Wow. So much great info. Yes, I was under-fermenting until recently. Started stirring my starter to oxygenate and saw good results, but was clueless about all the benefits. Glad that Addie explained why her book is only digital - shameless commerce strikes again. Of course I'll buy the digital book, yet wish it might have been self-published in print. Bakers like tactility. Thanks for a great interview.

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Thank you very much for the support! It means a lot!

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Oct 11, 2023Liked by Andrew Janjigian

Very interesting and some very new ideas to me. I have discovered in the last year or so that I am having better results if I trust my senses rather than just "follow the rules". I am not saying that I ignore recipes or the wisdom of those who have made a lot more bread than I have, but I am getting better at letting each batch of dough take its own time and trust myself to recognize where it's at.

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My library has grown a lot since reading about different books here but they rarely spark that almost childlike excitement and wonder (which doesn’t come after 59 very often). Off to the kitchen! Thank you!

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I read the book over the weekend and tried to put some of the ideas into use. I used the 1:6:6 ratio for feeding my starter and stirred it a couple of times, and it definitely had a bigger rise than usual: 4X or 5X. But I am not an every day baker and can't bring myself to discard all the starter I would need to discard in order to maintain a daily feeding schedule.

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Fair enough, Rick. Not everyone can. Recently I've scaled down to only 20g of flour per feeding, which really doesn't generate all that much discard. And sometimes I only feed once per day instead of twice when I'm not going to be using the starter anytime soon (mostly out of laziness), but I still leave it at room temperature between feedings. I suspect this works best when using a lower hydration of 75%, which I do.

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This was a fascinating read, and provided some new avenues for experimentation. My go-to loaf is all whole wheat at 80% hydration, where I use 100 grams of starter, a 1-2 hour autolyse (with the starter, but no salt), then add the salt and do 3-4 rounds of stretch and folds. After reading what Addie is doing, I changed one thing up (well, two things): Upped the hydration to 90% and did an overnight autolyse (15 hours) without starter or salt, then in the morning added the 100 g of starter and a half hour later the salt. Then, three rounds of stretch and folds, and bulk fermentation for about 6 hours until well risen and ready to bake. I used my usual covered loaf pan with parchment started in a cold oven set to 485, and the rest as always. My observations:

1. The dough was indeed very "soft", but very manageable after the overnight autolyse.

2. I had to be very gentle with the stretch and folds (actually, gravity stretch and folds, letting the dough hang by it's own weight).

3. I chose not to do anything with to revive the starter beforehand (an Addie technique). I use my refrigerated starter every 5 days or so, and it seems plenty strong when I need it. I enjoy using all but a teaspoon of my starter each time, which means no "discard" and a fast bulk fermentation.

4. The dough was very slack, but was fine in my loaf pan. It would be interesting to try it in the dutch oven. It was super-difficult to score because it was so soft, but I managed to mangle the top enough to be good enough (may need to change my blade).

5. I may try the lamination one day to see if it really is "better" than my gravity stretch and folds, but when I've tried it in the past, I found that the extra effort and mess wasn't worth it. Stretch and folds are so easy!

6. The result was a loaf with a noticeable more open and supple crumb, good flavor, and soft texture in my mouth. It was no more or less sour than my usual (not surprising, since the amount of time with the starter is the same).

I'll try this again. I think the little bit of extra effort is worth the outcome. The last time I changed up my usual technique was when I adopted the Bittman Bread technique of the cold start and found no difference from a hot start. Next time I may see what happens if I revive the starter beforehand, but my instinct is that it won't make much difference.

Thanks for sharing these!

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Feb 9Liked by Andrew Janjigian

This was a great read. Big fan here of Addie's instagram and recently bought the PDF. Need to find the time to sit down and read it. (I do wish it were a physical book, but I 100% understand.)

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