Sourdough Bread – Scaling Up (Bake Day)

I’m up and getting ready to bake. Not quite “Baker’s Hours” bu close enough. I had to start the coffee manually earlier than it is normally set to go off.

Necessary start…

Today I’m practicing baking four times since I can only fit two Dutch Ovens in my oven at a time. Pretty much “cottage baking”.

Aside from my poor shaping due to my yet to develop “baker’s hands” I believe it’s gone OK to this point. My goal this morning was to have loaves baking by 0530 (check). It was also to be moving ahead of that time so I didn’t do something silly like burn my hands, forget to turn off the home alarm or forget to take medicine (check, check….oops! Be right back!)

Take medicine (check).

Today I’m experimenting a bit with temperatures and times. I preheated the oven 10°F more than I normally do bumping it to 430°F (Convection). Thought being I’m going to be opening/closing the oven door and taking the lids off repeatedly. Might be good to bump the oven temp a bit higher. I’ll balance that by taking the lids off at 20 minutes vice my normal 25 minutes to check the oven bloom/color of the loaves.

I’m also experimenting with lightly dusting the loaves with rice flour and decorative scoring on the loaves and/or slash patterns.

Bake #1

I’m liking the light dusting contrast to rest of the crust. Blisters are present and the ear is pretty good. Probably not as dark a coloring as artisan bakers. I may try extending my times on the next bake by 2 minutes in both covered/not covered sessions.

Bake #2

Coloring is good. I like the “Plus 2” add on to the baking durations.

I tried a different slash (circle) on the Boule #2. I used a stencil that was supposed to look like a bear. Looks more like a Rhino wearing a saddle blanket… Need to up my stencil game (and get a better stencil)!

Bake #3 is done. Went back to the “Plus” slash on the Boule. I’m going to try a square slash pattern on the last bake. Additionally, I’m going to go back to a slash with no decorative scoring on the last Batard. I’d like to see if there is any difference in the oven bloom and ear development.

Bake #4 (of 4)

Bake #4 is done! My oven bloom on the Batard was a slight bit larger. The ear is probably not a result of my attention to the slashing angle. I like the square slash on the Boule.

My final baking time was just under 3 hours. I’d planned on a pair per hour. The final baking time average is 40 minutes. I can allow 45 mins going forward to give me a bit more time to stabilize oven temp/reheat the covers.

As I baked I checked the final bake weight of each loaf. What is clearly evident is the need to be more consistent when weighing initially. Maybe just pick a standard gram weight (800g prebake?) and have a residual bit of dough for a smaller “taste test” loaf.

Final Bake Weights and Averages

Overall I’m very pleased with this test run and what I’ve learned along the way!

Final Results!

Published by Jim Hayden

Enterprise Transformation Consultant by day; Baker by night! Learning all the time! Iterative and incremental improvement always!

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