Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Q&A -- Sourdough Bread

Bread

  • Please log in to reply
184 replies to this topic

#91 Mottmott

Mottmott
  • participating member
  • 1,303 posts

Posted 28 September 2003 - 11:26 AM

OK, it tastes good, and it looks good, but NO spring. My loaves spread out more than up. Perhaps because my slashes on the top are too vertical? It happens whether I bake directly from the fridge or I rest it at room temp for an hour or so. Or is it something about my starter perhaps?

Also, even at 475, the bottoms are still too black, so next time I will raise the stone from the bottom of the oven to a low shelf. It's odd, because I do free form tarts directly on the bottom of the oven and I haven't this problem. Maybe it's all the butter in the tart dough.
"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

#92 JFLinLA

JFLinLA
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 988 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted 08 October 2003 - 11:23 AM

So I've now made the bread twice with mixed results. The first time I was not strong enough in my convictions for the slashing. This resulted in some oddities to the shape but it otherwise came out well . . . except we couldn't/didn't wait for it to cool. The one I baked last night looks better thought didn't get the rise I was hoping for. We'll taste it tonight.

Here's my question now --

Given busy work and family schedules and all, is there some way to vary the part where you fold gently hourly for 5 hours? Like, for instance, how I slow things down with yeast bread by putting dough in the fridge and taking a few days till it's ready to bake. Here's what I'm thinking -- Mix dough, wait 30 minutes, add salt, wait 2 hours, fold once, then into the fridge. Then, do the additional folding say the next morning once, back into the fridge while I'm off to the office, fold again in the evening (perhaps more than once) and back into the fridge, etc. Essentially, take 2-3 days before baking.

Jack -- what say you?
So long and thanks for all the fish.

#93 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 08 October 2003 - 12:45 PM

My standard bread I follow the following schedule. All times are approximate.

9am Take starter out of fridge, refresh
1pm Mix dough. Put the remains of the starter back into the fridge for next time.
1.45pm (half an hour or so after mixing) Add salt. Mix some more
3pm turn the dough, if I remember
4pm Divide and shape. Put into bannetons. Put bannetons in fridge.
Next day: Take out of fridge and bake for 40 mins

Thus I would not bother to fold, once it goes into the fridge. If you are leaving it there for more than 12 hours slip it into a plastic bag (garbage bags work well) so it doesb't dry out too much.

MottMott: I'm not sure what is going wrong. No oven spring indicates the dough is overproved - try shortening the proof times, especially the second proof. I doubt if it is the slashing. Spreading sideways seems to indicate the dough is a bit too wet. Again, shortening the proof time will help, as the acid dough gets weter as it proves.
What is the protein content of the flour you are using?

#94 Msk

Msk
  • participating member
  • 352 posts

Posted 09 October 2003 - 05:00 PM

Ok I made my first bread last night.....

My Wife and I agreed it was the best bread we have ever had. Warm rustic bread slathered with butter just can't be beat. The crust was phenominal, crunchy and thick. I have pictures just nowhere to host them.

One quick question, the inside seemed a bit damp and spongy. Was it underdone or was there some other issue involved? It didn't seem to raise much during the proofing, and I have to admit it probably was closer to 80 F.

Once you have a healthy starter, the effort/reward of this stuff is just incredible. Jack just so you know, I named my starter Jack! :smile: ( I have a whole wheat one we named Jill too!)

Thanks,

Mike

Msk

P.S. Off to feed Jack!

#95 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 09 October 2003 - 11:48 PM

My guess is that you did not leave it to get cool before eating. Hard to do, but needs that time to set up. Some breads, like Rye, are even better next day.
If the bread is underdone it is kind of pudding-like and claggy. If the crust is good, but the crumb is under cooked, cook a litle cooler for longer. I'm sure you will soon dial-in to whatever suits your environment.

Jack and Jill will rest perfectly happily in the fridge without attention until needed.

#96 gsquared

gsquared
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 497 posts
  • Location:Wilderness

Posted 10 October 2003 - 02:16 AM

Msk, PM me and we can make arrangements for hosting your pics.
Gerhard Groenewald
www.mesamis.co.za
Wilderness

#97 Msk

Msk
  • participating member
  • 352 posts

Posted 12 October 2003 - 09:03 AM

Here are the pics. You can see the sheen on the cut loaf to show how it was sort of "spongy." I promise to have more self control next time on letting it cool!

Posted Image

Posted Image

Msk

#98 iain

iain
  • participating member
  • 194 posts
  • Location:Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Posted 12 October 2003 - 01:55 PM

I'm just about to get started making the bread for the first time. I began with a very dry starter and started refreshing it on Friday night - adding 1 cup water and 1 cup flour. On Saturday AM, it was looking bubbly and refreshed again with 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup flour. I was going to make the dough Saturday night but ran out of time. I just left the starter out on the counter and am going to make the dough now - Sunday evening.

