The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is there hope?

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christinepi's picture
christinepi

Is there hope?

I've lovingly tended to and fed my starter twice a day for a week now, keeping it on the countertop. It always doubled within 4-6 hours after feeding, and bubbled nicely. Yesterday evening I used Breadtopia's sourdough no knead recipe. I've made no knead recipes with yeast with success a number of times. So this morning, when I checked, I hoped to see the same kind of rise as with the yeast loaves. No such luck. Just sitting there like a brick, hardly risen at all. There are still 5 hours left to go, but I can't imagine much happening in that time. 

If it's still small in 5 hours, should I even bother to continue? It would be such a waste to throw away all that dough, but I don't want to eat a brick. Well, my chickens would, I guess, if I soaked it long enough. What could have gone wrong? Starter still too young?

DoubleMerlin's picture
DoubleMerlin

I think just let it sit until it looks like it's rising. Post your exact recipe, that'll help us help you. Sourdoughs can be finicky, especially if your starter is young.

christinepi's picture
christinepi

  • 1 cup (5 oz.) whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups (11 oz.) white bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups purified water
  • 1/4 cup starter

I'm currently at the 13 hours into the first rise mark. 5 Hours to go. Since this is a no knead recipe, I'm supposed to transfer it to the counter/basket after 18 hours and let it rise again for 1-2 hours.

But how long is too long, if I go past the 18 hours to see whether it'll double?

golgi70's picture
golgi70

I've not tried this technique.  But I'm guessing the 1/4 cup of starter weighs 4 oz (2flour2water) which means you have 11% prefermented flour which is low and should take some time.  What is the temp of the dough?  I think you just need more time and quite possibly to get it warmer.  I'd get it up to around 75 F or so to get it active.  This may require placing your container in a warm spot or even in a bowl of 80 degree water thats refreshed at 80 every by and by to hlep it along?  Again no kneads are not my thing but I'm about to give them a whirl since my lady is fascinated by the concept. 

Josh

christinepi's picture
christinepi

I don't know the temperature of the dough proper but it's been sitting in the turned off oven with the little light on at ca 70-73 degrees all night, with the door cracked open. I'll try raising that temperature by closing the door some, and wait...

Does anyone have a link to a sourdough recipe they can recommend that's not no knead, but is good for a beginner who seems to have a healthy starter?

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

It's your expectation... 

You just can't make sourdough "by the clock". And also, the timescales are way longer than for yeast breads. If you want to make a sourdough loaf, then know that you are signing up for a learning process. It's fascinating, fun and rewarding and it can be frustrating. Remember that the method of baking with added yeast was originally developed precisely because of the difficulties of managing the sourdough process.

You're in the right place (here) to get all the help you need. Stick with it... try to understand what that inert lump of dough is doing... you will be rewarded. I guarantee it!

Les

DoubleMerlin's picture
DoubleMerlin

Double the amount of starter, and that's the same sort of recipe I use. Rather than no-knead, try stretch and fold? I feel no-knead's critical flaw is that the yeast and bacteria prefer a dynamic environment. They don't move around in the dough on their own, and letting a dough stagnate for 18 hours does not make them particularly happy. While this might make for a pleasantly sour loaf, if your starter is young (which I think yours is), your yeasts aren't going to do well.

Try the same recipe, just stretch and fold it, see how much it rises. I don't think 18 hours of no change is good for anything.

christinepi's picture
christinepi

If it hasn't risen any more in a few hours, is it possible to use the stretch and fold technique then to salvage this thing? I have nothing to lose, I suppose...

Antilope's picture
Antilope

As a last resort I threw it in the KitchenAid mixer, added some water and 2 tsp of instant yeast. I mixed it until the yeast was incorporated and then added about another 1/2 lb of bread flour, a little additional salt and kneaded it for a few minutes. Made a new boule that rose and was baked into a good loaf of French bread. It didn't go to waste.

christinepi's picture
christinepi

I can say with confidence that this experience was an umitigated disaster. After 18 hours, and an attempt at a second rise for 2 hours) I had a supremely sticky flat blob on my hands, literally. I assume the starter didn't have the right oomph yet, and there wasn't enough starter to begin with. Fortunately Antilope posted his/her suggestion and I added some yeast and flour and kneaded the hell out of this thing. I let it "rise" for another 2 hours and stuck it in the oven, not expecting much. While it's too soon to cut it, because it's still hot, to see the crumb, it turned out considerably better than I thought it would. It's still 876 grams in the space where 454 should be, but it doesn't smell yeasty, which is what I don't like about yeast based breads, and it did rise some, and has a nice crust. So it'll get eaten by me after all.

Thanks for all your input! This sourdough baking sure is a journey. But fun.