Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Tale of Many Loaves

At first, I wasn’t planning on participating for this bake, since I didn’t have any sourdough starter at hand.  (Being the infamous starter killer that I am, my previous starter met its demise last August from the dreaded pink slime.)  However, I concluded that I had the time to start again, and I wanted to prove my critics wrong, so a new starter was born.  It was a success, and is still viable even as I write this.

Once the starter was ready, I studied the recipe for Pain Tordu, did a bit of research, then plunged in.  My first thought was that a 10 hour proving time must have been a mistake!  Surely, it would be overproofed!  None of the recipes I found suggested a 10-hour time frame. 

So, Pain Tordu #1 had about a 2-hour proof.  It baked up nicely, although the crumb/texture was tiny.

Since I still had plenty of time before the reveal day, I decided to experiment. 
By the way, this dough is just lovely to handle, and is worth using no matter how it is shaped.

Pain Tordu #2 and Pain Tordu #3 were next.  

For #2, I did an overnight rise in the refrigerator; for #3, the overnight rise was in my new proofing room.  

(I discovered that my main/guest bathroom gets nice and toasty when the door is closed.  My starter lives in there, and it has become my go-to spot for rising bread.  The room is rarely used, so it’s a safe place.)

To continue, #2 kept its shape, and had an improved texture. 

 #3, however, had spread a lot (confinement is suggested), but did have a more open, porous crumb.  Perhaps that was purpose of a 10-hour proof.

As a last experiment, I purchased a baguette pan, and Pain Tordu #4 was created.  Instead of the twist, I put the 4 baguette-like loaves in the new pan, then placed it in the proving room for 10 hours.  The loaves still spread, and they were definitely overproofed because they collapsed when I moved them.  I ended up with four flattish loaves that had great texture, but were still disappointing.

There must be some compromise rising time between 2 and 10 hours.  It’s a great dough with good flavor, but 10 hours just results in a disappointing loaf.

For the dough alone, I would certainly suggest giving this month’s bread a try.  The Kitchen of the Month is Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms.  If you decide to join us, please send Elle your photos and link by the end of the month.



hobby baker Kelly said...

Wow! You went above and beyond! And though you say #4 was overproofed, the crumb is amazing. Great job with a brand new starter!

Cathy (Bread Experience) said...

I love your tale of many loaves! You definitely went above and beyond. I think all the loaves look good. And you have your very own proving room! How cool is that!

Elle said...

Love that you tried different rising times and pans. I think if I were to do this again that I would proof it overnight in the fridge and count that as the 10 hours. Love that your refrigerated on kept the twist so nicely. You get a gold star for effort!

Karen said...

You are definitely a trooper! All of your loaves look nice and twisty!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

That is the tale of many loaves!
I've been reading a bread book where he suggest baking the same loaf 20 times to truly learn the dough. You're on your way.
Each one of your four loaves has it's own beauty.

Elizabeth said...

I'm SO glad you relented and got a new starter going. Your experiments are fabulous - the proofing temperature aspects are especially interesting.

10 hours proofing?! That's crazy - particularly if there is added commercial yeast. How handy that I managed to miss retaining that instruction in the recipe.

Katie Zeller said...

Oh - a toasty spare bedroom.... I might just sit in there with a good book and watch the bread proof lol.
3 times = wow!