Basic Open Crumb Sourdough Bread (Medium Hydration)

by - August 31, 2020

Basic Open Crumb Sourdough Bread

Basic Open Crumb Sourdough Bread

Basic Open Crumb Sourdough Bread


I have been baking Basic Open Crumb Sourdough Bread using the methods learned from Full Proof Baking with a high hydration of around 80% and I am very happy with the results achieved using her method and recipes.  

However, I wanted to explore a slightly different approach with lower hydration recipes. I think a lower hydration dough is easier to handle for a beginner.   My hubby prefers the texture of this bread.  The texture is not as sticky compared with the higher hydration bread that I used to bake.  

Please read the below notes before baking for beginner.

SOURDOUGH STARTER

A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.  It is advisable to feed your starter daily if you want nice big crumb bread that rises nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.

If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise much even though the starter is used at its peak.

My daily feeding schedule:
9.00 am - Ratio 1:5:5 @ room temperature of 26 - 28C
9.00 pm - Ratio 1:5:5 @ room temperature of 26 - 28C

I learnt making sourdough starter from "How To Make Starter From Scratch" by Full Proof Baking.  Thank you to Full Proof Baking for the detailed video which proved invaluable.

BULK FERMENTATION

Bulk fermentation starts when you add in levain to the dough and ends when the dough is ready for shaping.  

TEMPERATURE DURING BULK FERMENTATION

Ambient temperature plays a very important part in sourdough baking.  It will affect the dough temperature and eventually affect your fermentation time. Warm ambient temperature will shorten the fermentation time while cooler ambient will extend fermentation time.  For this bread, we prefer a longer fermentation as this allows you to have more time to develop the gluten structure . Therefore, short fermentation in  warm ambient doesn’t allow you to work the dough as well.  Credit to Janet The Soprano

The ambient temperature that worked for me is between 24C - 25C and bulk fermentation time is between 4.5 hours to 5.5 hours.  At the end of bulk fermentation, my dough would have increased 40% - 50% in volume. 

But, my kitchen ambient temperature (without air-conditioner) was 29C - 30C.  So, I have to bring down the temperature. 

How to bring down ambient temperature?
  1. Air-conditioner room - Rest the dough in air-conditioner room during bulk fermentation.  I used this option sometimes.  I turned on my air-conditioner when I added in levain and try to maintain temperature between 24C - 25C.
  2. Home oven (that's turned off) -  Place ice cooler packs inside along with an ambient temperature thermometer.  Then place your dough during bulk fermentation in the oven. Keep an eye on that thermometer and try to keep between 24 - 25 C.
  3. Cooler bag - Place ice cooler packs inside a cooler bag.  Then rest the dough inside the cooler bag during bulk fermentation.  Try to maintain temperature 24C - 25C.
DOUGH STRENGTH AND EXTENSIBILITY

The number of coil folds is not fixed and very much depends on the strength and extensibility of the dough.   Over-working the dough may affect the crumb structure and oven spring.  

As demonstrated in an experiment by Kristen (Full Proof Baking) the over-worked dough rose super tall but was smaller in overall size and had a more dense crumb while the control dough rose tall during the oven spring and had a better overall result.

How do we know when it is enough and no more coil folds are needed? 
We usually do 3 coil folds for this method.  However, if by the second coil fold the dough is strong with less extensibility as you lift up a part of the dough then it should be the last coil fold, or just do a half coil folds instead of full. The resistance of the dough to being folded should be an indication to refrain from folding further.

How do we know when to do the next coil fold or stretch & pull?
When the dough spreads. Please do not rely on the time given in the recipe as it is just a guideline.  Please watch your dough and not the clock.  


SALT

You may wonder why most of the recipes asked to add salt after autolyze and adding levain.  Salt will tighten the gluten and make it harder to stretch. 

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.


