The Fresh Loaf

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Failing! - What am I doing wrong?

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HokeyPokey's picture
HokeyPokey

Failing! - What am I doing wrong?

I’ve been trying NYT no-knead recipe following JMonkey sourdough version, and a breadtopia version from http://www.breadtopia.com/sourdough-no-knead-method/ and its failing miserably.

 

I tried Jim’s recipe tonight - http://home.att.net/~carlsfriends/jimpics/Instructions.html

– same result.

 

I am using Organic White flour from Shipton Mill, measuring 140-150g to a cup, and a 100% white starter (tried rye/wholemeal – with no improvements)

 

NY dough is VERY wet, and I am only using 1.5 cups of water.

I leave it for 18 hours (but see bubbles after 12) at a room temperature, shape and lease to rise for another 2-2.5 hours in a warm place. And it really sticks to a towel – I am using a lot of flour, but it seems to absorb it all.

I managed to get it into my hot hot Le Cruset pot and bake as per recipe.

It has absolutely no oven spring, but a nice crust and a very sour taste (which my husband likes).

 

Jim’s recipe – mixed it well, left for an hour – did the French fold – worked beautifully! 18 hours later, the dough is very wet again, had lots of troubles shaping it into a ball. Left for a final rise in a warm place – really flat, and not much volume, even though, its been sitting for an hour and a half at least. Took at least 5 min to transfer it to a baking stone – baked to 40 mins – flat and no over spring – another disaster!

 

Please help, what am I doing wrong?

 

 First mix

01 Mix

 After 18 hours

02 after 18 hours

 Folding

Folding 

 The result

 

  

 

 

 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

HokeyPokey,

Jim's recipe in the link you provided uses 65% hydration. It should not be very wet. It should make a reasonably supple and not slack dough after the mix, rest, and folding. If after rising for a while it seems very wet, it could be that your starter is not really fully active yet. Something similar happened to me when I first made a starter that I thought was ready but later realized was not.

If you take a small amount of your starter, say 30 grams, and mix 60 grams of flour and 60 grams of water (i.e. a 1:2:2 feeding by weight), and stir it until it is well mixed and has the consistency of a thick, resistant, but stirrable paste, it should rise by double in about 4 hours at room temperature. Also, it should not have a runny consistency or liquid forming on top shortly after doubling. It should still have a reasonable paste consistency but now just lighter since it has risen.

I don't know if it's the starter, but it's something to check out.

Also, just curious exactly which Shipton Mill product you are using. I see they have quite a nice selection on their web site.

Bill

pelosofamily's picture
pelosofamily

I am still struggling with starter.  Very goopy and doesn't set up for shaping.  Brotforms ,dump it out and watch it spread.!!! I started building a wall around the loaves with parchment walls and whatever to hold from spreading. Difficult when you basically are freeform.  No, If you are from the sixties, this does not relate to bras...you are on the wrong site. Albert

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

Since you are encountering a problem and try to find a solution, be sure to weigh you ingredients with a scale. Check the baker's percentage. Also be certain about the hydration of the starter that is used in the original formula. Some are 1:1, others may be 100:125 or something else. Check if your organic flour has malted barley added. Many organic fours do not and that may slow your yeast activity down. Be also sure that you resfreshed your starter well enough ... a very sour dough could be a sign for a starter that is a bit more exhausted (that is however not a necessary conclusion).

 

Don't be offended if some of these points appear obvious to you ... I am just scribbeling down what I can think of without asking more detailed questions.

If nothing else comes to mind, switch the flour at least for a try to eliminat the flour as the cause of the problem.

 

Bill is right with his description of a 65% Hydration dough .... this should be pretty average and good to handle.

 

BROTKUNST 

HokeyPokey's picture
HokeyPokey

No way I amd going to be offended - this is the fourth time I have tried the NYT method, and I am looking for anything that will improve it.

 

 Bill, I refreshed my  starter about 18 hours before using it - is it too long? It has doubled and bubbled after about 6 hours, so should I have used it sooner?

 

 I have tried all these from Shipton Mill:

Traditional Organic White

Canadian Strong White Bread Flour

French White Flour - Type 55

Untreated Organic White Flour - No.4

Finest Bakers White Bread Flour - No.1

Ordered two 2.5 kg packs of Traditional Organic White now

 

Thank you again

Lily

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Lily,

How long to wait to use a starter is a matter of opinion to some extent. The reason I suggested you try feeding it 1:2:2 by weight and seeing if it rises by double in about 4 hours, is that for me, that's a good indication the starter is healthy and ready to go. However, the 4 hours timing only works well for that feeding ratio and for a consistency of a paste, i.e. 1 to 1 by weight of flour to water, and at about 72F.

