I attempted a nice crust

I attempted a nice crust

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August 2011

It worked.

This loaf is beautiful and tasty, with a wonderful light crispy crust. Crumb is as open and irregular as any 100% whole wheat loaf I've seen. And wonderfully moist.

All I did was follow the rest of the recipe I've been working with, at 90% hydration. I've been slowly working down in hydration, and I think this might be the wettest that's manageable enough to throw in a 450°F pot. I had been putting my dough in a pan, letting it rise for an hour or two, pre-heating my oven, then putting the pan in the oven. The no-knead method says to let your dough do its final rise in / on something else while heating a thick pot to hot, then throwing your dough in and putting the lid on. I'd been hung up on how exactly I was supposed to throw the dough in without deflating the rising I had just accomplished. The solution was obvious, and I finally tried it: Don't worry about it. I just pre-heated my oven, with pot and lid (off), to the 450°F limit of my lids, opened the oven with a glob of dough in one hand, and a pot holder in the other, threw the dough in, and put the lid on. Sizzling.

I didn't score the loaf. I haven't scored one yet. I'm very pleased with how it ripped open.

I've baked a few more of these loaves in bread pans since I posted last. A lid made out of aluminum foil works just fine. As long as your bread doesn't rise high enough to come in contact with it. In which case it sticks. It made me again appreciate how nice it is to have my clear pot lids.

So what I need is heavy cast iron rectangular loaf pans with tall glass lids :P

Still learning how to manage my starter. Last few loaves weren't as tasty / sour, but this one was great. I have several ideas. I'm keeping a 150 gram starter, fed once a day. I was feeding it at 142% hydration for the last few days. Dryer starters are supposed to result in more sour. Doing everything at about 60°F.

Recipe used for this loaf:
~130 grams starter (what was left over from feeding my starter, 142% hydration)
283 grams whole wheat flour
255 grams water (90% hydration)
1 teaspoon salt

Mix (with spoon), cover, wait 24 hours. (I wanted to go 48 hours, but the thing doubled in 12.)
Stretch and fold several times (not sure this is necessary).
Put in PAM sprayed bowl to make it as easy as possible to retrieve.
Allow to rise for 2 hours.
Put pot in oven with lid (off), pre-heat to 450°F.
Throw dough in pot, put lid on, close oven. Turn oven to 425°F.
Bake 30 minutes.
Remove lid (to make top crispy), bake 15 minutes.
Whack pot on things till bread comes out, cool on rack (ventilated).
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