Baker Betty is a passionate home baker who has been experimenting with sourdough for over a decade. She loves sharing her knowledge and experience with fellow sourdough enthusiasts.
Dear sourdough enthusiasts,
If you're like me, you've probably marveled at those beautiful, airy loaves of sourdough bread with those characteristic large holes. Achieving those holes can be a bit of a challenge, but fear not! I'm here to share some tips and techniques to help you achieve that perfect texture in your King Arthur sourdough bread.
1. Use a high hydration dough: One of the key factors in creating those large holes is having a high hydration dough. This means using a higher ratio of water to flour in your dough. A hydration level of around 75% to 80% is a good starting point. The extra moisture in the dough helps create steam during baking sourdough bread in a Dutch oven, which contributes to the formation of those beautiful holes.
2. Give your dough enough time to ferment: Patience is key when it comes to sourdough bread making. Allowing your dough to ferment for a longer period of time, typically 12 to 24 hours, will give the yeast and bacteria in your sourdough starter enough time to produce carbon dioxide gas. This gas is what creates those lovely bubbles and holes in the bread.
3. Incorporate stretch and folds: During the bulk fermentation stage, incorporating stretch and folds into your dough helps strengthen the gluten structure and create tension. This tension, combined with the gas produced by the yeast, contributes to the formation of those large holes. To do a stretch and fold, simply grab one side of the dough, stretch it upwards, and fold it over the rest of the dough. Repeat this process a few times during the fermentation period.
4. Experiment with different flours: Different types of flours can have a significant impact on the texture of your sourdough bread. Whole wheat flour, for example, tends to produce a denser crumb with smaller holes. On the other hand, using bread flour or a combination of bread flour and all-purpose flour can help create a lighter, more open crumb with larger holes. Don't be afraid to experiment with different flours to find the texture that you prefer. You can also try using your sourdough starter in different recipes, like this sourdough banana bread.
5. Score your dough: Scoring your dough before baking not only adds a beautiful aesthetic touch, but it also helps control the expansion of the bread during baking. By creating a pattern of shallow cuts on the surface of the dough, you can guide the expansion and encourage the formation of those large holes.
Remember, achieving the perfect texture in your sourdough bread takes practice and experimentation. Don't be discouraged if your first few loaves don't turn out exactly as you hoped. Keep trying, and with time, you'll develop the skills and techniques to create those beautiful, holey loaves of sourdough bread. If you're looking for a fun twist on the classic sourdough loaf, try this grilled cheese sourdough recipe.