The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Firm Starter 5°

  • Pin It
Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Firm Starter 5°

I took my cold starters, 20g each and added 40g water and 100g low gluten flour and mixed.  Kneaded the crumbs into balls and put them into containers and parked then into the 5° (41°F) fridge.  My plan is to do a cool rise first to encourage the Lactobacillus and do a warm rise later for the yeast.  Also wish to slow down activity for storage.  That was Thursday, today is Saturday, about 40 hours have passed and I might have to move the SD balls to larger containers!  They leveled out just a little but have almost doubled!  This could be interesting!  Am I on to something? 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

So I'm back!  Did not find anything I could use for bread but was enjoying Shanghai. Too busy being a tourist.  What a difference a few hours makes!  Trains and subways can be fun and we were all over the place!  The Old Town is worth it.  Wish the architects would use Chinese elements in their newer buildings, too many ugly buildings going up all over China! Zipped with the Meglev train out to the Airport and back, just to take a few pics and see what 430 kmh (267mph) feels like.  Cars on the highway running parallel seemed to be standing still.  "Life in the fast lane!" 


Back to the routine of baking bread... Baguettes...took out my five day old starters, they didn't rise and go over, took pictures and tore one into little bits (keeping 10g) into a bowl.  Very sticky.  Added 300g water, 10g sugar and let it soften a bit.  Added egg white, 1/2 flour (200g), 7g instant yeast, 10g salt and stired for a while.  Then worked in rest of flour (200g) and let it stand for half hour.  Kneaded 8 min. and turned into a covered oiled bowl to double. Flipped out onto floured counter top and cut into 5 pieces shaped into rounds and allowed to rest 10 min.  Then I took each piece, flipped it upside down (smooth side down) and rolled up the dough. 
(Here is where I was thinking about all you guys having trouble with rolling up dough.  The dough is not really stretched out like in a rectangle and jelly roll fashion rolled up but more like rolling in one place, you stick all your fingers into the lower 1/3 of the dough like you were going to type in it, then push half way down rolling the dough with your thumbs, and keep moving your fingers tucking the dough inside tightly until all of it has slipped in. Rolling in place and lengthening the shape until it reaches the little fingers. Does that help?)

After 5 minutes trasferred to parchment to proof and came back here to type.  The site is not too active right now and goes good with my afternoon coffee.

Starter:Took the remaining 10g starter and added 20g water & 20g flour, put into a jar.  I don't know if I will let it stand (normal proceedure) for a few hours or just mix it up with more flour and water to make a billiard ball (or two) out of it. ... After one hour sitting out, it's got a nice froth on top telling me I don't have to worry but smells only of flour...after 4 hours, mixed (1:2:5) that is (starter:water:flour) or (50g:100g:250g) and kneaded, shaping into two 200g ball for the fridge.  Will let cool rise/store and eventually freeze for 2 months.  I still have 3, 5 day old starters for baking this week. 
 Mini Oven

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I've been following along here and have a question about the egg white. Maybe you listed this elsewhere but how much are you using and what does it do for the bread?

Also it looks like each batch was 500g of flour including the starter. Was it all a low gluten flour and not a bread flour?

Thanks, Eric

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The egg white protein combines with the grain protein in the flour to give me a more complete protein resulting in more stretch.  Without it, my low protein flour quickly developes tears, runs sideways and has no shape.  After baking, it is extremely dense and flat.  The biggest problem is getting the dough to hold together and rise. With the egg white, these problems disappear albeit, the hold could be better. 

I add one egg white, aprox 40g to every 500g flour used (also this recipe).  It is important that the egg not ferment too long in the dough for salmonella reasons.  If I add milk (powder)too, I end up with fluffy toast bread, so I do that with sweet rolls and when I'm into light toast.  The only flour I have is a white wheat AP for Chinese standard, low standard, because the higher the rating here, the lower the gluten.  It is used mainly for noodles and steamed filled breads and cakes.  I also use rolled oats, make flour out of some and use that in my bread but it's lower in gluten. My breads do better if I soak the available grains or pre-cook them than to make flour from them, diluting my flour protein further.  

I have seen that the locals make something like ciabatta but use com. yeast, sweet-plain or with chopped green onions, made on a hot griddle, english muffin style.    


Mini Oven

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

underside

5 day old firm starter

5 day old firm starters

those are finger pokes :)

(my first photo on the site!)

zolablue's picture
zolablue

So, Mini, it looks like your starters are doing well, yes?  How great that you are going to be posting photos now.  YAY!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I have a little catching up to do slipping in photos.  So there will be some time jumps.  But if a picture paints a thousand words....  they could be informational.    Thanks for the encouragement  to (and you know who you are, maybe not) those who inspired me to get this Mac piccy thing together, there still is lots to learn....   Mini O

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Good to see your smiling starter!  These look about like the WW mother starter I made for PR's whole grains book.

sitkabaker's picture
sitkabaker

Hello KipperCat, I am new to this site...have been baking for a while and using Nancy Silverton's formulas...I am trying to work on WW breads and recently tried the mash bread by PR. Not having very good luck. Pretty heavy and dense. I will try again...I have a WW mother starter but it is more hydrated than PR recommends...about 90%. I tried his hydration at 75% and it seems to dry. The dough was lifeless...I use a Kitchen Aid Pro 6 Qt and was wondering if maybe my dough was just not developed enough. Hardly any oven spring....and very dense crumb. The first try my dough was tooooo extensible and little spring. 2nd time is was a little less extensible but very lifeless. Any ideas???