If you're saying it takes 6 hours for your starter to double from a 1:2:2 by weight feeding at room temperature, I'd say that's a bit long. You can feed again at the 6 hour point, and see if it speeds up. With a couple or three feedings of 1:2:2 every time it doubles at room temperature, it should speed up and rise closer to 4 hours.

As to when to use the starter, let it rise by double, and then use it. It's OK to wait a couple of hours, but I wouldn't leave the starter at room temperature for much more than a couple of hours after it has risen by double before using it.

I did a blog entry recently on maintaining a 100% hydration starter that might be helpful to you.

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

So you went already through a variety of flours, organic and non-organic. You weigh your ingredients and therefore the percentage if the Hydration is indeed 65%.

 

Since there are only a few ingredients, I'd try a variation on the starter (just to see what the difference would be for you) . Use Instant Yeast for one loaf. For example:

485g Bread Flour (100%)

313g Water (64.5%)

9g Sea Salt (1.9%)

0.5g Instant Yeast (0.1%) *

 

*) If you cannot weight this small amount: it's a bit more generous 1/8 of a teaspoon , ~1/6 of a teaspoon. You may also take, say 2 g of yeast dissolved in 1252g of water and then use only 313g of that yeast water in the formula. Make sure of course the yeast really dissolved in the water.

 

Mix ingredients (salt and yeast should not be in direct contact) for about 4 minutes, keep for 1 Hr at about room temperature, Refridgerate overnight, Take out to room temperature in the morning, Let ferment throughout the day. (Alternativly let if ferment for 12-18 hrs at room temperature. In the summertime I would stick closer to the 12 hrs than 18 hrs)

 

Remove dough from the bowl on a floured surface and fold it once or twice over a period of 20 minutes. Keep from drying out by placing the inverted bowl over the dough. Shape a boule and let it proof for two hours (prefereably in floured towels or, if not, in a small bowl)

Place the dough in a very HOT (450F, thoroughly pre-heated) pot with cover, bake for 30 minutes, remove lid an bake for another 10-15 minutes.

 

I know for a fact that the formula and the instructions above work and that the dough really has an intense ovenspring, forming a pronounced boule. I used an 8QT Calphalon One pot, which is normally used for our soups. I actually have to drop the dough into the deep, hot pot - and still the dough bakes nicely.

By the way, I think this type of bread is 'interesting', especially when you consider the small amount of yeast. It's not the most elegant though ...

 

If this would work for you, you may reduce the yeast a bit more and add some of your starter (to create a more sour flavour).

 

Something else, I think the formula you referenced would use here about 15-7.5g of starter** - which is in comparison to 0.5g of instant yeast a rather potent dosis ... another thing to consider is to reduce the amount of your starter by 30-70%. Especially with this long fermentation you need (want) only a small amount of leavening.

 

**) your referenced formula uses about twice the amount of flour with 15-30g of starter

 

BROTKUNST

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Brotkunst,

I don't know much about comparing instant yeast amounts to starter amounts, but I've tried Jim's recipe. I can verify that it took about 17 hours to double at about 70F for me with 15 grams of starter.

Just for fun here, using Mike Avery's rule:

I had some complicated ways of converting to sourdough, but now I have a simpler way.

I use about 1 cup of active starter to replace a packet of yeast.

If needed, I adjust the recipe the next time I make the bread.

Mike

1/2 gram  of instant yeast is about 1/14 of a packet of instant yeast and 15 grams of starter is about 1/14 of a cup of starter also.

Bill

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

I can see that the formula worked for Jim you and many others .... however since HokeyP is kind of in a pickle, I think it would be a good next step for her to use the formula with Instant yeast. A barm is more a bit of a wildcard .... there is age, potency and hydration to consider. Again, it's not that the barm would not work or that the barm would be the problem.

It's an interesting rule of thumb you mentioned there by the way .. I had not heard before.

 

BROTKUNST

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Brotkunst,

Right, all true on the starter. It has to be at the correct ripeness and must be a good, healthy active starter, and it's hard to tell those things when you first start using sourdough starters.

I don't know if Lily's objective is to do a sourdough specifically, or just to make a long overnight recipe work. If the issue is just to get a long overnight rise recipe to work, then I agree that it's going to be easier and more reliable to work with instant yeast to begin with.

