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Lucky Number Eight #AdventuresofDoughbaFett


So, after seven - yes, count them, seven! - sourdough bricks, I made two critical changes. I had been trying to change only one variable at a time to isolate any issues. However, over half a dozen failed breads called for drastic measures. So, my two changes resulted in Loaf Lucky No. 8!

First, I migrated to weight measurements versus volume measurements. Second, I started following the Tartine Bakery process of folding instead of kneading. Success! Many thanks to my friend Pia for lending me a copy of her Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson. You can see the recipe here (on Tartine's website) and below is my very slightly adapted version. But, four loaves of consistently risen and beautiful breads, has me very, very happy.

Ingredients
Note that their original recipe makes two loaves; mine is for one boule only
  • 100 g starter (recently fed)
  • 350 g warm water + 25 g more
  • 450 g all-purpose flour
  • 50 g whole wheat flour
  • 10 g salt
  • rice flour for dusting
  • Also needed: digital kitchen scale, banneton proofing basket or mixing bowl lined with a tea towel, Dutch oven

Procedure

In a large mixing bowl, combine 100 g starter with 350 grams of warm water. 

Add in 450 g all-purpose flour, 50 g whole wheat flour, and 10 g salt. Use your hands to mix everything together until everything is completely moistened. It will be a very shaggy dough. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, pour in another 25 g warm water. Use your hands to incorporate that into the dough which will already look more smooth. Dip your hands in warm water, then place one hand under one side of the ball and stretch the dough up and over the top. 

Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat that stretch. Do it a second and third time so that the bowl is facing the same way it was when you started and you have done four fold-overs total. Cover the bowl with a towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Repeat this process of four rotating folds plus a half hour rest for four hours. After four hours, the dough will be smooth and billowy.

Lightly dust your work surface with rice flour and turn the dough from the bowl. Dust the top of the ball and do the four rotating folds of the dough to form a ball. Gently fold the edges of the dough under itself to make the ball more tight, with a seam underneath. Then let it rest for 30 minutes.

Line your banneton or a mixing bowl with a tea towel and dust that towel lightly with rice flour. 

Transfer the round, seam-side up, into the prepared basket. Cover with another towel and let the dough rise on the counter. Here's where I have started to play with variations, but this one - lucky number eight - rose for six hours at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. 

While the oven preheats, dust the bottom of your Dutch oven with rice flour. Invert your loaf carefully into the Dutch oven.


You can slice vents into the top of your loaf. Some people have intricate designs. Mine are more function, less form. Ha.

Reduce temperature to 450 degrees F and place your Dutch oven, covered, into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove lid and return to the oven for another 20 minutes. Then prop the door open, turn off the heat, and let the pot stay in the other for another 20 minutes. The crust should be a rich, nice brown color. If you don't want the crust as thick and dark, you can remove it after the first 40 minutes...no need to leave it in the oven.


Let the loaf cool for at least an hour before slicing. Since I've been baking in the mornings before I leave for work, I leave them notes as to what time they can dig in. The first time, I crossed my fingers that they followed directions. They did!


And this is the photo Jake sent me along with a note: "We have a winner!" Thanks, Love! And phew...I was feeling a little bit deflated in my sourdough journey. Now I just need to replicate this about ten more times before I decide to offer any bread to friends and family. Stay tuned.

You can follow the complete Adventures of Dough-ba Fett here.

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