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Tartine - Ready to Give Up on it - Looking for Someone Who Might Help

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Gingi's picture
Gingi

Tartine - Ready to Give Up on it - Looking for Someone Who Might Help

Hi again guys.

I posted here before and asked for your help- see link (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/35978/tartine-sourdough-help-me-understand-what-i-did-wrong)

Sadly, my loafs are not rising as they should and that despite using the book's exact recipe and instructions. I measure the temperature and fold properly. However, I don't use a Dutch oven and I can't buy one right now.

Is it the oval shape of my bread and not the round one? Is it the scoring that is not deep enough? or the steam? I have not clue.

People say wonderful things about the bread and to be honest, I'm tiered of trying executing it properly. If there is a good soul out there who is willing to help, I will be forever thankful.

Alternatively, if you know of a pure sourdough bread which is easier to make, please share.

Thanks. !

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

I didn't comment on your earlier post because I thought your bread looked pretty good. That moist texture is how it is expected to be, with a chewy crust. For baking I think you could easily use a pizza stone rather than a Dutch Oven. Here is my method for what it is worth. After final proof, just dump it gently out onto parchment paper. Slide a rimless cookie sheet under the paper and then use the cookie sheet like a pizza  peel to slide the bread onto the pizza stone. Absent a stone, I think you could also just bake on a cookie sheet or in an iron skillet. It is good to trap as much steam into the baking area as possible. You can do this in lots of ways, the simplest is to just cover the bread with an upside down roaster, tall pan, or aluminium turkey roaster. Keep it covered for 15-20 minutes, then carefully take the cover off and finish baking until dark golden brown. This next method probably has nothing to do with things working but for my first loaves I used a tall plastic pail for stretching and folding. When I switched to an old large Tupperware bowl shaped like a salad bowl, it worked a lot better. I don't think I was reaching far enough under the developing dough to get a good stretch. I try to do the turns in the first 90 minutes, about 20-30 minutes apart. Have veered far from that schedule and it doesn't seem to matter. Are you building the leaven the night before (pg 47), 1 tablespoon active starter, fed with 200 grams water and 200 grams flour? In this cold weather, I use more like 3 tablespoons starter for this feeding. The first time I made Tartine bread I didn't notice this step and used straight active starter to make a nice pancake shaped but tasty bread. The next day you use 200 grams of this mixture to make your bread. Again though, I use more like 250-275 grams in the winter. You didn't mention anything about difficulty moving it around so I would think you are getting the right ratio of liquid to flour. If this lengthy explanation of what works for me is too elementary, please excuse. I haven't seen the Tartine videos but this group by Ken Forkish has been very useful to me. http://www.therecipeclub.net/2012/10/10/video-series-bread-making-with-ken-forkish-author-of-flour-water-salt-yeast/

As others have wisely said on TFL, repeated attempts are rewarded, keep at it, find a loaf you like and then bake it repeatedly until you know how the dough should look and for me one of the most helpful was: Watch the dough, not the clock.

Wish you the best of luck and lots of friends and family who will be only too willing to share in the rewards of all the less than hoped for baking ventures.

Barbra

Gingi's picture
Gingi

Barbra (and others who might read)

Thank you. Here are a number of clarifications I believe will add to the big picture: I do bake on a pizza stone.  After the final proofing in the Benetton, I transfer the loafs onto the peel, that is dusted with rice flour. I slide it directly onto the stone and apply heat.

Looking at the book and at various blogs, I completely disagree that my bread looks the way it should. It barely rise in the oven and after I store it on my counter, it starts to grow mold, probably due to the high amount of water that should have not be there. They are far from looking right to me. So, I'm doing something wrong.

The amount of starter, in my opinion, is directly related to the strength of it, and since I have many bubbles two days post-feeding, I think I'm good at that front. I'm not eliminating using more of it, and that is probably what I will change.

Some told me the scoring needs to be deeper and more firm, for the water to escape more easily. I wonder if that is true.

Thank you again for your answer.

pongze's picture
pongze

Gingi,

Tartine was my introduction into the world of sour dough baking.  I had great success right from the get go and consider it a very easy bread to make.  I glanced through the link that you used, and can't find any obvious faults to their method.  One problem with both your current post and your previous one is that you are asking for advice without providing details.  Pictures along the way are helpful, too.  If you are now using the book again, then this is what I would say/ask:

Make sure your starter is doubling as expected.  Feed it two or three times a day at room temperature until you are sure it is healthy.  I assume the picture that you posted in your original post was of the poolish from the website and not the leaven from the book?  Make sure your leaven passes the float test.

