The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

first sourdough - am I missing something

  • Pin It
tomasd's picture
tomasd

first sourdough - am I missing something

Hi all

Another sourdough newbie lost and confused! 

I have been baking bread successfully for a good while and wanted to venture into sourdoughs.

I made my first stater 8 days ago using 1:1 MDC Tradition flour and water, and have been feeding it twice a day 1:1:1. It is chilly here but the starter is easily doubling in 4 to 5 hours.

Last night I decided to try it out for baking my first loaf: I put 100g of starter (100%) into an autolysed dough (450g flour and 320g water) to give a final hydration of 70% with 10g salt.

I mixed/folded in my usual way and left to bulk over night in the fridge. I removed it from the fridge this morning with exactly no rise at all! 8 hours on the side in the kitchen it is alive (there are bubbles visible through the glass bowl) but still no rise.

Have I done something wrong?  Is the starter not yet ready?

 

Thanks for any input 

 

Red5's picture
Red5

Did you bake it?

tomasd's picture
tomasd

Hi,

No not yet, after seeing the lack of rise I guessed at it being to cold so turned it into a proofing basket which is buy the oven. Will cook it and see what happens.

Thanks

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Recipe? Directions?

Where did you get this from?

tomasd's picture
tomasd

Hi, 

Mixed sources here on TFL. I have been reading the sourdough threads/blogs for weeks, there are so many differing directions, I went for a starter at 1:1 and the quantity of starter came from threads ranging from 10% to 30% starter so plumped for 20% starter to flour/water weight. 

Thanks

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

More to recipes than ingredients. Procedures and timings(etc) need to be considered. Most recipes will tell you how much starter to use. Maybe then it will tell you to leave the dough at room temp for a while. Stretch and fold for a while. Refrigerate for a while. Remove from fridge and rest at room temp for a period...etc, etc, etc...

Why not pick a specific recipe that you understand and follow the directions as a start?

tomasd's picture
tomasd

Thanks for your input, I think there is more to sourdough than I imagined - a little over confident in my experience with commercial yeasts perhaps!? 

Would you be able to suggest a recipe suitable for a first timer? Not at all against starting for scratch again.

dosal's picture
dosal

to make sure it is ready to raise the dough. Take a tablespoon of it and put it into room temperature water. If it floats it is ready, otherwise wait and feed, keep it warm.

MostlySD's picture
MostlySD

As far as sourdough goes, in my experience, almost anything goes. Perhaps that's why you have encountered different accounts on that subject. I have tried many combinations of sourdough and they all work. Whenever I have failed, it was because I was impatient and baked before the levain has done its work. The proof that it has done so is in the proof so to speak, again judging by my experience. When the dough has risen adequately, which can take from 4 hours to 3 days (!), according to one website I visited once, that's when it's time to bake. One has to be patient and work with your levain - instead of the other way around.

In your case, it is possible that the temperature of your fridge was a bit cold for the levain to start its activity right away when you brought the dough out. Yet it is still active if there are bubbles. I myself retard my dough in a wine cooler at around 10 C. I have not had problems on that score, but I can remember when I used the fridge that I had to wait longer for the dough to become alive so to speak.

Anyway, if your dough is still around, I would wait a while more before calling it quits.

Good luck!

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi tomasd,

Your formula is using just 10% pre-fermented flour.   I would increase the amount of leaven you are using.

Secondly I think you are working too cold.   Mixing the dough then putting it straight into the retarder when the starter is so young is asking for sluggishness in the extreme.

Best wishes

Andy

MostlySD's picture
MostlySD

I agree with Andy regarding the working too cold aspect. There's a baker in Montreal who specifies a 2-hour period after mixing & before retarding in order to give time to the starter to adjust to its new environment. In terms of living things, I believe this makes ample sense.

chris319's picture
chris319

What does your starter smell like? Can you smell the yeast? If no, then there's your answer.

I would keep it out of the fridge. A good proofing temperature is 86 - 88 degrees F, and it may not rise much until you bake it.

I don't pay attention to starter rise. You want your bread to rise, not the starter. My loaves turn out just fine regardless of gas bubbles or none in the starter.

May I suggest this? Leave your starter out at room temperature, no feeding, stir it once per day and just let it sit. It's not ready for baking until you can smell the yeast.

tomasd's picture
tomasd

It smells great - a good yeasty smell reminds me of of beer yeast (no alcohol smell)

Laurentius's picture
Laurentius

Hi Tomas,

I never add starter to dough. I add starter to flour and water to make a levain and this I add to my autolysed dough, along with salt, knead and allow to bulk raise.

dosco's picture
dosco

I had the same issue, a couple of months later the starter is now "strong enough" such that the dough will rise in the fridge.