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Hi sitkabaker.  I'm afraid that I don't know enough to answer your question.  The mash bread is way over my head right now. The good news is that a few folks here have baked that bread successfully.  I think the top left picture on thefreshloaf's front page is that bread.  You can click on it to go to a thread that discusses it, or search on mash bread for other comments.

I have baked a great rye from PR's book, and a mediocre sandwich loaf.  (It's never a good idea to add the salt twice to a dough!) 

sitkabaker's picture
sitkabaker

sitkabaker

 

Thanks, I may have to go to square one. I am new to all this...I have another little question..I just tried to do a batard and my dough seems to be too wet. when I shaped it it was really hard to get it to hold its shape. I put it to sleep over night in the fridge and let it proof for 1 hour before i scored and put it in the oven I don't think it was over proofed but really degassed when I scored it. It has nice oven spring but I didn't score deep enough. The dough was hard to handle...seems like batards would shape, hold better with less water. What is your experience...thanks.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

you think you didn't score deep enough?

My experience is more with rye than WW. If it's rye, the wetter the loaf, the harder to handle but the loaves tend to rise more and with time one learns how to play with wet doughs. Mash breads tend to be a tiny bit "heavy" when compaired to wonderbread. "Heavy" in my book means if you want to spread cold butter on a finished slice, it doesn't mash flat or tear, it could break. I remember my dad going on about his Grandmother's bread (she was a fantastic baker) how she would smear it with butter and then scrape it off leaving the holes filled and a thin layer on top. Obviously, this cannot be done with soft bread.

I'm not sure of your recipe, what kind of dough you're talking about, but different kinds of doughs perform better with certain shapes. Your own thoughs on what would work better should be tried. When you let your loaf sleep overnight (in a banneton) in the fridge, put it to sleep so that you can gently roll it over upside down to bake, the loaf will tend to keep the memory of the shape as it rises in the oven. Very wet doughs don't always need scoring. I poke any large bubbles that I see with a toothpick. You do have to find out what works for you.

Mini O

sitkabaker's picture
sitkabaker

My loaves really degassed when I went to score. I just made new loaves and did 2 folds and the shaping went much better. Sorry for jumping around so much. These loaves are with white SD starter. I am experimenting with batards....just want to get out of my boule rut. I have learned lots on this site...lurking around. Thanks...sitkabaker

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

My limited experience is that when wet doughs spread too much the dough isn't developed enough.  It needs more kneading or folding to build up more gluten, before it's set to rise.

sitkabaker's picture
sitkabaker

I just tried this with my loaves that are now in the fridge. I did 2 folds and my dough was much easier to work with when I went to shape. I suspect that the scoring will go easier too when I do the final proof. I will let you know...thanks.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Those were the best tasting baguettes ever!  The taste to make grown men cry.  Gotta get back to baking.....Mini Oven

JMonkey, I luv you!  Cold mix to finished loaf 6 hours!

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

... but, er, what did I do? :-)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You shattered my conception of a runny starter being the only one.  You showed firm starters long ago and that amazed me.  (To name just one thing.)  Thanks,  Mini Oven

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And it is very handy.  The flavor is mild but very improved.  If I want sour, just mix a cold SD ball with a preferment and continue with a hybrid.  I put the steps on 3x5 cards and taped them inside my baking cupboard for quick reference.  

This works well for me.  Does this method have a name?   

The Chinese Breakfast is coming along nicely.  I'm beginning to think no one reads this, oh well.  Will fly on Monday to Austria and have a stop in the states in July.  Plan to be back in China end of July.  I have a funny feeling I will be in Ozark in late fall.  I would like to work in a bakery there.    Mini Oven

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

following along, always enjoy your posts! I'm intrigued by your adventurous nature, always ready to experiment. That's why you're in China, going to Austria, the USA, China and back to the good ole USA in a few months. Bon Voyage !

bwraith's picture
bwraith

I've been reading along. I think the SD ciabatta in a similar way can be very good with firm SD starter followed by instant yeast boost.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and your recipe has been posted inside my cupboard.   

