Stuck on sourdough
I can’t find my camera so I don’t have any pics to go with this.
As you all know (well, both of you) I’ve been baking bread for about 12 years. I’ve gotten to the point where, if I bake it with commercial yeast, I can predict the outcome pretty well. If I fail I generally know why. Not to say I’ve perfected anything. But I know what I’m doing now.
I have two sourdough “things” in my fridge. One is a straight starter and the other is a 1.5 pound ball of dough.
Every three to four days (or so) I take the dough out, split it in half, bake half, replenish it, then put it back. Since it’s a full dough I use flour, water and salt. It ferments more slowly than the starter due to the salt, but it does still come up pretty solidly in a few days.
I do the same thing with the starter, though I generally put the “discarded” half back in the ball of dough so I’m not actually throwing it away (and yes, I adjust the salt appropriately.)
Now, to the problem: No matter what I do, whether I use several stages of preferment or bake it after a half hour of resting in form (or an hour, or two) the resulting crumb is always a little… gummy. It’s fully cooked, the internal temperature on last night’s loaves tested at 208 and change, which is a nice sweet spot for bread doneness.
But still, even with a delightfully complex flavor, a bit of sourness that didn’t overpower (not that I mind that so much) the crumb is just… spongy.
It looks for all the world like it’s merely undercooked. But I know from experimentation that if I leave it in the oven that property never dissipates.
It’s been driving me nuts for years. But I’d always assumed that somehow it was just undercooked until a month or so ago, when I started baking them to death.
I’ll figure it out, I’m sure. But in the meantime if anyone’s got any smartsauce, I’d be happy to hear it.