The difference for me was letting the starter sit in a warm room - my utility closet - which is ~80F (can be a bit warmer depending on how long the furnace runs).

I also noticed that a stiffer starter, more like ~60% seemed to rise more rapidly in the warm environment, and was more "viable."

I also feed it at the rate of about once every 3 days ... I also make sure to feed/build it when I know I'm going to make dough and bake.

Keep at it!

-Dave

 PS: gluten development might be a problem for you ... what kind of flour are you using? Does it windowpane after kneading?

tomasd's picture
tomasd

Hi, 

In response to red5 - I baked it anyway out of curiosity and sure enough it did rise. However the rise was very late on in cooking by which time the crust was already well formed - but there was enough rise to crack the boule around the bottom! 

@ Dosco, gluten development was not good, that is to say I have been deliberately working my doughs much less recently (with commercial yeasts) and been getting very open structure breads which I want, I have always used the Bertinet method but found I get personally favourable results by working the dough less than his method would call for. 

The cold temp seems a likely possibility, but I will follow MrFrosts' advice and follow one method start to finish - walk first run later :)

Thanks all for your input. 

dosco's picture
dosco

I understand your desire to minimize kneading/handling to obtain an open structure ... I am in the same midnset. With that said stretching and folding was marginally successful for me when I used 1) store brand AP flour, and 2) Gold Medal AP flour.

I now use KAF bread flour and mix with my Kitchen Aid until I get windowpane. I don't think I'm oxidizing the gluten because the crumb color is not white (it's either yellow or yellow-gray). I am now getting good rises and massive oven spring.

YMMV.

Regards-

Dave

tomasd's picture
tomasd

Hi all,

As a follow up after the advice received here I've posted a few pictures below of my first Sourdough Loaf! :)

Reading everything posted here and following MrFrosts advice I found a basic Sourdough recipe in the 'Sourdough 101 - a Tutorial' thread, read it and followed it to the letter. The first loaf was done in 2 days with the other half of the dough retarding in the fridge for baking tomorrow (the recipe had instructions for both 2 and 3 days - so be good to have a comparison).

As the pictures show it;s not beautiful but the starter is more than up to the job and the oven spring was incredible to watch. 

I believe the loaf was fairly under proved judging by the way it burst. Does that seem correct?

Can anyone shed light on the bizarre massive open structure in the top third of the loaf? is it, as I believe, something wrong in the shaping? 

The taste and texture are great and while its not pretty I'm chuffed to get my first loaf from my first starter.

Thanks for the advice given here again.

First Loaf:

First Sourdough

The side burst!!

Burst open

Huge Open Structure ??

Odd Structure

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

was done "wrong" so to speak, just maybe done too early.  Looks to me like the yeast was just getting up to producing a lot of gas, but because the loaf was shaped already large pockets formed.  Maybe another stretch & fold might have helped before the final shape and rise.   Was there a long final rise after shaping?  (time and temp?)

Outside of the bubble deformation, the loaf looks pretty good.

tomasd's picture
tomasd

Hi,

I gave it 2 1/2 hours after shaping at (about) 70F (21C).

Assuming similar condition next time I will give it a longer bulk time and add in an extra SF before shaping.

Thanks

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sounds like a good next move.   :)

tomasd's picture
tomasd

HI,

Well, I extended the bulk time this time around and added an extra S&F before shaping. Really happy with the results today - thanks for the pointers!!

Seond Sourdough

Second Sourdough

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

work wonders.  

Did a white sourdough myself yesterday and after so many rye loaves had to set a timer to remind myself to fold the dough.  I also gave it a long bake like a rye.  My bad.  I lost track of time.  Should have used the timer.  My husband was telling me the bread smelled done, or was it burning?  I rescued it but the steam pan had been in there too long, crust was thick and hard.  Oh dear.  

So ...  thinking fast...  I set the hot loaf on a cooling rack in the unplugged sink (thought about Paul and his KCity rye) and poured a about a quart of water all over it, just like dunking it in a river or rolling it in snow but a bit cleaner.  I believe for 30 seconds.  Then rolled the water off (and out of my scoring) and let it steam itself dry on the cooling rack.  It worked!  Softened the crust and no ugly wrinkles!  I also tucked it into plastic overnight.  The crust is a little chewy this morning but not soggy or dry, I can bite into it without dental work worries.  The very bottom is a little tough but I had expected the entire crust to be flakier or to make more crumbs than it has on my cutting board.  If you didn't see me do it, you wouldn't be the wiser.  

So I'm a happy camper too! For the both of us!