Reading through all the Q&A here, I think I probably should have put the starter in the fridge when I realized I wouldn't have time to make the dough. Anyone think there's any harm in leaving the starter out an additional 24 hours (in a sealed jar)? It seems fine - looks and smells pretty much the same as it did last night.

I'll let you all know how the bread turns out. I might post pictures, if I remember to take them at critical points along the way.

Edited by iain, 12 October 2003 - 03:11 PM.


#99 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 12 October 2003 - 03:41 PM

Looks great bread! Well done! Good texture crumb and crust.

Starter should be fine - just hungry. If you put it in the fridge it takes a while to warm up and wake up.
If in doubt refresh it again

#100 kwillets

kwillets
  • legacy participant
  • 5 posts

Posted 13 October 2003 - 12:20 AM

That loaf looks over-malted, i.e. there was too much amylase breaking down the starch for too long a period. I've learned to look out for that sheen, and the gummy, moist texture. Regular flour has enough malt to support a 2-4 hour fermentation; much beyond that, the gumminess begins to emerge as the starch chains break into much shorter chains. I've made a number of well-fermented, flavorful, and gummy sourdoughs due to this fact.

Organic flour doesn't have malt (an organic product) in it for some reason, so you can mix it 50-50 with regular flour to lengthen the fermentation time, or use all-organic and add small amounts of malt separately (it's easy to make from sprouted grain, but the strength is hard to gauge). I believe rye flour has copious amounts of amylase in it as well, due to a tendency to sprout on the stalk.

Whole wheat (of any type) flour also lacks malt, presumably because it wouldn't be wholly wheat if it did.

In any case, try flour with less malt in it; you have a number of choices.

#101 Chef Fowke

Chef Fowke
  • participating member
  • 782 posts
  • Location:Vancouver, BC

Posted 13 October 2003 - 12:54 AM

I am amazed. What a great course. I cannot believe the photos! Congratulations to everyone who is baking sourdough with such success! It is an art that takes time and patients to master. The photos of the bread are very appetizing. I wish my bread at the restaurant always looked that good.

We are using a five-year-old starter (started with the yeast off of fresh grapes from Napa) and the bread is worth the effort. Bakers are worth there weight in gold. I am so pleased when I see the faces of my customers when they first bite into the bread!

Keep up the hard work on this bread project. It is brilliant (it took my professional baker six months to master his starter
Chef/Owner/Teacher
Website: Chef Fowke dot com

#102 iain

iain
  • participating member
  • 194 posts
  • Location:Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Posted 13 October 2003 - 03:45 PM

So...my bread's done and I have a few photos to post. I also have a few questions about some things that didn't work out quite as expected. Before I post, though, I just wanted to check in and see if there's any problem extending this lesson so far out from the initial date. I know I'm late to the game here.

#103 Mottmott

Mottmott
  • participating member
  • 1,303 posts

Posted 13 October 2003 - 06:26 PM

MottMott: I'm not sure what is going wrong. No oven spring indicates the dough is overproved - try shortening the proof times, especially the second proof. I doubt if it is the slashing. Spreading sideways seems to indicate the dough is a bit too wet. Again, shortening the proof time will help, as the acid dough gets weter as it proves.
What is the protein content of the flour you are using?


I used King Arthur bread flour. (I think it's 12.7%)

Edited by Mottmott, 13 October 2003 - 06:27 PM.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

#104 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 14 October 2003 - 12:00 AM

So...my bread's done and I have a few photos to post. I also have a few questions about some things that didn't work out quite as expected. Before I post, though, I just wanted to check in and see if there's any problem extending this lesson so far out from the initial date. I know I'm late to the game here.

Fire away!

12.7% is a bit high. The flour I use is 11.7%.

Also, as noted by kwillets the KA flour has malt in it.
Some bakers like adding malt. No less and authority then Prof Cavel advises its use (and Vitamic C), but he does not add the yeast/sponge until after the amylisation step - the 30 minute rest time after first mixing.

Edited by jackal10, 14 October 2003 - 12:06 AM.


#105 iain

iain
  • participating member
  • 194 posts
  • Location:Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Posted 14 October 2003 - 06:29 AM

Ok...here are some pics of my first attempt.

