From the Primeval Ooze

… that’s how it feels. Emerging from the tyranny of four years of baking to order. During that time the emphasis had to be on ease of production.  Virtually every dough had to fit into the same routine and time frame so that the order was ready to time and of a saleable quality. I don’t think the quality suffered – I got nothing but praise from customers – but if the dough in the mixer looked a bit wet it might well have got a extra shovel of flour for ease of handling when I would have let it go if there were no other considerations. You don’t look for challenges at five in the morning.

So, now I have taught myself about turning out volume (in small kitchen terms) I can go back to learning about doughs

Pain a l’ancienne. I haven’t really done a lot with wet doughs so I track down a recipe of Shiao-Ping  that he posted on Sourdough Companion all of three years ago. You can find it here.

So I’ve done the white version:


I didn’t bother about starter at 75%, stuck to my standard 100% but followed his method pretty much exactly. Day 2 evening I fermented the dough with hourly folds for only 3 hours as opposed to his 4-5. Didn’t bother to prove for an hour after shaping before putting it back in the fridge. Didn’t spray the oven or play with the temperature. Cut it too soon.


Didn’t get the perfectly open crumb but it’s pretty fabulous bread.

The wholemeal version at 87% hydration is at this moment in the fridge. It is scarily wet.

5 thoughts on “From the Primeval Ooze

  1. Hey Mick, Interesting that you didn’t get the holes that Shiao-Ping gets, since you actually used more water than she did – so I assume the difference is in the extra amount of time at room temp and the folds – I would have guessed that the hydration would have been the difference – interesting! BTW, Shiao-Ping is a she.

  2. Yeah, sorry Shiao-Ping. At least I didn’t assume she was a man as I have been guilty of in the past.
    Not sure I agree with you though on the subject of folds and room temp – just have to experiment a little.

  3. Hi Matt
    I missed out on that and now I can’t even log onto the forum – I reckon that Terry’s keeping me out.
    I finally tracked down Shiao-Ping’s blog on Fresh Loaf – she makes me feel slipshod and a bit scruffy

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