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The rehabilitation of a failed baker


gsquared
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That's one heck of an experiment. I'm impressed.

I'm wishing you all the best in coaxing the b(y)eastie boys into playing nicely with others. There's something inherently absurd in many serious endeavors. Good Luck! And lots of laughter.

I keep wondering if the local humidity makes a difference. Also, what cleaning materials are used on the 'folding' board? And if you are using oil at any stage, what kind? I have no idea what to do with the answers tho.

I thank you for this thread, because its providing me with such an education. I've made sourdough before, lo these many years ago, but never with the kind of analytical approach being tried. Its really great.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Er hem...I've only one year's worth of natural leaven experience under my belt...so pls take the following with a great pinch of celtic salt (which I use).

Puzzled about the dormant performance of your breads, Gerhard, I decided to see how I fared with Jack's baguette formula, having never used 100% plain flour for breads before. Initially, I thought of doing the no-time method (which, again, I've never done before) but I had a glitch with my food processor...so back to Dan's familiar method.

Here's my report:

1. Pre-ferment for 8 hours because at that point in time, it had more than doubled in volume and there were lots of bubbles.

2. 10-second kneads 3 times more or less every 10-minute interval. Then fold and turn 3 times for the next 2 hours. What I observed was the dough was showing much less life than when I worked with strong flours. I was a bit worried. A glass of Pimm's /cranberry juice filled with ice cubes calmed the nerves somewhat.

3. I bit the bullet at the end of 2 hours and just formed my loaves and laid them in my rice flour dusted linen cloth, separated by a rolling pin. Peeked after one hour, and was surprised to see it had visibly grown.

4. Being an attentive student (of Jack), I knew better to underprove than to overdo it. Oh, I also decided not to risk manoeveuring the loaves too much...my oven is at an odd angle :wink: . I had an oiled pan in the oven as it preheated. So, I took it out and plopped the baguettes on it. Sprayed, slashed, popped into the oven half-filled with a pan of water. Suddenly, all anxiety turned to joy as I saw the loaves springing the very moment it entered the oven.

gallery_12248_2787_14153.jpg

So, from my amateur inference, I'm thinking the yeast wasn't dead in your loaves, rather it needed a bit more time. I do envy your clean slashing. Mine sucks big time, perhaps due to my mild nature... :rolleyes:

Edit to add: Malaysia's temperature is 23 deg C to 31 deg C...today should be around 29.

Edited by Tepee (log)

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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That's one heck of an experiment. I'm impressed.

I'm wishing you all the best in coaxing the b(y)eastie boys into playing nicely with others.  There's something inherently absurd in many serious endeavors.  Good Luck!  And lots of laughter.

I keep wondering if the local humidity makes a difference. Also, what cleaning materials are used on the 'folding' board? And if you are using oil at any stage, what kind? I have no idea what to do with the answers tho.

I thank you for this thread, because its providing me with such an education. I've made sourdough before, lo these many years ago, but never with the kind of analytical approach being tried. Its really great.

Humidity is high - generally around 85%. For the rest, nothing springs to mind. I will post the start of the experiment below, but will privately confess that I have made a real mess of the kitchen. Somehow transferring the (intended) leftover preferment to the mother, half of it landed on the floor. The dogs attacked it with gusto. I chased them off and they have been leaving a trail of preferment though the house. The Artist is not giggling.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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snip..

Puzzled about the dormant performance of your breads, Gerhard, I decided to see how I fared with Jack's baguette formula, having never used 100% plain flour for breads before. Initially, I thought of doing the no-time method (which, again, I've never done before) but I had a glitch with my food processor...so back to Dan's familiar method.

snip..

I think I hate you. No, I know that I hate you. In fact, I hate all bread bakers. :biggrin:

That looks simply great, TP. In fact, that is exactly how I want mine to look. You have given me great encouragement. Thanks.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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First part of the experiment is underway.

