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Repeated sourdough fail ... could you offer some advice?

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dosco's picture
dosco

Repeated sourdough fail ... could you offer some advice?

I recently tried the San Joaqin Sourdough in concert with a WIld Yeast Sourdough Starter. Starter was started about 3 weeks ago, 1st SJSD was last weekend and 2nd SJSD was baked last night. 2nd loaf is definitely better than the 1st but is still not right (flat, goofy shaped, etc.).

 

Results have been mixed. Loaves are slack, loose, and don't hold their shape well. OTOH they taste great, and the crumb is nice/interesting with small, medium, and large holes.

 

As a result of the discussion on this thread I watched numerous videos on the KAF website in an effort to learn more about stretch and fold and shaping (thinking gluten development might be an issue) and I also decided to try feeding my starter rye flour at 50% hydration (instead of unbleached all-purpose at 100% hydration).

 

As I mentioned the results of the 2nd loaf were so-so, so I went ahead with changing the feeding of the starter. At 7:00 PM or so last night I fed the starter by discarding about half (around 1/2 a cup of starter) and fed it 1/2 cup rye flour and 1/4 filtered water. Before I went to bed I could see the starter beginning to rise, when I left for work this morning the starter had nearly doubled. I'm still at work so I am curious to observe the starter when I get home.

 

The bread isn't particularly sour either.

 

So I've read a few more threads, and I'm wondering if I should reduce the hydration of the SJSD from ~75% to something like ~60% to 1) improve surface tension and shape retention, and 2) get more sourness ...?

 

Regards-

Dave

 

dosco's picture
dosco

I forgot to add that the starter was started in accordance with the instructions on the URL I posted, and I eventually transitioned from KAF whole wheat flour to the local supermarket's unbleached all purpose flour. At 100% hydration the starter was very much like thin/runny pancake syrup.

The SJSD dough was just loose and jiggly (not runny) at ~75%, although it did tighten up a bit with stretch and folding. So I would venture to say that the dough was not being broken down by protien-cutting enzymes.

 

Cheers-

Dave

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

David Snyder breads. His directions and methods are pretty detailed and clear.  Your starter is a little young, made with white flour and refreshed so the bread will be less sour than old time SFSD but the way it is made today say at Tartine.  To get a bread that looks like David's takes some good S&F technique, especially good shaping skills and that perfect slash.  Don't give up - it is as good bread as any to practice all the techniques you will need to make great bread for years to come.   David makes baguettes with the same dough so it can be used to practice them too and it makes a great boule too. This is one of my favorite breads - we get the whole grains up to 20% though.

happy baking 

dosco's picture
dosco

soISP dough ball number 3 is in the fridge, will probably bake it tomorrow evening. about 3 days ago I read a thread here about using rye flour to feed the starter, and to make it 'stiffer' (use a lower hydration). So I purchased some rye flour and fed the starter with it at 50% hydration. Wow, what a difference. It douabout with no problem and it smells quite tart, much more so than previously.

 

Will see what happens...

dosco's picture
dosco

Sorry for the typos...stupid iPad autocorrect...argh.

dosco's picture
dosco

This loaf was lame as well. this time I did not make a batard and when I transferred it out of the bowl in which it rose it stuck and got 'upset.' My fault, should have shaped it into a batard. Argh.

dosco's picture
dosco

I think I will reduce hydration on the next loaf To ~62%. Sigh. This is getting frustrating.

dosco's picture
dosco

So I made a sponge last night with packaged yeast for a batch of "my daily bread" (posted on TFL).

Mixed up the dough this morning, went with lower hydration (sorry I didn't measure it) which to me resulted in a 'slightly loose' dough ball. Kneaded the heck out of it with my kitchen aid ... a wonderful result.

Next SD will be lower hydration and better gluten development...

dosco's picture
dosco

I made 3 loaves of bread this past weekend, SFSD and SJSD (both recipes by dmsnyder) and "My Daily Bread". MDB appeared to come out well (loaf cooked to 205 deg F and looks good, smells good, nice oven spring, etc.), both SFSD and SJSD were failures ... under-risen and no oven spring. Crumb was nice, flavor was so-so. I took a pic but I'm not sure how to post it here (looks like it has to be on a website and can't upload directly from my PC).

