The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I dream of fluffy

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HokeyPokey's picture
HokeyPokey

I dream of fluffy

Hi all

Have been reading all the latest posts, and I have GOT to try CB miche - looks absolutely amazing.

Back to my post -

I bought a loaf of white sourdough (shock! horror!, but its the first time in the last couple of months) -

and the texture on the loaf is wonderful - small, consistent bubbles inside, light, thin crust and

really soft and fluffy inside.

All the loaves that i've been baking are really tasty, but tend to be a bit heavy and dense inside.

How to I achieve that fluffy texture?

Thank you

HP

bluesbread's picture
bluesbread

Use a bigger proportion of white flour. That's what that one you were admiring used.

Cooky's picture
Cooky

If it includes yeast as well as sourdough starter, that's the ticket. I've added yeast to white sourdough (maybe a half teaspoon per loaf) in order to get a flufflier texture. Works great. The even texture seems to be a function of how it's shaped, which is with more handling than you'd use for an artisan loaf when you want big holes inside. Check out the Danielle Forestier videos at http://www.pbs.org/juliachilds Prime Video Cuts and look at part 2, you will see how she shapes a baguette. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but it really works if you want a nice texture.

 

"I am not a cook. But I am sorta cooky."

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Every baker is probably going to have a different idea on how to achieve soft and fluffy sourdough bread. I use unbleached all-purpose flour because bread flour gives a firmer, chewy texture. I also add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dried mashed potato flakes to my dough mix. The potatoes help to retain moisture for softness and they make a finer, silkier crumb. I never use any commercial yeast. I have no problems getting it to rise well. A small amount of fat in the dough is also beneficial to a soft crumb with a good rise.

bluesbread's picture
bluesbread

Great idea about potatoes! Being a traditionalist, I wouldn't use any dried potato flakes (unless I had dehydrated'em myself). But I have used the cooking water from boiled potatoes. Maybe one of our chemists can explain why, something about the pH? But it does seem to enhance the rising and overall bread quality. Mix it in with the other liquids. And yeah, us purist sourdough bakers don't add commercial yeast. The trouble with that is, those lab-hardened commercial yeasties are quicker and stronger than their slow-talking, fine-tasting country cousins, the sourdough cultures we raise in our kitchens. The commercial yeast will take over and make your bread less flavorful. Plus we enjoy growing our own, and saving on the cost of buying yeast. When you raise your own culture, flour and water are all you need! (OK, maybe a little olive oil and a some leftover potato water now and then.)

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark

I've recently been using a 50/50 mixture of AP and Bread Flour at 65% hydration and producing the best sourdough I've ever made with a texture you're looking for.

HokeyPokey's picture
HokeyPokey

Thank you very much for your suggestions.

 

I think I might give potatoe water a go - would you do 50/50 with water or all potato water in the bread?

 

Also a couple of people mentioned oil. I haven't used oil before - how much would I need? I normally use a bit of barley malt extract - would that have a great affect on the texture?

 

Thanks

HP

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark

 I use only flour, salt and water in my sourdough, so don't know what the addition of the barley malt extract will do for you. I would not use the oil.

I was experimenting, using different flours and combinations of flours. I settled on the 50/50 mix after deciding 100% AP (KA) was too fluffy. Give the King Arthur Alll Purpose a try and see how it works for you.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Regarding fats in sourdough--According to Hamelman in his book, "Bread", "Fats coat the gluten strands during mixing, making the baked goods more tender. Cell structure in the baked product is more close-grained. The presence of fats also increases the shelf life of breads."

I, personally, like a small amount of fat in my bread if I am using it as sandwich bread. You won't get the large holes that you do with a lean dough, but then I don't think that is what you are looking for, right? Try it and decide for yourself which version you prefer. How much to use is up to you, but a couple of Tbsp. is common. I sometimes use as much as 4 Tbsp. if I am making a richer dough, like my cinnamon swirl bread.

Gibbeon's picture
Gibbeon

 

You mention the use of fat in sourdough when leaning towards a sandwich loaf. What type of fat are you referring to?

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I use olive oil sparingly because of the unique aroma. I enjoy olive oil in many ways but with just a few exceptions, like an olive or aromatic herb loaf, I normally use vegetable oil. I get the softness I need for the recipe without overpowering the nutty bread flavors and after taste.
Works for me.

Eric

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Most generally I use butter or oil as the fat when making bread. Margarine can also be used. Cooking oil or mild olive oil would be my choice of oils.

leemid's picture
leemid

To get what we are all are trying to for in artisanal loaves, that is open crumb, chewy crust, or thin crackly crust, and great depth of flavor, we do all of this high hydration, long fermentation jive. Just reverse the methods used for getting those:

Up the yeast content to shorten the fermentation times, but not so much as to waste the taste, reduce the hydration level to keep the crumb tighter, put it in a loaf pan to have it rise straight up and contain it. Balance all of those and I think you will get what you want.

That's my story,

Lee

HokeyPokey's picture
HokeyPokey

Thank you all for your comments - tried 50/50 last week - Organic white from Shipton Mill and All Purpose from a local supermarket - really notice the difference in texture.

Did have one hiccup though - retarded it overnight, baked in the morning before work - preheated the oven to 500, put bread in, and yes, forgot to turn it down. Thought that I've ruined it, but, to my surprise, they turned out okay. Light texture, and chewy crust!

 

HP