I present to you, my first (not) artisan Sourdough Bread. 65% hydrated, 8% rye, 4h bulk fermented and 16h retarded.