Help with getting a chewy sourdough
Hi there, well this is the first of what I hope will be many posts to this forum. Just wanted to say first of all that I am amazed by all the baking talent here, it’s really inspiring!
So I was hoping to get a bit of help from you guys in getting my sourdough right. I’ve been baking sourdough on and off for a while now. I do it so infrequently though that every time I make a loaf I feel like I’m starting right from the beginning again. The starter I use at the moment has been going for over a year. I find it quite temperamental to use as it’s very acidic! The first proper starter I had smelled amazing, like fruit and flowers. This one has quite a harsh acidic smell to it. It definitely gives me tangy bread, and usually a pretty good rise.
I live in the UK and the recipe I’m using is one adapted from the river cottage bread book.
I refresh my starter over the preceding couple of days. Then the night before I bake I make up a ferment which is:
230g white bread flour (I use a canadian flour which is 15% protein)
80g starter (I’m sorry, I never really keep track of the hydration!)
The following morning I make up the final dough by adding 310g more flour and another 0.5tsp salt.
So the overall hydration of the dough is 53.7%.
We had some hot weather last week so the starter and bread were very active. I left the dough for 2 hours for its initial rise and then after shaping, left it about 1.5 hours for its final prove.
My problem with the bread is the texture of it. When I was first experimenting with sourdough I made a loaf with larger air holes which had a really really chewy texture; it was almost like eating a crumpet. It wasn’t that great on it’s own but once toasted with a bit of butter, it was incredble! I’d like to get back to that texture with all my bread but all the loaves I make now, even when well risen, have a soft texture that is too similar to conventional bread.
I’ve posted a couple of pics of the loaf from last week and I’d really appreciate your advice on getting it better. I’m guessing the close texture of the crumb is largely due to the low hydration of the dough. From what I’ve read on the site the recipe I’m using seems a little unusual too in having such a high volume of starter for the bread. Are there any recipes you’d advise me to try or adaptations I could make to mine?