Onward with the rye levain then.
I preheated the oven and my combo cooker about 45 minutes before I wanted to bake the loaves. You are required next to turn the dough out into the flaming hot pan, quickly slash it, cover it and put it into the oven. I found that in doing this I deflated my last couple of loaves because it was too awkward to try to gently lay them into a scalding 500 degree iron pan. Aside from that, none of them landed where i wanted them to. It was a pretty sloppy affair, so I came up with my own technique.
Check it out.
I then covered the boules and baked for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. I removed the top part of the combo cooker after 20 minutes, and slipped the parchment circle from beneath it so the dough would have max contact with the hot iron. I then baked it out for another, I don't know, 25 - 30 minutes.
I was a little less timid about baking my first loaves out 'strong' as Chad asks us to do a week ago, and they came out better than this batch on the table for discussion today. This batch of bread could have used another 5 - 8 minutes for sure, which you will see in the pictures below after close inspection of the crumb. Indeed, you want the bottom and the angles of the slash marks to be quite dark. They are heavy doughs, and the extra time ensures that they bake thoroughly. One of the loaves from this batch came out perfectly, the others really needed that additional time. But, I'm a new baker, and fear not! A blackened they will be next time. I have posted pictures of my first loaves after I finish up with the story about these.
And here are some pictures from my very first sourdough loaves using the Tartine Bread book. They came out a little flat, but the crumb was dynamite, and they tasted amazing! I baked them out strong, and that is definitely what I will be looking for in my future Tartine loaves. It is a masculine bread. That is the way that Chad developed his formulas, to be baked out pretty dark, so, no more wussing about with bake times!
Have a look:
1 TB sourdough starter
200g warm 78 degree water
200g 50/50 whole wheat/all purpose flour
Mix and let proof overnight, covered with a kitchen towel.
The next day, after the levain has passed the 'float test', mix until just incorporated:
For the country loaves:
700g 80 degree water, 200g levain, (Total flour 1,000g) 900g white bread flour, 100g whole wheat flour.
For the country rye loaves:
800g 75 degree water, 200g levain, (Total flour 1,000g) 170g medium-fine whole rye flour, 830g white bread flour.
Autolyse for 25 to 40 minutes.
After the autolyse
Mix 20g salt with 50g warm water. Add to the dough. Fold the dough on top of itself and transfer to a small, clear container for bulk fermentation, 3 - 4 hours.
During the first 2 hours of bulk fermentation, complete a series of turns every half hour, letting the dough rest for the remaining time.
When the dough has adequately fermented, pour it onto your very lightly floured workspace and shape into rounds. Bench rest 20-30 minutes.
After the rest, shape into tight boules, careful not to knock the dough down. Transfer to linen lined baskets or bowls. Rise for 3-4 hours before baking, or retard your loaves at this point for 8-12 hours, in your linen lined bowl/basket.
About 20 minutes before you are ready to bake the loaves, place two cast iron combo cookers in the oven, both the lid and bottom, and preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Follow my instruction above inverting the boules onto lined peels. I used parchment, maybe you would have success with flour. Up to you. Sprinkle with rice flour. Slash the doughs. Pull the combo cookers out of the oven slide in the doughs, immediately cover them with their lids, get them into the oven, lower the temp to 450 degrees. After 20 minutes, remove the lids. If using parchment like I do, slip them out, then bake for 20-30 minutes more. You really want to bake these loaves out strong. Don't be timid like I was my second time around. My first bake yielded the best flavored loaves. They really are better when the bottoms are almost charred looking, and the ears of your slashes are dark chocolate brown.
Cool on a wire rack. I let mine cool for only an hour and a half, then I have to cut into it and eat it. I've never had problems with the longevity of my bread in doing so, but if you are concerned about the flavors mellowing and things setting up properly, you might want to wait for a couple few hours till they are totally cool. Evidently some people can do this.
If you don't have two combo cookers, follow the instruction for one loaf up until you uncover it, after its initial 20 minute bake. When you uncover it, transfer the 1/2 baked boule onto a stone (that should be in the oven preheating with the combo cooker). Then slide your second loaf into the combo cooker, cover, following the lidded/timing instruction as for the first loaf. I did this with great success pre-2 combo cookers.
This post has been submitted to YeastSpotting. Hopefully my loaves will get into this week's update!
All formulas and techniques are adapted from Tartine Bread. I urge you to buy the book.