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bwraith's picture
bwraith

As I conducted my home ash content tests during the latest home milling and sifting session, a sourdough starter was accidentally started. The home ash content test involves mixing 5 grams of flour with 100 grams of distilled water, stirring it periodically, and measuring the conductivity of the water until it stabilizes, about 24 hours later. All of that time was spent at about 69F, the temperature of my kitchen in the winter. I noticed a familiar smell, something like yogurt, that was reminiscent of the early stages of some of the starter staring experiments I have conducted in the past. The pH was measured and, sure enough it was around 3.4 for all the jars I was testing, even though the jars had various flours including Heartland Mill AP, Golden Buffalo, and whole wheat, as well as various flours from my milling and sifting experiment.

Since the jars appeared to have fermentation activity in them, I decided to give a try at starting one up. After stirring up the slurry in the Golden Buffalo jar, 20 grams of it was mixed with 30 grams of flour to form a fairly firm dough, which was then placed on a shelf above my coffee machine with a temperature of about 79F. It was left there for 24 hours at the end of which it had risen slightly in volume and still had a bit of a sour milk or yogurt smell.

The culture at the end of 24 hours (48 hours from when the first 5 grams was mixed with water) was fed again by taking 5 grams of the culture and mixing it with 22g or Poland Springs water and 28g of KA AP flour. It was placed at 79F above the coffee machine for another 24 hours, and the result was that it had doubled in volume and was beginning to smell more tangy and vinegary like a typical mature sourdough starter. The consistency was a little runny with small bubbles, but it clearly seemed a little closer to a ripe, healthy sourdough starter than it was the day before.

The culture was again fed the same way and returned for another 24 hours to the 79F shelf above the coffee machine. It had risen by about 4x, smelled like a normal sourdough starter, and had the usual consistency of a somewhat ripe firm sourdough starter.

I'm sure it is ready to be used to make some bread. After starting so many of these starters in the last few years in various experiments, I know what a healthy one is like. It went so smoothly, it seemed worth mentioning, as it is a little different from the usual recipes.

To summarize this accidental process:

Day 1:

Mix 5 grams of very fresh whole wheat flour (or maybe white flour, as the Heartland Mill AP smelled much the same, though less intense) with 100 grams of distilled water (saves any trouble with chlorine, alkalinity or other problems with water), stir, and let sit, covered, at room temperature (I imagine at 79F would work, too) for 24 hours, stirring or swirling periodically.

Day 2:

Stir up the water and flour mixture and take 20 grams of it and place in a clean jar. Add 30 grams of white flour, stir into a thick paste or a firm dough, and let sit at around 79F (probably room temperature would also work, though it might take several more days, depending on how cold it is) for 24 hours.

Day 3 and beyond:

Feed the culture by taking 5 grams of the culture, mix with 20 grams of water and 28 grams of white flour. Let sit for 24 hours at 79F.

Probably you don't need distilled water anymore, in fact it may not be needed at all at the beginning either. It may be good to avoid chlorinated water. I use bottled water without any problems, but my well water is surprisingly alkaline and it seems to have been the cause of some problems with starting starters I've experienced in the past.

The culture should be ready when it no longer turns runny after rising by more than about 3x and has large bubbles in it if you cut into it with a spoon. With the feeding above, it should rise by more than 2x in about 4.5 hours at 79F, about 5.5 hours at 74F, or about 7.5 hours at 69F.

It might take several days longer, but this worked for me faster than any method I've tried in the past.

I suppose it's just a lucky but rare event, but it seemed like every single jar in all these home ash content measurements I've been doing have a very similar smell after 24 hours. I wouldn't be surprised if any of them would have started up by just feeding them.

It's also possible that some sort of cross contamination with my active starter occured, except I did these by mixing distilled water poured from a container that I believe couldn't possibly have had any contamination from my active starters. Also, I only stirred by swirling the jars and didn't use any stirrer or whisk. I did use a fork on subsequent days, but that fork had been through the dishwasher and never used to stir my active sourdough starter. I suppose the jar I used may have somehow had some residue of an active starter in it, but I had recently thoroughly cleaned the jars used in these experiments with soap and hot water.

Anyway, I'd be curious if anyone else gives this a try and it works for them, if you're curious to try it. The things that's a little different about this method from what I've read about or tried in the past is the very high initial hydration (2000%) at room temperature followed by immediate conversion to a firm white starter at a fairly warm 79F. I wonder if there is some unexpected advantage to this method.

Bill

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl


This is something I sort of threw together for dinner Sunday.  I say 'sort of' because you can't just throw puff pastry together, but I already had that ready from the night before.  I just layered thin sliced apples with cinnamon and sugar on the pastry, baked it, and like magic it's dessert!

