The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Flavor

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CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Sourdough Flavor

Are there any veterans out there who have tried dill pickle juice in their bread recipe? Or the King Arther Instant Sourdough Flavor, which is on page 9 of its catalog and guaranteed to "create an instant sourdough" treat.  Thank you.....

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

 and have learned everything I know from this website.  However I do think it is a fair question to ask since KA in their catalog are selling it and someone with many years experience in bread suggested dill pickle juice to me.  CountryBoy

browndog's picture
browndog

Dan Lepard has a recipe for pickle juice rye in A Handmade Loaf. He calls it "a simple sour rye in which all of the souring comes from the pickle juice...very good and hearty." I made a wheat loaf w/ pickle and olive juice, many moons ago, which was underwhelming but that probably had more to do with my level of competence at the time, than atypical ingredients.

zolablue's picture
zolablue

...well, ok, former pickle juice drinker (I used to drink it for an after-school snack when I wasn't drinking the olive juice...lol).  Geez, I wonder what that means.  Anyway, I have been very intrigued by Dan Lepard's recipe using pickle juice.  Even though I no longer drink the stuff just hearing the words gets me going (LOL again...sorry couldn't resist).  Would you recommend that recipe or was your recipe not the same as his? 

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

As a matter of fact - I just got my KA Sourdough starter a few days ago in the mail. I wanted to compare all ready made to the one I've nurtured over these past few months. I bought the "fresh" not the powdered. They send you about a tablespoon of the fresh starter and once you start feeding it I gotta tell ya' - this stuff goes like crazy! I have two 1 quart mason jars in the fridge now each half full of a wonderful smelling sourdough starter which I plan to use this week-end. I'll report back how everything tasted once I've baked with it.

 Trish in Omaha

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

On page 9 of the KA catalog they advertise KA Instant Sourdough Flavor.    Trishinomaha refers above to KA Starter which is different....I think. Does anyone out there know what I am referencing?  Your guidance appreciated.

countryboy

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

Duh...Gues I need to learn to read AND comprehend again...But...in my humble opinion - there's no subsitute for the real thing just gotta give that sourdough starter some time...trust me - I'm probably one of the most impatient people I know..."Lord give me patience - and I want it RIGHT NOW!"

LOLOL

Y'all have a nice evening,

Trish in Omaha

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

First let me add that pickle juice is not just pickle juice.  The pickles in Europe have been going through a change lately and I'm not happy about it.  There are more dill pickles now and naturally the recipies get confused.  Most recipies asking for pickles were not made with dill pickles.  Good luck finding a pickle in the USA that is not either sweet, dilled, or too salty.  I also cook with non dill-pickle juice, when added to fried onions, just a tablespoon, it takes the bitterness out, goes great in beef dishes.


Now the idea of putting pickle juice into bread is not new. It is as old as using apple vinegar or dried fermented apples and pears (by products of cider pressing).  But the taste is not quite the same as sourdough although not unpleasent.  I suspect that the bakers in Europe can purchase a powdered sourdough to mix into their dough.  It is real sourdough only processed into powder, just like commercial yeast is processed.  Since the demand is greater, it is feasable.  It could be KA is testing the market for a product that is simular.  The word "flavor" does bother me.  It would be good to get some information directly from them.  Mini Oven

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I have been reading your posts for a while mini-oven and you continue to impress me with your depth of knowledge. You zoomed in on the issue with the marketing of sourdough flavor. I have suspected for a while that many if not most large west coast bakeries are using flavor enhancers to speed things up. The result is a fake loaf of delicious SF sourdough. The pressures of running a commercial bakery are to great to ignore such a likelihood.

enjoy your posts and hope as you travel you will find a way to stay in touch.

Eric

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

KA Says that the Instant Sourdough Flavor product is for those who do not want to go to all the time and trouble with a regular sourdough starter.  That the final product in both instances is the same.  They say it comes in granular form and includes among other things vinegar.....at least that is what they said on the phone today.  Their tel. no. is 1-800-827-6836 and you can discuss the questions further if you wish.  Because I am only a novice I will leave it to the veterans to talk to KA directly.

I also second Eric and his high regard for Mini Oven.  Her notes re living in China sound fascinating.  Mini Oven, if you post your notes re your experience in China somewhere on the net I would be great to read more about the experience.  In the meantime I do not understand how you are able to cook bread out in the rice paddies of Nanging and get your oven to 375 degrees or whatever.  You do sound awesome and I am totally impressed.

countryboy

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

But don't put me too high up on a pedestal, the fall might hurt. I have learned many things through other people sharing their thoughts and experiences.  That is why I feel this site is so valuable.  The simplest of things can open whole new worlds.   Mini Oven



redivyfarm's picture
redivyfarm

I started sourdough baking last year with a recipe that was a hybrid, also using instant yeast. It had very little fermentation time and I was in a hurry to get from flour to bread on the table. As I read comments posted about this recipe most people found the bread to have very little sour taste.  It was suggested to add 2T of vinegar or sour salts from King Arthur.  When I tried the vinegar it provided a sour taste but also inhibited the rise of the yeast. I next used powdered citric acid and thought the results to be about the same.

Since finding The Fresh Loaf and long fermentations I have no problem with the starter providing all the sourdough flavor I want, and I like it tangy!  In my limited experience, flavoring a loaf with acid and/or salty solutions is at the expense of overall quality.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I couldn't have written it better!  

