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Crust glazes, an interesting observation…

Today I baked up some sourdough basic white using my San Francisco starter # 2. It has improved immensely since I first tried it. It now has a nice tang and robust flavor and….it behaved wonderfully! The dough bulk fermented on schedule… and proofed a bit on the long side, like I would expect a SF starter to do. I am very happy with the results. However, I wanted to experiment with glazes and I found out that they may affect not only the crust but the bread shape as well.

Here is a picture of the San Francisco starter bubbling away:

SF starter

Here is the dough after bulk fermentation, I tried to catch it just before it was completely proofed:

dough

Here is the dough poured out:

dough poured out

Here is the dough cut into three pieces which weighed just shy of two pounds each:

cut into three pieces

Shaped and put to rest in the bannetons:

bannetons

I let them sit out for 30 minutes and then put into the refrigerator overnight.

Next morning at 6:00 am I took the first one out and then staggered the other two.

Proofed and slashed:

proofed and slashed

I did a different glaze on two loaves and left one of the loaves plain. The loaf on the left was an egg glaze: One egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water. The one in the middle was left plain. The one on the right was a cornstarch glaze: 1 teaspoon of cornstarch mixed into 1/2 cup cold water in a small pan and then simmered until thickened.

Three loaves

It hard for you to see in the picture, but both breads that were glazed spread apart more than the plain loaf. The plain loaf had a greater oven spring. The egg glazed loaf spread more than the other two. The cornstarch glaze gave a nice finish and color to the crust.

three loaves

I glazed the loaf with the egg glaze after it was about halfway finished and then again before it was finished. I glazed the cornstarch glazed loaf before it went into the oven and again halfway through. I think that perhaps the glaze kept the crust moist longer than the plain loaf and allowed the loaf to spread more. The crust with no glaze was able to form a crust that was stiffer and helped it to spring more. These are only speculations. If you have any experience in glazes and have noticed an effect on the crust or dough, I would like to hear it. It never occured to me that a glaze might cause spreading of a loaf. I think maybe glazing at the end of baking would take care of this phenomena.

Here is the crumb of the unglazed loaf:

crumb

This is a really good tasting starter at this point. I think it has much promise.

I am sure there will be more San Francisco starter experiments to come…

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