What kind of flour are you using?  This can make a difference in your loaves.

The oval shape vs the round should not make a difference, but your shaping skill would.  Are you making a nice, tight loaf?  What are you proofing in?  How does the dough feel after it is proofed?

Finally, how are you steaming?  I use the Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven: http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-L8DD3-Casserole-Skillet-5-Quart/dp/B000LEXR0K/ref=sr_1_4?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1386633756&sr=1-4 and it works wonderfully.  Right now, it's only $30 on Amazon.  The purpose of the dutch oven is that the loaf in essence steams itself.  You will be hard pressed to achieve the same steaming in a regular oven.

That said, your scoring and the steaming should not affect the amount of oven spring that you get.  The scoring will help control the oven spring and limit splitting.  The steaming will help caramelize the crust and get it crispy.  The beautiful color of the Tartine loaves comes from that.

I hope this helps.

Gingi's picture
Gingi

I'm glad to hear you have success with that bread and you are willing to share some of it with the virtual world.

My starter is healthy. It's a year old, and it bubbles like crazy after 12h in room temp and before I'm using it to make the bread.

I'm using the Gold Medal Flour to make that bread. I believe the proteins percentage is high enough.

I'm proofing in Benettons and I believe the shape is OK, not perfect but surely not bad.

Would you say that the Dutch Oven plays an important (or even critical) part in producing a nice loaf? Isn't it hard and challenging to transfer the final loaf into the oven after the final proofing?

Would you suggest that I will try another sourdough recipe instead that might not call for the dutch oven and produce a good enough loaf?

Thank you again!

pongze's picture
pongze

Gingi,

Do you make your leaven as described in the book?  It floats?  I only make one loaf at a time, so I cut my levain in half and only use 100 grams of it at a time.  Make sure that you do not use water direct from the tap, or, if you do, let it sit out overnight so that the chlorine in it dissipates as supposedly that can kill your culture.

Does your dough feel good to you when you are shaping it?  What I mean is that, it feels like it has good structure?  "Like a baby's bottom," as Richard Bertinet would say?  Or does it feel slack?

The purpose of the dutch oven is purely to provide the steaming needed to make a nice crust.  If you provide adequate steam another way, such as water in a pan, ice cubes, or a wet towel (search this site for that method), be sure to remove the steam source at the 20 minute mark.  If I am baking with steam but not in a dutch oven, I turn on the convection at that point to evacuate the existing steam.

In regards to your reply to Barb, the scoring is solely to control the oven spring and expansion of the loaf.  It is not to allow moisture to escape.  If your loaves are molding quickly (i.e. in just a couple of days) -- are you in a humid environment or keeping the loaves in a humid environment such as a ziplock bag?  A moist sourdough loaf will typically dry out before the mold sets in, as the acidic nature of the leaven should help delay molding.

Ultimately, however, if this is causing you unending frustration, then yes, perhaps try another recipe to give you some baking confidence.  However, I can't say that another sourdough recipe would be easier than Tartine.  Do you make any yeasted breads?  If not, make some of those to make sure that everything else in your process is working properly.

Also, one day I took pictures of my progress when I was making loaves.  If I ever get the drive to learn how to upload pictures, perhaps I will do so.  However, if you would like me to send them to you, message me your email address and I can send them to you so you can see what things should look like.

Gingi's picture
Gingi

leaven= yea, I follow the book work by word and even measure the temp.
It partially floats, not completely.

I'm using filtered water using my home PUR filter.

I'm not sure about a baby's bottom, but at the end of the folding, it does looks like in the book, as much as I can see from the black and white pics.

I do provide steam using water on a hot pan, does that mean that it serves the same purpose of the Dutch Oven? The on e you recommended looks great, but it does not have a handle, which I belive will come handy if I invest in such product.

Indeed, I store them in a ziplock bag - is that wrong? I'm in Washington D.C. and it's not humid here this time of year.

As for baking other breads - I baked extensively other bread, especially bread with starters in combination with commercial year and they are AMAZING.

I will PM you right now with my email address and would very much appreciate if you will send me some pics.

Thank you so very much!!!!!