I would speculate that based on the significant oven spring the "MDB" was slightly under-proofed. I didn't eat any of it because SWMBO put it in the freezer for Thanksgiving. The MDB appeared to come out very nicely ... I didn't follow the recipe to the "T" as I decided I wanted to try making a less-hydrated dough with which I was more familiar (not sure how to write this concisely, but the dough balls presented in the various KAF videos remind me of the dough I used to make at the pizza place where I worked many moons ago ... less hydrated, easier to handle, proofed in the fridge ... I was trying to replicate that consistency of dough with this loaf of MDB). So I went with my gut and used my KitchenAid and was able to assemble a doughball with the "right consistency." I made sure to knead it thoroughly with the dough hook and was able to get a smooth dough. Proofed it, shaped it, slashed it, and to my amazement it came out nicely. I think the key success factor was the kneading and (of course) proofing. I have notionally concluded that the SJSD failures have been due to insufficient kneading and weak starter.

To address the issue of starter I've gone to a different ratio (starter:water:flour) of 1:0.5:2 which results in a thick consistency. For the flour I use a mixture of unbleached white, whole wheat, and rye. It doubles in volume after about 3 to 4 hours.

Based on this I have decided to springboard from the MDB and use SD starter instead of packaged yeast. So following the MDB recipe I made an overnight sponge of SD starter (about a cup), 1 cup of filtered water, and 1 cup of unbleached white flour. This morning I pulled out the Kitchen Aid and mixed up the dough and kneaded it thoroughly ... I got the consistency I wanted (less than 72% to be sure). I let it ferment for about 2 hours at room temperature, kneaded it once during the fermentation, and when I left for work it went into the fridge. This evening I'll pull the dough out of the fridge and let it warm to room temp (and ferment), tomorrow I'll shape, proof, and bake.

Next time I try SJSD I will make sure to use the Kitchen Aid and knead the heck out of the dough. Another problem I had with the SD loaves was transferring the final loaves to the peel for insertion into the oven ... they collapsed when I did the transfer and that undoubtedly killed them. To some extent it seems to me that the high hydration doughs are rather fragile with regards to handling.

-Dave

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Dave.

There are several possible causes for the problems you are describing with the SJSD. The most likely one is insufficient gluten development combined with problems shaping the loaves. However, since you don't describe the procedures you followed, it is difficult to advise you.

"Kneading the heck" out of the dough with your mixer would no doubt develop the gluten, but possibly at the cost of oxidizing the dough and detracting from the bread's flavor. The "stretch and fold in the bowl" technique is what I have used, and it works very well. Mark Sinclair (mcs on TFL) made a great video of this technique which I recommend to you. Here's a link: NoKnead.html

FYI, the flour that I use for feeding my starter is 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% Rye. The starter I use for the SJSD is 40: 50: 100 (Starter: Water: Flour mixture).

David

dosco's picture
dosco

David:
You are correct ... "kneading the heck out of the dough" isn't particularly technical. I've been thinking about being more scientific about my process (certainly makes things more repeatable) ... next time I make your SJSD I'll document everything.

Thanks for the link to the video. When making both the SJSD and the SFSD I used that method to stretch and fold. The gluten development was noticeable as I folded in the bowl and the doughball became more elastic. I guess one question I have is "how much is enough?" Is there something to look for, or am I in for a trial-and-error approach? Doesn't seem that the windowpane test is feasible with these high hydration doughs.

Thanks again. More later.

-Dave

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

You are feeling the dough becoming more elastic as you S&F. That's good. I generally continue until I feel the dough is going to tear with more stretching. You don't want the dough to tear. In practice, this is after 15-25 "strokes." But this depends on many variables, so it's a judgement call that gets better with experience. 

The window pane criterion is most useful when most of your gluten development is achieved through initial mixing. With the S&F's being repeated, the gluten development is occurring more gradually. It can be used but is much less useful, I think.

David

dosco's picture
dosco

David:
Thanks for the advice. Will implement it and also document the efforts on the next go-around.

-Dave

 

dosco's picture
dosco

SD Fail, MDB Success