The Fresh Loaf

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Advice for a confused new guy

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dazzer24's picture
dazzer24

Advice for a confused new guy

Hi all

Id be grateful for a little advice.

I've been baking sourdough a few weeks now and had some successes. Ive been using a method which doesnt seem that popular on forums but it's got me started in a simple fashion. The method Ive followed is described by Paul Hollywood in a book called How to Bake. His method involves long 1st prove(4 to6 hours) and very long second prove(10 to 15 hours) all advised at warm room temp ie 22 to 24C. I've had some success this way and have posted a picture below of loaves baked a couple of days ago. These had about 4 and 1/2 hours first prove then shaped into bannetons and final proved overnight about 10 hours. admittedly they werent the wettest doughs-60% hydration including the starter according to my calculations-but I think they are pretty good results and an excellent mildly tangy flavour. The second prove was actually a little cooler-somewhere around 17c

Ive just followed exactly the same method overnight last night but in just 8 hours on the second prove the dough had almost tripled in size-way overproved. I actually managed to get it out of the bnneton ok but decided to reshape and prove again as it was just a big doughy bag of air really!

My wonder is if its to do with how I've been treating my starter which is by what I've read here-pretty meanly! I've read that to maintain a starter at room temp it needs to be fed twice a day. This is impractical for me, not to say too expensive ie I only want to feed when I take to bake putting back what I've taken out. This is every 2 or 3 days. Every time I've done it the starter has bounced right back and doubled in size within 4 to 6 hours before calming back down so I assume this means its alive! So I normally bake with it 2 or 3 days after its been fed as I've seen the advice to use it when its 'hungry'. I've also seen advice to use 12 hours or so after feeding-is this also perceived as 'hungry'? Im wondering if I'm using a starter when its 'too hungry' and therefore goes like the clappers when its been mixed with that lovely fresh flour and water;)? Am I starving my poor starter? I really dont want to feed it unless I'm taking some to bake with so I wonder if my suspicions are correct should I take to fridge storage after feeding and then remove from fridge in the morning If I'm planning to use it that evening? I'm grateful for any advice/feedback/interest and hopefully someone can make some sense of my ramblings!

Many thanks for reading

Cheers

Darren

 

dazzer24's picture
dazzer24

I perhaps should also have said that with the over proofed loaves I had actually increased the hydration to 65%. It surprised me how much stickier the dough was, 5% doesnt seem like much! So i wonder also if increased hydration can decrease proving time?

Many thanks

Darren

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

you are doing everything perfect. The loaf looks great, so why change anything at all?

There's really no reason to feed the starter 2-3 times a day. Even once every week is perfectly fine as long as the starter is in the fridge between feedings. Of course it should go back to the fridge after it has doubled after the refreshment.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Increased hydration does decrease proving time.  Good observation!  

Bread looks so lovely!

dazzer24's picture
dazzer24

Thaks so much for your comments! It's very encouraging. I also realised I forgot to point out another variable on the second loaf(maybe if I changed one thing at a time it might help me work out why things end up different!;)

With the over proved loaf ie not the one pictured I also folded the dough during the first 4 hour prove  after about 1 1/4 hrs and 2 1/2 hours. Just as I'd seen someone do on youtube. Stretched it out just a little on the counter then folded just over half way from both sides and popped back in the bowl. Wonder if this had any impact as well...

Anyway my enthusiasm is still 'rising';)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Yes but not so much on decreasing proofing time.  You will notice that especially with sourdoughs as the hydration increases and fermentation progresses, stretching and folding are your best friend in maintaining a nice shape to the rising loaf.  The greater the hydration, the more folds the dough tends to need.  You can also do a 4 point fold (north, south, eat and west) flipping over and tucking under the any corners to round out the shape for more proving.  Lots of variations on the theme.

dazzer24's picture
dazzer24

Ok well I shall stick with my current hydration and try a shorter second prove. Judging by how overproved it was after 8 hours I'm thinking it might need half the time. Perhaps I'll try 2 loaves. One with shorter time and room temp and one overnight in the fridge.

I'll post the results. Once again thanks so much for the interest.

Darren 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

of your water (and flour) when mixing up your dough.  You can slow down the rising by using cold water or even ice water.  Warmer water will naturally decrease proving time.  You can find out more on other threads.  Your hands will also warm the dough or is that too much information right now.  :)

dazzer24's picture
dazzer24

Not too much at all;) my water has been about 22c. So could easily make it a little cooler as well. Ideally I want my rising time to be long and overnight as its very convenient! We will see what happens tomorrow!;)

whats your method for a standard loaf? 

