Oblong cloche bread baker

Hi there,

I just received my Breadtopia oblong cloche bread baker today and baked my first sourdough bread (20% rye, 80% unbleached flour, 75% hydration). I topped it with some sesame seeds during the final proofing phase. I am a happy camper with very satisfied taste buds right now, I even feel a little high :smiley:. Thank you all for your very instructive and reproducible videos, recipes, and friendly staff even under pandemic conditions. Please stay safe and happy baking!

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My honest opinion…

Nice rustic loaf with a good crust. Could do with a longer bulk ferment though. I’m sure it tastes great it certainly looks inviting.

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@Abe, great insight! How did you know that it could have used a longer bulk ferment? In all honesty, I tried to rush that phase by putting the dough in oven at 100 degrees Fahrenheit for about 4 hours. The only way I know how to judge whether bulk fermentation was enough is shaking the container and seeing the dough jitter a bit. The dough was looking gassy and jittery, so I thought that was enough. Is there a better way? I am usually more worried about overproofing than under, since I believe it would cost me my oven spring.

I would truly appreciate your recommendations!

Well the best way to know is to carry on baking and it comes with practice. However, you see the tight crumb around the larger bubbles? That uneven crumb tells me its under developed and could have done with a longer bulk ferment. The more you bake the better you’ll become at judging the dough just the way how it looks and feels. There are subtle changes to the dough when its done but recognising them takes time. The dough will take on a smooth skin, try to feel if the dough is aerated which you might notice when it comes to a stretch and fold and it’ll look puffy. Its hard to describe but don’t just watch the clock and be mindful at each step. I’d also gently brush off the excess flour when taking the dough out of the banneton. A more gentle dusting looks better and will taste better too. Its necessary to ensure the dough doesn’t stick so its OK too flour the banneton well after which just brush enough off so its not clumpy.

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Thank you for the explanations and your expertise. So it is OK to continue bulk fermenting if one notices that the dough is not puffy enough while stretching and folding before placing in banneton. Would you recommend putting the dough back to its container for longer bulk fermentation in this case or still putting it in benneton for a longer after-shaping fermentation, if there is such a thing.

The reason why I didn’t brush off the excess flour before baking was because I was afraid of also brushing the sesame seeds I put at the bottom of benneton, which were now on the surface of the dough. This was the first time I used the cloth liner I got from Breadtopia, as opposed to the kitchen towels I have been using before, so I erred on the conservative side, probably a little too much, :laughing:.

Thank you again for your amazing feedback! :ok_hand:.