Sourdough Batard

by - June 05, 2021

Sourdough Batard

Sourdough Batard

Sourdough Batard

Baked In Dutch Oven ⬆


Sourdough Batard

Sourdough Batard

Open Baking with Steam ⬆


I have been wanting to bake smaller batards as it is nice size to slice.  This is my 6th and 7th attempt.  I tried different shaping and baking methods and this is the best that I could achieve so far.  I will continue trying to improve and will share any new findings in future. 

I baked these in steam with my home oven, using the technique learned from The Perfect Loaf.  and also in Dutch Oven.  Baking in a cast iron pot will be easier and the result is more predictable.  However, it will take a longer as I will only be able to bake one loaf at a time.  

I am sharing this recipe as a reference. This recipe and method worked for me but it may not work for everyone.  

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 - Sourdough Batard

Yields:  2 small loaves

INGREDIENTS:

240g bread flour (I used Japanese high gluten flour - 12.2% protein) - 80%
60 whole wheat flour - 20%
220g water (reserve 10g for salt) - 76% final hydration 
6g salt - 2%
60g active sourdough starter (100% hydration) – 20%

Ambient temperature after adding in levain:  25C - 26C

METHOD:
  1. Feed starter - I fed my starter before go to bed at ratio of 1:10:10 (starter:water:flour) and use the next morning when its peaks (around tripled).
  2. Autolyse - Mix flour and water, stir until there is no more dry flour with a spatula and clean the side with a scrapper.  Cover and leave for 1 - 2 hours at room temperature (28C - 30C).  After 1 - 2 hours I checked the window pane stage.  The dough was very extensible when I pulled on it.
  3. Levain - Wet your hand, add 70g sourdough starter to the dough and hand mixing until incorporated, about 3 - 4 minutes.  Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Sea Salt - Dilute sea salt with the balance of 10g water.  Pour on top of the dough, use hand to mix in the sea salt water.  It takes about 5 minutes until it is fully incorporated.  Cover and rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Stretch & Fold -  Pull and fold the dough 5 - 6 times.  Round it up with the smooth top facing up.  Put dough in a new dish (square pyrex dish).  The reason to use a square dish is because it is easier to judge how much  the dough has spread.  Cover and rest for about 30 - 45 minutes or until dough spreads.  
  6. Coil Fold 1 -  At this stage, the dough is weak and extensible.  Fold the dough in the dish. Cover and rest for about 45 - 60 minutes or until dough spreads.
  7. Coil Fold 2 -  At this stage the dough still extensible but stronger compare with the dough  before the 1st coil fold.  Fold the dough in the dish.  Cover and rest for about 30 - 45 minutes or until dough spreads.
  8. Coil Fold 3 -  At this stage, the dough is quite strong and not so extensible and will be the last coil fold.  However, if the dough is still quite extensible and spread a lot, then you will need one or two more coil folds.   Fold the dough in the dish.  Cover and rest for 60 - 90 minutes or until dough rise 40 - 50% in size since you added the levain.  
  9. Preshape - I rounded up the dough about 4.5 hours after adding in the levain. Transfer dough onto floured top and divide into 2 equal portions.  Round up the dough and cover with kitchen towel.  Rest for 20 minutes.   
  10. Shaping - Please watch the "how to shape batard video".  Tranfer the dough onto a parchment paper and place into the prepared proofing couche as shown in the diagram and video.  Put in a a plastic bag.
  11. Proofing - Proof at room temperature for 10 - 15 minutes.  
  12. Retard - Then retard overnight in the fridge (4C) for 12 - 16 hours.  This bread is about 15 hours.
  13. Baking (Open Baking with Steam) -  
    1. Preheat oven with baking stone and lava rock at 250C (top and bottom heat) for 60 minutes before baking.  
    2. After 45 minutes or 15 minutes before baking, pour hot water over the rolled up kitchen towel in a rectangular pan.  Place inside oven next to lava rocks.
    3. Once the oven is ready, take dough out from the fridge.  Transfer the dough (together with parchment paper) to a pizza scrapper.  Score the dough.
    4. Try to act quick on the below steps to avoid the more heat of escaping.
      1. Open the oven door, slide dough (together with parchment paper) on baking stone.  
      2. Place a baking tray on 1st top rack (above the baking stone) as heat shield.  
      3. Pour hot water into the lava stone.  
      4. Close the oven door immediately.
    5. Bake with steam for 12 minutes.
    6. Remove the lava stone, rolled kitchen towels and baking tray (as heat shield).  Lower the temperature to 230C (fan-forced) and continue bake for another 13 - 15 minutes.
    7. Remove breads from oven.  Slice the bread while it is still hot.
  14. Baking (Dutch Oven) -  
    1. Preheat oven with the dutch oven (cast iron) at 250C (top & bottom heat) for 30 minutes before baking.
    2. Bake one loaf at a time.  Take bread dough out from the fridge and score. (Slash the dough at 45-degree angle).  Immediately transfer the dough with the parchment paper to your preheated dutch oven.
    3. Lower the temperature to 230C (top and bottom heat) and bake with cover on for 15 minutes minutes.  Remove the cover and change temperature to 220C (fan-forced), continue bake for another 10 minutes.
    4. Remove bread from oven and dutch oven. Let it cool on rack.  I usually sliced the bread while it is still warm and the crust still hard and crispy.
    5. Repeat the same with second loaf.