I did see on my Rye flour package a recipe for sourdough bread that calls for 15g of "sourdough extract"  (Sauerteigextrakt) and was thinking, "I wonder if this stuff is deactivated?"  (innert, enert, ehnert, ihnert; that's the word I want but can't seem to spell it, OK, experts, what am I looking for?)  I wonder where I can buy this stuff for an experiment?    Mini Oven


I googled Sauerteigextrakt and came out with a forum in German.  They also write back and forth on + and - of wild vs flavor (flavour).  With time, the wild rules!  Also a note on rye flour and lack of needing kneading, that rye flour is best when mixed quickly to moisten the flour and left to stand with sourdough starter to mature.    http://www.chefkoch.de/forum/2,37,65359/Frage-zu-Sauerteigextrakt.html

browndog's picture
browndog

"inert" and glad to see you back Mini Oven!

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

 Thanks and Willkommen.  If you care to buy it, the product is located on page 9 of the KA catalogue. Product #1575, $9.95, for 12 oz., tel. 1-800-827-6836  Country Boy

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

But I'm in Austria.  I think I'll find it at the super market (where I bought the flour) or in the Pharmacy.  I hope it comes in "mini" packages, like 15g or 30g.  

I think I've stuck my finger in some of this stuff about 10 years ago, tasting it in Indonesia.  An Austrian baker friend had given my neighbor a large bundle of ??? packages and we were trying to figure them out.  I wll let you know what I discover.   Mini Oven

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

 

 thanks,

countryboy

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

My apologies, I forgot you are back in Austria.

countryboy

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I was looking around here and did find mini liquid packages called:  Seitenbacher (name) Natur Sauerteig 75g for 500g flour, ready to use.  The picture on front shows a rather flat loaf.  A sealed liquid pocket with suggested storeroom temp of 22°c  or refrigerate with three recipies on the back that use additional commercial yeast.  Contains: rye grain pellet, water, sourdough culture.  If over 70 % of flour used is rye, use double the amount. Before use raise temp. to 30°c in warm water bath.  Best used before April 2008     More info at:
   http://www.seitenbacher.de/WEB-2004-11-28/Produkte/08%20Brot-backen.htm

The site states that this is real live sourdough and can be propagated but requires proper knowledge to do so, :)  so they recommend you purchase their product when you need more.  :?     Cost: €1.10 for 75g   
Yes, you know me, I will save a spoonful just to see if it's true....Mini Oven

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I opened the packet and it looked like rye flour sourdough but pungent sweet smell of honey and very ripe pears.  I put 10g in a glass along with 30g water & 20g rye flour.  The rest 65g got mixed with 400g water, 10g brown sugar, 200g rye, and 100 AP white wheat.  Then I let it rest to think French thoughts.  After 45min; and scouring the house looking for any kind of yeast, cake or powdered, frozen or tucked away; I kneaded in more flour and salt.  Left it to rest in an olive oiled bowl to think Italian.  No added com. yeast, this may take a while....


Well, it's been over 9 hours and I'm not impressed.  The 10:30:20 mix is flat. The dough just lies there...  Smells stronger now but no bubbles, foam, or burps.  Found instant yeast by a neighbor (it's sunday and all the stores are closed) and will threaten my dough with a facial if it doesn't do something soon.  I will try a fold to test the texture checking for spongy density.     Mini Oven

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

to hear your commentary and the eventual outcome.  Also of note are your powers of perception when you noted the: "sweet smell of honey and very ripe pears." I totally believe in your honesty and admire that you have such a discerning palate, but am not in your league when it comes to powers of discernment.  You are being serious, yes? You must be awesome at the wine tastings. 

 thanks,

countryboy

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Yes, I am serious.  And the vintager delivers to my door.  Really, I had just missed his "tasting" last week at his vinyard for last summer's wines when I flew from China to here.  One of these days I'll make it.  It's lots of fun and nothing too formal.  I don't know the jargon, just drink what I like.  We arrange to stay the night too.  Lots of smoked meat, cheese, salads and bread, ah yes, singing and sitting in the sunshine between the vines ....  "ho lo-ot tee lo"   ....Anyway, where was I? 


So I folded my dough, yuck, dead dough, no bubbles and slick smooth flat.  Told my dough to "shape up" and went to bed.  I really wanted to see if it would perk up.   By morning I thought I had better mix in some yeast, did that, and parked it in the back window of my car, it was nice and warm there.   And where did I put that reusable baking parchment guaranteed for 500 times?  I'd better test it before I drag it off to China.  I poked around in the little sample of starter that wasn't and added a little water and a spoonful of white AP wheat.  Couldn't hurt. 