Recipe - Basic Open Crumb Sourdough Bread 


Total flour:  300g + 30g (from levain) = 330g

INGREDIENTS:

240g bread flour (I used Japanese high gluten flour) - 80%
36g whole wheat flour - 12%
24g rye flour – 8%
215g water – 74% final hydration
6g sea salt - 2.1%

Levain:
60g active sourdough starter (100% hydration) – 20%

Banneton (proofing basket)'s size - 6.5" oval shape

METHOD:
  1. Feed starter - Feed ratio of 1:1:1, keep at room temperature (28C – 30C) and wait until tripled, around 2 – 3 hours.  Please feed your starter at the ratio that fit your schedule as long as the starter is at its peak when use.
  2. Autolyse – While waiting for starter, mix flour, water and salt, stir until there is no more dry flour with hand then a spatula.  Or use a stand mixer with paddle attachment for 2-3 minutes at low speed.  Cover and leave for 1 to 3 hours.
  3. Levain – After 2 - 3 hours, the gluten has developed and the levain triples. Wet your hand, add in 60g levain to the dough and hand mixing until incorporated, about 3 - 4 minutes. Or use a stand mixer with hook attachment and knead for 6 to 8 minutes. I used hand mixing for this loaf.  Transfer the dough to a dish. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Stretch and Fold (S&F)  - Stretch and fold will help to develop more gluten.  
    1. S&F 1 – Please see the diagram.  Cover and rest for about 30 +- minutes or until dough spread.  Please watch and feel the dough and not the clock.
    2. S&F 2 – Cover and rest for about 30 +- minutes or until dough spread.
    3. S&F 3 – Cover and rest for about 30 +- minutes or until dough spread. 
  5. Coil Fold - You may need more than 2 coil folds if the dough is weak and spread alot.
    1. Coil Fold 1 – Please watch the video. Cover and rest for about 30 +- minutes or until dough spread.
    2. Coil Fold 2 - Repeat the same.  Cover and rest for 60 - 90 minutes or until dough rise 40 - 50% in size.
  6. Shape - Flour the counter top.  Shape and transfer to a heavily flour banneton basket.
  7. Proof - Proof at room temperature for 15 - 20 minutes.  Then retard overnight in the fridge for 12 - 16 hours.
  8. Preheat oven, with the dutch oven at 250C (fan-forced) for 30 minutes before baking.
  9. Take bread dough out from the fridge, invert onto a parchment paper and scoring.  Immediately transfer the dough with the parchment paper to your preheated dutch oven.
  10. Lower the temperature to 230C (fan-forced) and bake with cover on for 20 minutes.  Remove the cover and lower the temperature to 220C (fan-forced), continue bake for another 10 - 15 minutes.
  11. Remove bread from oven and dutch oven. Let it cool on rack completely before slicing.
Autolyse

Add In Levain

Stretch and Fold

Coil Fold 

Shape, Proof and Bake

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36 comments

  1. Hello Paws. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I'd love to try it. Sadly, my oven only goes up to 200C. How much baking time should I add?

    Thanks!

    - Vincent

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vincent,

      I have not tried baked at 200C for this bread. I guess you need to bake for another 10 more minutes or until the crust is nicely brown.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
    2. Hello again Paws!

      So I tried this recipe today but sadly my sourdough came out a bit flat with little oven spring. Do you think I Over-proved it? My room temp was 28-30C so I subtracted 20 minutes and also added one more coil fold. during bulk ferment. When It came out of the fridge after 13 hours, it also spread a bit, not like your picture (#13) that kept it shape even after scoring.

      Any help would be great.

      Thanks,

      Vincent

      Delete
    3. Hi, thanks for trying this recipe. I think not because of over proof. If your dough spread then it shown that your dough do not have enough strength. Did you use starter at peaks?

      Delete
    4. Hello Paws!

      Yes, I did. My starter triples and peaks after 3 hours.

      Should I add more coil folds?

      Delete
    5. Yes, you can. You can watch the below Youtube too. But, the below youtube is higher hydration is about 80%

      I learnt my sourdough baking from here:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlJEjW-QSnQ

      Cheers :)

      Delete
    6. Thanks, Paws! I wonder, is there any reason why you skipped the lamination?

      Delete
    7. Hi, thanks for asking. Because this is lower hydration and also lamination works better if you need to add seeds, nuts or dried fruits.
      Cheers :)

      Delete
    8. Thank you! This has been incredibly helpful. I'll remember what you said if ever I decide to add seeds and nuts in the future!

      I've read probably hundreds of recipes and videos and yours was the most helpful since we've similar room temps.