If Lily's objective is to make sourdough work, then it may help to focus on the starter, i.e. make sure it's really fully active by feeding it several times in a row at room temperature and verifying that it rises by double at room temperature in 4-6 hours when the consistency is a thick paste, then making sure to use it when it is just ripe, i.e. not too long after it has doubled.

Bill

 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

HokeyPokey,

I noticed in your original post that you mention putting the dough in a warm place. One other thing to consider is that it can be too warm. Jim's recipe is meant to work in about 16-20 hours at room temperature, but if you were to put the dough in a place that is 80F, it would rise much faster, like in only 9 hours, so in the morning it could be puffy, slack, and overproofed. Just another thing to consider.

Bill

 

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

At first glance at your photo, without reading too carefully all of the info posted here, your loaf looks to me like it was over-fermented and all the gluten broke down. As Bill stated in the post just above, your kitchen may have been much warmer than Jim's and if so, you need to adjust the fermentation time accordingly. What is room temp for your kitchen? If it is 80F or even 75F, that is significantly warmer than my 60-65F kitchen temp. You may only need to ferment for 8-12 hours if your kitchen is around 70, but it depends on the recipe and the amount of starter you used. Hope that helps.

HokeyPokey's picture
HokeyPokey

Thank you all so much for your advice -

I am going to try NY bread with yeast this time, and reduced fermentation time.

My kitchen is at 20C or 68F, so its quite warm - has anyone tried doing the primary fermentation in the fridge? Does is work?

I really like the sourdough flavour, and the texture it gives to the bread, so I guess my objective is to make a pretty looking sourdough loaf with lots of of large wholes and crispy crust - not much to ask for, huh? :)

 

Thank you all again

Lily

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Lily,

At 68F/20C Jim's recipe should work with just a little bit longer rise times than at 21C. I think it's great to give a try with the NYT recipe and yeast to make sure you can get the basics to work without the added complications of sourdough.

If you decide to pursue another sourdough loaf, Jim's recipe is a good one to use. I'm wondered if you had a chance to test if your starter is healthy, as mentioned in an earlier post? Also, a key point is to use the starter shortly after it has risen by double, or refrigerate after it has risen by double, if you want to use it later, as mentioned in the "100% hydration starter maintenance" blog entry. However, the starter has to be healthy and active before anything else will work.

To get big holes, you need to go up in hydration from Jim's recipe to something like 82%. The sourdough pagnotta recipe on sourdough-guy's would be along the lines of the objective you mentioned above. I posted my results following approximately sourdough-guy's pagnotta recipe in my blog.

Good luck getting it all figured out.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Lily,

At 68F/20C Jim's recipe should work with just a little bit longer rise times than at 21C. I think it's great to give a try with the NYT recipe and yeast to make sure you can get the basics to work without the added complications of sourdough.

If you decide to pursue another sourdough loaf, Jim's recipe is a good one to use. I'm wondered if you had a chance to test if your starter is healthy, as mentioned in an earlier post? Also, a key point is to use the starter shortly after it has risen by double, or refrigerate after it has risen by double, if you want to use it later, as mentioned in the "100% hydration starter maintenance" blog entry. However, the starter has to be healthy and active before anything else will work.

To get big holes, you need to go up in hydration from Jim's recipe to something like 82%. The sourdough pagnotta recipe on sourdough-guy's would be along the lines of the objective you mentioned above. I posted my results following approximately sourdough-guy's pagnotta recipe in my blog.

Good luck getting it all figured out.

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

Hi Lily,

I looked at this thread yesterday but the second I saw NYT I closed the post. I didn't get as far as you saying you followed my recipe. My recipe isn't for the NYT bread though Lily. Did you do the folding like in the video. You don't have to fold exactly like the video but as long as you do some dough development. If you're really after trying the NYT thing I'm not your man. I use Shipton Mill flour too, I also use Waitrose Organic Bread flour. I think the flour in the video is Shipton Mills type 55 but could be Waitrose's I don't think there's a great deal of difference.

My recipe is for 65% hydration sandwich type bread. You can adapt it for higher hydrations with no problem, use a little less starter or ferment for less time if you do. If you are using whole grains then you'll need to up the hydration a bit too. Rye will ferment faster so shorten the ferment time again.

If you'd like to ask me anything off list feel free.

HokeyPokey's picture
HokeyPokey

Look at that! - commercial yeast with less fermentation time - so pleased!

 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

HokeyPokey,

I'm glad you got that to work. It looks really good.

Bill