Yippee! So far I’m having fairly good luck with the King Arthur “100 Percent Whole Wheat Sourdough” recipe from their cookbook, Whole Grain Baking. Take a look at my fifth loaf, above, which I baked Tuesday. Today, Thursday, it is still tender and moist on the inside–and delicious.
Over the holidays, my mixer overheated and now needs repair. One too many heavy cookie batters! Since then, I’ve mixed and kneaded the loaves by hand, which is easier than I thought it would be. Since I enjoy kneading anyway, I may not bother with the mixer once it’s fixed. Kneading is therapy!
Whether by hand or by mixer, the cellular structure remains fairly consistent from loaf to loaf–more dense in the middle than I would like, but not entirely so. Only in the fifth loaf, shown above, did I finally see some of that moist, glisteny character in the holes, none of which my little iPhone captured well.
Reducing baking time by 5 minutes nets a more moist loaf
King Arthur’s (KA) recipe advises us to bake the bread 15 minutes at 450º Fahrenheit (F), then 30-35 minutes at 400º. With all the others, I used the full 35 minutes because I did not get that hollow thump on the bottom when I tested the loaf sooner. Each of those loaves was on the tough, dry side.
With this loaf, I shortened the baking time by just five minutes, the inside window on the KA recipe. Even though I did not get the hollow sound when I tapped the bottom of the loaf, I removed it from the oven and let it finish baking on the rack as it cooled. Worked beautifully!
Incidentally, when tapped on top, the loaf did emit a hollow thump, so perhaps that’s good enough.
The exterior is crunchy-crusty, like we want, but not tough to chew, as were the crusts on the second, third and fourth loaves, shown here.
The flavor is excellent. The nutty whole wheat comes through, with just enough sourdough tang to make it all the more interesting, and an ever so slightly sweet undertone.
This morning I fed the levain in preparation for making my sixth boule using this method. Tomorrow, all goes well (I’m with a two-year-old all day), I’ll make the loaf and share what happens with it.