My Favorite Loaf

Today I made again my current favorite sourdough, Söder White Leaven. It is the third time I bake this bread and it keeps improving.

So I made a HUGE lot of it. The uncooked dough weighted 1,4 kg (about 3 pounds).

The crust was crunchy and dark (especially on one side, due to my old oven) and the crumb was… oh sooo good and savory. I used 3 tea-spoon of marine salt. Perfect for the size of the loaf.

The recipe and method is described in detail in my previous post on Söder White Leaven.

The bread is based on liquid leaven, a sourdough starter with 120% hydration I discovered reading Hamelman’s book, Bread. With that type of leaven, it works great to use just as much water as the weight of the liquid leaven and double the amount of flour. Both bread flour and all-purpose flour work fine, and probably the best is to combine them. I still have not experimented with whole-wheat on this loaf but I am positive it can support a small proportion of it (maybe up to 10-15% of the flour) without loosing its character.

This time, I prolonged considerably the fermentation of the dough. In my original description of Söder White Leaven, the first fermentation lasted 3 hours and the proofing (at room temperature) 3 more hours.

Basically, the first fermentation time remained the same (maybe I shortened just a tiny bit: 2 and 1/2 hours) while the proofing was:

-1 and 1/2 hours at room temperature

-10 hours retardation in the fridge

-2 and 1/2 hours at room temperature again.

I made only 1 fold, after the first hour of fermentation and baked with initial steam at 230 degrees (Celsius) for about 35 minutes and for another 35 minutes at 190 degrees (Celsius).

CONSIDERATIONS: Without any doubt, this is my very favorite loaf and method so far. The formula of 1:1:2 for the final dough (referring to liquid leaven, water, and flour respectively) gives just the right amount of hydration. The liquid leaven, prepared ahead with only a little of the original starter and 120% of hydration, is able to sustain very long fermentation times without risk of over-proofing. This time the dough fermented a total of 6 and 1/2 hours at room temperature plus 10 hours in the cold (retardation in the fridge). I am quite impressed that the loaf rose so well and cooked evenly even being so heavy (3 pounds!). The finished bread reminds me a lot of my native lazio-style sourdoughs: wide rustic loaves with a dark crusty crust and finely open white crumb.

CONSIDERAZIONI: Senza dubbio questo e’ il mio metodo preferito per panificare. La formula di 1:1:2 per l’impasto finale (riferendomi a lievito liquido, acqua e farina, rispettivamente) da’ il giusto livello di idradazione. Il mio lievito liquido, preparato un giorno prima usando solo un pochino del mio lievito usuale e il 120% di idratazione, e’ capace di tollerare fermentazioni molto lunghe. Questa volta, per esempio, l’impasto ha fermentato per un totale di 6 ore e 1/2 a temperatura ambiente + 10 ore al freddo (in frigo). Sono rimasta stupita che il pane abbia lievitato cosi’ bene e si sia cotto cosi’ uniformemente, considerando che l’impasto crudo pesava quasi 1 kg e 1/2! Il prodotto finito mi ricorda tantissimo le pagnotte a lievitazione naturale della mia regione, il Lazio: immense e rustiche, con una crosta scura e croccante e una mollica bianca e morbidissima.

Submitted to YeastSpotting

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  1. I can see why this is your favourite method for baking bread! The structure of the bread looks su yummy with all the bubbles!

  2. Inciuriosita dal tuo commento sul mio blog, di cui ti ringrazio ancora una volta, sono passata a sbirciare il tuo, sai che non lo conoscevo? Ho visto delle bellissime ricette, e continuerò sicuramente a sbirciare qua e là per carpirti qualche bella ricetta svedese. Come ho scritto nel mio blog, in risposta al tuo commento, io sono molto curiosa di conoscere piatti nuovi e tradizioni di altri Paesi, trovo che sia un arricchimento non indifferente. Spero di rileggerti ancora e tanti auguri per questo bellissimo blog! Ciao :)

    • Barbara says:

      piacerissimo di conoscerti e grazie per la visita. di piatti svedesi ne pubblico pochi (ma buoni) in quanto cerco di preservare le tradizioni italiane pur vivendo all’estero. a presto!