By noon, my dough was coming along nicely and I folded, shaped, and put it on my nice new clean non-stick dauer parchment, covered it with a bowl (yes, in the car) and let it double.  It did and I wet it, slashed it, and put it into a cold oven. Took a pic, turned on the heat and 35 min later took it out to cool. 
 The starter still did not look promising but I pretended it was.  I took out 25g and mixed it with 25g water and 25g white AP (this would make the third refreshment) and put it into a gradiated plunger to my kitchen machine.  That way I could see it rise and take a better picture.   Two hours later, the old starter, the one that sat overnight and for 26 hours didn't do a thing, finally burped a few little bubbles.  I was thinking maybe I took that 25g out a little too soon...but... looked over at it and it started making bubbles too!.  4 hours after mixing up my third refreshment, it had doubled, one hour later it was on it's way down.  Now the old sleepy starter has doubled too.  I put them both into the fridge. (I can use the older one for a facial, later)  The bread is good but I wouldn't call it sour. The starters have lost the honey smell and are more nutty now.  Nothing stuck to the super parchment.   Mini Oven

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

 and it certainly sounds as if you gave it a fair shot by monitoring it as frequently as you did and doing what you did.  Based on your results with that particular ingredient I think we can take a pass on this concept in the future.

 many thanks,

countryboy

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

But maybe you are right, this is limited information. But I will investigate further, for me. I just got this stuff going. Heck, i'm going to try a white bread without com. yeast and see what comes out. All I have to do is increase the amount of this new starter, which I will do right away and refrigerate so it's ready when I need it. I will spare you the play-by-play. If the white loaf taste comes out well with the new starter, it might be worth knowing that the starter can be transported before opening and up and running in 36 hours. I will go see if I can find dried sourdough flavor too.

May 23rd...Have been storing this stuff in the Kuhlschrank (fridge) for a while and refreshed it once. Yesterday, I kept 25 g and gave it 40g water and 40g white AP & Rye. Then after it almost doubled combined with 100g water and 80g AP white with about 20g Rye. In 4 hours it was begging to be used in a recipe so I wisked in 100g milk + 200g water and went digging through my cupboards: Let's see (found some peanut flour, not rancid, never tried this in cinn. rolls, hmmm) big handful of that; roasted walnut flour (yuck, rancid) forget that; spelt flour - a good helping - half of it - about 150g ; some butter ; 2 eggs fresh from happy chickens; some brown sugar; handful of rye; salt; next bag - AP white to glue it a bit.... still whisking and decided to cover and let stand 4 hours. The new sourdough starter does not really smell sour but seems happy as a yeast so leaving it rather wet for a few hours will give my yeasties lots a room to multiply. After 4 hours, it was all bubbly so I added in more white AP and was quite pleased with myself. Parked it back into the bowl and waited about one and half hours. Wow, that's a lot of dough, nice tight skin with lots of bubbles through and through. I carefully plopped it out onto my floured counter and began to stretch and flatten it out but it was clear to see that the bubbles were of the finest quality and would not easily pop. So I dug out my rolling pin, yes, with sourdough, and rolled out a large rectangle, it was very large and remained spongy, like a baby giant's hehind! Brushed on butter, sprinkled with brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. Rolled it up and cut with a guitar string tied between two large buttons. I've used the dental floss trick also, but hey...this works so nice and in cutting, sings too. I've never made such large rolls, got 16, and filled my broiler pan, lined of coarse, covered with a wet dish (tea) towel and went off to pick up my son and co. cramming for exams. The rolls came out excellently and I glazed them with lemon juice, amaretto, powdered sugar. No one even knows there's peanuts in there but I had to let the allergy crowd know all my secrets. Today I can say that there is a little sour to the dough. (No, it's not the lemon juice glaze although it does complement it) I think this "instant sourdough" is not so bad and seems very stable. It certainly has power and consistancy. We've had summer temperatures lately and the windows are open early. And...
Oh, I smell rhubarb on the wind --cooking somewhere. This is the first year I can remember when both strawberries and rhubarb are ripe at the same time. And everyone is sneezing! I think all the pollen for May and June got scrunched together into one month. --Mini
CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

for your wonderful and in depth account.  Am glad they came out so excellently.  I never thought of glazing with lemon juice but it sounds like a great idea.  You sound to be a very experienced baker and inventive as well.  However, when you say "there is a little sour to the dough" it leads me to think that maybe the use of this particular starter is not worth the trouble it involves.  But your final product still sounds great!

countryboy

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Well sometimes I've made things too sour and this has just enough that a sourdough lover can taste it.   I remember comments in other topics wanting a good starter with a little less sour.  Seems to me that there are a lot of different starters and not just pieces of the same one "Mother Starter"   each stable with different characteristics.  I would love to have a convention  where everyone could really compare their starters.  We could call it "Sour on the Crumb"  or "Super Sour Bread Conversion"  "What's Your Sour Dough?"  you get my drift... Everyone could share, smell, stir, taste, etc., and of course bake!   -- Mini Oven

Atropine's picture
Atropine

Reviving this thread before I stomp my feet and go back to wonderbread (kidding!).

 I want a SOUR bread.  I have tried starters and growing my own (seriously, I think my local flora is not conducive to the sour taste).  I have reviewed techniques here and tried them (temp differences, time differences, retardation, etc).  I have researched and worked and in fact have three separate cultures going on in my fridge.

Now my sourdough bread is actually fairly pleasant and benign....a child's bread with a very smooth, delicate flavor that would be overpowered by anything on top of it, but is almost sweet or yogurty....but without the tang of yogurt.  A great deal of VERY subtle flavor.

However, I want to be able to bake a loaf of bread that is sour enough to require a fireblanket of cool butter in order to eat.  Some meals just call for that (I love pairing specific bread with a specific meal!). Every so often I want a bread that bites back!  I want a bread that says "How DARE you even consider breaking my beautiful golden crust, you peasant you, EN GARDE!" while I bat my eyelashes at said loaf and softly coo "Could someone please pass the butter?".

