What little faith I had … scoring is intimidating. I’ve rarely gotten what I felt was good scoring.
I looked at several uTube videos … I looked at many images of bread loaves that had been scored … and I fretted … and I doubted and I bought a lame that allowed for a straight blade placement. Oh I doubted and fretted. I doubted and fretted. How I doubted and fretted. And then did it again.
The recipe below was adapted especially heavily in the leaven due to my starter not traveling well. (Not traveling well translates to tipping over in an ice chest. Yes, what a joy to clean.)
Therefore my starter was not fully mature. I gave both the starter and dough a pinch of yeast.
Elizabeth directed that we use a “slack” dough. That immediately brought to mind visions of “The Infamous CROCK”.
This is decidedly SLACK dough. Knowing I had a very immature starter, I gave this a boost with just a pinch of yeast, I allowed all the time … and then some.
Sitting out on the counter, these were two flat and running out loose dough balls. Ball can only very loosely be used to describe the flat disks on the counter. There was no shape holding, there was no bottom seam when I poured this into the bannetons. The 16 hours overnight in the refrigerator gave no rise to either loaf. Gently easing the dough from the bannetons onto the peels resulted in flat 1 1/2 inch rounds of red dough.
Because of the way my morning was spinning frantically along, Gorn wanting sandwich bread and not something unknown … I didn’t really have time to do much thinking or planning about anything.
Suddenly … yes, suddenly, I found myself facing these two flat red dough balls and thinking “Just give them a couple of wacks and call it.” Perhaps the Babe in me rebelled but regardless, I put the lame to it and in short order … I mean really short order without planning what would work or happen, I was putting two slashed loaves in the oven. BAM.
Twenty minutes into the bake I checked to rotate the loaves and was totally shocked to find amazing oven spring! Wow. And what is this, actual and something of reasonable scoring patterns. Maybe not what would be termed practiced or professional but for a first try, more than acceptable. DONE.
Now I can say, I am so very glad you put us up to this one Elizabeth. This is what is so good about this little group: Once again, you’ve put me up to something I would put off forever trying. A big thank you to our Kitchen Of the Month, Elizabeth.
Recipe Adapted from Sourdough: Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories and More by Sarah Owens
Yield: 2 loaves
600 grams fresh beets, weighted 1 1/2 beets
440 grams water
60 grams 100% hydration starter
30 grams water
60 grams bread flour
290 grams beet puree + the 440 grams water
550 grams bread flour
145 grams whole wheat flour
35 grams medium rye flour
30 grams ground flax seed
15 grams sea salt
1. Roast the Beets 450° F oven
Place beets in covered baker 45 -60 minutes.
Rub skins off.
Put 290 grams of beets into blender with water; blend to smooth slurry. (An aside: Why does the ingredient list call for 600 grams fresh beets and then the directions call for using only 290 grams? I made pickled beets because Gorn loves them.)
2. Build Leaven 8-10 hours.
Stir starter and water to form slurry.
Add flour and stir till smooth.
Allow to ferment at room temperature.
3. Build the Dough Mix beet puree with leaven and combine.
Add flours & mix to completely hydrate with no lumps.
Autolyze for 20 minutes before ADDing salt.
Sprinkle salt over dough and mix thoroughly until completely incorporated.
Allow to bulk ferment for 3-4 hours.
Stretch and fold every 30 minutes building dough strength.
4. Shape Dough Lightly flour the counter.
Divide dough into two pieces.
Preshape into balls, cover and allow to rest 10 – 30 minutes.
Final shape the dough and place seam side up into well floured bannetons.
Cover and retard for 8 to 12 hours overnight in the refrigerator.
5. Bake on preheated stone Remove the loaves from the refrigerator at least an hour before baking.
Preheat oven to 550° F at least 30 minutes – long enough to turn croutons into charcoal briquettes and totally smoke up the kitchen …
When the oven is read, turn the loaves out onto peels well covered with semolina flour.
Score the loaves.
Spray the oven walls and slide the loaves onto the hot bake stone.
Spray the oven walls 3 minutes twice.
Turn the oven temperature down to 450°F
Bake another 25 to 35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 205°F. Should sound hollow when thumped on bottom.
6. Considerations The sugar in the beets may tend to brown the crust quickly so watch closely, rotates the loaves and if it begins to darken too much you may cover in foil to keep from burning.
This month’s bread isn’t really about the recipe (but this was really really great bread) it’s about taking a deep breath with lame in hand and just give it a go. Bake with us. Stop doubting. Deep Breath … SCORE!
We would love for you to try out some decorative scoring with any recipe you like and join in as a buddy baker this month! You don’t have to have a blog to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or link to your post of your finished loaf to Blog from OUR kitchen by the 29th of this month. New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants’ baking results during that time.