Rustic Italian Sourdough Bread

I used the same recipe as the RIB previously, but cut in half. Also I substituted ~10 oz. of my sourdough bread starter for the ~10 oz. of sponge I would have had if I stuck to the half-recipe exactly. I didn't know how it would turn out, but I can tell you that I liked the flavor of this loaf better than the RIB. Unfortunately, the flavor is mild, but in my (newbie, inexperienced tastebuds) mind it is a sour and Italian mix.
The Crust (top):
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Crust (bottom):
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Crumb:
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BTW, this crust is much better than the RIB crust - crisp texture which is also chewy. I did spray the dough with (filtered) water before I put it in the 500 deg F oven on parchment paper on a baking stone. When I went to measure the internal temperature, my Thermapen couldn't poke a hole in the crust. I thought that meant the crust was going to be 100% crispy. Not yet... :)
Since I wanted to make a loaf I can finish myself, I had to cut the original RIB recipe in half. Using Mike Avery's reply about times and temps, I decided to keep the baking temps the same, and watched the times like a hawk. It may take me several attempts before I learn which single temperature, with this oven (dial doesn't match the temperature), will do the trick. Lots of learning ahead. :)
Note how the crumb isn't so large. I gave it a good knead since the other one was so "poofy". Then again maybe my starter doesn't get a good oven spring, but does well while rising between turns. The dough doesn't feel firm - it reminds me of a water ballon that isn't completely full. My starter hydration is 50%; the dough hydraton is 33%. Seems to me that at such a low hydration the dough would be firmer.
The recipe called for one score down the length of the loaf. I tried a more "baguette" style score hoping to see the crust rise above the dough. It didn't. It spread out like a fat man unzipping his pants. I think that is due to the dough being "poofy" (water balloon-ish).
Regardless, I think this is my best loaf so far for its flavor. Appearence wise it's nice, but it could be better looking. So after having done this I realized that this is where I want my breads to go. I now plan on developing this bread rather than working on the straight RIB. Of course there is pumpernickel, rye, baguettes, bagels, et. al. to do as well, but this one will be my "signature" bread. I'll probably use it for my logo once the server gets back up. :)
Thanks to all for all the good help!
Reply to
joe
Joe, This is a nice looking loaf. I question your stated hydration though. I would guess that the starter was 100% hydration, that is 1 part flour and 1 part water by weight, and by that logic, your dough was probably 66% hydration. Am I right? Sharon
Reply to
doughnut
Thank you, yes! I forgot that the percent of the water is not part of the total, but rather compared to the total amount of flour. So indeed my starter is 100% hydration by weight. Is this what makes the dough feel "poofy"?
Reply to
joe
Not sure what you mean by poofy, but I always keep my starter (and usually sponges) at 100% hydration. It's thin enough to expand fairly quickly, thick enough to observe raising and it makes the bread math a piece of cake. Sharon
Reply to
doughnut

...
The dough feels like a ballon half-filled with water - real floppy.
After a while I thought about this and realized that my only other experience with dough is making my Mom's recipe for gnochi. It's just flour and water, but is much denser than this dough. That might be why I call it "poofy" - like a very fluffy pillow when compared to the gnochi dough. Not being any slight resemblance to a baker I don't know the proper terminology to describe this dough. That' the only thing that describes how it feels to me.
Reply to
joe

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