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Sourdough #5: 15% rye, Olive and Goat's Cheese

Hi all, if you have read my Sourdough #4 post, you would have know that I am starting to see some progress in my bread. I still lack the open crumb that I so desire though.

Sometimes reading up a lot is great but can, at times lead to information overload and total confusion. A lot of bakers swear by mixing sourdough by hand. The reason being is that you are able to control how much air is incorporated into the dough.

Now, you may have come across information where you are told not to incorporate too much air into your dough as it can affect the flavor of your loaf from over oxidization, which can happen quite easily with a stand mixer. On the other hand, Richard Bertinet recommends to do the "Slap & Fold" Technique during mixing and encourages that you "do" incorporate "some" air into the dough as it can help for a lighter and more open crumb final product.

So, to make it simpler to understand, you can technically still use a mixer to mix your dough, but you have to be careful not to over do it so as not to add in more air than you need. Alternatively, mix the dough by hand as this can give you more control where you will likely know when to stop as soon as you could feel strength starting to develop. In other words, air is good but too much air is not so great!

I learnt that the openness of your crumb has little to do with how much gas the yeast are producing during fermentation. Gas is of course crucial in any bread making because they help the dough rise. How open your crumb is in the sourdough relies heavily on air that are added during mixing and the strength of your dough's ability to hold on to the air pocket while they extend during baking. This is why I am curious to see if the slap and fold technique will actually make a difference to my loaf.



Let's get Started!

The recipe below makes 2 x 725 g loafs before baking.

Levain (100% Hydration)

50 g Ripe Starter (Room Temperature)

100 g Water 21°C

100 g Whole Wheat Flour

Final Dough

375 g White Baker's Flour (50%)

262.5 g Whole Wheat Flour (35%)

112.5 g Rye Flour (15%)

16.5 g Salt (2.2%)

150 g Mature Levain (20%)

630 g Water , Reserve 80 g for incorporating later (84%)


60 g Kalamata Olives

60 g Goats Cheese

The inclusions above is for one loaf, if you want to make two of the same loafs, double the amount.

Total Hydration = 82%


Saturday 8 pm Feed Starter at room temperature

The night before

Remove the starter from the fridge 3 hours prior to feeding it.

The ratio I used are:

50 g Starter

100 g Water 24°C

100 g Whole Wheat Flour

Clean the edges and tie a rubber band around the air tight jar to navigate the yeast activity.

The starter was left at room temperature overnight for 12 hours before the Levain is made. I had the water temperature slightly higher than I would normally have it at 24°C as it was a pretty cold night. The room temperature in my kitchen at that time was 21°C with 48% relative humidity.

The next morning at around 12 hours mark, the starter would have at least doubled in volume and even better tripled. This is a good sign that the starter is active and you are ready to go!


Sunday 8 am Make Levain

12 hours later

50 g Ripe Starter

100 g Water 21°C

100 g Whole Wheat Flour

Mix all the ingredients together well and leave in a container. Mark the Level of the Levain and leave to mature for 5 -6 hours.

My kitchen ambient at this point was 24°C with a relative humidity of 52%. It took my Levain sitting at 21°C five hours until it is ready. Depending on your kitchen environment, time can vary for the Levain to mature.

Sunday 12 pm Autolyze

2 hours before the Levain is estimated to be ready

This time I decided to autolyze my dough a little longer than an hour and went for the 2 hours mark. It was starting to get a little warmer in my kitchen (summer is coming!) and my Levain was ready as estimated.

Sunday 2 pm Mix in mature Levain

After 5 hours of maturing

Gently wet your hands in the 80 g water that was set aside from the recipe. Spread the ripe Levain on top of the dough and in a circular motion, stretch the edge of the dough and push it in to the center and continue to do so until there are no patches of the Levain visible. I did this by hand and the process took me around 8 minutes.

Cover and rest the dough for 30 minutes.

Note: Notice in the video that I am dipping my hands in the reserved 80 g of water that is supposed to be in the recipe to avoid sticking. Instead of adding all the water at the beginning, the reserved water help for a consistent recipe each time so you know you are not adding more water than you need.


Sunday 2:30 pm Mix in the Salt, Slap & Fold

Lightly wet the work bench, tilt the dough over and gently flatten the dough. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and add in some of the 80 ml water and rub it on top of the dough. Now, knead!

As shown in the video, I add in the reserved water gradually as I am kneading and still leaving around 15 ml for the stretch and fold/coil fold later on.

I did the slap and fold technique without incorporating anything else but the additional water needed in the recipe until the dough starts to have some elasticity and resistance to it.

At the beginning, if you try to stretch the dough, they will tear apart quite easily and at that point the dough is still really slack and lack strength.

After 8 minutes of slap & Fold, I was able to stretch the both without tearing and the dough at that point is still extensible where I can pull it without resistance.

After 13 minutes of doing the slap and fold, the dough starts to stop sticking as much as is smoother on the surface. As I stretch the dough at this point, the dough is stretchable and is starting to have resistance and I was not able to stretch it as far. The dough has developed enough strength and is ready for resting!

Lightly oil a container and place it in the container with the lid on and let rest for 30 minutes.

Sunday 3 pm Divide dough and Laminate

Since I am planning to make two different loaf, I divided the loaf in to 2 x roughly around 725 g loaves.

Laminate the dough individually and place them in separately oiled container. After lamination, let the dough rest for 45 minutes for the coil folds.

Note: If you are making the two dough the same, you do not need to divide the dough and just laminate as one.


Sunday 3:30 pm Coil Fold #1

I will be making the plain loaf into a boule (round loaf) and for the second portion I will be adding 60 g Kalamata olives and 60 g goats cheese and shape it into a batard (oval loaf).

I did a Coil Fold for the plain loaf. For the loaf with inclusions, I did a stretch and fold method and once the inclusions have been added, I finish it with a coil fold and rest the dough for 45 minutes before the second fold.

Plain: Coil Fold then rest