Just out of the fridge. It didn't rise all that much (was in there for 13 hours - after a 3 hour proof in the oven [off, of course]):

Posted Image


With slashes. One is deeper than the rest, though you can't really see that in this photo. The pattern is from the dish towel I used:

Posted Image


Fresh from the oven. You can see here the rise was a little uneven. It sort of blew out the deeper slash. I'm thinking that if all the slashes were as deep as that one, the rise would have been much more even. Thoughts?

Posted Image


And from another angle:

Posted Image


Here you can see the first slices. I'm not sure if you can tell from here, but the texture inside was rather gummy. Like mottmott, I'm using King Arthur bread flour. Maybe I could have left it in the oven longer, but from the outside it seemed pretty much done. The dough was also pretty wet and loose after the 3 hour proof, so maybe that's a contributing factor?

Posted Image


And a close up of the bread. Notice the uneven holes - bigger towards the bottom. I'm thinking my dough was just too wet from the get go.

Posted Image

That's it. Despite the problems, the bread tasted great. It was a little gummy in texture, but I'm hoping to correct that next time. I'll be baking another loaf this week, incorporating any feedback from here.

Thanks everyone!

#106 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 14 October 2003 - 08:00 AM

That looks great bread!

The big holes do indicate a wet dough. You might get more even and rounder holes if you turn the dough (turn it out onto a board, flatten gently, and then fold side to side and top to bottom, like making puff pastry) every hour for the 3 hours of bulk fermentation.

Nancy Silverton says that the bread is less likely to blow out of you let it come to room temperature before baking. I'm not sure about this - I think it doesn't rise as much.

#107 tejon

tejon
  • participating member
  • 1,385 posts
  • Location:Portland, Oregon

Posted 14 October 2003 - 11:24 AM

Question - for the banneton, what diameter basket would be best? I have many baskets and some unbleached muslin, and I figure making one up would be pretty simple. I have two baskets that are about the right shape: one is 8.5 inches (about 21.5 cm), the other is 11 inches (28 cm). I'm thinking the smaller one would be about right - what do you think?
Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

#108 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 14 October 2003 - 11:33 AM

May seem obvious, biut it depends what size bread you want to bake.
I've just measured mine, and they are 25cm outside diameter, 22cm inside.

If you can use linen rather than muslin. Muslin is quite a loose weave, and the bread might stick.

Edited by jackal10, 14 October 2003 - 01:54 PM.


#109 tejon

tejon
  • participating member
  • 1,385 posts
  • Location:Portland, Oregon

Posted 14 October 2003 - 12:55 PM

Thank you! I'm off to the fabric store, in search of a bit of linen :smile:
Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

#110 iain

iain
  • participating member
  • 194 posts
  • Location:Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Posted 14 October 2003 - 05:09 PM

The big holes do indicate a wet dough. You might get more even and rounder holes if you turn the dough (turn it out onto a board,  flatten gently, and then fold side to side and top to bottom, like making puff pastry) every hour for the 3 hours of bulk fermentation.

Do you think that the fact that the dough might have been a little wet contributed to gumminess of the final product, or would undercooking be a more likely suspect?

#111 Mottmott

Mottmott
  • participating member
  • 1,303 posts

Posted 14 October 2003 - 06:06 PM

Could the gumminess reflect the bread needing a little more time in the oven? Mine has sometimes been on the verge of gummy when the internal temperature was below 212f. (aT 200)
"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

#112 Robert Schonfeld

Robert Schonfeld
  • participating member
  • 802 posts

Posted 14 October 2003 - 06:23 PM

There's a very nice underlying structure to Iain's first loaf, one that will show itself better with practice, no doubt.

You can learn to evaluate the doneness of a loaf by its look, its color, its sound when tapped on the bottom. It's like poking a piece of meat as it cooks.
Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

#113 JFLinLA

JFLinLA
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 988 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted 21 October 2003 - 08:59 AM

OK, continuing to practice with mixed results but I am confident that I will get better with time and repetition.

Today's questions is, how to you dry the starter? Once I've got it good and active, I'd like to get some dried to keep around just in case something happens to the stuff living in my refrigerator or to share with others.
So long and thanks for all the fish.

#114 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 21 October 2003 - 09:07 AM

I find it easiest to make a sort of very dry lasagne sheet with the starter and some extra flour, roll it out with a pasta machine, and let that dry.
Another way is to spread it out thinly on silicone paper (or even clingfilm) let that dry, and then powder it.

#115 Robert Schonfeld

Robert Schonfeld
  • participating member
  • 802 posts

Posted 21 October 2003 - 03:46 PM

Or make the driest dough ball you can, chop it into pieces, and whizz the pieces in a blender. Store the result in a tightly sealed jar. I kept one once in a cupboard for over a year, including through a hot summer, and it reactivated just fine.
Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

#116 JFLinLA

JFLinLA
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 988 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted 21 October 2003 - 04:09 PM

Or make the driest dough ball you can, chop it into pieces, and whizz the pieces in a blender. Store the result in a tightly sealed jar. I kept one once in a cupboard for over a year, including through a hot summer, and it reactivated just fine.