The test jars:

gallery_7837_2715_10608.jpg

Improvised bannetons for the dough:

gallery_7837_2715_1960.jpg

I am doing the folding one now - it will lag behind the others by the 2h40mins needed to make it. Folding the dough started me thinking about Devlin's post upthread. I have lots to ponder on.

The temp of the 1 min whizz was 29C, the 2 mins 35C.

Edited by gsquared (log)

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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A few more notes:

I stopped the bread maker after its dough mixing cycle was complete and before it started proving - about 30mins.

The Magimix has difficulty whizzing for the full two minutes. It inevitably gets gummed up around 1:45.

The mixer with the dough hook was the quickest and the easiest - simply switched it on and left it for 10 mins.

I confess that I like folding the dough. I am totally convinced, though, that the extended time required is not practical for me. I have done the initial 30mins or so, and still have 2 hours to go. The logistics do not work out. I cannot go through that every day to prepare bread for breakfast. That said, there is of course no reason why I should not do that once or so a week to bake bread for personal consumption. I like the silkiness of the dough and the way it changes as you work with it. There is something sensual about working the dough with your hands.

The Artist is giggling.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Wow!

You might want to mark a line on the label in the test jars to indicate the initial volume..

Those temperatures are well within tolerance

The line is there - just a bit fuzzy in the pic.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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[... In fact, I hate all bread bakers. :biggrin:

Nah....don't hate us, we're just a highly sensuous lot.......as you have found out...

I like the silkiness of the dough and the way it changes as you work with it. There is something sensual about working the dough with your hands.

The Artist is giggling.

Remember your doughs/and your audience.....don't disappear too far/too long.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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After 2 hours - here are the test jars.

gallery_7837_2715_5104.jpg[

It is quite apparent that there was no activity at all. Dead.

I cut the shaped dough open to double check - here is one:

gallery_7837_2715_11418.jpg

Again no activity. All the other batches look exactly the same. At least a consistent result. The yeast dies in the context of the dough. There can be no doubt that the preferment is alive - in fact, with the 600g flour today, it was positively sizzling. As soon as it gets into the dough, it expires. The only three things that, to my mind, could cause this are the water, the flour and the environment. The flour is an unlikely candidate, as it works fine in the preferment. The water also works fine in the preferment. If it is the environment, I am buggered - there is no way we can sort that one out. That leaves me more or less up a gumpole.

Jack? Someone?

I swear I did not sing.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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After 2 hours - here are the test jars.

gallery_7837_2715_5104.jpg[

It is quite apparent that there was no activity at all. Dead.

I cut the shaped dough open to double check - here is one:

gallery_7837_2715_11418.jpg

Again no activity. All the other batches look exactly the same. At least a consistent result. The yeast dies in the context of the dough. There can be no doubt that the preferment is alive - in fact, with the 600g flour today, it was positively sizzling. As soon as it gets into the dough, it expires. The only three things that, to my mind, could cause this are the water, the flour and the environment. The flour is an unlikely candidate, as it works fine in the preferment. The water also works fine in the preferment. If it is the environment, I am buggered - there is no way we can sort that one out. That leaves me more or less up a gumpole.

Jack? Someone?

I swear I did not sing.

Dammit, and your preferment looked the best to date. I'm liking your growing desire to stroke the dough, though, :laugh: , and I'm thinking the giggling in the background shows promise in other directions as well. Bread can lead one to such interesting situations....

Anyway, back to the topic. I'm gonna have to work through this thread again. I was convinced in the beginning that the sourdough starter wasn't fully active, and I'm still not convinced that might not be the case. I was about to agree with Tepee's suggestion too that perhaps you simply weren't letting the dough proof long enough. But now I'm not sure.

What's the temperature at your place?

Okay, I have to admit a certain perverse satisfaction at seeing somebody struggling at least as much as I did when I first started baking bread.

With friends like us, G, ya hardly need enemies. :raz:

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I scanned through this thread but didn't see where This Thread on "Turning the Dough" had been posted.

This thread was posted in a second thread with a question for Peter Reinhart.

and his answer is here.