 

pongze's picture
pongze

That might mean it's not ready... do you use it at its peak?  Has it already started to fall?  If it's started to fall, that's no problem, it just means that your loaf will be a little more sour, which some people enjoy.

By a baby's bottom, what is meant is, does it feel soft and pillowy, yet firm to an extent?

Essentially, if you have enough gas formed and trapped in the dough, with enough wild yeast still alive, when you bake, you should get plenty of oven spring.

There's no problem storing them in a zip lock bag, but that will trap moisture and speed molding.  I have recently taken to keeping my loaves in a zip lock bag after about 2 days so that they will retain some moisture.

Skibum's picture
Skibum

. . . the Lodge cast iron combo cooker, or dutch oven. My tartine style and Forkish style loaves have gone over the moon since buying this cooker a couple of months ago. I don't use it for anything but baking bread as I have a favourite cast iron frying pan, but this would make an excellent stove top tool as well. Pretty cheap for what you get and again, my results went up dramatically -- really! Brian

Gingi's picture
Gingi

Did you buy the one in the link? or another band?

How do you transfer it to the oven after the final proofing?

Skibum's picture
Skibum

I always proof loaves on parchment,or roll my loaves onto parchment, slide them onto the peel, then slide them off onto the low lid of the DO. -- please see photo, cover it and bake uncovering @ 12 minutes or so and finishing uncovered. My Lodge Cast Cooker setup looks like this:

I give this setup a ten out of ten! Both sides would be great stove top cookers, but I have my old fave cast pan and you don't mess with that. Bread baking is all this has seen so far. Again I highly recommend this Lodge product. You will NEVER regret this purchase! BTW, I got mine at Bass Pro's for about $50 CDN! To quote Ken Forkish, using a cast iron DO is the closest the home baker can come to replicating the results of a commercial deck oven. I will concur with this! My experience with this Lodge Cast Cooker has been outstanding! Go for it! Brian

 

Gingi's picture
Gingi

But I can't find that product on Amazon. I means the one with the top part with the handle...

And also, you warm it prior to placing the loaf in it? For how long and in what temperature?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Then you can simulate a DO by overturning a heat proof pot, stainless steel mixing bowl, Pyrex mixing bowl or even a clay flower pot of suitable size where the hole in the bottom is sealed with washers and and eye bolt to give you a handle to lift if off or on to cover the bread.

I got all of these things and many more, at Goodwill for no more than $1 each on dollar Thursdays.

You can also reduce the water to a more suitable amount, until you learn how to handle really wet dough like Tartine  . There is no harm in working your way up to a wet dough through practice.

Happy baking  

Gingi's picture
Gingi

I would go with the DO, I think. Thanks.

 

isand66's picture
isand66

To eliminate the mold issue use plastic wrap and not a ziplock bag which traps moisture in and will cause mold.  

isand66's picture
isand66

To eliminate the mold issue use plastic wrap and not a ziplock bag which traps moisture in and will cause mold.  

Gingi's picture
Gingi

Not sure what plastic warp is...

isand66's picture
isand66

Yes Saran Wrap is a brand of plastic wrap.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

about 6 hours before bagging and do not store in a spot near a cold wall or window or where sun shines on it during the day.  That can lead to condense water inside the bag and encourage mold.  You might have more success wrapping the loaf in a tightly woven towel instead or inside a paper bag.  Give the baked loaf another 5 minutes when you think it is brown enough to help dry out the loaf.   

Try baking the loaf sooner, if you're not getting much oven spring, then the loaf has proofed too long. 

How soon is mild attacking the loaf?  Does it have any distinct aromas?

 

Gingi's picture
Gingi

2-3 days post baking. And I am taking all the other precautions excluding the bagging. Thanks.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

even under the worst conditions.  Tell me more...   when you slice the bread, do you notice any "strings" or slime?  Smell of ripe melon or anything odd?  Does the loaf seem to get wetter as it stands?

