The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lilliputian sourdough..diagnosis ?

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Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Lilliputian sourdough..diagnosis ?

Hello all..Hoping someone can tell me what I might be doing wrong. I pulled my starter
out Friday night, dumped and fed. The next morning it was nice and frothy. I added more flour and water and in the afternoon had frothy, sour tang starter. I used Sourdolady's recipe with the exception of the potato flakes (I didn't have any). I mixed very little, let it rest for 1/2 hour.
Hand kneaded for 10 minutes. Let it rest for 45 minutes. Divided, folded, shaped and into a very cool room overnight. This morning I put them in the oven briefly heated for 45 seconds
with the light on for 4 hours, not much action. They were spreading out..and very little up so
I ended up folding them twice more within 4 hours. When I folded I could see under the surface of the dough nice gas bubbles. Finally at 4 PM..things looked the same so I baked them. I slashed them with no problem..they didn't fall. Visually they look like very nice Lilliputian sourdough
loaves. Nice crust, color and aroma. I haven't cut them because they are still warm, but I'm sure they will be very dense. I have been using whole wheat flour in my starter..could that be the problem? I appreciate all advice...Thank you!!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I doubt that the whole wheat starter was a problem. Possibly your dough was too soft, but if that was the case your bread would not be dense provided you let it rise long enough. Sometimes the 'spread' is due to poor surface tension when shaping the loaf. How did it look once you cut into it? The fact that you omitted the potato flakes would make a difference in the dough consistency also. Free form loaves do take some practice in order to get the nice tall loaves. Oh, and are you baking on a stone and did you use steam? That would make a huge difference in the amount of oven spring.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Thank you for responding SourdoLady..I do appreciate your time and sharing of expertise. The dough was out to raise in a warm environment for 8 hours, with 3 folds.I did take a slice of the bread..great sour taste..with a capital G, nice crust..but dense..some crumb around the surfaces. I don't have a stone, but I do bake with steam. The next time I will be sure to have some potato flakes.
Thank you for all your help in teaching me about starters. I think I have that part down now.
I was getting frustrated..but your encouragement will keep me trying..
You must be a MOM!!!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Each time you make bread it will get a bit better. There's nothing like the satisfaction when you finally get it to work. I am passionate about sourdough baking and I love to help others learn to bake with sourdough. Yes, I am a mom--4 times!

I just thought of one more thing...your dough may have been too warm, which can cause the free-form loaf to spread. Some people use bannetons, or baskets to proof their loaves and then turn them out onto the baking surface once they are fully risen. I have never done this myself, though.

Help Kneaded's picture
Help Kneaded

But like SourdoLady said, I don't think that's our problem either as the bulk of the additional flour I add is unbleached bread flour, which I believe helps lighten the loaf if I’m not mistaken.

She also mentioned the dough being too warm...I'm fairly certain that isn't an issue for me - if anything, being too cool would be my problem but I can't figure how that would be it either when I read of folks raising their bread in their refrigerators!

I'm stumped. But if I have a miraculous break-through I'll let you know. :)