The evil intention is that while I was pledging my allegiance to simplicity and obedience, I secretly planned to also transform a Lahey loaf into one that uses wild instead of commercial yeast behind my own back. But I couldn't help myself. I had recently picked up his book and as gorgeous as his rustic breads are, I couldn't find one formula that used a wild yeast starter. What a bummer. I was convinced that his style and no-hands technique could be accomplished with some mindful modifications. It can be. You'll see the results later on down this road. And of course, in proper form, by the end of it all I ended up revising two.
Consider this, if I have so many endeavors on my plate, I'm probably never really expected to finish anything at all. I'm busy, you understand, maneuvering my ever copious eggs, which makes me a serious woman, one who cannot be bothered with trivial things like deadlines and completing projects. It is my sole job to keep these eggs suspended and rotated and on the move. Please don't bother me with your orthodoxy.
In fact, I have so many pursuits that my friends have no idea about which to ask, or how my progress therewith might be. I have for years been hopscotching from one plan to the next without raising much suspicion or realization that in view of the myriad, nothing ever gets accomplished at all. And my endless epiphanies about starting new endeavors has become my most finely-honed talent. The perfect smokescreen, really, to hide the fact that I have a paralyzing fear of failure, or maybe success, the age-old tandem of fears, so long in the tooth that this duo has become the catch-all to summarize why many of us avoid accomplishment. Forget about the underlying cause.
Just what is so golsh darned terrifying about failure anyway?
I decided to risk tweaking the Norwich sourdough which is the one all covered in wheat bran. The original formula can be found on Wild Yeast Blog. Just click on the link above. Suffice it to say that the crumb came out largely irregular and much more open than the last time. Lovely. I did make the following changes:
This is a Lahey application employed to this Norwich sourdough by the way. It seemed cool and I have plenty of linen, so I thought I might give it a try.
The next decision I made was to tweak two Lahey formulae to use my wild yeast starter. I must admit, I am not a fan of commercial yeast. One of the main reasons I got into this biz was because of the health benefits of sourdough. It is, after all, a fermented (pre-digested) food, so, it's good for you despite those fools who don't believe in eating carbs. Carbs do not make you fat, people. Excess does.
Here's what I did:
I started here.
This is what the dough looks like. It's a very sticky blob.
After 8 hours it doubled. *Be sure to ferment this in the coolest part of your house. If it's too warm, this will ferment too quickly and will not reach the full fermentation time. We want a long fermentation for this loaf so that it has time to develop not only flavor, but appropriate gluten action. Remember, this is a hands-off loaf. (Though I will be experimenting with this fermentation time, see below).
NOTE: The day before I experimented with Lahey's 18 hour fermenting technique. IT DOES NOT WORK when you are using sourdough starter. That sourdough starter gobbled up all the sugars pretty fast, and 18 hours later it was a glossy, flaccid, soupy mess. Here is what it looked like after 18 hours of fermentation:
Even after 12 hours I could tell that the dough was spent. 8 hours was just when the dough hit the doubled mark. But I will be playing with this fermentation time and passing along the info to you. I am going to decrease the fermentation time, and you will see why when you read below.
After proper fermentation, I got it into a linen-lined banneton. I did not do a bench rest. (See note below). For one thing, Lahey goes right from the fermenting vessel into a shaped boule. No shaping into a ball before the boule, and no bench rest. And, as it were, there is no way that this dough could have bench rested, because it was super soft. Instead, I shaped it straight from the fermenting vessel and and refrigerated it for its proofing time of 2 hours.
Here's the City Loaf, in white crumb:
The dough ready to be shaped.
I don't know why, but I did a 20 minute bench rest, which is not part of the Lahey plan, and after that rest it was just a tad loose. I might toggle between refrigerated cool (room temp) fermentation, or just decrease the fermentation time a tad at a time. In the very least I will nix the bench rest and go straight from the vessel into the linen for its 2-hour proof. I did not use a banneton. I used the Lahey method of proofing using just a proofing linen.
I baked the City Loaf, in whole wheat, as I did above with the white loaf: 30 minutes covered, then another 30 uncovered. It took 10 minutes longer than the white, though, my oven is evil and loves to race up and down willy-nilly. It takes some serious muscle to keep the temp in check, so, the fluctuation in temperature could have caused the extra time.
Here is the finished loaf.