Paddy, Thanks for the good wishes.  I gotta find a way to get some rye here.  Flour is so darn heavy. if it would only multiply like SD!  That would solve world hunger too!   
Mini Oven

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

solving world hunger, wish we had the answer. If only everyone on the site could donate their over zealous baking for a weekend, what they feel isn't fit for human consumption..AKA "for the birds or 4 legged friends"..there would be alot more full stomachs.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

One of the above mentioned starters was thawed out Aug 12. Notes on the bag: 10:20:20 Refrigerated April 23: 25g starter, 50g water, 125g flour Frozen April 27: 200g total weight

(50gm starter was mixed with 100g water, 250g flour and divided into two 200g portions)

Aug 16: Sorry to repeat ...that my thawed out firm starter just lies there. It's been a few days, it is now a liquid but neither smells like anything or trying to pop my ziplock. The starter was frozen three months (-18°c) after 3 days in the refrigerator. It does have bubbles but not active ones. No signs of separation, contamination or mold. Time to thaw out another one and find my notes on it.

Dug them all out of the freezer. Found some frozen grapes too, munch on 'em while thinking...

Let's see, the stuff was ripe... maybe, so therefore no growth. The "no smell" is beginning to get to me... one would think it would really be ripe and stinky by now... just dissolved a teaspoon of the starter (and it has the same consistancy of a ripe starter) in 100g water and add 100g flour. Update late tonight ... or whenever.... does freezing kill the stink beasties? (I can see spock raising an eyebrow.) --Mini

August 17: It could have fooled me! All frothy now and just to test it's strength, mixed in a teaspoon of rye flour. Pop! Got fast action. Guess that Chinese AP white wheat just loves to surprise me. (A loaf made with it never did rise much without an egg white.) Still doesn't smell like anything other than wet flour. Now to bake something with all this starter ...hope I didn't take the sour out. (turns out all I got to do to get sour is give it a long preferment as mentioned) Let's see that's almost a kilo of thick ripe starter without any sour smell. No, I won't taste it or waste it. Eric? Pizza dough? ... and lots of it? Gosh, maybe I should dry some and hang on to this new developement. Wierd.

Aug 18: Well it turns out to be not so wierd after all! I moved this comment back to this forum to keep it all together although long. So these are really cold starters and now very mild too!

I ended up using 400g starter in Floyds Sweet Corn and Raisin Loaf (making adjustments in flour and water) absolutely no sour! I did add one teaspoon of yeast but it bulk rose 4 hours before shaping. So I'm on to something. I took a spoon of the Chinese Breakfast starter and added 100g water and 100g (50/50 Rye & white) and set it aside, it's frothy and just waiting to go to work on a loaf. My instinkt earlier made me think to refresh again, but now I think it will be fine. Everything is in the fridge.

Now doesn't all this info blow holes in your mind? It does mine or is it filling them in? I have to think about this a while and summerize. I'm leaving on the 30th for Austria again and will want to dry these... I don't want to risk wet starter and flying. I hoped this answers most questions. --Mini Oven

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and bake too quickly, this starter will last me a long time. Very interesting what Mariane has to say about a firm starter in Eric's Forum on SAF gold yeast.  Worth it's weight in Gold.  -- Mini Oven

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Here is the summary and it comes out like a recipe for a ready to use mild sourdough starter, interesting if it supports a one kilo (2.2lb) loaf on its own.  I use this starter with a teaspoon of commercial yeast, my flour allows me no other choice.  Flavor is the motivating force.

 

  1. Take 10g of active starter (about a heaping teaspoon thick starter)
  2. Add 20g water and blend well with starter
  3. Then add 20g of your favorite flour(s) to make a thickish but still liquid paste
  4. Let stand 4 hours at room temp of 24°c or 75°F
  5. Blend in 100g water and work in enough flour to make a very stiff dough, around 250g.  It should hold together smoothly but not fall apart for dryness.  (Now I'm using Chinese AP white wheat that is not very absorbent but you can use what you like and absorption rates vary so write down what you use and start off with less.) Ratio 1:2:5 starter:water:flour.
  6. Divide into two 200g balls, label, and pop into the fridge.  I recommend plastic stackable containers twice or thrice the size of the starter ball.  Time will tell.  Wait 5 days (I haven't used it sooner yet) and use as needed.  Stored in this manner it is rumored to stay fresh up to 3 years! I can vouch for 2 weeks. (plus 3 months of freezing) My refrigerator has 5°c or 42°F.
  7. If softened with 75g water, the 200g starter becomes 100% hydration.  (137g flour and 137g water to plug into a recipe, preferment or poolish.  

 

Mini Oven

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Well I have one kilo of extremely sour overproofed sourdough waiting for the mad scientist. So if you give it time, it will get sour too. I fried a spoonful and tasted it: excellent flavor but also very sour.

I think the sour develops at room temperature. Rising in the fridge results in mild flavor.  A frozen starter sat out in the room for three days but did not go sour. When part of it was thinned and mixed with more flour, and allowed to ferment a long time at room temperature, it did develop sour.

 

Now, anyone got ideas other than dumping the stuff? --Mini

 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I'll be making sourdough pancakes one of these days with some of my leftover starter. Here's one recipe I found - haven't tried it yet. I will be subbing butter for oil, and will probably add some blueberries.

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Bread/SourdoughPancakes.htm