So, at the risk of being banned for life from a group of VERY talented and obviously expert folk as are here :-) ....is there anything I can do to cheat and make bread TASTE sour?  My justification for even asking is this <smile>:  I can do sourdough bread, but now I am looking for sour FLAVOR (I console myself with the idea that, since this is a flavoring instead of a technique, I am not REALLY cheating....)

Thank you!

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

There aren't any secrets when it comes to getting a sour taste in bread.

 

You need to avoid using a soured starter because the sour taste from that starter will be diluted away and it won't raise the bread well.

 

You need to use a fresh and healthy starter, and do all you can to encourage longer rises.  If your starter is not terribly acidic, you can try feeding it with about 5% whole wheat or rye flour and 95% white for a few times.  This will help restore the balance betwen yeast and bacteria.

 

Use a small amount of starter to give it more time to work.

 

Make sure your flour has a good amount of ash in it.  Ash is mineral content, and that boosts sour.  In a pinch, you can add some whole wheat or rye flour to your bread as that will kick up the mineral content.

 

Play with temperatures.  Some people report that refrigeration will build sour.  Others report higher temps build sour.  I think different strains may react differently, so play with your starter to see what works.

 

Denser doughs tend to yield a more sour bread.  Try cutting the hydration of your dough.  (Other people report wetter doughs are more sour... again, it may depend on your culture, so experiment.)

 

Remember that the taste of sourdough bread changes over a few days, so you might find that it is more sour on day 2 or 3 than when fresh.

 

Hope that helps,

Mike

 

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

But, just to note my experience. My breads have the best sour when I use my UNrefreshed sourdough starter right out of the fridge that's about 4-5 days old. It has never failed to rise the bread...in fact somethimes I wish it would slow down. Most of my breads start out with an overnight sponge/poolish/biga/whatever and some have another overnight fermentation after mixing the final dough and rising. All rise very well, no flat breads. Some recipes I use the unrefreshed starter in an overnight sponge and bake the bread in the afternoon.

 

 

When I've refreshed a starter before starting my recipe the breads rise and taste ok but are definitely missing some of the sour I get doing it the other way. None of my bread is "real sour" because we don't like too much sour. In fact I don't like using SD and buttermilk in whole grain breads....too sour.

 

 

When I do refresh the starter I use about 1/4 cup starter, 1/4 cup water (or more as needed to make a firm mess) and 1/2 cup all purpose flour. I don't measure, just eye it. I let it sit out 8-12 hours and then put it in the fridge. If I don't bake after 4 or 5 days I use up all but 1/4 cup for pancakes or whatever and refresh the 1/4 cup and bake in the next 4 or 5 days. I never went beyond 5 days.

 

Maybe the first overnight sponge is enough to do the job of refreshing...or maybe it's just my starter and that's how it works. All I know is that I lose something when I refresh it 12 to 24 hours before starting a recipe with it. Besides, when I want to bake I want to bake! :0)

 

Like I said, Mike is the expert and really knows how SD works. I also think that after some basic rules it's all up for grabs. Whatever works for you. Keep trying and keep notes. Happy Baking.                                                                                                           weavershouse

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Yes, I am so glad to hear someone say

However, I want to be able to bake a loaf of bread that is sour enough to require a fireblanket of cool butter in order to eat. 

Yes, I too want SOUR and am doing just sourdough baking but so far it doesn't seem sour enough. I try all the options people suggest but so far it does not have as much kick to it as I am trying for.  Oh well......and whatever...  8-)

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Atropine, CountryBoy,

FWIW, I made four different breads and had various people order them from least to most sour and wrote blog entry about it.

Bill

Atropine's picture
Atropine

Bwraith....interesting experiment! 

 

Countryboy....yeah, that is my problem...I have TRIED the various timing things, cold and hot things.  I do not even get a HINT of sour.

 

So I am desperate--can I just add vinegar or something to make it taste more sour?  At least to tide me over until I can crack the code on actual sour? 

 

TBH, I really think it *IS* my house.  I have read accounts of people sharing starter and the starter changing form.  It seems, also, that some people can get a sour bread, even if they do not want it, and some people cannot get anything sour going, no matter what they try.  There has to be something more going on, and I bet it is environmental (but that is just my guess).  My house is 30 years old, inhabited by all manner of critters (dogs, cats, hamsters) with renters who had come in and out, lots of cool damp conditions in the yard, etc.  There is no way that it is not colonized with something.

BUT since RTWS will not let us move based solely on the potential sour-producing microorganisms in another abode <snort>, I have to go to plan B.....flavorings.

 

However, if anyone has developed "kick your tonsils on the way down" sour.....could you please tell me EXACTLY how you did that?  How long did it take?  Anything you think was key?  Have you experimented like bwraith and found that it was THIS thing or THAT thing that made the difference?  I would appreciate any help with either "real" sour bread or "flavored" sour bread.

Desperate person here...needs sour bread....lol

mrpeabody's picture
mrpeabody

Atropine,

I read in some bread blog (I can't remember where) that someone used kefir in their bread recipe to get a tangy bread.  If I can remember correctly (and that is a stretch as I find I must be approaching early senility), this person used to make sourdough with a starter but later found that rather than feeding/keeping a starter, he(she?) found that substituting kefir gave the bread the same sourdough tang.  I think that kefir is a fermened milk product like yogurt, but it is much more sour.

