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Smell of sourdough starter and dough consistency

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flouryhands's picture
flouryhands

Smell of sourdough starter and dough consistency

Hi

I am new to making sourdough bread.  I was given a starter last week which I fed yesterday morning then used to start my first loaf in the evening.  I have some questions which I'd really appreciate help ..

I'm using a recipe which required me to make a "sponge" last night and this morning (around 12 hours later) I added in the remaining ingredients and kneeded to a slightly tacky dough, more so than a regular loaf of bread. When I shaped to a ball for the first proof it relaxed and flattened a little in the bowl - does this mean the dough was too wet?

The dough is now rising nicely and has increased by about a 3rd in 2 hours.   The smell of the dough is slighly sour and reminds me of the taste of a sharp rye bread.  The smell of the starter this morning is a lovely sweet smell which I prefer.   Does the sharper smell of the dough mean I started the loaf too early or let it ferment as a sponge too long?

I'm ultimately aiming for a milder tasting sourdough, and appreciate it will be trial an error, but any advice as to whether I am on the right track would be appreciated.

Many thanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

Sourdoughs generally have a higher hydration than other breads. The consistency of your dough "sounds" fine.

As far as smell goes the general rule is... when a starter is fed it smells sweeter and after it's risen, and fermented, you get that characteristic "sour" smell.

I cannot advise you if what you are experiencing means anything. Only way is by the results.

What recipe are you following?

flouryhands's picture
flouryhands

Hi, thank you for replying.

Since I only fed the remaining starter last night, then that explains the sweet smell.

The dough for the is still rising nicely, almost doubled.  I'll be doing the final proving shortly and will report back on the results/taste later. The recipe I'm following is on this link.  

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/may/10/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall-recipes-sourdough

I will report back on the progress, and hopefully the taste of the loaf!

 

 

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

Looks like a nice recipe.

The hydration is not too high and I imagine the dough to be sticky but very manageable. Many sourdough recipes have much higher hydration and will be much more difficult to handle. But I think you've chosen a good place to start.

If you're following the steps and all seems to be going well then sounds good.

If you are successful then stick to this recipe for a while till it becomes second nature and you know what to expect and how the dough should feel etc. Once you are confident then progress onto higher hydration sourdoughs but do it gradually.

Baking sourdoughs is hugely rewarding. Never give up if you come across an obstacle. There's always more to learn.

Let me know how it goes and include some pictures.

flouryhands's picture
flouryhands

Hi

The final proving was slow but eventually it doubled in size.  

The dough was slightly reluctant to leave the banneton and go on the tray - I had to shake a little.  Once out I tried to "slash" the loaf  but the cut was ragged maybe because the bread had a slight skin and/or the knife wasn't fit for the job.   For both reasons, I lost some of the puffiness in the loaf and it spread a little on the tray.

The resulting bread is much denser than I'd like - I'm guessing only double the size of the original dough.  I'd prefer a lighter loaf with bigger holes.  I'd used about 1/3 stoneground flour and the rest white flour so maybe I should up the white flour ratio to get a lighter loaf.

The taste isn't bad - not too sour and has a bit of character - quite a "malty" note to it, reminds me a little bit of Marmite (yeast extract). 

Here's some pics

 

Sourdough 1

sourdough 2

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11

...it's late and I was going to answer tomorrow but I just couldn't leave it. I want to say that is a superb first sourdough. You're going to go from strength to strength. You should be pleased and the more you bake your starter will mature and your technique will improve. The mistakes you pointed out are very minor for a first attempt. You should have seen my first mistakes. Enjoy eating it and hope to see many more of your sourdough posted here. 

flouryhands's picture
flouryhands

Thank you for your positive comments. I am pleased the loaf wasn't a disaster and it is going down ok in this household.   It went in a lunchbox today and will do again tomorrow!      I plan to cook a whiter sourdough in next couple of days after I have done a bit more homework on the sourdough technique and will post the results on this forum.

 

 

MD1032's picture
MD1032

Looks pretty good to me. If you want a taller loaf, try a shorter proofing time, and possibly lowering the hydration depending on how much the recipe originally calls for. Lower hydration doughs are easier to work with. It also depends on how wet you keep your starter to begin with. At one point I forget what happened, maybe I added too much water after taking mine out of the fridge (I store it thick, lasts longer), but my loaf was so watery that it was almost impossible to work with even though I added the same amount of other ingredients that I would normally add. Of course the thing you'll learn quickly about sourdough is that no matter how much you think you screwed it up, you're almost always going to get serviceable bread.