The Fresh Loaf

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San Francisco-style Sourdough and dishes made with it

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

San Francisco-style Sourdough and dishes made with it

As the weather has turned cooler, my sourdough breads have become less tasty. They have  had a less complex flavor and have been less tangy than those baked last Summer. My kitchen is in the mid-60's of late, while it was in the high-70's (or low-80's)  in the heat of summer. So, in the interest of science and other noble causes, I set out to return my SFSD to its rightful tastiness.

The truth is that I changed a number things at once, which is poor scientific methodology. But  I think I know what made the biggest difference, and the important thing is that I made some really good bread.

The basic formula and methods for my San Francisco-style Sourdough with increased whole wheat can be found here: San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with increased whole wheat flour And here is what I did differently:

1. I fed my levain with some firm starter that had been refrigerated for about 3 days, rather than freshly refreshed starter.

2. I fermented the levain for 9 hours at 76 dF, rather than overnight at room temperature. I then refrigerated it for about 12 hours.

3. I mixed the autolyse with water warmed to 90 dF rather than cool water.

4. After a 1 hour autolyse, I mixed the dough and fermented it in bulk at 76 dF for 4 hours.

5. I then divided the dough and shaped boules and refrigerated for 24 hours.

6. I baked at 475 dF for 12 minutes, then convection baked at 445 dF for 14 minutes more.

Here is the result:

The crust is a little darker than usual. I prefer it this way. And the crumb ...

Mixed at the same hydration level as usual, this dough was noticeably  more slack from the time I mixed the autolyse. I guess that must be because my flour had more water content with the cooler whether. I think that is why I got the much more open crumb. It is also possible that increased enzyme activity played a role.

In any event, this bake produced bread with a crunchy crust, chewy but tender crumb and a delicious flavor that was both more complex and more tangy than my previous few bakes of this bread. I think I have a new procedure, at least until hot weather returns.

                                                                                             

We often have bread that is a few days old and starting to get a bit dry, even for breakfast toast.  I hate throwing out bread, and I seldom do. Many of my favorite dishes made with bread of advancing age are made with croutons - slices of bread that I dry in the oven before using.

Except when drying bread for salad croutons or breadcrumbs, I slice it thinly and put it on a baking sheet or pizza pan. If I want it to remain pale, I convection bake the slices at 250 dF for 15 minutes on each side. If I want the slices browned, I convection bake at 350 dF for 15 minutes on one side, then turn them over, brush them with EVOO and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Then, depending on how I am going to use them, I may rub the warm, dried slices with a clove of garlic. That's what I did for these ...

These croutons served to support heaps of grated gruyere cheese, floating in onion soup and run under the broiler for 90 seconds before serving. 

Croutons made in this way are also delicious put in the bottom of a soup bowl before filling it with ribollita or another hearty soup.

The slices of SFSD can also be toasted in a toaster and then left in the toaster for a few minutes to dry out further. That method makes a nice base for crostini. These are topped by a chicken giblet dice sautéed in olive oil with shallots, herbs and madera wine.

The giblets came surrounded by a whole chicken! We roasted it while eating the crostini and discussing how we really should have just made the crostini our dinner. 

Happy baking!

David

Comments

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi David,

One of the things I love that I have learned here on TFL is how to adjust different things in a formula to get the results I want when temperatures change here too.  Looks like you nailed it despite the fact that you used less than kosher scientific methodology in your quest to restore flavor to your loaf.   Hard to do that at times *^}.

Your resulting loaves look as nice as usual and your 'old' bread shots round out your post….Nice to know you do have ways to use up the extras.  I  usually freeze and use as altus - something MiniOven  introduced me too.  No more guilt over what to do with old bread….

Thanks for the post and remedies.

Janet

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

Very nice loaves, as always David. In reading your prior post on SF Sourdough with increased whole flour I saw the comments on Central Milling and Giusto. Central Milling's facilities are located in northern Utah, about 3 hours from me. I had occasion to send CM an email inquiring about local availability some time back and it was promptly answered by the GM, Nicky Giusto. Their website lists Keith Giusto Bakery Supply as one of their several brands. Central Milling is the source of Giusto's fine products.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Central Milling's mill is in Utah, but their distribution center is in Petaluma, CA, just north of San Francisco. Nicky is Keith's nephew. He runs the distribution center which is also known as Keith Giusto Bakery Supply. Keith and his wife have a bakery in a suburb of Santa Rosa, CA and sell at the Santa Rosa Farmer's Market as well.

To confuse matters more, the older Giusto's VitaMix products out of South San Francisco used to be owned by Keith. As I understand it, he sold that business to another family member.