Perhaps worth a try?  I only remembered it because I was hoping to come up with a short-cut (yes, this is heresy) way to get tangy sourdough-like bread without the need for maintaining a starter.

 

Oh...and probably I would add some rye.  It just seems that the combo of tang and a little rye just somehow works for me.

Mr. Peabody

P.S. Why is your nickname a muscarinic receptor antagonist?  Is your name "Bella"  or maybe "Donna?"

Atropine's picture
Atropine

Thanks I will try the kefir!

My handle is in reference to using atropine as an antidote to a nerve agent, rather than trauma/hospital use.  "Atropine" is the moniker RTWS gave me when I was trying to think of a screen name for another board I go to. It is a long, probably boring story, but the short of it is that he was making a wise crack at my expense :) 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

My experience is 100% consistant with what Mike Avery wrote (see above). 

At the risk of surperfluant and repetitive redundancy, if you want more sour taste, what you are saying is you want your dough's bacteria to make more acedic acid. So ... 

1. Feed your starter with rye flour for the last refresh.
2. Make a firm (not liquid) starter.
3. Refrigerate the starter for at least 12 and up to 72 hours in a covered bowl.
4. Make your dough with the starter. Ferment it. Divide your dough and shape your loaves.
5. Refrigerate your loaves, with oiled surfaces and placed in food-safe plastic (bags or wrap), 12-24 hours.
6. Take out of fridge enough ahead of time to warm and proof (2-4 hours).
7. Bake
8. Cool
9. Eat and pucker up.

David

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

I will do as you say. I am just a Novice of One Year, however, Hamelman, and some of the other big guns say repeatedly not to

Make a firm (not liquid) starter.

They clearly say a more liquid consistancy allows for more taste and sour to develope.  Is it possible that maybe it is a matter of different strokes for different folks?

As I say repeatedly here, I am just a Novice of One Year, and so am walking blind on this.  Then again if the poolish style is not working, I might as well try biga.....whatever...

Thanks very much for the itemized list. Reinhart, Hamelman, Beranbaum, etc. are not nearly so comprehensive as you are.


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, CountryBoy.

"Sour" comes in two flavors: The strong, in your face kind I think you are looking for is from acetic acid. You get your dough beasties to make it as described. The other, "mellow," kind of sour is from lactic acid. More lactic acid is generated in a liquid culture at a warmer temperature.

Now, what  you really want is the balance between these two that fits your personal taste. I described how to get what I think you are after. On the other hand, the French tradition is to minimize sourness, so French sourdough ("Levain") recipes would have results you (or I) might not like so much.

There is no absolute "right" or "wrong" procedure, unless you are truly duplicating some one else's bread that has a particularly flavor balance.

David

Atropine's picture
Atropine

Thank you for the information  :-)

itotallygaf's picture
itotallygaf

i was just reading through the above trials and tribulations of folks trying to produce a more sour loaf and was in the same situation a month or so ago until i read a reply to a thread about how much starter one should keep.  one reply included a recipe that utilized only one teaspoon of starter for the entire dough which contained about 3.5 cups of flour.  the exact recipe is not important but the small amount of starter seems to be the solution.  it took about 2 days before i saw any activity in the dough (ambient temp was about 63F), but by the 3rd day it had risen nicely and once baked it was the most flavorful bread i had ever baked (about 3 years using my starter).  it seems that the increased amount of time fermenting allowed the bacteria to flourish to a point where a very noticeable amount of acid was produced without tearing away and breaking down the gluten.  i'm sure you can accomplish the same results by using the refridgerator rather than living in a cool home.  

mrpeabody's picture
mrpeabody

Atropine,

Yeah, I just noticed the name and because I recently lectured on acetylcholine and their receptors to a bunch of undergrads, seeing the name "Atropine" just stood out for me.  The "Bella" and "Donna" remark was from the fact that atropine was originally isolated from the deadly nightshade plant (whose latin name is Atropa belladonna).  The extract was once used in diluted form by certain Italian women to dilate their pupils because they thought it was more...well...alluring.

At least you didn't go by the name "Scopolamine," which is another muscarinic receptor antagonist used for treating motion sickness.

Mr. Peabody

Atropine's picture
Atropine

Yes I got the comment about "bella" and "donna" :).  I am a wannabe epidemiologist :).

Scopolamine just does not have that "ring" to it lolol.

 

mrpeabody's picture
mrpeabody

Hello,

I was intrigued about using kefir to sour bread.  I know that some people use it to boost a sourdough starter, but I was interested in whether just adding kefir in a bread recipe will give the bread a nice tang.  Just fair warning, I've been using the "Artisan bread in five min" technique a lot lately because, well I just don't have the time and patience to use more traditional methods.  So, I was wondering whether you can get some of the sourdough-like qualities with kefir.

