First loaf with my first starter..

First loaf with my first starter..

Submitted by Rickshaw on December 10, 2015 – 12:48pm.

Well, it really wasn’t a loaf as.much as it was an amorphous blob.  And although I could probably look through the forum and eventually find what might be the issue l, I have to admit, I’m very new here and I’m pretty sure I’m going to get lost.

I used a pain au levain  recipe that I found on TFL from Raluca.  I am more concerned with technique of handling high hydration doughs, so I am using only bread flour.  

If my math is right I’m at 70% hydration, which after years of pizza dough handling seems rather wet to me.  I just can’t get the dough to keep a shape at all.  I knead by hand for 10 minutes and stretch and fold three times with 50 minutes between.  And then I proof it in a towel lined colander for an hour.  And what I get is a blob of bread.  

The taste is good. The crust is good. The crumb is a little chewy, (perhaps under cooked).  But the shape is annoyingly blob like. 

I wonder if I need to bulk ferment for longer? I have read that if my preferment takes 5 hours to “activate” my dough might take as long? starter not ready? Or am I missing something obvious and fundamental?