Updates to the Sourdough Loaf
I resisted for a long time, but there is a low-impact path to better texture and crust for your Sourdough Loaf in three steps.
1 - Stop worrying about an exact amount of water in the initial mix. An additional 10, 20, or 30 grams of water makes for a better loaf in almost every case. I seem to have settled on about 20 more grams most of the time. I make the call based on the weather and previous experience with the particular batch of flour.
2 - I didn't want to do it, but my crust wasn't getting better no matter how much steam I added to my open oven/cookie tray method. I've converted to a cast iron pot. A BIG one. And it has made all the difference. Preheat your cast iron pot with the lid as the oven comes up to temp. When the oven is pre-heated, turn your loaf on to a larger than necessary sheet of parchment. Remove the pot from the oven, remove the lid, make your cuts to the loaf, and transfer to the HOT cast iron.
3 - Dash a little water into the cast iron pan before you close it up and return to the oven. Just a couple tablespoons between the parchment and the side of the pot will give you a much thicker and chewy crust.
Happy sourdough-ing and YES, it's still all AP.
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Author, Dad, Dog Walker, and Occasional Baker