23 Apr 2012

Vermont Sourdough Bread

For two consecutive weekends, I tried the Vermont Sourdough Bread, recipe by Jeffrey Hamelman. An amateur baker like me, it was a tough task.

You see, my grasp on bread baking are limited. Especially poor at professional jargons. My oven is pretty small. It allows just one loaf about 600 g artisan shaped in a time! >"<) Not only I have no electrical dough mixer, I barely own much proper baking tools. 

Read a few posts about Vermont Sourdough bread, especially Susan’s from wildyeastblog.com which is totally inspiring. For the full recipe, kindly refer to her blog or to Hamelman's book. I don’t have much confidence if I grab all the directions correctly. This is my humble interpretation. I did a quarter recipe. m(_ _)m

Vermont Sourdough Bread
225 g white flour (used bread flour), 30 g rye flour, 150 g water (didn't warm warm it, Malaysia’s afternoon is hot), 90 g mature 100% hydration sourdough starter, 5 ~ 6 g salt (used near to 1 tsp)

In a bowl, mixed all ingredients except salt. Rested the rough dough 30 minutes for autolysis. [Checked.]

Transferred to a floured surface, added salt, and hand-kneaded to medium gluten development. It was sticky & messy to handle. I rapidly stretched the dough, flipped it up & folded back. Hand kneaded about 9 minutes or so. [Seemed ok.]

Rounded into a ball, placed onto a lightly oiled bowl, covered, and proofed for 2.5 hours. Made folds at the 50 and also at the 100 minutes. [So far, so good.]

Transferred to a floured surface. Folded in thirds and to shape it batard. Wait a minute, I still don’t know how to shape into a batard yet! I just pressed out flat & square folding both side into the centre, fold-joined inwards again pinching up together. [NG: shaping.]

I don’t have a banneton nor a couche (have been asking around in the Klang valley but no luck). Used heavily floured tea towels instead. With seams up, my not-so-batard ended up lying in a huge Tupperware! Lid on. [totally NG!]

Proofed for 2 to 2.5 hours. Previous time I did proofing for 2.5 hours. I find it a bit sour to my taste. I wished to experiment 2 hours this time. [proofing time seemed ok.]

Preheated oven for 245°C. Prepared some steam tools (I did: 1 bowl hot water, 1 bowl ice cubes, + 2 times water-spray). Meantime, placed a siliconised baking paper on top of a pre-greased pan, sprinkled on top some semolina.

Overturned the proofed loaf cafefuly onto my semolina floured pan. It was too soft to handle. Dust some flour. [ok.]

Scored with two overlapping cuts. Arghh, the first slash was not a clean cut and quite shallow. [NG: poor in scoring, need lot of work to improve...]

Slide into the pre-heated oven, turned down to 225°C. I baked for 15 minutes with steam, 5 minutes without steam. Off the oven and left the loaf for 5 minutes inside with door ajar. [Checked.]

Cool on wire rack. My bread turned out like a giant groundnut!! LOL 

Ok, let’s cut and see. Nice, huh...

I probably spent 7 hours or more in making this bread, though lots of leisure time in between. But, I needed to go to bed thereafter. Only the next morning, I finally got the Vermont sourdough bread served by warming the loaf. It had a crunchy crust. The crumb was springy. The sourness was just right to me. I love it more that the earlier first attempt. Hmm, yum. 
Will try again.

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