No refrigeration? Really?
So long and thanks for all the fish.

#117 Robert Schonfeld

Robert Schonfeld
  • participating member
  • 802 posts

Posted 21 October 2003 - 04:32 PM

No refrigeration?  Really?

Correct
Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

#118 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 25 October 2003 - 01:06 AM

I can now reveal that the original source of the starter that I distributed was collected by Alan Sims, in a Californian vineyard. Alan is the former librarian (now retired) of Sutter's Fort.

He writes:
"I was delighted to hear that our California starter has risen to such heights world wide!

May I request that you include the name of my good friend Richard Simpson, owner of the Zinfandel grape vineyard?.... As a frequent visitor to his family's ranch for many years, I enjoyed his mother's wonderful sourdough pancakes, biscuits, and cakes. She baked daily on her wood stove. The only other heat source in the old ranch house was the fireplace. Many a cold morning we huddled around her stove!

When I see Richard I will tell him about his now famous starter."

Thanks Alan and Richard! The starter has given pleasure (and good bread) to many!

Edited by jackal10, 25 October 2003 - 01:21 AM.


#119 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 28 October 2003 - 04:03 PM

Alan writes further:

Just this afternoon I was finally able to connect with my good friend Richard Simpson to ask further about the starter that he made for me.
First of all he was so pleased to hear that a product from his vineyard - other than fine Zinfandel grapes - has pleased so many - bakers rather than vintners.
He wanted me to assure you that the grape mash was naturally fermented - no yeast added. He simply picked some of his crop, mashed the grapes, placed them in a container covered with cheese cloth, and hung the container in the vineyard and let Mother Nature work her magic. After two days the fermentation had begun. We figured that the starter was created over ten years ago.
I recall that it was purple in color and emitted a rich grape flavor. After being used many times, the dough lost its purple hue, but I still contend it has retained a faint grape flavor. (Probably just my
imagination!)
The name of his ranch is the Simpson Ranch, located in the small community of Meadow Vista, in Nevada County in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The ranch has been in existence for well over a hundred years in his family's name.
Richard developed his small vineyard many years ago. Its crop was highly sought after by local vintners. I and many of his friends, about twenty of us looked forward each year to picking the grapes, always a grand occasion with great food and ample good wine. Great pits were dug for cooking the great slabs of meat that were wrapped in various herbal leaves from the ranch, then buried in the coals and allowed to bake slowly, while we labored in the vineyard. Richard and his wife Roxanne are superb cooks. Sadly, the vineyard is no longer in production.

#120 slbunge

slbunge
  • participating member
  • 783 posts
  • Location:St Paul, MN

Posted 27 March 2004 - 04:49 PM

Just wanted to revive this thread and share my recent experiences.

Though I came late to finding this course, Jackal10 was kind enough to continue the sourdough starter offer and it arrived safe and sound this past week. I added about half of what arrived to a batter of equal parts flour and water. It took basically all day to get things bubbling (house was colder than the advised temp) so I fed it once before bed and left it atop the refrigerator.

By morning, I had this.
Posted Image
Quite promising. So, I proceeded to whip up a batch of bread following the instructions in the course materials. Note that I used King Arthur AP flour rather than bread flour. The protein content matched one of the notes in this thread above so I chose not to add any bread flour. I may on the next batch, just for comparison.

A snafu of timing kept me from baking this morning as anticipated so the dough sat in a colander, wrapped in a towel for 26 hours. A bit longer than recommended. I didn't have a suitable basket and thought that the colander might provide a bit more air movement.

This is the bread prior to baking. Note the star on the pre-cut view, that is the pattern of holes from the colander.
Posted Image

My four slashes could have been better placed to provide a larger square so the spring was a bit more even. As it was, the bread appeared to have a rather severe tumor growing out the top. (Also, pardon the hurriedly opened paper from the butter that dominates the background.)
Posted Image

Regardless, the bread baked up nicely. I baked for 40 minutes at 450F with a cheapo stone on the floor of the oven. The bottom was a bit charred.

The flavor was quite nice. Hint of sour, nice sort of toasted nut flavors. The texture was chewy and the crust had a great tooth. I wanted a bit more open texture. Perhaps a longer proof pre-refrigeration or less time in the refrigerator?

In all, well worth the effort and I will continue to work the recipe, especially now that I have a jar of starter available.
Stephen Bunge
St Paul, MN





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Bread