And in this thread, Peter states that the flour can have a significant effect on the end product and one has to consider humidity and temperature as part of the equation.

I want to add that I have purchased reliable cultures from Sourdo International and

from Wild Yeast Bakery

I particularly wanted cultures from desert areas since I live in the desert here in Southern California. I have had excellent results with every one I tried. However after a while they do mutate or change because of the natural wild ones in the area can't be isolated completely. I re-charged them about every 8 months or so.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Anyway, back to the topic. I'm gonna have to work through this thread again. I was convinced in the beginning that the sourdough starter wasn't fully active, and I'm still not convinced that might not be the case. I was about to agree with Tepee's suggestion too that perhaps you simply weren't letting the dough proof long enough. But now I'm not sure.

What's the temperature at your place?

Okay, I have to admit a certain perverse satisfaction at seeing somebody struggling at least as much as I did when I first started baking bread.

With friends like us, G, ya hardly need enemies.  :raz:

But even if the starter was partly active, I would have expected some evidence of yeast activity. Even just a teeny bubble.

The ambient temp today was 26C and right now it is 22C.

Maybe 100g of the preferment is not enough?

I am not despondent - I have been here before, many many times. But I am puzzled. Is there any way of testing whether the starter is full active?

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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"The only three things that, to my mind, could cause this are the water, the flour and the environment. The flour is an unlikely candidate, as it works fine in the preferment. The water also works fine in the preferment. If it is the environment, I am buggered - there is no way we can sort that one out. That leaves me more or less up a gumpole.

Jack? Someone?

I swear I did not sing."

You forgot possibility #4: You are cursed.

I don't really believe that, but just thought I'd throw it out there as grist for the mill. I'm a big supporter of talking kindly to inanimate as well as animate objects. (By this method alone I've kept our '92 Toyota Previa van running for 225,000 miles. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the regular maintenance the Husband gives it.) Bread dough seems to fall sort of in the middle of those two categories -- have you been giving encouraging pep talks to your doughs? Maybe don't sing, but talk.

~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

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"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

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You forgot possibility #4:  You are cursed.

snip

Now that, Lori, is looming as a strong possibility. Maybe it is not in my genes after all!

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Do you have room to let the loaves and jars sit a few hours longer?

If it were a case of too little vol preferment in the overall recipe (as you wondered, above), its could take quite a while for the yeast to grow to a high enough population.

This may be a case where apparent over-proofing would at least provide positive information for future applications.

I ask because in other kinds of cell culture, overdiluting the cells can cause a delay much longer than the math would lead one to expect, because many cells grow faster when there are plenty of neighbors around. So in the early stages, when its a lonely frontier, they are kind of lackadaisical about dividing. Then when the neighborhood gets friendly, they go gang-busters with predictable doubling times and logarithmic growth. The goal in breadmaking is to set up that friendly neighborhood from the get go.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Gerhard, this is so PUZZLING. And yet......... it might just lead to an answer since none of them showed any activity. I hope Jack is going to chime in very early tomorrow - I expect he's in snoozeland now. I just cannot imagine what is causing this and I'm on edge just waiting for an answer.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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Very strange. 40% preferment (200g (100g flour + 100g water) to 500g flour) should be plenty. If you have only used 100g that will about double the time..

I guess just wait and see...it must move eventually...

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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One thing that I have experienced doing s/d was that with a mid range gluten (11%) organic flour (no additives), It was very easy to over develop the dough to the point that the gluten degraded, and the loaves did not raise well, and were flat.

Bud

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Very strange. 40% preferment (200g (100g flour + 100g water) to 500g flour) should be plenty. If you have only used 100g that will about double the time..

I guess just wait and see...it must move eventually...

I meant 200g preferment of course, not 100g.

In any event, when I went to bed, the status was still as reported. This morning, however, all has come to life! You hit it on the head, Kouign!

gallery_7837_2715_11523.jpg

All the shaped doughs were well risen, and fell back onto themselves in the middle.