I just sampled some bread that I made and it definitely has more tang in it than a well-aged master recipe dough. Here is what I used:

1 cup (about 9.3 oz) nonfat kefir (I wanted to keep this dough lean)
2-1/4 cups (18 oz) warm water
1-1/2 Tbsp instant yeast
4 tsp kosher salt
4 cups (20 oz) unbleached AP flour
2 cups (11 oz) bread flour
1/2 cup (2.3 oz) dark rye

I dosed the dough with bread flour because I was concern that the milk products in kefir would overly tenderize the crumb. I also boosted the water to compensate for the bread flour and for the fact that the kefir has some solids in it (it’s not all wet).


I mixed it up as usual and let it sit at room temp for about 3 hrs. Then I put it in the fridge until the next day. Next day, I shaped two 1 lb loaves (let proof for 90 min) and baked as normal. Nice oven spring.

So, the kefir did add a nice tang. It wasn’t overbearing and very pleasant tasting. I’ll let the rest of the dough age in the refrigerator to see if the yeast and the “wee beasties” in the kefir make the bread much more sour. Still, it was a nice addition for a tangier bread (with definite sourdough qualities) — a faux sourdough.  All heresy aside, I know that traditional sourdough recipes will likely make a superior product (and there are many dedicated sourdoughers here).  This isn't to replace those methods, just another option for a sour bread that might stand on its own as a different variant.

The kefir was bought at a grocery store. I know some people make their own and it might be much more sour, but the storebought one worked fine. So, what to do with the rest of the kefir? Well, this morning I diluted 1 part kefir with 2 parts milk and the result is something close to buttermilk. I made “buttermilk” pancakes that were very tasty and light.

I know that there are people who claim all sorts of magical properties of kefir. That wasn’t why I wanted to try this. I only wanted tangier, more sourdough-like bread without the whole constant care and feeding of a sourdough starter. I haven't had time to work out the whole sourdough regime yet (perhaps some day in the future as I'm very impressed by all the traditional sourdoughs that are displayed on this website).  The kefir apparently has a complex mix of microbes (yeasts/bacteria, including some lactobaccilus and acetobacter to give it an assertive sourness).  I don't know how active they will be in the refrigerator, but I am intrigued.

I’ll let you know when I bake off the remaining dough if the extra aging really sours it more.

Mr. Peabody

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Let's find out what the wee-beasties can do. 

Mini O

Atropine's picture
Atropine

I made sourdough yesterday following the list of ideas given in this thread--did not turn out.

So I did an experiment with different flavorings (had not gotten any kefir though).  I used citric acid, buttermilk and vinegar.  Baked a loaf with each of those.

 

Results:  the vinegar did not have much of a taste--probably used too little.  The buttermilk had no tang, but a nice flavor.  The CA was totally bland at first then the sour hit right as you were about to swallow.  It was fairly one dimensional. 

SO then I made another loaf with buttermilk AND the CA.  That was VERY pleasant and had the sour I was looking for.  I would like a little more depth of flavor up front, and through the tang so I have to tweak the recipe somewhat.  BUT the entire family (including picky kid) loved it.

So I just need to find something else to round out the flavor so the flavor is blended and harmonious the whole way through.

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Atropine. 

You should be able to get the sourdough bread you want without adding buttermilk, CA or vinegar. 

The bread that "did not turn out:" Tell us what you did and what you did not like about the result. We should be able to give you suggestions that hit the target for you, but we need the details.  

David

Atropine's picture
Atropine

I did everything that was offered. :-)  But y'all be the judge...

 

I had a starter that was....probably two or three weeks old.  I spiked it with rye twice or three times (pretty sure twice) right before making the bread.  The starter before then would take turns both in my fridge and on my counter, but mostly in the fridge.

Then I did a last refresh with rye, made it firm (little water), put it in the fridge.  It was there probably about 18 hours IIRC.

I made the dough with white flour and set it out to ferment.  I then divided and shaped the loaves and put them back in the fridge where they sat for....probably 24 hours more or less.  The dough was pretty slack though.

I took them out in the morning yesterday and let them rise for about 2 hours.  Again, the dough was slack so they rose, but also spread.

I baked it, tried it warm (I know, I know but I was excited to have sour bread!), then I let it cool and tried it again.  Then tried it later on from that.  In each case, it was not that great tasting.  Not horrible but not worth the calories either.   It was a greyish brown color (from the rye?).  There was the very slightest bit of sour at the end.  Actually not even sour but a shadow of sour, if that makes sense.  It did not taste sour, but it had that.....I cannot explain it, but it is a mouth sensation that goes along with some sour flavors.

The ONLY thing that I wondered if there might be a problem is that I was not thinking and added about 1/2 tsp of commercial yeast when I was making the bread.  But still, one would think that the commercial yeast would not be able to erase every trace of acetic acid flavor...but I might be wrong.

My starter was started with commercial yeast, but sat open on my counter when it was out, usually.  No "wild" starter I have tried has ever caught anything but mold, so I was working on "the local flora will take over the starter" concept and used commercial yeast as a kicker to try to keep the yuck out until the starter was healthy.

I would love any tips.  I wanted to do everything EXACTLY as mentioned (I have been trying sour bread for many many months now), and nothing has worked.  Wet starter, dry starter, in the fridge, on the counter, long rise, hot rise....all these are things I have tried.  I know I must be missing something, but I have no idea what!  I feel resigned to making my "faux 'dough". :)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Atropine. 

I see many opportunities to improve your sourdough bread.  

