12 Loaf Bake

12 Loaf Bake

Got a bit ambitious yesterday and did a 12 loaf bake. 4 types of Sourdoughs, 3 loaves each.  Just want to share my process that I feel pretty good about now and is quite streamlined.  These are about 650g – 800g each.

1) Country Sourdough

2) Cranberry Walnut

3) Chocolate Hazelnut with Raisins 

4) Seeded Sourdough (Flaxseed, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed)

Getting pretty comfortable with making these now, and know the dough by feel rather than time. Streamlining the process and very repeatable.  

In the morning, I setup 4 Weck jars for my levain and let them get just above doubling.  I dont worry too much about how much starter I use with each jar. the more starter, the faster the levain matures.  anything between 10-40g starter and i just add in enough flour/water to make the target 200g levain and depending on ratio of starter, it will mature faster or slower.  

When levain is ready, I mix the levain with flour, water and even salt all at once in the KA mixer for a few minutes and then empty into large Pyrex glass bowl with lid. Repeat for all 4 doughs.  I used to fermentolyse and add in salt 30 minutes later with some withheld water. but that means the dough would have to go into the mixer twice.  To streamline, I just mixed in one go.  Do not notice much difference.  30 – 50 min rest.  3 folds to 4 folds.  Add-ins go in after 2nd fold (before passing window pane test, it integrates better and more evenly the sooner you add them in). 

When dough is ready and passes window pane (doesnt need to be super strong otherwise too chewy). i leave it to final bulk for about 1-2 hours. About 20-30% volume increase.  bubbly and just starting to get jiggly. divide each batch into 3 loaves by weight. Too much proofing here will result in reduced oven spring.  Preshape on count using water spray and wet hands.  15-20 minute rest on counter (not covered).  slight dusting of rice flour on top of dough balls and on counter for final shape. slight dusting again on shaped dough and put into paper bowls. I do not dust the bowls.

I’m using my paper pulp bowls with lids as brotforms / bannetons to hold for overnight cold retard. I can really fit a lot of these in the fridge.  12 was no problem. 

Baked next day.  I’ve done between 4 hours in the fridge to 16 hours in the fridge all with good success.  After 4 hours the dough is not as firm as overnight, so more delicate when scoring and loading into oven.

I can bake 3 at a time in my oven. 2 batards in Lodge combo cooker/dutch ovens. and 1 smaller boule under a claypot.  All of these on top of a baking stone.  dough straight out of fridge. give it a little tuck to even out the shape a bit, score and go into preheated oven.  20 minutes covered @ 500F.  20-25 minutes uncovered with convection @ 450F.  i put the cover of the dutch oven back under the base during the uncovered segment. this way, they stay hot for the next batch. I can do a batch in just over 45 minutes. no reheat necessary between sets.  For the 4 batches from first set in to last set out was just over 3 hours for me.

Dough looks funny and rectangular coming out of the bowl, but you wouldnt know from the finished loaves. I’m actually preferring these bowls to my bannetons now.  just much easier and cleaner and i hardly use any rice flour dusting.  They have a non-stick texture and doughs come out clean. I dont need to bag them because they have a lid. and after 10+ uses, they’re still good as new.  I wonder if i’ll ever go back to the bannetons.  Maybe for the larger loaves or if i want a fancier appearance with the rattan circle lines on it.

James