Here is one cut open:

gallery_7837_2715_7513.jpg

This is now easy. I shall repeat a two sample experiment today - one whizzed for 2 minutes and one using the mixer. Those were the two easiest methods. Devlin will no doubt point out that the folding jar did the best! I will allow sufficient time to be able to observe for at least 5 hours.

What a relief! I can cancel the exorcism.

Edited by gsquared (log)

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Whew! I've been following along with fingers crossed during the saga. I'm now on the edge of my seat. People all over the world are backing you Gerhard, forge ahead!

If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

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I'm wondering whether your starter was fully active before you started your preferment. It's difficult to tell from the pic, but I'd say it looks a little weak.

Maybe you might want to reactive your starter before you proceed to a preferment. I use a little more flour to water as well and proof in a box (a plastic cooler) with a 40 watt bulb for a few hours at a temp of 85 degrees.

I think I mentioned this before and Jackal wondered whether my culture survived that process. Or maybe I misunderstood. But I started it four years ago and it's a gorgeous thing.

I agree, though, that sourdough is, as Jackal noted, way more forgiving than commercial yeast which surprised me once I got used to using it. Apart from producing the best breads I've ever had, it's actually easier in many ways, once you get used to the process. And once past the hurdle of figuring out how to activate and feed and use, a sourdough is, ironically, turning out to be simpler in pretty significant ways. At least that's so for me. You wouldn't have been able to convince me of that even a couple of years ago.

I still consider myself a novice. And I wish I'd had this forum to consult when I started!

I just started my rye sourdough and its looking good ( i got it form Hamelmann book ),now I am reading it and reading it , and one thing isnt too clear ( I need to read more ), after my starter is ready,and I get a piece for my bread what do I do with the rest to propagate it ? Put in the fridge and refresh it every 12 hours as usuall? Not too sure about that step.

Vanessa

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Phew...I was getting cramp from crossing finger toes etc

Interesting the stretch and fold had the biggest rise. I must do a side by side comparison...of course the biggest rise might not be the biggest loaf, since oven spring has a lot to do with it.

There is a thread on BBGA about how yeast needs oxygen to multiply, and that a food processor introduces more air than gentle methods.

Desiderio: The reason why you are confused is that the books are not clear. Professional bakers, who bake everyday keep their starter out of the fridge and refresh it every 12 hours, usually by 2/3rds (1/3rd old starter, 1/3rd flour, 1/3rd water). Amateurs, like myself, keep the starter in the fridge, and use high dilution rates - the preferment or occasional refreshment is typically 10g starter, 100g flour, 100g water

To store the starter put it in the fridge. Take out a tablespoonful when you want to make bread, and use that to make your preferment. When the jar of mother starter in the fridge is looking a bit empty, make a double lot of preferment and put half back in the fridge. You need only refresh the stored started every few weeks.

The reason for the high dilution is to dilute a lot of the acid and other by products of fermentation that can have an inhibiting effect. It works well, but this is heresy to some professionals, including Jeff Hamelman and followers of the late Prof. Raymond Clavel (A Taste of Bread), who refresh everyday, and claim their starter is somehow better, although side by side tests show there is no difference after one or two refreshments Ther has been a recent impasssioned debate on the BBGA mailing list http://groups.yahoo.com/group/breadbakersguild.

A stable starter is pretty tough, and it will adapt to your regime, providing its fairly regular.

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Thank you Jackal , I am glad that isnt me :biggrin: ,well maybe is a little bit me , but anyway I will follow your suggestions and experience this will be my first time making bread out of sourdough starter and I am kinda concerned about the process, I guess the only way to do it its to try and try like Gerhard is doing.

Does the fact that my starter its made entirely out of whole rye flour, I will make only rye or wheat breads?? I wanted to do rustic type of bread with a nice crust and lots of hole inside ( like the italian pagnotta ) I know that the oven unfortunally will play a big role in that and I am afraid mine wont help me to achieve what I want. Will a baking stone help diffusing the heat more evenly?

Thank you for your precius advice )

Vanessa

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