I have been trying to make a decent loaf of sourdough bread for a few weeks, as like many, I am working from home. I got the recipe I am using from an Irish baker with a youtube video; his stuff looks great. Mine, not so much. So, I guess I need some help.
Needless to say, it is almost impossible to get bread flour these days, so I have resorted to using AP flour with added Vital Wheat Gluten. Apparently, how much to add varies considerably depending upon who you consult.
My objective is a light-density loaf with lots of air pockets and a medium crust. What I am getting is a loaf that is too dense and does not rise properly during proofing or baking. Also, the crust is like a tortoise shell. However, it tastes reasonably good and is edible (I have low standards at this point). My last recipe is below:
AP flour (Gold Medal @ 10.5% protein): 400 g
VWG: 9 grams
Active Starter: 160 g (made from Odlums coarse whole meal flour)
Water: 230 ml
Salt: 5 g
This is my mixture for one loaf. After mixing, I knead the dough for about 10 m or until I can get a “windowpane” effect and the dough has decent strength. I proof for 4 hours in the mixing bowl. Then I knock the dough back for a while and proof again in a lined proofing basket for 3- 3.5 hours. I have been baking at 445 deg. F for 30-35 m (with a water filled Pyrex dish inside). I have yet to check the temperature of the loaf but I probably should.
On my next effort I plan to reduce the AP flour and increase both the VWG and starter to see what happens.
Comments or suggestions anyone?