 

poorlittlefish's picture
poorlittlefish

Paul Hollywood's starter in his How to Bake book includes grated apple, which somewhat put me off trying it.  Does it just disintegrate as time goes on or do you fish it out?

dazzer24's picture
dazzer24

Hi there it disintegrates and gets munched up pretty quickly. I've seen mention of using other fruits to get a starter going so its not too crazy;) I think the first couple of loaves I made may have had one or two little flecks of skin. Clearly I've only limited experience with this but my starter smells lovely and yeasty and when I get a loaf right it has really deep 'bready' smell.

perhaps purists may not like the idea but its worked for me. Give it a shot;)

Darren  

poorlittlefish's picture
poorlittlefish

I managed to get a starter going just using flour and water, which has been doing quite well, but my Mum loves Paul Hollywood and she's eager to try sourdough, so now I've had your recommendation I'll suggest she tries his method - cheers.

dazzer24's picture
dazzer24

So my latest efforts are in the oven-I'll post photos later. Once again very much overproved-tripled in size, deflated as soon as it hit the peel. Rising a bit in the oven....sure they'll be edible!

I decided to try an overnight prove again. The method Im using wouldnt say 10 to 15 hour prove if it didnt work for most people. I did put the loaves in a slightly cooler place to try and slow the prove but its made no difference. For some reason I really dont want to prove in the fridge-Im stubborn! I want it to work as prescribed!;)

That said I wonder if for some reason I've just got a particularly rampant starter going. Maybe I should try less starter in my recipe which does call for a lot. (650g white,100g rye, 500g starter,400g water,15g salt)  .Starter is at 100% hydration.

dazzer24's picture
dazzer24

So after another overnight overprove I decided to try overnight in the fridge! I guess it was in the fridge for about 9 hours and then I took it out for about 2 hours before baking. I'm very pleased with the result! I keep realising little variables I've added though-you think they wont make a difference..but maybe they do!

The flour Im using is Canadian v high protein content of 15%-dont know if this causes quicker proving or not? Not even sure why Im using it. I suppose I just assumed the stronger the better? I think for my next experiment I may use less starter in the recipe and see if this slows proving...but will it reduce overall flavour? The recipe I use is 750g flour and 500g starter which I believe is quite a high ratio of starter. Im sure this wouldnt be in an experienced bakers book if it didnt work for most though? Maybe my starter is just extremely rampant for some reason(Im feeding it with the same high protein flour?)

I also baked at quite high temp. My oven also has an intense bake setting which uses top and bottom heat together with fan. I baked 5mins on this intense setting at 220c, then 5 mins at 220c on normal fan setting then turned down to 180c for 25 mins and took the steam tray out of the oven. Terrific spring but I wonder if you would describe this as a semi 'flying crust'? And whether this might be caused by such a high heat to start eg its sprung too quick? The recipe called for just an even temp of 200c(so 180c on my fan oven) and no steam(he reckons it produces a 'crustier' crust for sourdough...

I'm tying myself in knots here I know;)

Having fun though!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I found each oven (be sure to note name of oven) has slight changes in finding that perfect temp and settings.  The bottom of the loaf looks light, that might mean that the fan in the "intense" is too much.   Check your instruction book but fans can be different.  One just circulates the air in the oven, the other actually heats air while blowing(convection.)  The last one can be quite intense.  I tend to cover my loaf if the fan is on to keep the crust from setting too soon.  You want to try just one change at a time and take notes so you don't tie yourself in knots.  Other change can include turning the baking pan or tray upside down to trap more heat under it.  Makes it easier to slide bread in and out of the oven as well.  Or switching from a reflective to a dark colored pan.  

Flying crust?  Not yet.  Sorry.  Maybe just degassing a little bit more might help when shaping.  Before baking, I tend to pop large bubbles with a knife point or toothpick because they expand too much when they get warm.  Otherwise the loaf looks very good!  

dazzer24's picture
dazzer24

Not quite worked out the photo attachment?? The loaf I baked today seems to have uploaded to my original post as well... Not sure how I managed that;)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

the existing one.  Most times when you click on reply and click on this little green tree in the tool bar, you can access your list of downloaded photos by looking at the Image URL and clicking on the symbol at the end of the line.  That opens a file browser.  When you download a pic, make sure it has a different name or number.  I learned that the hard way after replacing/loosing too many photos.  I downsize the photo and rename on my desktop to transfer into my list here.  

dazzer24's picture
dazzer24

thanks so much for all your help Mini. Im baking directly on a stone-its one of the cheap round pizza stones you can buy. Not sure if this is good or not but it was cream coloured when I bought it-its black now! Although you'd think that might cause the bottom to colour more?

The oven is a fan, not convection but I think the 'intense bake' might give it that sort of extra kick.

And dont be sorry I dont have a flying crust......its a bad thing isnt it?

;)

Darren