Ingredients do play a role, but mostly handling. In an attempt to make my bread a little lighter (and I believe mildly successfully), I use 1 cup (per the two loaves) of an alternative flour. I had been using barley flour up until this weekend, but having run out of barley I tried short grain brown rice flour. The bread seems just a tad more crumbly, but pretty close to the same texture as the barley.
My basic process is as follows.
The night before, take 6 tablespoons of my refrigerated starter and add 2/3c tepid water, whisk briskly, mix in 1 cup of whole wheat flour and let sit overnight.
Sunday morning before leaving for church, whisk in 1c tepid water, mix in 2 1/4c whole wheat flour and leave till after church.
Upon return home, grind the remaining 5 cups of wheat flour. Mix 4 cups with 2/3 cup of water and rest for 30 minutes (autolyse)
Mix in 3 cups of sourdough starter (stirred down) and the remaining ingredients. Knead in Bosch for 5 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes. Knead in 1 cup of barley flour and remaining 1 cup of wheat flour + extra based on feel. Add 1 tsp baking soda in the last minute of kneading.
Knead by hand for about 1 minute and let rise for an hour or so in oiled glass bowl.
Slice in two, shape into loaves, and place in greased, floured glass bread pans.
Let rise till it’s about the size you want it (see pictures on previous post) with oiled plastic wrap covering it. This takes 5-7 hours depending on the temperature.
Bake on 325 for 45 minutes.
Cool on racks overnight.
If you can’t pass the windowpane test during kneading, let the dough rest a second time for 10 minutes or so. The key to passing the windowpane and consequently getting a better rise and crumb is soaking (autolyse). The home ground flour needs extra time to soak up the water.
The New York Times technique I’ve been experimenting with puts this soaking fact to work. The longer you soak the flour, the nicer the texture. I’ll probably try blending these two recipes. Maybe the first thing to try is throwing the dough in the refrigerator for a day instead of putting it out to rise…