Little by little

I’ve changed my rye flour source, in the hope of resolving the problems I was having with my sourdough loaves, which would come out of the oven with a big hollow between the thick crust and the sunken, compressed layer of dough. The new source is organic Wight Rye (from the Isle of Wight). I think it’s still stone-ground, but if so it looks more finely milled than the last batch.

The new flour seems to absorb much less water. I used the same quantities and found that the final dough was extremely slack – it was quite a job to scoop it up in my hands from mixing bowl to baking tin. It looked much smoother too – more like tahina than hummus.

I was fairly cautious on the proving times. It was a warm day and temperatures in the conservatory were in the mid 20’Cs. I left the production sourdough (about half the final quantity) for about 6 hours, at the end of which it was pretty frothy, and then let the loaf rise in the tin for barely two hours, after which it had risen by about a third.

The loaf came out of the oven with a crust which was much smoother, almost shiny on the underside, and slightly paler. I was excited to see that the crust had risen in the oven, rather than remaining horizontal as the previous loaves had done. The crust was starting to split along the sides and ends of the loaf.

However, on cutting it open, the improvement was only slight – there was still the hollow between crust and crumb. I am taking a little encouragement, as the crumb had risen a little too, and the hollow was smaller than before.

I’m a bit confused as to what exactly the problem is. The troubleshooting guide says that the splitting along the top is due to insufficient proof, but that the sinking dough is due to the rye starter having fermented too much!

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~ by jobes on October 8, 2008.

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