The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My First Loaves

  • Pin It
Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

My First Loaves

My first time with sourdough.

I used the recipe found in my ancient copy of The Crank's Recipe Book.

I haven't yet got a proper Banneton so for one loaf I used a standard baking tin and for the other I covered a flour sieve with some baking foil and lightly oiled it.

Here is the domed loaf.

And a slice showing the nicely spongy texture. The flavour was spot on too.

Here is the tin loaf with some rather interesting looking battlements growing out of the top (looks more like a pastry than a loaf).

I had a couple of tins with water in the bottom of the oven. I'm still not sure about the timing. I'm pretty sure I would have ended up with a singed brick if I kept to the 40min suggested by the book. My oven is fan assisted and they took about 25mins.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

none of your pictures actually show up with my laptop.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I think the bread sounds lovely!

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

Is anyone else having problems seeing the pictures associated with my original post. These are my first attempts at posting pictures here as well :-D

I opened this in another browser and I can't see my own pictures here either. Is there a problem posting from Skydrive?

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I don't use skydrive.  I resigned myself to uploading my photos to facebook, marking them private so as not to clutter up my news feed, and then on face book I right click on the photo to copy it and here in the comment field I press Ctrl-V (for voila!) to paste the photos. Works like a charm.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

That is an odd looking domed loaf.  Is it bread or something else? I ask because the crumb shot is pink. 

 

 

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

It's very much bread.

It's not the loaf it's the light :-D

I have a choice. Either I use a flash where everything looks like it's made with turmeric or I use natural light in Scotland in April and white becomes rather magenta.

I'll take some more snaps when I cut the second loaf.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Maybe it is the white balance. I don't believe I've ever seen that effect on a bread shot before!

 

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

To give you a clue as to the light effect the cutting board is meant to be white.

Hopefully the Blackberry Jam will provide a better contrast :

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

what flour did you use for this?

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

Just a local standard wheat flour. I didn't want to use anything too fancy first time.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

Yep, that's why I asked as from the pictures I strongly suspected you were using plain flour.   Mostly this flour is used for cakes and the like, not for bread and that's why (imo) you end up with a "cakey" looking crumb.   The protein content of this specific Plain flour is 10.2g per 100g, about 10%.   Strong Bread Flour on the other hand has protein content of between 12.5-14%.

I personally never use ordinary plain flour for baking breads.  I believe you will get a better result using some kind of proper bread flour.

ATB

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

I will look for a local bread flour ASAP and post my results.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

even if the beige crumb is pink and the white board is blue.  I have the same problems and no take pictures with the flash off but the subject lit with indirect sunlight.- get the closest color rendition that way. For your first SD with a young starter you did well.  IF the crumb was really pink then you would soon be a millionaire!   It only gets better from here on so, as Sunny Scotland warms up and sunlight gets better

Happy SD baking.

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

A slice through of the other loaf confirms the lack of a rosy bloom.

Any pointers in getting larger caves and more height would be greatly appreciated.

placebo's picture
placebo

It might help if you told us the actual recipe, the procedures you followed, and any observations you had about how the dough felt at various times through the process.

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

300ml of SD starter, 1.5kg of warm water, 1tsp Raw Brown sugar 1.6 kg of sifted flour mixed well into a very elastic sticky dough and covered for 12hrs.

After which the mixture was raised approx two times and was very sticky and elastic. Large bubble craters were evident on the surface.

1tbsp salt, 3tbsp oil and a further 200g of sifted flour were added and the mixture was folded and transferred to the sparingly oiled tin and makeshift former where it was covered and left to rise in a warm space until it had double again. Again as the mix was transferred yeast activity was clearly visible in the form of would be caves.

This was cooked at 230c in a fan assisted gas oven with water troughs at the bottom of the oven for about 25mins to 30mins for each loaf.

The instructions called for more time (30-45mins) but that would have resulted in a burnt crust and it also called for kneading which was not possible without adding what I imagine would be too much flour.

The end result was a malty, biscuity crust and a tangy soft spongy flavour and texture. There were no dense areas or uncooked soggy zones so I was quite pleased on that score.

It was very nice compared to my experience with instant and dried yeast and it was well received but I was aware that following some of the instructions of the recipe meant I had to compromise with some of the others.

The pastry-like upper crust of the tin baked loaf was novel and didn't detract from the flavour but I would prefer to have a more conventional lid to the casket :-D

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

"Large bubble craters were evident on the surface."  

Is usually a sign of too much fermentation or over.proofing, too much water or lack of dough strength.  Folding the dough more often and shortening the total rising time can improve dough strength.  

More heat under the loaf might help too.  Try for equal browning on all sides of the loaf.  Lower the shelf if you can toward the heat.  :)

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

Switching to the right flours (strong baking flour and mixing rye or spelt) has helped a lot.

I'm still not managing to get the crust to open up. I've been using a scalpel as I don't want to deflate the dough. I have a lame on order so hopefully it's a case of the proper tools.

I also found this video and the recipe useful.

Any further pointers or tips would be welcome. Thanks for getting my sourdough loaves looking and tasting more like bread.

PetraR's picture
PetraR

Don't be scared of slashing the crust, I was at first but than I just did it and was so happy the way the bread turned out.

Your Bread looks lovely.

 

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

My crust is getting a bit better. I swapped 100g of the bread flour in my mix for 100g of whole meal.

As you can see I've been having a slashing time :-D

This one was made with beer instead of water. Tastes very nice.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

nicely done

PetraR's picture
PetraR

I LOVE Wholemeal Flour in my bread, I have a poolish going for tomorrow to bake my daughters fav . bread.