GENERAL NOTES:

BAKING
Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

HYDRATION
The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

SOURDOUGH STARTER

A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  

There are so many ways and methods of how to maintain the starter.  Below is my method of starter maintenance.  This is just for your reference. Please try and find a way or schedule that works best for you.

I bake almost everyday.  So, my starter is left at room temperature and I feed it twice a day  at its peak when it is tripled.  

Example
10.00 am - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 27C - 28C
9.00 pm - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 25C - 26C 

I feed a very small amount of 1g starter + 10g water + 10g flour if I am not baking, so that I will not end up with too much discard.  When I bake, I feed the starter accordingly to make up the quantity required by the recipe to be baked. If I know that I won't be baking for a few days, I will then feed it only once a day at 1:1:1, transfer to the fridge when it is doubled, and feed again 24 hours later.

If you do not bake daily or if you bake perhaps once or twice a week, then you may place your starter in the fridge and feed once a week.  But, you will need to refresh your starter around 2 days before the baking day. There is no way around this, sourdough baking takes planning! 

How I judge my starter is healthy?  My starter usually tripled in size (or at least double) in within 3 - 4 hours at room temperature (27C - 28C) for feeding ratio of (1:1:1 = starter:water:flour)

When is a starter at its peak?  My sourdough starter is usually at its peak when it is tripled in the jar. The surface of my starter looks bubbling and uneven.  The starter will not collapse when you tap the jar.  If the starter falls it means it has already past its peak.  It usually stays at its peak within 30 - 60 minutes before it starts to reduce/fall.  

Why use starter at its peak?  This is when the starter is most active and it will result in a better rise for your bread in general.  By the way, you can use when it is doubled/before its peak too.  But, not it starts to fall.


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.  The cooler ambient temperature will extend the fermentation time.  The greater degree of proof, the stronger the dough will be as explained by Trevor J. Wilson. 

The ambient temperature that worked for me is between 25C - 26C and bulk fermentation time is between 4.5 hours to 5.5 hours.  At the end of bulk fermentation, my dough would have increased 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 25C - 26C.
  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 25C - 26C.

DOUGH STRENGTH AND EXTENSIBILITY

Too strong (tension or elastic) dough will take a longer time to increase (proof) in volume.  So too strong dough may not have good oven spring and open crumb.  While too weak dough (extensibility) dough may not hold it shape and rise with good oven spring too.  

So over-working the dough (too strong dough) or under-working (weak dough) may affect the crumb structure and oven spring.  

The number of coil folds is not fixed and very much depends on the strength and extensibility of the dough.  

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 & fold?
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. 

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10 comments

  1. I made this recipe. I loved the bread. Congratulations on the article. I will follow this website to see more recipes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for trying this recipe and your kind feedback. Your feedback means alot to me.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  2. Hi bwp.i always like to admire your bread making skills especially your sourdough bread. U mentioned using 35 gm flour for the levain ratio is 1/10/10. How much starter do u use then? I presume the water is 35 gm too same as flour. Also question on discard. Do u chill them or freeze them. Do u need to bring them to room temp before using
    I like 5je crackers u baked using the discard. They look so good. Thank you for responding.chloe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Chloe,

      Thanks for your comment and always reading my recipes.

      (Total flour: 350g + 35g (from levain)) is bakers' calculation. Please ignore it. What I meant here is the total flour for this recipe is 350g + 35g = 385g

      The starter/levain used in the recipe is 70g.

      I keep my discard in the fridge. I normally use straight away from the fridge for crackers.

      Thanks for trying the cracker recipe and glad to hear that you like it.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  3. Hi Bwp. Thanks for quick response. Sorry to bother u again. So for the 70gm levain how much starter/flour/water did u use? I know after it's peaked u measure bout 70 gm. Thanks for reply. For discard u said put in fridge and not freezer. Normally how long does it last in fridge? Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are most welcome. I usually feed 1:10:10 (4g starter + 40g water + 40g flour) You will get around 84g of levain/starter. But, you only use 70g and the balance use as mother for maintaining feeding.

      I didn't notice exactly how long. Maybe one week plus. I will throw away when it turned acidic and watery.

      Cheers :)

      Delete
  4. Hi Bwp
    We are in the market for an oven and due to space constraints we are not able to purchase a traditional oven. I was very happy to see your bakes with the Panasonic Cubie oven, something I was considering but wasn’t sure if it could bake sourdoughs like the traditional oven. Please may I know if you have tried baking sourdoughs in it? Please could you share your results & thoughts if you have tried? Thank you so much

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Eric,

      Thanks for asking. Cubie oven is good other bakings eg. soft breads, cakes, cookies and others grill meats. The heat is very even. It is also very good for steaming and stewing.

      You can still bake artisan sourdough bread but the result will be different as the highest temperature is only 190C (convection). I tried before for sourdough batard but it didn't get the result I wanted.

      Cheers:)

      Delete
    2. I am a beginner for SD, i have baked 10 times with a pizza oven,
      the space of such oven are rather low, it is very hard to create steam. The brand is Rommelsbacher (40L).

      Delete
    3. Hi, thanks for your comment. I think pizza oven may not suitable for this bread.

      Cheers :)

      Delete

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