The Fresh Loaf

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Oakland Sourdough Fail

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Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Oakland Sourdough Fail

Can anyone help with this one? My third attempt at the Oakland Sourdough was a failure. After last weekend's successful bake, I was confident - perhaps too confident (especially after all your kind compliments). My dough today would not keep shape at all during shaping and was extremely sticky. I baked it and it turned out exactly like this sourdough ciabatta: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2577/sourdough-ciabatta Same exterior look, same height (or lack of), and same hole structure. Sure it tastes fine for a ciabatta but I need to know where the I might have gone wrong. What would have been the main reason(s) for this failure at the Oakland sourdough? Too much hydration? There are two things I could think of that I did differently from last week's bake:

1.  The starter. Instead of my regular 100% hydration starter, I used one that was only a day out of the fridge, and to wake it up, I fed it 1 cup flour to 1 cup water. Sure enough, this morning, it was over flowing from the double/triple, but was super thin and runny. I used it (50g as the recipe calls for) in the levain build and it passed the float test. This 50g of runny starter couldn't have made such a significant difference to the loaf could it?  Enough to make it from a San Fran style sourdough to a Ciabatta??

2. The temperature during bulkferment.  I had a difficult keeping the temp in my oven during bulk ferment at the 82 degrees suggested for most sourdoughs.  My guage was showing almost 90 degrees at times, and stayed around that temp for about 2 and half hours out of the 4 hours of bulk ferment.  Could this have caused over fermentation/proofing?  I am not yet familiar with the feel of overproofed dough, but during the last two stretches in the bowl, it had become very billowy but soft, jiggly and light feeling to the touch.  Almost like puffy to the point where it felt like if I pinched the dough slightly, it would split very easily between my fingers.

Feedback would be greatly apreciated.

John

Ford's picture
Ford

The hydration of your starter is not 100%.  One cup of flour weighs about 4.3 oz (120g) and a cup of water weighs about 8.3 oz. (235 g) but 50 g of starter with what, 500 g of dough, should not have made a real big difference.  It sounds as though the dough was overproofed after shaping.  Did you degas the dough afrter bulk proofing?   Did you stretch the dough during the shaping operation?  Also 90°F is a bit high for the yeast but ok for the lacto-bacteria in the sourdough.

Ford

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Ford.  I forgot to mention that I only fed the starter a cup each of flour and water to wake it up.  I then usually feed it 12 hours later with 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup flour.  I did not have time to do the second feeding so I just used the 1 cup to 1 cup ration starter.  Eitherway, I agree that I would be surprised if the starter made a big difference to the final build.

As for the method, it is similar to the Tartine method.  Mix, autolyse, add salt, then stretch and fold over in the bowl, four turns, every half hour for 4 hours at 82 degrees, however, this time as mentioned, I had a difficult time getting lower than 90 degrees.  Also, I only proofed for 30 mins after shaping.  Is it possible that the dough over proofed during bulk fermentation at the 90 degrees for 4 hours?  This method of in the bowl flipping does not really allow for degassing so perhaps the built up gasses ate at the dough?

John

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

is correct.  Throw the volume measurement cups aways and weigh everything from now on and your hydration problems will go away.  You made ciabatta again because your hydration was much higher than you thought.  You are getting good at ciabatta though :-)

Bake on my friend

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Dabrownman.  I actually do weigh my flour/water when feeding my starter and ALL the time when measuring bread dough ingredients.  The only time I do not measure by weight is when I wake up my starter.  It's strange but I have found that 1 cup flour and 1 cup water with tbsp of room temp from fridge starter wakes it up all the time.  After wakened, I discard half then feed it regular with weighed flour/water every 12 hours.

I think Ford was saying that the small amount of 50 g starter in this particular recipe shouldn't be the culprit of flattened, unruly dough.  I am thinking more and more that it bulk fermented too long with too high a temp and the gasses ate away at the structure. 

What do you think?

