Sourdough, sourdough, sourdough, oh yea, sourdough!

Metric Breakthrough and NW starter

I had a metric breakthrough, no volume measuring this time, just metric. I let go and weighed my ingredients with my Metric scale. It was like being a fish out of water. Ever since I got my scale, I have been measuring volume and then converting it to metric for the benefit of my customers who mix up their dough using metric only. I have been using volume measurments all of my life, so the temptation to use cups and tablespoons and then convert to metric was strong. However, I thought I would give it a go. I have to get a feel for how much I need to use by going metric and this is my first metric only attempt:

I poured 600 g of starter at 166% into a large bowl and added 450 g of water, then I mixed in 800g of Bread flour and 50 g of Rye flour. This made a stiff sponge at 76 % which I fermented overnight in a cool pantry.Next afternoon at lunchtime, I added 300 g of water 455 g of Bread flour 15 g of oil and 20 g of salt. From my calculations that brings me to 73% hydration, which feels just right!   This is approximately the “feel” of dough I like to work with. Sometimes I like it just a little stiffer, but not much. Sourdough newbies will like to add more flour to their dough, as it is easier to work with a drier dough than one at 73 % hydration. If you add about 500 g more flour to the dough while mixing, it will bring the dough to about 55% hydration, which is pretty easy to work with. I then let it bulk ferment until about 7:00 pm and shaped the loaves and put them in the refrigerator to ferment overnight. Today I am attempting to proof and bake the dough. I am using my Northwest Sourdough starter with this batch.

The dough needed 3.5 hours proof this morning, a little bit longer than usual, however it has been pretty cool here on the coast. I ended up with 2539 g of dough which I divided between three loaves. Here is the first loaf:

first loaf

The bread has a really wonderful smell and color to the crust. The second loaf cracked the crust, it was my fault as I did not slice deeply enough and the other cracks did not want to open properly. I had decided to score it with the diamonds and changed my mind. In scoring a diamond or grid pattern you score more lightly.

 second loaf

 I slashed in one direction and then changed my mind, so I slashed too shallow of a cut. The stone I am using still gets too hot on the bottom so part of the bake time I have resorted to putting a piece of foil under the stone to deflect the direct heat coming from the element.

Here is loaf # 3:

third loaf

Here are all three loaves baked up today with my metric only measurements:

All three loaves

Here is the crumb from the first loaf:

crumb of loaf one

The bread has a great sour tang and crispy crust.

I have to admit, it was easier to weigh out the ingredients using metric, I can see changing hydration would be easier too. Adding a few extra grams instead of 1/2 cup plus one tablespoon plus 3/4 of a teaspoon, seems easier to me. I will just have to keep working on it until I am used to it. However, since most of you seem to still go by volume, I will still have to do volume first and convert to metric. Have you ever tried to come up with a metric recipe and change it to volume? Go ahead try and convert this one…I dare you!

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