I've been making a modified version of the no knead bread (the little symbol near my name is a picture of how it always comes). It's delicious.
Then my husband got interested (yay) and has taken over the breadmaking. I was getting sick of having to deal with it every day, because we eat lots of bread and it was really getting hard to keep up, with work and all.
Then our daughter made us a sourdough starter which came very well, using whole grain rye flour and water, and he started using that. It seems that we can't get it to come right. I've tried it (thinking he has only a year of experience making bread and i have 40) but it always has a similar problem.
With the yeast version (1/4 tsp yeast to 4 cups flour) the top comes all rounded, and i slit it in a cross and the inside part comes up and makes a ball filling the space between the triangles where the outer skin was slit. (you can probably see in the photo next to my name)
With the sourdough version the bread rises, but is more crumbly. The triangles of the outer skin form a crust that sticks up in the center, the points of the crust curling up raised up from the bulk of the bread, and the part of the bread between the slits where it opens up remain lower, and instead of raising smoothly, get all cracked like arid land during a drought. So the surface is made of four triangles coming toward the center of smooth crust that rise at the tops, and the space between them is all cracked and doesn't come up as much so the triangles are higher than the places between them..
I tried doing it with more water and with less. We used half cup starter and 1/4th cup starter - whole and white flour and all white flour. Nothing works. It seemed at first liek there was too much flour and then like there was too little, but the problem remained.
Is there something wrong with the starter? Is this typical of sourdough? any ideas?
here;s the recipe we used
1 cup whole wheat flour (occasionally we use all white flour - same problem,)
2 1/2 cups white bread flour
3 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup starter
mix starter before measuring. mix dry ingredients, add starter and water and mix well to combine.
cover with plastic, sit 18 hours.
add a little flour and knead briefly in the bowl.
Shape in ball and put on baking parchment and let rise 1 1/2 to 2 hours while heating oven and cast iron casserole and cover
slit and bake
I'm pretty experienced, and have a feel for the right quantities of water and flour and adjust if too wet or dry, and use the same temp and technique as for the other bread. We make the two exactly the same but with different leavening - starter or yeast. Also the sourdough one has a thick crust that is not too pleasant. The other has a tender and crispy crust.
I wish i could send a picture but my camera broke.