Here is the bread from my three build, four fold sourdough rye. I think an honest assessment is that four folds worked — the bread had a solid structure and no problem with loaf height or oven spring (boing!). But the three build technique did not work as well as I had hoped. I would have liked a better final proof and a lighter, slightly less chewy crumb and a crust that wasn’t quite as thick and crunchy. It was not a loaf for the faint of heart (though I really liked it).
To summarize, I added 320 grams of whole wheat flour and 265 grams of water to a 80 gram AP flour/100 gram water starter and let that ferment for 12 hours overnight, and then added 50 grams of rye flour and let that ferment for 24 hours, and then added a final 50 grams of rye flour and 10 grams of salt to make the final dough, and gave that 8 hours to proof. 64% whole wheat, 16% white flour and 20% rye, and 73% hydration. I just didn’t get the volume I wanted in the final proof.
My thinking is that sourdough culture just ran out of gas (haha), both because I did not retard the temperature of the second fermentation and because I only added the final 10% of the flour the final day. Next time I will fix both of those problems, and try to make the same loaf — just with more volume.
And I will definitely remember to do more folds for higher hydration dough that needs more structure; including baguettes. More to come on that.
Lots more baking to do.