Gingi's picture
Gingi

but it does get wetter as it stands.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

cut off a slice and pull it away from the loaf, press it back to the loaf and slowly pull away.  Do you see any threads between the slice and the loaf?  Is the loaf wetter in the middle and spreading outwards toward the crust or is the mold starting on the crust?

christinepi's picture
christinepi

... I'm not sure Gold Metal flour is unbleached and unbromated, and apparently that's important. 

pongze's picture
pongze

My palate is not refined enough to be able to tell the difference

Gingi's picture
Gingi

for both

kensbread01's picture
kensbread01

The handles are important when moving in and out of a 500 degree oven.  I also have a baking stone but choose not to leave it in the oven when making Tartine Bread.  I will not help matters at all unless you preheat for 50 minutes which quite frankly is a waste of time, energy and money.   You've come this far, you need to go the extra mile and get the dutch oven because it makes all the difference in the world when it comes to the crust being right.   I would also suggest a few more things, use King Arthur Bread Flour for 90% of your flour and the other 10% can be wheat or anything else you decide.  Then feed your starter twice a day for a few days.  Try using a microwave oven for a proofing oven with a bowl of boiling water when you do a final rise.  As suggested earlier, you may be proofing too long with yeast gone bad and not producing.  There is nothing left in the yeast to get the oven spring you're after.  Even the dutch oven will not help that.

If all else fails, go back to using dry yeast for one bread to see if you get better results.   Also, just do a 500 gm loaf until you get the procedure down and results improve.   Hope that helps.

Gingi's picture
Gingi

yea, I'm leaning toward buying the DO...

kensbread01's picture
kensbread01

I use parchment paper to lower the bread onto the 500 degree dutch oven using the smaller pan.  Why?  It is fast, easy, and I always get a good drop.  You don't want to miss and have dough sticking to the rim of the oven.  Then I trim excess paper around the rim and put the lid on, put the thing in the oven and set my timer for 20 minutes.

Parchment paper will not affect the final loaf and might help keep iron our of my bread which might be bad for my health or others.

Fred Rickson's picture
Fred Rickson

Maybe undercooked?  Maybe your oven or loaf temperature is incorrect....with a true probe, you need around 195 F.  Crust color and "bottom thumping" are OK if you know what you are doing, but a temperature reading is best.

kensbread01's picture
kensbread01

On my breads using the cast iron combo cooker, temp starts at 500 (15 min preheat) and reduced to 450 when bread goes in.   20 minutes with lid and 25 without.  I use a digital thermometer to measure internal temp of the loaf and have consistently gotten 210 even 212 once.

 

Gingi's picture
Gingi

 loaf!!

Gingi's picture
Gingi

On an old Refrigerator over?

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I made my first loaves and screwed up following the directions pretty badly.  I used the entire 400 grams of leaven instead of 200 grams, and I shaped it pretty poorly and forgot to score the loaf. But the bread still came out great, at least, as judged by my lowly standards.  

My leaven, when spooned into a bowl of water, floats pretty well. There might be a string that touches the bottom, but it definitely floats. If yours is only "half" floating (and you are spooning it carefully so as to preserve air pockets and not pinching the air out), then your problem may still be the leaven. 

Not realizing that I was supposed to use half the leaven, I even reclaimed the floating leaven and added it back to the original.

If the leaven looks right, I'd suggest checking the oven temperature.

http://eatingwithdavid.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/sourdough-bread-ii/

Not that these are necessary, but for those with the funds, I found these oven gloves to make it very easy to handle the dutch oven.  I took out the small pan, closed the door,  dropped in the dough, opened the door and took out the larger pan, put it on top and then transferred the entire load back into the oven.

 

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

Another factor often mentioned here on TFL is the pernicious effects of a gas oven. Gas ovens vent too well to get rid of the CO by-product of burning the gas. This means that any moisture  (steam) in the oven is too quickly dissipated and therefore has no time to do its work in helping to generate oven spring. So, if you have a gas oven then all the more reason for buying or simulating a dutch oven. 

Paul

Gingi's picture
Gingi

which I hate, btw. but thank you for the clarification.

nora sass's picture
nora sass

Hi Gingi, I am a novice, having started just few months back in bread making and have both failed and fairly succeeded in my attempts at Tartine Country Loaf.  I was recommended by someone here in TFL to try a more forgiving sourdough recipe and I just did that for the last couple of bakings. I will certainly comeback to make my attempt at Tartine again since I simple love the sweetness caramelized smell of the crust. You might want to make an attempt at Vermont Sourdough.  It is as awesome bread too and a more forgiving one. Good Luck with your baking and I will certainly make an attempt these few days at Tartine. Am just refreshing my starter.  Cheers !!!! Nora

Gingi's picture
Gingi

 I'm actually not a novice but somewhat advanced baker who did a couple of other loafs... therefore I was a bit upset. If you don't mind, share your winning recipe for a stealer sourdough. Preferably in a private message.