Mystery bread...


Seeing as my last two breads turned out great (were eaten before I had the chance to take pictures) I decided to give Dan Lepard's white leaven bread a shot yesterday. I lowered the hydration to 64% since I've been having problems with danish flour and higher hydration.
I also tried a new routine of preparing the starter: instead of refreshing my entire batch of starter I took just one teaspoon from the fridge, mixed it with 35g water and 35g flour, 12 hours later I added 70g of water and 70g of flour. Gave a fine and active batch of starter and I didn't have to discard a lot like with my usual routine. (I do think I'll make just a bit more next time so I don't have to scrape the bowl to the last drop...)

This is the resulting bread:

As you can see it almost exploded in the oven... I guess I underproved it because I wanted it baked and ready for my daughters lunchbox today.
After the initial short kneadings it bulk fermented for 2 hours (with a couple of folds in between). At that point I saw many bubbles when I slashed the dough, so I shaped it, left it out at room temperature (30C, very hot these days!) for about an hour and put it in the fridge. I took it out of the fridge just 6 hours later and let it stand 45 min before baking at 225C. (The reason I stuck it in the fridge was because we were out of the house and I couldn't look after the dough.)

But the thing that really puzzles me about this bread is that when I'd added 4/5 of the flour the dough was already pretty firm. So I held back 100g of flour - which according to my spreadsheet would mean it the dough was at 78(!)%. It felt more like 64% to work with - but even assuming a lot of water had evaporated drom my starter due to change in refreshing method and very hot weather this is just not physically possible that the hydration should be that low. I know how much flour I put in the starter and I did have 200g left that I added to the dough, so that much water couldn't have evaporated.
I have no idea what went wrong. I thought I weighted the ingredients very carefully when making the dough, but I must have had a moment of temporary insanity when weighing either the water or flour for the dough. Mysterious!

I just had a slice of the bread this morning and I must say it does taste a bit rushed. Good taste in the crust, but the crumb is... well, there's not much going on to be honest. And it doesn't smell as good as my previous loafs (the crazy sniffing woman strikes again!). Then again I usually add wholewheat flour...
This bread really puzzles me!

PS: My first succesfull slash by the way!

296 users have voted.


Normbake 2006 July 4

Well done Nina the slash looks really good and the bread texture looks good>
I put my stickyslack doughs in the fridge and it seems to tighten it up making it much easier to handle.
Try again and see what happens.

SourDom 2006 July 4


great looking loaf! well done. Dan would be proud

one thought.
in warm weather starters can mature very quickly. A starter that is thick as mud and hard to stir when you make can turn to a thin batter consistency by 24 hours. The yeast goes to town, and the acid environment breaks down gluten in the flour. So you end up with something that officially only contains 100mls water (say), but is much more liquid that you would expect


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