I personally prefer a Sourdough Bread, that will be baked on Friday.

I see you are not shy of slashing anymore.

Beautiful bread:)

 

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

It would go easier on you to follow a recipe that you understand and which others have successfully baked.  You mentioned that it called for kneading but you could not do that because it was too sticky. 

Try oiling the hands for kneading sticky dough. Or follow a recipe for stretch and folding sticky dough, using wet hands as is often suggested. 

I highly recommend the Tartine Basic Country Loaf, which has been written about many times if you don't have the book handy. I say this because it makes a great bread with the holes you seek and because so many have baked it successfully, it may be easier to get direction. But if that recipe does not suit because it uses a Dutch oven to bake, then find another.  

I suggest one you understand not becaus I think you lack understanding. Only because I often see recipes that are not described in a manner that I undersstand, and I havent bothered to bake any of those yet because enough can go wrong when instructions are clear to me. I don't need the added challenge just yet. 

If you want to keep baking this one, I expect you will get the help needed shortly because my comment should bring more comments from more helpful people who can give advice based now what you've written and pictured. 

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

The recipe I'm currently using is:

360g warm water

250g Sourdough Starter

500g Strong Bread Flour

50g Rye

50g Spelt

1tbs Bran

1tbs Salt

1 tsp honey.

I mix and then knead for a good 15mins to 20mins (it starts sticky but gains body with light flouring and a lot of working) and fold three times at hourly intervals before leaving covered overnight (it's still cold enough to use the ambient temperature of the room but in high summer I would refrigerate).

I then divide into two boule and proof in Bannetons.

The bread is good and very tasty and has a nice texture but the crust is a bit thin and doesn't split along the score lines much. I was thinking of using plain flour for dusting to give the crust a bit more body (does this sound right?).

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

How are you baking them? Good crust generally comes from good steam.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I would try starting later with the dough so that the overnight rise is not so long.  The few warmer degrees adds up.  Or switch out the warm water for cooler water in the recipe to slow it a little bit.  :)

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

I have two baking tins of boiling water in the oven which is preheated to 250c (fan assisted) so it's very hot and steamy in there.

It's baked on a stone (on a baking sheet).

The loaves are left to prove in the Bannetons for about four to five hours excluding the overnight rise.

I tend to mix the dough three hours before bedtime so I don't have much more time to shave off there.

I will try to make the water cooler.

I will say about the bread is it's rather crumpety is that normal for sourdough?

It's really nice and well received but definitely with a crumpety taste and feel (rather malty on the surface).

Thanks for the advice everyone. This is how one learns.

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

but based on my google image search, I assume you are referring to a holey, open texture, which is normal for really happy sourdough. Many of us here try to for that, in fact.

Can't comment much on the flavor aspect, but if you like it, then it's good. If not, see if you can pinpoint what is you want to change and we'll see if we can figure out how to get there. It sounds like you have a malty crust flavor, which seems totally fitting for a well browned crust on a wholemeal bread.

As for the steam/crust texture issue, it sounds like you probably have a decent steam setup, although I find with home ovens, one can almost always be doing more. (I'm still working on this myself)

If you open the oven door when your pans have been in there for a bit, do you get a big cloud of steam coming out? Or do you see steam escaping from the edges of the door when it's still shut? Because that's what I would call very steamy, and great for the first 1/3 - 1/4 of the baking time.

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

I'm happy with the crumb. It's not like the bread I am used to making (with dried or instant yeast) which is usually dryer and less spongy but it's a nice new.

New nice is the whole reason for trying different things.

The crust however while interesting, flavorsome and not unpleasant is very, very thin. It's almost looks spayed on thin and browns very quickly. And as I mentioned earlier it doesn't take to scoring. The surface looks more scratched than scored (the score marks don't seem to open up at all).

Ironically when I was using plain flour in error I got a good crust but an odd crumb. If I could get the crust of plain flour and shell my other dough inside it would be perfect.

We really must remedy the crumpet situation as a good English Crumpet is hard to beat :-D

As for the steam level. It's lucky I got myself a peel because the steamy heat does get thrown out in a collapse of potentially scolding cloud.

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

The crusts are opening up a bit more now.

I used cold water which did slow down the overnight rise  (it was about a quarter less than usual) but it didn't effect the final shape of the loaves.

I've yet to cut into this fella.

Is it beginning to look more like bread as you would understand it?

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I hope it "feels light" (for its size) when you hold it in your hand, and sounds a bit hollow when you thump it on the flat side.  You can give it a squeeze too and see how it feels to get some idea of what it is like on the inside. I have no idea what it should feel like when squeezed but I think it should not feel like a brick. :)

 

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

When I have baked in the past it tended to have a thick crust and have a crumbly crumb.

This bread has a light and fluffy and the crust is more chewy than crisp.

It sounds hollow.

It also has the distinct sourness implied by the dough name but it's not overpowering.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I hope you are happy with it. And no doubt if you bake it again, and again, it will continue to improve!

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

I'm not sure about that crust.

For my liking it's too flexible and insubstantial. other people seem to like it though.

I gave a loaf to my next door neighbours, they seemed pleased.

Part of the problem could be I've never eaten sourdough made by anyone else so I've got nothing to compare it to.

Maybe I should get a loaf from a bakers and see how mine compares.

Bingowings's picture
Bingowings

I thought I'd be bold and take the cover off the proofing basket.

I dusted liberally but it got stuck and never recovered it's height. The end result looks heart shaped but it's not really my thing.