A tale of two loaves

I’ve recently perfected my own little sourdough recipe. It’s nothing mind blowing, but it’s something I came up with all by myself. So I’m pleased. I’ll post about this another time since I can’t remember proportions and I’ve got it all written down at home in my little book.

The recipe – the one, let me make it clear, I made up myself – makes two loaves. I recently made a batch and put both loaves in the fridge to prove overnight. Except it was really late when I put it in and I got up early, so in fact the loaf that I cooked the next morning had only had about seven hours’ proving at 4 degrees. Really I should have proved it at room temperature for such a short period of time.

Anyway come the morning I put it in the oven and when I took it out a whole little baby loaf had burst out of the side. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take a picture of it. Despite slashing the loaf it still burst out of the side at the bottom.

This used to happen to me a lot, but nothing as dramatic as this. I’d researched why it could happen and it seemed one of those things (an ‘OOTT’ to give it its official name) that can happen for a myriad of reasons but the two that kept coming up were underproving and bad shaping.

Now I’m rubbish at shaping a loaf. Or rather I’m not bad but often by the time it gets to the ’10 min rest’ before you shape it it’s late, so I have just shaped it crudely and cast it into a proving basket. And, despite what the professionals say, honestly I’ve not noticed a difference. I thought the bursting could also be due to a too sharp change in temperature too quickly (i.e. putting bread straight from fridge to oven). But that doesn’t seem to be consistent either. I definitely think underproving is a main cause, and I rarely underprove.

So the loaf, once I’d amputated the rogue bit off, was okay. But not great. For one the bit that I’d cut off was doughy – like you could scrunch up a bit and it would go to dough. This never happens to me with sourdough and it wasn’t cos it was undercooked (it wasn’t). The crumb was dense and not very exciting at all. I cooked the other loaf about two days later. It was completely different. Much larger air holes, waxy crumb, delicious. Same dough, different loaves.

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