Now that Frank is doubling every 12 hours, it is time to test him out by burning part of him to death! Yay, baking! Since sourdough can be a jerk sometimes, bubbling and happy doesn’t always equate to a great loaf. Flour mixtures, humidity, technique, temperature–they can all ruin your bready plans even if your starter seems happy enough.
This time around, I used a new to me method for dough making–the folding method outlined in this link from the kitchn. It was certainly a departure from my usual knead until my arms fall off strategy and I was pretty skeptical of it the entire time.
I combined my basic ingredients minus the salt dissolved in a bit of the water, left it to sit for a while to fully hydrate, then began the 2.5 hours of folding. Go downstairs, wash hands, fold the grossly wet dough, wash hands, go back upstairs. Repeat every 30 minutes for about three hours.
The recipe said the dough would tighten as time and folding passed and they were mostly right but it was still a very slack, sticky, gross dough and not at all close to the usual almost rubber tire consistency of my usual sourdoughs. To be honest, I really did not enjoy the process at all since thirty minutes is too long to stand there and wait but not long enough to really do anything else.
After the folding marathon, I let the dough rise overnight in the fridge in a piece of floured linen in a bowl since I was (a) tired of dealing with it and (b) the kids were about to get home and ruin my dedicated baking time with their needs. In retrospect, I should have put some oiled cling film over it or something since it did dry out a bit on top which certainly didn’t help with the proofing. It barely rose while in the fridge and I was worried I was headed for a bread brick.
I slashed it (so fancy!) and let it rest for a few minutes while the oven finished heating up, then in it went!
I didn’t get a lot of oven spring but more than I thought I would given how pathetic the dough looked this morning. Once it cooled, it was actually delicious though quite dense.
Folding was an interesting technique and might be good for a day im spending in the kitchen doing other things but I just enjoy kneading, so my next loaf will be back to my usual recipe. Hopefully I get more rising power from frank and a more even crumb structure.