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

I just took what might be my best loaf ever from the oven - and it sang to me for several minutes! The recipe (from my notebook) calls it Susan and JMonkey's Sourdough, and I had written "excellent" at the top of the page. It is the recipe that ferments 100g starter, 450g bread flour, 310g water and 10g salt overnight. Stretch and fold 3 times, shape boule and place in parchment lined banneton, spray with oil and refrigerate overnight. I preheated my stone to 500* and used the stainless steel bowl method. The amazing thing is that I used my discarded starter straight from the 'frig - I had saved it thinking maybe English muffins so it wasn't recently refreshed. I was also very surprised to see that the dough rose in the 'frig. I took a picture of the loaf and can't wait to check the crumb, and by golly I hope to post the pictures, A.

ashariel's picture
ashariel

I'm a novice baker who makes sandwich-style loaves for the household (and occasionally a free-formed loaf for special occasions), but this is my first challah and braided loaf. I used the Challah recipe in the Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Challah, from the BBA recipe

I messed up a bit on the four-strand braiding, but I'm sure it tastes just fine. It's cooling in the kitchen right now.

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

SAUSAGE ROLLS

 

 

SAUSAGE ROLLS

SAUSAGE ROLLS

 

I made these for dinner tonight along with a salad and it was good eating. I used PR CRUST AND CRUMB Pizza Dough II, with some changes. For the flour I used 1/3 all purpose, 1/3 whole wheat I ground and 1/3 King Arthur Italian Style. At the last minute I decided to double the recipe and then realized I didn't have enough poolish so the only thing I had to make up the missing amount was to add about 1/2 cup of my rye starter. It all worked out fine, the rolls were very tasty. I used about 1/4 of a single batch recipe (about one pizza's worth) to make 4 rolls about 6" long. I patted the dough out into rectangles, added thin slices of Asiago cheese, chopped cherry tomatoes and sliced onions, s & p, and about a 5" piece of well cooked and browned Italian Sausage. Wrapped the dough around and sealed. Baked on parchment covered cookie sheet till nice and brown. Oiled tops when they came out of oven. A nice crisp salad and we were happy.

ejm's picture
ejm

I made these loaves for Bread Baking Day #6.

wild bread with rye and sesame seeds © ejm January 2008

When shaping freeform bread, I usually shape it in boules because that's what I know how to do. But there is a request for shaped breads, specifically NOT "batard, boule or baguette" for Bread Baking Day #6.

I took a look through our bread baking cookbooks to find some traditional shapes for bread. Lo and behold, there was that same sideways "S" shape in Pane Sicialano in The Italian Baker by Carol Field.

Considering the difficulties I've been having with our wild starter and bread making lately, there's no way I was going to try that particular recipe again right now!

Then I remembered reading (where WAS it?!) that any bread can be put into any shape. How handy is that?

So I mixed up our wild bread recipe, but this time, added just a little bit of dark rye flour and sprinkled sesame seeds on top of the loaves just after shaping the loaves. I also added a tiny bit (1/16 tsp) of active dry yeast to the bread, because I'm so nervous that our starter isn't strong enough.

I formed one of the loaves into a crescent and one into the sideways 'S' shape Lucia shape sideways 'S', one of the traditional shapes for Lucia bread.

Happily, the occhi shaped dough expanded nicely. I had to assume that the crescent shaped one was risen enough too. Both were rather flat when I put them in the oven. But I was very happy (read "very relieved") that both did get some oven spring and turned out to be relatively presentable.

The results? Delicious!

I'm amazed at how the flavour of the rye comes through. The bread was quite firm in the crust with lots of un-uniform holes. In the somewhat chewy crumb, there was just a hint of sourness.

Here is the recipe I used:

If you would like to participate Bread Baking Day #6

The deadline for BBD#06 is 1 February 2008. For complete details on how to participate, please go to:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And finally, if you haven't already, don't forget to read about

umbreadman's picture
umbreadman

This is my second time working with a significant amount of rye, my first being a 100% rye: Vollkornbrot. That was really fun since i had no idea what to expect, it wasn't too difficult, and the people i made it for (immigrated from Germany) said it was wonderful. This time however, I scaled it back and went for a 40% Rye with Caraway Seeds. 

