Overnight Country Blonde: First Attempt
Having recently purchased Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish, it seemed appropriate that I try out a recipe! I decided to try the Overnight Country Blonde. I studied the recipe, watched Ken’s videos on Youtube and read back any posts I could find here on TFL (and there were quite a few!).
The first thing I noticed was the long overnight bulk rising. At first, for some reason, I thought the bulk rise would be in the fridge. But after reading Skibum’s recent post I realized that the rise was suppose to be at room temperature. Now, I have had pretty good success with a sourdough version of the almost no-knead method, but by my calculations, I would be using about twice as much starter. Wasn’t sure how that was going to work. Also, I noticed quite a few people had issues with the long bulk rise, especially in a warmer environment. Night temperatures here have been around 70 degrees lately, so it is a tad warmer than Ken’s kitchen. However, I did want to try to stick as close to the original recipe as possible. Here is my process:
First off, I didn’t use his method for building the starter. I just built up my starter to the amount needed for the recipe. That worked well, though of course I have no idea if it makes a difference in the flavor.
I adjusted the time schedule a bit. I started the autolyze and mixing later in the evening. Because I was worried about ending up with soup the next morning, I decided to decrease the hydration a tad. I would say down to about 75%. The final mix was around 8:00 pm and I did my final stretch and folds just before midnight. I got up at 7:30 am and this is what I saw:
The blue line shows about where the dough was when I went to bed. It passed the 2 liter mark and was just starting to fall. A tad over-proofed. The dough was quite slack but not totally unworkable. I was able to do the letter folds but had a heck of a time getting good tension when forming the boule. Can’t say I totally succeeded with that.
I then put it in a small casserole dish lined with parchment paper (next purchase… bannetons) and let it rise. At 1.5 hours it looked and felt like it was approaching overproofing so I quickly turned on the oven and a half hour later popped it in the dutch oven. And here is the result:
All in all, I think it turned out pretty good. I think it lacks big holes because I worked a little too hard to shape it. But the texture is good and the crust is thin and crispy. And the flavor is great.
I want to try it again, but have to think about how I am going to control the bulk rise.
Source: Fresh Loaf