Bwraith, Zolablue, starter time and temp question?
I'm not sure if I should be asking this of Bill or Zolablue (or anyone else that wants to take a whack at it), but I need help!
I've been making a much altered version of Mariana's Calvel sourdough with great success for several months now, but with cold weather, I'm having problems.
I'd like to post the formula as I've been doing it, and see what you all have to say?
The starter gets a 2 stage build starting with;
28 g firm starter (white bread flour maintained)
36 g white bread flour
22 g water
In the summer I can start that at about 9:00 PM, let it go on the counter (about 70 degrees) overnight until it has grown by 3x to 4x then proceed to the next build (sponge);
70 g refreshed starter
84 g flour (about 10 g rye, the rest bread)
50 g water
Again, in the summer that needs about 4 hours on the counter until it has gone to 3x or 4x, then proceed to the final dough;
204 g sponge
758 g flour (38 g rye, 400 g whole spelt, 320 white bread flour or just 38 g rye and the rest white)
13 g salt
484 g water
The flour and water (without the rye) are combined and left to sit for 1/2 hour if it's just the white, or longer if I'm using the spelt. If I'm on top of it, I'll mix the flour and water the night before, when I start the first refreshment, but other time I just do it at the last minute. The longer soak does improve the flavor though.
Everything else gets mixed together (by hand) when the sponge is ready. At this point I've had to start spiking the dough with 1/4 -1/2 tsp of yeast but I'd like to go back to straight sourdough. For the bulk ferment I do three folds 20 minutes apart, then let it sit for a second hour, then shape into 2 boules. They proof for 2 hours, then bake, either on a preheated stone at 450 with a cover for the first 20 minutes, then uncovered for 15, or on a sheet pan in a cold oven (well, I turn it to 450 about 10 minutes before putting the loaves in), covered for 20 minutes and uncovered for 20-25 minutes until done.
So this has all worked really well until recently. The problem is that 70 degrees is a distant memory in my kitchen. At night it averages 50 -55 degrees in there. I've been afraid to put the starter in the oven (gas with a pilot usually in the high 70's) for fear of overproofing, but I think I might need to start doing that. I made this yesterday and while the taste was as nice as ever, it was clearly underproofed, with a dense bricklike crumb, the likes of which I thought behind me (oh yeah, what was it that pride goeth before?)!
So my question to you, Bill; you seem to have an uncanny understanding of time and temp variables for sourdough! If my firm starter usually goes to 3x or 4x in about 6 hours, how long should I be looking at when it's more like 55?
Any other thoughts anyone wants to share would be deeply appreciated! When it's going right, this is my ideal loaf; a workhorse that can be altered seemingly in an infinite variety of ways (chocolate and cherry anyone?) but with a subtle and lovely flavor on its own.
I want it to always work!!
Thanks in advance, and Happy New Year!