The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ready to try first loaf

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jafwiz's picture
jafwiz

Ready to try first loaf

Ok i have 2 starters that seam active one rye and one with bread flour. The rye shows bubbles on the bottom and the bread flour starter shows a lot of bubbles at the top i guess the rye one is heavier. They have been going about 2 weeks should be ready i think although they don't smell sour? My question is what do do from here? I have always made bread by adding yeast and i guess with sourdough the starter is the yeast? What would you suggest for my first try? 

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

I guess it depends on what kind of "try" you're wanting to do. You could just take a recipe you already use with yeast, and do four things:

1) Remove the yeast from the recipe and replace with some starter

2) Reduce the water in your recipe by the amount in the starter (If you're planning on using 200g starter at 100% hydration, you would reduce the water in the recipe by 100g)

3) Reduce the flour in your recipe by the amount in the starter (Same as with the water)

4) Allow more time than the recipe calls for, because sourdough yeast usually takes a while longer to raise dough than commercial yeast.

Alternatively, you could look up a simple sourdough recipe on here, using the search box at the top right of the page. I would recommend a lean dough, one that uses only Flour, Water, Starter, and salt. That way you can get a taste of what sourdough can really do without any extra ingredients. The advantage of using a recipe you're already familiar with would be that you could see, feel, smell, and taste the difference that sourdough makes in bread you know. Expect your dough to be a little stickier than dough with just commercial yeast. That is normal, is what I've been told.

jafwiz's picture
jafwiz

Sorry to sound stupid but i don't understand what you mean when you say 100% hydration. I have the starter in a container it is a thick paste do i take 200g of that and add it to a recipe? This is one i have been using. I like all purpose flour better than the bread flour if that make a difference. So for this recipe what to i change?

2 1/2 cups (11.25 ounces) unbleached bread flour
1 2/3 teaspoons (.41 ounces) salt
1 tablespoon (.5 ounce) sugar
1 teaspoon (.11 ounce) instant yeast
1 teaspoon (.17 ounce) diastatic barley malt powder (optional)
1 tablespoon (.5 ounce) olive oil, vegetable oil, or shortening
3/4 cup to 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7 to 8 ounces) water (or milk if making torpedo rolls), lukewarm (90 to 100 F)
Semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting

Heath's picture
Heath

David sums it up well, but I would like to stress the fact that sourdough rises much more slowly than commercially yeasted dough.  I actually thought that my first sourdough loaf wasn't rising at all because I could see absolutely no movement after a couple of hours.  Mine takes 2-3 times as long to rise as dough made with bought yeast.  Leave plenty of time, or make the loaf over two days (put it in the fridge overnight on one of the rises - it will rise in the fridge, but much more slowly again).

My sourdough is quite a lot stickier at the same hydration.

The results will be very tasty - I find eating commercially-yeasted dough like eating cardboard now.

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

jafwiz,

It doesn't sound stupid at all. Hydration is a key word used around here that you wouldn't be expected to know unless you're told. It basically has to do with something called Bakers' Math. In short, you measure everything by weight, and all the measurements are expressed as a percentage of how much total flour you have in the recipe. The flour is always 100%, and everything else simply compares to that. Hydration is the amount of total water found in the dough. So, if you mix 100g water with 100g flour, you would have 100% hydration, because the water is equal to the flour. If you mix 30g milk, 30g water, and 100g flour, you would have a total hydration of 60%. For your recipe above, if you divide 8oz water by 11.25oz flour, you will get your percent hydration for that recipe, which is about 71% hydration. If your starter is maintained with equal weight of flour and water, it's easier to substitute it in recipes, because the math is easier. However much starter you use, half of the weight of it will be flour and half water. You can use more or less to get a different result. But, the most obvious thing will be that more starter in the recipe will give you a (relatively) faster rise and less starter will make your rise take longer.

I'm not really sure how much to recommend you use for the recipe above. My knowledge isn't yet that far advanced. But, being the experimental type that I am, I would just pick an amount and see how it does. The amount can be adjusted the next time, if need be. Perhaps you'd like to start with the easiest math possible, which in my opinion is 2oz starter to that recipe. If you use 2oz starter, and if your starter has the same weight of flour and water in it, then you would subtract 1oz each from the flour and the water that the recipe calls for.

jafwiz's picture
jafwiz

Thanks for the response. When i started my starter i did not weigh it just added flour and pineapple juice about equal amounts by eye and when i feed i do the same thing so i have no way to not the exact hydration. If i take 2 tbs of the starter and added equal amounts by weight of flour and water would that work and if so how long before i could use that mix? Is it that critical on the starter end as it is such a small amount compared to what i will be adding. 

chris319's picture
chris319

Do your starters smell yeasty?

jafwiz's picture
jafwiz

I am not sure about the yeasty smell I seam to still smell pinappple and i only used it it thebeginning .

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

jafwiz,

Yes, you can take a little of your starter and add equal weights of flour and water and call it 100% hydration. You can even take what you've got and use it, if you don't mind being a little experimental. It varies by flour types, a little, but 100% hydration is usually something like a thick pancake batter consistency. It will be a little thinner if you have lower protein flour, and a little thicker for higher protein bread flour or whole grain flour. If this sounds like what you've got, you can try it. If, while mixing your dough, it seems to need more or less water than it calls for, you can make the adjustment then. Bread is in some ways an exact science, but it's also very forgiving. You can be off by a little on most things and get a good loaf in spite of it.

The best time to use your starter is when it is ready to feed. Use the portion you need for your recipe, then feed the other part. So, if you take some of your starter out and add equal parts flour and water, to make a 100% hydration starter, you can use it at the next feeding time.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

SD breads to start with is the 1:2:3 SD bread.  One part, (by weight not volume) starter if it is equal parts flour and water by weight refreshed and ready to go,  2 parts water and 3 parts flour, with 2% salt.  You can use the search function to get the rest of the details for this fine bread.  I like it doing stretch and folds to develop the gluten and then do an overnight retard in the fridge after shaping.  Amazing hw great this SD bread tastes!

Happy SD baking