Thanks for your thoughts...
you know... The thinking behind gradually adding water is unknown for me. It's just the recipe I follow from my first book about bread. Since I don't like doing things just "because" I threw away my old recipe book today, and ordered both Dan Lepard's and Ed Wood's books.
After doing more experiments today I have even more questions...
This is my routine.
On the days I bake I always follow the same recipe. 8'ish, preferment/sponge with a tablespoon or so of starter and equal amounts of flour/water. The flour I use in the sponge will amount to about 30% of my total flour weight. Today for example I used 150g flour in the sponge and 450g total.
When i get home from work 8-12 hours later, my pre-ferment should be bubbely and active. Recently It hasn't, and I now figured out that 35-38 degrees is probably not very good for it.
Adding more flour and water (of course using my Online Baker's percentage calculator
) to get the values I want.
My routine uptil now has been to rise the dough for 1 hour, and proof it for anohter, before cutting and baking.
Now my questions begin ; Any answer of any depth on any of them will be warmly recieved.
A) What is the purpose of both rise & proof ? Why don't just form the dough and proof it for a longer time. What good does the "knockdown" add ?
B) I recently discovered that when I cut my loaves before putting them in, the cuts are not deep enogh and the crust cracks elsewere. Should I cut even deeper ?
C) I discovered (to my horror) that I probably have been keeping my sponge/preferment, and dough during rising in 32-35 degrees C. Could this have killed the yeast ? Explaining poor rise ?
D) I get REAL poor oven spring. How can I get more? I want more more more ! :-) :-)
And today; ... Darn! I forgot the salt... :-) It's a good thing the loaves are only for practice .-)
I guess a lot of these questions will be answered when my books arrive as well. In the mean time, please feel free to fill me in !