John

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

keep 80 g of starter after feeding and fridging (is that a word?) I wake the 10 g I am using for a 1,00o g bake by feeding it 20 g of flour and 20 g of water :-)  Then 3 hours later I feed it 50 g of flour and 30 g of water.  In 3 more hours (in the summer and fall),  6 total hours I have 130 g of fully ready to go starter to make a loaf of bread.   If I want more levain I just feed it a little more each time.  Temps now in my kitchen are around 78-80 F.  In the winter when they go to 65 F  it may take 12 hours total 6 each build.

Forget the Cup of flour and water wake up call.  Make the levain amount you need and make it strong so it is ready to do its job at the hydration level that you know is correct for your bake.  Hydration isn't something to flirt with if you want consistent results that you can count on each and every time.  In time you will vary the hydration drastically for 52 to 105 % based on what flours you are using, what bread you are making, whether the flours were home milled or not, what the temperature is  and what times you are shooting for to actually bake. 

I only use cups to take flour and water from the bag or faucet to the scale.   Otherwise they are useless.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Wow, thanks for this dabrownman.  I will try this practice when de-fridging (how many points in Scrabble is that one?) from now on.  I was actually not liking my method due to the amount of wasted starter.  1 cup to 1 cup starts to add up down the drain.

John

wildman's picture
wildman

I think your excessively high temperature during the bulk rise caused to much yeast growth causing the glutens to fail. This was seen during shaping and forming your dough. If you go back and follow your recipe it will be fine next time if you give yourself enough time to bake. 

 

baybakin's picture
baybakin

I agree with the statements about too high of a bulk fermentation temp, causing overproofing.  With a bread like Robertson's CB, where there is a tiny amount of prefermented flour (9%), a high temp is good to encourage growth.  This bread is 20% prefermented flour, and thus moves much quicker.  I never bring this bread over about 65-70F (house temp here in the hills), and it rises plenty quick.

Another thing that may be confusing (I used to make the mistake) is to make sure to only use 310g of the levian.  When I make the levian for this bread (as per Leader) I do 50g (100% hydration) starter, 130g flour, 180g water.  You then only use 310g of this, leaving about 50g in the bowl not to be used (the way he does it is keeping some for subsequent feedings).  I turn this extra into crackers usually.  If you used the extra, and you weren't using weight-based measurements, I can see how this would be pretty confusing.  Oakland sourdough is a pretty wet dough, 78%, and if you aren't exact with measuring, a 5% change to the wetter end would leave you with pretty difficult to manage dough.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Hi Baybakin.  Wish I could have done you proud this week.  I got a bit too cocky.

From now on I will keep to those temps you listed above.  I am almost certain now that it had overproofed on me.

Also, I do only use 310g of the levain.  I weigh this directly into the final build exactly to that weight.

I am looking forward to my next success at this bread of yours.  I am hooked.

John

baybakin's picture
baybakin

I hope you luck with the next one! any amount of help you need, I'll see what I can do.  What kind of flour are you using on this, if it hasn't already been asked.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

I use a Canadian brand, Robin Hood Bread flour.  I am guessing that would be the equivallent to your King Arthur brand.  Maybe I should ask Floyd if he noticed any difference between the two, now that he is a full fledged Canuck.

I noticed you use some AP flour in your recipe.  To tell you the truth, I used this in my first 1st bake, then less in my 2nd bake, and non in my 3rd.  Should it be used for any other reason than slight texture difference?

John

baybakin's picture
baybakin

Hm. Well according to a quick search on TFL I'm coming up with 12% gluten content for Robin Hood flour (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22310/high-gluten-wheat-flours-amp-gluten-percentage-table), this is actually higher than the AP flour I usually use, which is 11.7%  It should be roughly equilivant.  I was just worried that if you were using a "general AP flour" it would be too low in gluten to develop a cohesive dough, as AP is usually around the low-end of 10% in the US.  What flour did you use in the second bake, could it be perhaps that your Robin hood flour is old or you got a bad batch?