First and most important: You have not made sourdough bread, from what you describe. Sourdough is made with a "starter" that is flour and water as a medium for growing a specific (but varying from locale to locale) combination of yeast and bacteria that depend on each other for optimal growth. You are using a "poolish," which will enhance the flavor or your bread, for sure, but will not produce a strong sourdough flavor which comes from the action of lactobacilli.  

So, you need to either make your own sourdough starter or, better yet, in my opinion, get a proven starter from a friend or order one from a reliable source. 

Second, you need to "activate" your starter by taking it out of the refrigerator and feeding it once or twice and letting it grow at room temperature until it doubles and is all bubbly before feeding it again.  

Now, for the last feeding before you use your starter to make your dough, if you want a more sour flavor, feed it with enough flour to make a "firm starter" which is like a dough - you can form it into a ball - not like a stiff batter. Let that firm starter double (4-6 hours) at room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 12 and up to 72 hours. (24 to 72 hours will increase the acidity compared to 12 hours.) 

The day you are making your bread, take the firm starter out of the refrigerator, cut as much as you are going to be using into pieces about the size of an egg, cover them with plastic wrap, and let them warm up for an hour. Then mix your dough, ferment, divide and shape.  

Again, to get more sour, refrigerate the loaves overnight in an airtight wrap or bag. The day of baking, take the loaves out of the refrigerator and let them proof (rise) to 1.5-2 times their original size (probably abut 4 hours), then bake.  

The effect of adding commercial yeast to your dough is to speed things up. The best flavor is produced through a longer fermentation, so the yeast will give you more predictable rising at the expense of flavor, including sour flavor. 

I haven't given exact quantities of ingredients or techniques for mixing, shaping, baking, etc. Those are available elsewhere on this site. But I hope these procedures clarify what you need to do. 

Keep baking! 

David

Atropine's picture
Atropine

Thank you for your help david!  A few questions...

 

I know that my starter was not wild caught yeast.  However, that is one thing that I honestly have tried several times and all I get is mold.  I have tried that in a couple of places in my house.  That is why I started the starter with commercial yeast and let it sit out, uncovered, in my kitchen off and on for a couple of weeks, hoping that the local flora would overwhelm the commercial flora.  I had read that a)commercial yeast does not last long in a starter, and b) that if you borrow a starter or buy one, that your local flora would overwhelm it and the flavor will not stay true.  That is why I felt a "boost" of commercial yeast would be something (not mold) growing in the starter until my local flora could establish.  Is that inaccurate?

FWIW, I did buy starter one time, but it was not sour either.  However, I was trying the "warm" rise method that I had read on here, so that might have been the issue. :)

 

Second, you need to "activate" your starter by taking it out of the refrigerator and feeding it once or twice and letting it grow at room temperature until it doubles and is all bubbly before feeding it again.  

I did this many times during the 2-3 weeks that I was doubling it, especially in the week prior. :)  Course it is moot if the commercial yeast is that strong enough to not allow ANY flavor.  But that gives me pause because my timing WAS the timing you suggested--even though I was using "quick" yeast, the TIMING was the same in terms of letting things sit in the fridge for 24 hours, etc.  Additionally, the bacterial (lactobacillus and whichever one creates acetic acid) should still be there, no matter what yeast, right?  Or does commercial yeast actually kill off bacteria?

 

Now, for the last feeding before you use your starter to make your dough, if you want a more sour flavor, feed it with enough flour to make a "firm starter" which is like a dough - you can form it into a ball - not like a stiff batter.

 I did make a firm starter, but it was definitely not that firm.  I could have handled it, but it as not like, say, a roll of cookie dough firm.  It was slightly softer than that.  Perhaps that is my trouble?  I believe it is Rose's book that mentions that some people have a sourer bread with a more liquid starter, while others have the opposite.  I still wonder if my environment is simply not conducive.  However, I can definitely try again! :)

 

 Again, to get more sour, refrigerate the loaves overnight in an airtight wrap or bag. The day of baking, take the loaves out of the refrigerator and let them proof (rise) to 1.5-2 times their original size (probably abut 4 hours), then bake. 

 I did this, but instead of putting them in a bag, I had them on the pan and tucked plastic wrap around them.  I did take them out, let them rise, and bake the next day.

 

If I were to actually succeed in a wild caught starter, how long would I have to grow it before making sour bread?

 

I appreciate the help! :)

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to understand (without starting a blown out discussion, which is discussed on another thread btw) in starting your starter, to know that the beasties don't fall from the air, maybe a few, but the largest portion of bacteria and yeast come from the flour itself.  In starting a starter from scratch, it helps to get flour or even whole grains that haven't been through too much production and sifting.  The % of beasties is higher.  Can I suggest you start with a whole flour or rolled grains for your starter, at least in the first day?  Get them as natural as you can and without bleaching or radiation treatments (sometimes done for shipment overseas).  You might have better luck. Try lightly covering the bowl (to keep out mold spores) and stirring it 3 times a day to distribute air and beasties evenly. 

Mini O

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

I know this is gonna sound harsh. Maybe I should have another cup of coffee and bake some bread instead of replying, but honestly, this has gone on long enough....

One problem people get into in forums such as TFL is that it resembles a tower of babel. One person says cat, another dog. Both have ideas that work. However, if you don't understand what they are saying, you try catdog, and that rarely works. So, pick a guru. Whether that is a web site, a book, or one person here. And follow their directions until you get a feel for what is happening. From your comments, it seems you are paying attention to all, and misunderstanding much.