 

I used Hamelman's formula and stuck to it pretty well I think. I don't have a lot to compare it to in terms of rye experience, but i think it was pretty good. I wasn't expecting an open crumb, I did get some pretty good spring and i bet i could have gotten some nice slashing if I put my cuts parallel, but i saw a picture of a rye with this slashing style, so i went this way. I put some seeds on top, and I think that might have been a bit too much caraway for my tastes. Other than that though, it was pretty good, the chewyness is something I like. One day soon, I might try a vollkornbrot again, and perhaps down the road, pumpernickel will make an appearance. 

Rye seems to have this mystique, and it's piqued my curiosity....I'll get you yet you little berry..... 

megamont's picture
megamont

I am posting a new method of creating a sourdough loaf that may help "newbies" to over-come those initial flops we all seemed to have had at one time or another.

Assuming you have a healthy starter, if you haven't there is plenty of information available here on "The Fresh Loaf Website".

Temperature is the most important item when it comes to dough making and this includes "starters".

I find the term "at room tempt." a little misleading as it can vary up to 15°.

This being the case it is impossible to create a consistently textured  loaf.

I found 79° to "my" optimum temp.

By that I mean after all the ingredients have been mixed together the final dough or starter should be left to proof at 79°.

By using a fixed temp. you will be able to define a fixed time scale that your yeast or starter takes to expend it's self thus creating a consistent loaf. 

This recipe works for me every time.

Ingredients;

250 grams of starter.

2 cups of high protein unbleached flour (13%). (+ extra 1 cup if needed)

1 cup of unbleached wholemeal strong flour. (13.6%).

2-1/2 teaspoons salt. (+ extra 1/2 tsp. if needed).

2 teaspoons of "beef dripping" (not lard).

1 cup of spring or tank water. (without chlorine).

Method;

  • Combine the 250gms of starter with 1 cup of white flour and 1cup of spring or tank water. (adjust water temp. to obtain 79° overall).

Mix for 2 minutes.

Very "wet" (yes)

"Cover" and allow to stand for 4hrs at 79°.

Next;

Add 1 cup of white flour, 1cup of wholemeal flour, 2-1/2 tsp. salt, and 2 tsp. of beef dripping. (grated dripping is fine)

Combine for 1 minute.

Take tempt. (adjust with extra flour or water). (salt?).

Special note; Mixing creates heat.

Mixing;

(Kenwood chef).

You have two choices.

  1. Mix for 1 further minute and remove to a floured board. (cut in half if necessary).

Let dough rest for 5 minutes.         

Flatten out on board and triple fold then double fold in a 90° direction to the

triple fold direction. (should finish up a round ball roughly).

 Take the ball of dough in two hands and pare the top off and tuck it under the outer edgers of the dough till the top becomes smooth. (no ragged or torn edges).(about 2 to 5 minutes).

Shape dough.

Place in a flour coated baking medium and "cover".

At 4hrs turn oven on set to 500°.

At 4-1/2 hrs you are ready to bake.

An extra 1/2 hr was added to the proofing time for the wholemeal flour.

There is no need to score the top of this dough as the starter has enough "Oomph" to make it rise.

 

      2. Mix for 8 minutes. (result a much tighter dough).

Next operations are the same as for "choice 1", but scoring of the top is necessary as the dough is much tighter.

I found scoring in the shape of a square gives the best result for myself.



Baking;

Coat top of dough with beaten egg. (color).

 In the photo above both S/S-bowels have been greased with beef dripping, the one containing the dough has been dusted with flour, the larger one ("lid") has been dusted with salt.

Before placing the lid over the dough bowl a misting spray of water is applied to the salt. (moisture-steam).

Bake at 500° for 30 minutes. (check at 25 minutes).

Remove lid and turn oven down to 230° for 10 minutes and then off.

Allow the loaf to bake down for 5 minutes.

Remove from oven, check if cooked, if so turn out onto rack and cover.

I hope this helps.

PS. I am trialing a variation of a starter based on "dried sultanas" I hope to keep you informed of the results.

 

 

manuela's picture
manuela

brazadela slicedsliced brazadela

This is a sort of quick bread that is traditionally made in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. It is dense without being dry or crunchy, barely sweet and flavored with lemon zest. It is a rustic dessert that is part of the peasant cooking of the region and usually eaten at the end of festive meals, dunked in the local wine, Lambrusco. It is however very good dunked in milk or hot chocolate as well.

To celebrate special occasions such as weddings, there is still the custom in that region to bake several "brazadela" rings of decreasing sizes, packaging them together and giving them as presents to family and friends. It is shaped like a ring, and its name "brazadela" in the local dialect refers to its shape. The word brazadela in turn is the dialect correspondent of the Italian word "Ciambella" of the same meaning. Incidentally the word "ciambella" is the origin of the old English word "jumble" which used to indicate a ring-shaped cookie.

