Sourdough discard is something I do not worry about very much. There is waste and I do try to minimize it as I can. Perhaps some day I can have a compost heap, but not here. I can still afford the flour.
I reasoned, because reasoning is something I can still actually do, that the very sour flavor of the last discard pancake should carry through to a full dough. I reasoned as well that there are viable yeast in my discard waiting for a fresh food source. The next experiment is on.
For this batch, I had actually first decided to make my usual focaccia with herbs. I like the taste of basil and thyme together. I set up my autolyse as usual including the dried herbs. No measures, but I usually use a fairly full palm of basil and a pinch or two of thyme. The flour is 250 grams. Since I am out of Bread Flour, I used 75% King Arthur AP plus 25% King Arthur White Whole Wheat.
Plenty of time to Google, and I found a nice blog entry https://dusdoughs.com/2020/02/06/sourdough-discard-focaccia/ that seemed sensible. Now of course, I could not do it exactly to her recipe. My starter is 100% vs her 80% and I had already started the autolyse with a slightly higher hydration already. Focaccia is great with wet dough so no problem there. My timing was off a bit as well but 14 hours counter ferment vs 12 hours is not much of an issue either for me. The high heat in my kitchen could become an issue.
When it was time to inoculate the dough, I stuck with my usual 20%. My typical 4 stretch and folds would stay as well. Since I was going to let bulk fermentation go on while I slept, I used a much too large 2 quart Cambro just in case. Before I retired for the evening, the dough had just started to rise but it was a slow go.
In the morning, I was pleased at the progress with more 2x rise. Not as much as usual for fresh mature starter but well within a workable range. I turned the dough out into my trusty 8×8 USA pan and made perhaps three errors. First, I did not do one final stretch and fold. Barring that, I also did not flip the dough but left the open airy side up. I found that the open structure was so fragile that I could not nudge it at all without deflation so I just let it be. Lastly, after a 45 minute final rise, I decided to try to dimple as usual. With the top oiled, it did not stick much to my fingers, but it deflated quite a bit. I did add both salt and sesame seeds plus my usual four way score for pull apart ease.
The standard temps and times gave me a bread that was not nearly as brown as usual but a temperature reading of 205° told me to leave it at that. After it had cooled, I had a fairly dense flatbread with a nice crumb plus good chew. I will have to do it again of course with one change at a time to see how to adjust things to my liking. The flavor was good, but the herbs masked most of the sour. This bake scores 6/10. Later re-taste gave me a much more sour bite. Raise bake to 7/10.
Sourdough Discard Focaccia
- 63 grams White Whole Wheat
- 187 grams All Purpose Flour
- 205 grams water
- 5 grams salt
- Palm full dried basil
- Heavy pinch of dried thyme
- 50 grams sourdough discard 100% hydration
- Total Hydration 84%
- Mix flours and add water. Use hands, spatula, or Swedish Dough Whisk. It will be a shaggy dough
- Let autolyse for 60 minutes
- Add salt and fold in well
- Add starter discard and mix well. It will be very sticky. I use a stiff spatula in a vigorous circular motion
- Let rest for 30 minutes
- Do first stretch and fold followed by 30 minute rest. Total 4 stretch and folds at 30 minute intervals
- Put dough into covered bulking container for 10 to 12 hours on counter, overnight. It is a slow rise. You can also put into an oiled baking vessel to proof. I use an 8×8 USA pan or 9 inch round
- If using bulking container, dump dough very gently into oiled baking vessel in the morning and turn dough. Very gently coax dough to corners. Take care not to deflate the puffy dough. Let rest for 30-45 minutes, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Sea Salt and Sesame seeds, and dimple dough with fingers
- Bake in preheated 450° for total of 19 minutes turning down oven to 425° after 10 minutes
- Know your oven, this time and temperature are for my appliances, your experience may vary. Final internal temp should be 205°-209°
- Tip from pan and let cool on rack for at least 20 minutes