This week-end I tried baking sourdough bread again. This time the results were much better (see my first try) but still not perfect. Instead of having a flat bread I had a slight exploding bread problem. By that I mean that my bread expanded a bit too much in the oven, so much actually that the crust popped open in one place. I found out that probably my first bread was way over-proofed and for that reason so flat. I also changed the method this time and used the one explained by jackal10 in the eGullet culinary institute.
This method requires a "runny" starter: therefore I took my starter and diluted it with equal quantities of water and flour (resulting in a thick batter), refreshing it at the same time. It started to bubble quite quickly, maybe a bit quicker than I thought. After one night I made a second refreshment of the starter waited about 6 hours and mixed the dough together. In the mixer went 3 cups of bread flour, 1 cup of starter and 1 cup of water and kneaded it a few minutes. The dough was really wet, a bit more flour went in there, and super stretchy. Ever played with that green stuff, slime? Almost like it. Not exactly appetising but at the same time a good sign of gluten development. After 30 minutes rest, which serves a specific purpose which I did not get too well (something to do with amylases) I added 2 tsp salt and kneaded again. The dough was left to rise for about 3 hours. It hardly increased in size but I could already see small bubbles in the dough, the product of my wild yeast working. Yay! At this point I shaped the dough: I poured the sticky gooey mess (The Blob!) on a floured board, patted it very gently round (I will not have any of that squeezing air out of the dough here!) and simply folded the left and right sides towards the middle. To give it a round form I turned it around and stretched the dough while turning it. And then up it went in a floured banneton and into the fridge for the night.
I woke up the next day and started baking, just could not wait. I flipped the dough onto some baking paper and slashed it. Then straight in the pre-heated oven (around 230C). In the first 5 minutes the dough expanded very little than I left the kitchen for five minutes and BAM! (am I turning into Emeril?) the bread had expanded so much one corner had exploded letting dough out. I believe I probably did not slash the dough deep enough, not giving the dough enough room to expand. Or maybe my starter is too active? If you have any other idea pleas tell me, your help is welcomed and wanted! The bread was done after 40 minutes. Apart form the explosion I was not really happy with the crust, a bit too thin this time. Still the crumb had a great irregular open structure and, most important of all, tasted really good. A bit mellower than the first bread but with still a nice sour note.
Now I have found a method. Next goal: perfect it.