The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tempting me with sourdough

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PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Tempting me with sourdough

I don't usually make sourdough bread unless someone asks me for a loaf specifically.  But after reading all these posts lately, you have tempted me to get a starter going again.  I've read that you can temper the sour flavour by adding baking soda, and as I'm not all that mad about sour, I'd like to know if this would work.  Also, does sourdough bread automatically have a chewy crust and crumb?  I'd be grateful for any help you can give.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

To me it's easier to think of sourdough as a type of bread that can be made from a starter. Your starter can also produce very mild, non-sour loaves. Alot of the flavor does come from overnight retarding. SourdoLady can certainly get you started. Her Deluxe Sourdough is a milder, softer crumbed loaf..still crusty though. BWraith offers tons of info..put them into the search engine.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I looked up SourdoLady's starter, will print it out and have a go.  I'll let you know what happens.  Love your name, Paddyscake.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

is very helpful..just post her name in your subject line..let us know how it goes!!

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Add a bit of instant yeast to your sourdough when mixing up a dough and the loaves will be less sour.  Just don't add the yeast to the starter that you intend to keep.

SOL

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Have you already tasted a loaf made with your starter? Because you may not even need to temper it. I love super sour sourdough, but I find mine disappointingly un-sour unless I take special steps to make it sourer (like an extra long, slow fermentation). As I mentioned a couple of days ago, when I rise it in a warm place, it barely tastes like sourdough to my taste buds.

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

PaddyL, I must say what tempted me to try a sourdough starter  was the wealth of recipes and information at Susan's 'Wild Yeast' blog where she details how to start and maintain a 100% hydration sourdough starter.

The degree and 'type' of 'sour' varies according to recipe as well as a whole wealth of other factors that I am still learning about (temperature would certainly seem to play an important role).

As you are probably already aware, the 'sour' is not the yeast itself but as a product (byproduct?) of the bacteria/yeast culture in your starter (Lactobacillus especially) - either in the form of lactic acid (a la yoghurt) or acetic acid (a la vinegar)   Changing the environmental factors (and ingredients, hydration etc) of your starter and recipes can nudge the activity and ratios of bacteria, yeast in different ways to give different degrees of sour.

Gosh, I realise I am being frightfully vague in writing the above but I'm still very much learning.  As has already been mentioned - Bwraith's extensive knowledge can be found on TFL - definitely worth searching for.

 

 

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

...including Nancy Silverton's, mostly because I liked the idea of capturing wild yeasts.  That starter, like all our houseplants, died during the ice storm of 1998.  The last one I had going was one from Ellen Foscue Johnson's book, A Baker's Almanac, and it was pretty good.  I made her Basque Shepherd's Bread a few times for a friend, and it tasted good to me, not too sour.  The trouble came when I tried to freeze the starter which then died on me.  But it's in the above book by Ms. Johnson where she suggests the baking soda, and I wondered if that would really work since I never tried it.    I should say here that I've been baking bread with a passion for years, and have a collection of over 50 bread books.  It's only since discovering this site and the obvious passion people have here for sourdough, that I thought I'd give it another try.  When one does have an active starter on the go, so to speak, can any bread recipe be used with the starter instead of the called-for yeast?  I quite often make sponges when baking bread, or bigas, or poolishes, especially with whole grain breads.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I really don't think you need to add baking soda to your dough. As Floyd said, proofing in a warm place will give you a quick rise and you really won't get any sour flavor. The sourness comes from cool slow proofs and starters that are kept at a firm consistency.

So, here's what I would do:

1. Use a liquid starter that has been fed and proofed overnight (8 hours)

2. Make your dough and let it proof in a cozy warm place until doubled. I like to use the oven with the light on, and I turn it on very briefly (like less than 1 minute) to slightly warm it. The light will maintain the warmth from there on.

3. Shape your bread and proof again until doubled, using the same warm place.

It's really much more difficult to attain a sour flavor than it is to achieve a non-sour bread. Many people complain that they can't get the sour flavor, so I don't think you need to worry about yours being sour.

Good luck--give it a try!

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I've begun the starter this afternoon at 1:35 p.m., with orange juice and whole wheat flour.  It is now sitting beside me, on top of my computer tower, as my room is the warmest in the house.  I'll let you know how it looks tomorrow.