Country Sourdough with Egg
I’ve made my country sourdough recipe numerous times in the past, but I’m always tinkering with my formulas. This time I employed both a stiff sweet levain (I didn’t want this bread to be sour) and I also added an egg. The addition of the egg is said to improve oven spring and may help with achieving a thinner crispier crust given the additional fat. An egg is approximately 74% water so if you’re adding an egg to one of your formulas reduce the hydration by 74% of the weight of the egg that you add assuming you wish to maintain the hydration.
15 g starter + 21 g brown sugar + 27 g water + 45 g whole wheat flour
Ferment 78°F overnight
Stiff sweet levain at peak
In the morning mix 1 lg egg and 324 g water. Add salt and all the stiff sweet levain. Breakdown and attempt to dissolve the levain.
Add whole wheat and whole rye flours. Then finally add bread flour and mix until no dry flour remains. Measure pH
Fermentolyse for 20 to 30 mins.
Knead dough well until at least moderate gluten development, can use French folds or stand mixer.
Do a bench letter fold. Extract aliquot jar doughs one for rise and one for pH.
Every 30 mins thereafter do coil folds until the dough is strong and holds its shape well.
Rest for the remainder of bulk until an aliquot jar rise of 40-50% the shape the dough. Follow the pH to ensure that the pH isn’t falling too much allowing gluten degradation.
Once shaped place in banneton. Allow further bench proofing until rise of 80-90% before either baking or overnight cold retard.
Pre-heat oven to 500°F with cast iron skillet in the oven and set up for open steam baking.
30 mins prior to baking, pour 1 L of boiling water into metal loaf pan with Sylvia towel and place on baking steel on the lowest rack of the oven.
Once oven reaches 500ºF turn dough out of banneton, brush excess rice flour off, score and then brush with water. Transfer to oven. Pour 250 mL of boiling water into the cast iron skillet on a high shelf, high enough that the dough have fully bloom. Drop temperature to 450ºF and bake with steam for 25 mins. Then vent oven and remove all steaming gear and drop temperature to 425ºF. Bake for another 25-30 mins rotating as needed.
The stiff sweet levain did create a less acid dough. The dough started with a pH of 5.88 after mixing which is quite high for a dough with so little whole grain. At the time of cold retard the pH had fallen to only 5.34. Typically I would see a fall of between 1.1 to 1.3 at this point.