It should be made with Italian 00 flour, but I have made it successfully with American AP flour, unbleached, as well.

500 g Italian 00 flour

200 g granulated sugar + extra to decorate

100 g butter, unsalted, softened

3 eggs + 1 yolk

zest of 1 organic lemon

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 cup of milk, or as needed

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

 

Sift the flour with baking soda and cream of tartar. Add the butter, sugar, salt, the beaten eggs and grated lemon zest. Knead, adding milk little by little (you might need a little more or less than indicated) until you have a smooth dough that is a little less stiff then pasta dough, supple and workable withut being sticky. An electric mixer works fine (with the dough hook) but is not indispensable.

Let the dough rest for 1 hour in a covered bowl, in a cool place. The rest period is important for the final texture of the bread and should not be skipped.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or foil (lighlty grease the foil). Shape the dough on the cookie sheet in a ring, about 2 inches wide and with a diameter of about 10 inches.

Mix the yolk with about 2 tsp milk and brush the ring surface. Sprinkle generously with coarse granulated sugar and bake for about 35-40 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Tiny cracks will appear all over the surface. Let the baked ring cool on a rack.

It keeps for a long time in an airtight container or can also be frozen in freezer bags.

 

A note on the sugar: the sugar traditionally used in Italy to decorate this and other baked goods looks like small nuggets that are soft and melt in your mouth. I have never been able to find it in the US, if it is avalaible here I do not know. However, coarse granulated sugar works as well. Another possible substitute is made by crushing sugar cubes in a small plastic bag until they look like small nuggets and then sprinkling them on top of the ring before baking.

MissyErin's picture
MissyErin

Pierre Nury's Rye 3
 

I was tired of drooling over Zolablue's pictures of Dan Leader's "Pierre Nury's Light Rye" and decided to try it for myself.  This bread is *amazing*.  I sent the second loaf home with friends of ours that came for dinner.  It was a really nice addition to the cheese plate - and every piece was gone in about 15 minutes - there were only 4 of us!

Two days ago I started a buttermilk bread from Laurel's that I finished yesterday.  That was the softest whole wheat sandwich bread I have ever made.  It is amazing!  So much flavor and so tender.  Probably will be our regular sandwich bread in the house.   

 buttermilk bread 1

The only changes that I made to Dan Leader's recipe were the following:

I didn't do the second rise before the retardation.  I did it after.  I couldn't stay up late enough waiting for it, so when I went to bed I threw it in the fridge.  Then took it out this morning and let it sit at room temp for hours... like 7 or 8.  Three hours to accomodate for the "before baking warm up" and another couple hours for the second rise that I didn't do last night.  I then shaped as directed and baked for the longer of the time range and the oven spring was tremendous!  The first loaf was not shaped nearly as nice as the second, but it was incredibly easy once I tried the first and figured out what he was describing us to do.  I'm finding that I'm departing more and more from the recipe's directions in order to fit my life.  I'm just trying to be less fanatic about the whole process.  Its refreshing :)

 

 buttermilk bread 2

 For Laurel's Buttermilk bread, I didn't follow the recipe exactly, in that I did an overnight retardation that she doesn't call for.  I let it rise twice and then threw it in the frigerator overnight (forgetting to punch it down before hand).  When I got up in the morning I took it out and halved it, and shaped them into loaf pans.  Then I put those in the fridge all day while at work, then baked them when I got home.  They are really beautiful loaves.  I gave one as a gift today to a girlfriend that went with me to a whole grain baking class.  We had a ton of fun and got to try some great foodie samples.  Those classes always re-enerigize my love for whole grains.

Pierre Nury's Rye

 As you can see above, the loaf on the right isn't nearly as nicely shaped as the other.  But, before our friends got to the house, I cut that one up to put on the cheese plate and no one knew it wasn't such a pretty loaf to start with.  Then I was able to send our friends home with the pretty one.  I can't emphasize how great the bread was.  It was good that we got it out of the house because we would've continued eating it.  *gasp!*

 

Pierre Nury's Rye 2

 

The crumb is so open.  I was so happy with this loaf!  It was so chewy and the crust was so, well, crusty!  Just perfection...

Pierre Nury's Rye 4

The perfect pairing with Kalamata olive spread, strawberry preserves, Stilton and Brie... and a few pecans for accent.  I think I could have this as my dinner every night.  Not just an appetizer... wow.  

Pierre Nury's Rye 5


 

Pierre Nury's Rye 6

Not so chatty tonight... tired... will bake more tomorrow.  Hubby is off to see family and packing some bread along as gifts.  :)

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