 

You commented:

I know that my starter was not wild caught yeast. However, that is one thing that I honestly have tried several times and all I get is mold. I have tried that in a couple of places in my house. That is why I started the starter with commercial yeast and let it sit out, uncovered, in my kitchen off and on for a couple of weeks, hoping that the local flora would overwhelm the commercial flora.

That's a great way to cultivate mold and let flour rot. I don't know where you got the idea that would start any sort of starter.

While there are yeast and bacteria in the air, the concentration on flours and grains is much higher. I have three sets of instructions for starting starters on my web page. And I get more emails about the topic of starting starters than any other topic. There are two major reasons why people fail at starting starters. One is that if they aren't familiar with sourdough they don't know what a good starter looks like, smells like, tastes like or how it works. If the accidentally get one, they won't recognize it. The other big issue is that many people have trouble reading and following instructions. I get emails where people tell me they are following my instructions to feed the starter once a day and stir it three times a day. Only... none of my instructions call for that. None of my instructions call for stirring without feeding. The smallest number of failures come from bad luck. When people read, understand and follow the instructions they almost always work.

 

So, pick a guru, start a REAL sourdough starter and move on. Don't mix methods until you understand the methods. And don't use commercial yeast with sourdough, or trust anyone's sourdough advice who encourages you to do so.

 

Mike

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Atropine. 

From what you wrote above, it sounds like your are following sound procedures. That leaves the problem of your "starter." 

Now, in the interest of "full disclosure," I have never personally grown a starter from scratch. The starter I have used for the past 3 years or so is based on one I purchased from King Arthur's Baker's Catalogue. 

The issue of whether local flora take over a starter is not without controversy, but most folks seem to believe this happens. In my experience, the flavor of my sourdough changed (for the worse) after 2 months or so. It got "bland," for lack of a better term. But, after a few more months, it got better again, although not the same as the original flavor exactly. I assume that was due to my local beasties getting established. Since then, it's been pretty predictable, and I have no complaints about its performance (ability to raise dough) or its flavor. 

Now, my first point was that sourdough starter works because a very specific species of yeast and a very specific species of lactobacillus set up harmonious housekeeping. What species you have locally will be different from mine or from any other area. Over time (probably measured in months), local flora should take over your "sourdough" started with commercial yeast, but until and unless this happens you do not - I repeat, do not - have a sourdough starter. The yeast in sourdough is dependent on something that its own local lactobacilli make or digest. 

I once made cucumber pickles from my mother's recipe, which did not use vinegar. My wife, with her degree in microbiology from Berkeley, got all paranoid that I would get botulism without acidification from the vinegar. So, I called the California Cooperative Extension Service and talked to their in-house pickle guru. I was informed that, by definition, I had not made pickles at all. Pickles have to have vinegar. I had made "fermented cucumbers." Well, my fermented cucumbers were just delicious. I don't like "sour pickles." 

The point is, you have not made sourdough bread yet. Splurge on a proven starter from a reliable source. Live through the few months until it adapts (adopts?) to your local flora. Keep feeding and using it. It keeps getting better. 

You will be a happy sourdough baker yet! 

BTW, I've never yet had a problem with mold, but I live in a relatively new house in a dry climate. I can't offer any experience with that particular problem. Maybe some one else will chime in.  

David

mrpeabody's picture
mrpeabody

I’m writing back to report on the experiment using kefir to the ABin5 method. As I reported before (see the thread above), the bread after only 1 day aging in the refrigerator already had a nice tang to it. Today, I baked the rest of the aging dough (now 5 days in the refrigerator).

The bread is definitely a bit more tangy than the first batch (not in your face tangy, but definitely there and very pleasant). My wife and I both agree that it is also a bit more nuanced in flavor. My guess is that some of the “wee beasties” in the kefir remained active in addition to the bread yeast.

Overall, I really like the effect. Definitely sourdough-like qualities without as much work. Also, I noticed that the first batch of bread had a little better keeping properties (did not stale quite as fast), perhaps due to the bit of acid in the bread.

One other thing that I noticed is that the increase tanginess makes the saltiness of the bread come to the fore a bit. I’ve noticed this with other foods (like when I make hummus, adding in the lemon juice also boosts the salt flavor). So, in my next batches, I may drop the salt a bit more.  The bread also spread sideways more this time, probably because of weakening gluten from the developing acid.

Overall, I like the effect of using kefir this way.  I tasted a bit of it straight and it is much more sour than yogurt or buttermilk.  Again, this is just megamart bought kefir and I found a nonfat one.  I wonder if the lowfat version would tenderize the crumb more.  I have more of the kefir in the refrigerator.  I don't know how long it keeps but it is afterall soured milk.

Mr. Peabody

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Tastes vary and so does the meaning of "sour."  I think there are many different kinds of "sour"  some tastier than others.  Here where I live, the expression of "sour" can even mean "salty" ...your discerning comment, Mr P, on salt and sour could be a clue to it's origin.  My mom and I even disagree when milk has soured and if the whip cream has "gone off" so tastes vary with age as well.  But I think it should be called Kefir Bread and not sourdough, just to keep things organized. 

I like it that you like it.  Yes!  Let the wee-beasties work for you!

Mini O