      All the best - Vincent

      Delete
    9. You are most welcome, Vincent. Glad that it helps.
      Cheers :)

      Delete
    10. Hi Paws. It's me again. My batards have slowly improved thanks to you. However, I'm still finding it hard to gauge the bulk ferment time. Similar to your kitchen, my room temp is 28-30C. How many hours does it usually take from adding the levain until I put the dough in the fridge? I've noticed I've gone from 4 up to 5 hours. Sadly, most of the time the dough is very slack sticky and hard to shape. It quickly spreads during final shaping. I've been doing a total of 2 stretch and folds and 6 coil folds with a resting time of atleast 20 mins. My crumb's has gotten better but never open/Lacy as yours.

      I may have misunderstood what you said about hot kitchens. Did you mean make all resting times only 20 mins or subtract 20 mins from total bulk time?

      Lastly, how do you feel about a longer bulk time in the proofing basket?

      Delete
    11. Hi, I usually take this long too. But, I rest my dough in air-cond room for the above mentioned method. If you rest your dough in warm kitchen that should cut down the time. Flour is also important. Some flour don't absorb water and make your dough very wet. Try not to add all water, reserve 10 to 20g aside first and slowly add in later if you think your dough is dry.

      After placing your dough in proofing basket, please proof at room temperature for 10 - 15 minutes. then retard in the fridge. Sometime I straight away put in the fridge after shaping if I find my dough rise a lot.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  2. Helo ms. Paws. Can I double recipe to make two? So 120g levain?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for asking. Yes, of course you can. Just double all the ingredients.
      Cheers :)

      Delete
    2. Thnx! How i know if I need to make more coil fold? Also How big is your banneton? Sorry, many question. - Sonya

      Delete
    3. No worry. You need more coil fold if your dough loses strength and spreads.
      The banneton size is 6.5" oval shape.
      Cheers :)

      Delete
  3. Hello, may I please know which steps in the image are for coil & fold? Is it images 1-9?

    Also, for room temp, is it 25-27 degrees for all the steps besides Step 1? I live in Hong Kong so our climate is very similar :)

    Thanks so much in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe. Please watch the video for coil fold. There is no image for coil fold.
      Room temperature 25-27C - Start from step 3, resting after adding in levain onwards. Bulk fermentation start after adding in the levain.
      For autolyse, any temperature is fine.
      Cheers :)

      Delete
    2. Thank you! Where can I see the coil fold video? Do I just watch a random one on youtbe? Thank you.

      Delete
    3. Hi Jessica,

      I have shared the video on the above post. It is after Stretch and Fold pictures on the above.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
    4. hmm strange I can't seem to see it! maybe an issue with my google chrome :)

      Delete
    5. Maybe try to search coil fold video in Youtube if you still can't find.
      Cheers :)

      Delete
  4. Thank you for sharing, but my dough is very sticky. Is it too wet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for trying. The dough is very sticky at the beginning. It will be stretchy and not so sticky over the time once the gluten is developed. I used high gluten flour which can absorb more water. You can reserve about 20g of water to add in later.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  5. Thank you for sharing, but my dough is very sticky. Is it too wet?

    ReplyDelete
  6. My dough is very sticky, is it too much water?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi many thanks for the recipe. My bread turned out nicely but it was moist inside hence difficult to cut - even made the knife sticky (the bread was left completely cool when I cut it). Could please advise? Many thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Thanks for trying and your feedback. I have the same issue too. I put in the freezer for about 15 - 30 minutes before baking and it helps with the scoring. This is my own method and I do not know whether it is the right way.
      Cheers :)

      Delete
  8. Is it okay that my starter is taking much longer to triple in size?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading and your question. May I know how long did it take? I tried myself with weak starter and my bread did not get nice crumb and oven spring. But, still edible.

      It is good to experiment yourself.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  9. Hi I enjoy following your recipe a lot. Is that ok to autolyze for only 1 hour, and add salt right after adding levain?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading my recipes. It's fine to autolyze for only 1 hour. Yes, it is better add salt after levain. Add in after 30 minutes.

      By right, the proper teaching in Sourdough School (from the book I read) the salt is added after autolyze and adding levain. Salt will tighten the gluten and make it harder to stretch.

      Cheers :)

      Delete

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