  3. You know so much about bread , it has me running in circles!!

  4. Mamma mia che pane…….direi perrfetto anche nella cottura sembra uscito da uno di quei vecchi forni a legna dalle bocche generose. …a me il pane piace ben cotto, e` piu` saporito e dura piu` a lungo….se si riesce a farlo durare!
    Francesca

    • Barbara says:

      grazie cara. e’ vero… credo il merito dell’effetto “forno a legna” sia dovuto alle alte temperature del mio forno e al fatto che ha il sistema di ventilazione rotto :) affumicato naturale. buona settimana!

  5. Perfect crust and crumb! Really love the thick golden brown crust.

  6. Questo pane è magnifico, sembra uscito da un forno a legna. E la mollica sembra morbida e un po’ “umida” come quella del pane che trovavo dai nonni da piccola e di cui ero golosa con sopra la salsa di pomodoro e basilico appena cotta :) Un bacio, buona serata

    P.S. per il sale alla vaniglia ho macinato le bacche di vaniglia senza i semi, che invece ho usato per torte o biscotti. Volendo potresti anche macinare le bacchi intere con i semi, il profumo sarebbe più intenso e ne basterebbero meno, ma è uno spreco.

    • bella idea quella di non sprecare i baccelli, la provero’ senz’altro. grazie per l’apprezzamento de mio pane, non sai come mi fa contenta a riportarmi questa bella memoria del pane dei nonni. buona serata a te!

  7. First of all, I love your ‘About’ snippet… clever and funny.
    Now, the bread is something else, altogether. I take it the weather hasn’t improved much since the last time we talked, because you’re staying indoors baking. Might as well. I’d sacrifice the whole summer and accept rain without complaints, if it meant I could produce breads like this one. Ahhhhhmaaaazing!!!!!!!

    • glad u like my about, did not have one for a while.
      you are right: the weather has been ugly, cold and rainy, so I had a good excuse to stay home and do my favorite thing. so happy you like the outcome, although I know for sure you can produce even better bread. xox

  8. ecco, a proposito di cose interessanti: QUESTO PANE.

  9. Che voglia di pane che mi è venuta guardando questa pagnotta. Hai ragione la crosta mi ricorda il pane casareccio dei Castelli, quello di Genzano o di Lariano.

    • ciao Fr@, proprio il pane che mangiavo da piccola, quello dei castelli romani, dove i miei mi portavano spesso la domenica. certe impressioni restano per sempre. un bacio.

  10. What a great bread, Barbara! On the close-up shot, the crust looks like a fresco. Beautiful! I too love to make huge loaves but then I run out of room in my freezer. Did you notice any acidity build-up from the long stay in the fridge? I almost never bake all-white and with almost any percentage of whole grains, I find that the dough tends to turn a bit sourer than I like when retarded that way.

    • it is true, the crust came out with a lovely pattern which was totally random. miracles of the oven. I don’t notice a strong acid taste anymore, not passing to liquid levain. I don’t know why, but it does something extremely good to the bread. looking froward to try some of your many beautiful whole grain loaves…

  11. I bet the flavor was outstanding!
    Love the deep rich color of the crust and the texture- great job.

  12. What a beautiful colour your crumb is! Is that from the salt you use? I’m interested that you don’t slash the loaves, and they result in such beautiful textural cracks…

    • hi Celia, nice to see you here. I think the color of the crust is due to 3 main factors: using semolina flour to dust the proofing baskets, high temperatures, my broken oven (lol). about the scoring: the region I come from, Lazio, is famous for its rustic, large, loaves which are generally not scored. but I do like also the French-style beautiful scoring…

  13. Oooooooooooooooooh mi sa che finalmente ho trovato quello che cerco da tempo sotto il nome di “lievito madre”!!! SALVATA ISTANTANEAMENTE nei favoriti! adesso non mi resta che mettermi al lavoro con panni sporchi farine e acqua… ;) saluti da München! e grazie per l’ispirazione!!

  14. Hi, I’m a recently converted sourdough-enthusiast, and have already tried out the original version of this bread (Söder White Leaven), which turned out surprisingly great, given my lack of experience. I did cheat a bit and added a tiny bit of baker’s yeast, because my starter is not exactly doubling its size after feedings (although it’s really active and produces A LOT of carbon dioxide).
    However, I’m a bit confused about this bread, as I cannot figure out the timing: if I start in the evening with the liquid leaven and continue preparing the bread 12 hours later (next morning, that is), I would end up baking somewhere around midnight, as the first fermentation, plus proofing (including the 10-hour retardation) adds up to 17 hours.
    How did you do it? I would really like to try this one out, because it looks so perfect.

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