I usually refer to Central Milling/Keith Giusto's products as "Central Milling" to distinguish them from the South SF company's products, which are also very good. ASAIK, they are not Central Milling products, but I have no information to that effect.

David

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

fantastic.  Glad you got the tang back.  Great crust and crumb.

I'm doing a similar thing of late with 66% hydration starter 4-5 days in the fridge and then do a 3 stage levain build at 88-92 F with a 48 hour retard after the 3rd stage feeding when it rises 25%.  The dough is developed and fermented at 88 F before a 12-24 hour retard in the fridge.  That seems to produce the best sour for my rye starter this time of year.

Happy baking in the New Year David!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I have been doing the bulk fermentation at 76 dF and the proofing at 85 dF. 

Happy New Year to you!

David

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

Your bread always looks truly beautiful and I can't wait to try some of your recipes. It is always good to see different ways of using bread in recipes. I struggle to eat bread fast enough, so I can't justify making more! I keep looking for ways to make meals around bread. I really appreciate the generous sharing of knowledge from people like yourself.

JOHN01473's picture
JOHN01473

another wonderful bake. its great to see a classic so well produced.

the variations of it use was a nice idea.

i would love to see a slice of your bread toasted, then a slice of toasted Serrano Ham topped with a poached egg and a dollop of Holandaise sauce. MMMMMM so yummy.

keep up the good work in 2014

John The Baking Bear

Skibum's picture
Skibum

Great looking crumb! Did you do any dough development at all, kneading, stretch & folds, or did you just let the dough develop in the container and use time?

Happy New Year and happy baking, Brian

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I used the procedure outlined in the blog linked to my Original Post.

 San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with increased whole wheat flour

With the changes mentioned in the OP.

David

Skibum's picture
Skibum

A most detailed description. I must give a version of this bread a try and I am definitely ordering a banneton today. I love the appearance of loaves proofed in bannetons and it is time.

Cheers! Brian

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Beautiful crumb, David! your experience and intellect resulted in a bread with great flavor. Not many Home bakers could have pulled this off. 

happy holidays!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Happy New Year to you and your family!

David

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello David,
If anyone knows how to extract great flavor from the grain, it's you! :^)
The sourest bread I ever baked was (I'm pretty sure) the result of warming up the levain.
It's interesting to read how you changed the variables to achieve the flavor you wanted, and that warmer levain was part of that.
:^) breadsong

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I applied the same warmer fermentation to some pizza dough with equally satisfying results. Stay tuned!

David

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Hi David,

I find it really interesting that you get better flavor in summer. Over here, I get excited about winter bread baking because my starter is so much easier to control and my breads are beeeeeautiful (If I may say so :-) and of course yummy, but as you know, I think our organic, stone ground flours are so much more flavorful. 

Wish I could taste yours, though. Loved looking at pictures of your gorgeous San Joaquin baguettes. 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi! It's wonderful to see you back on TFL! I hope you stick around and let us know what's happening with your bread baking!

It seems like the more I know, the more confused I get. But, the "fact" is that I am getting better flavor with warmer fermentation. If I ever figure out exactly why, I will certainly let you know.

Thanks for the compliment! Those baguettes have become a staple. I always have to have some available in the freezer, not that they aren't better fresh-baked.

Someday, I'm going to get to bake with the flours you like so much.

Happy baking!

David

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Now that you are retired, you can come and visit!!! I'm off to Canada this summer and will probably have the chance to try some baking.  I'll be going to Seattle, too, but I don't know if they'd let me take some of the flour over the border. We'll see. 

I keep thinking I should do more experimental baking, but I just end up baking my regular "pain au levain" and making pancakes, waffles and crêpes almost every morning with my extra starter.  It's silly, though, because I actually have the time, now. 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hmmm .... A visit would be so much fun! It's not out of the question. Spring, 2015? And, if you wander further South than Seattle, we would love to see you in Central California.

From what I'm hearing the BC bakers say, there are some very good flours milled there now. I suspect taking flour across the boarder is a gamble, more dependent on the individuals you encounter than policy. Maybe those who have tried it can chime in.

I have 3 to 5 breads that I like to keep "in stock," that is made  frequently and on hand in the freezer. I have many old favorites I haven't made in too long. I still enjoy experimenting with variations on favorites and trying new approaches. Probably the biggest limitation on my experimentation is trying to stick to a healthier diet. So, I don't make pastries or brioche because I love them. Crazy, eh? And, on the positive side, I am using more whole grain or high-extraction flours and finding I now prefer breads with 30-40% whole grain flours.

Well, I must go feed my levain and get ready to leave for the hospital. I'm still doing some pediatric teaching and enjoying it a lot.

David