Advice for a confused new guy
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