The Fresh Loaf

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Reinhart's San Francisco Sourdough from "Crust & Crumb" with some new variations

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Reinhart's San Francisco Sourdough from "Crust & Crumb" with some new variations

San Francisco Sourdough variation Boule

San Francisco Sourdough variation Boule

SF-SD-Variations-Boule Crumb

SF-SD-Variations-Boule Crumb

San Francisco Sourdough variation Batard

San Francisco Sourdough variation Batard

San Francisco Sourdough variation Batard Crumb

San Francisco Sourdough variation Batard Crumb

San Francisco Sourdough: Variations on a theme

The formula for San Francisco Sourdough Bread in Peter Reinhart's "Crust & Crumb" has been my favorite recipe for my favorite bread for some time. I have varied the formula, using different starters and various mixes of white wheat, whole wheat and rye.

All of the breads have been good. I can say that my favorite loaves have been made with bread flour with a small amount (10-12%) of rye flour.

I have not varied the techniques for mixing or proofing in Reinhart's instructions to date, and, with a single exception, I have always baked this bread as boules. Reinhart's instructions indicate that this bread can be formed as boules, batards or even baguettes.

This time, I decided to try some new variations in ingredients, procedures and loaf shape. The dough was mixed in a Bosch Universal Plus.

Starter Feeding

1 part mother starter

3 parts water

4 parts flour (70% AP flour, 20% whole wheat and 10% rye)

Intermediate firm starter

3 oz starter (formula above)

9 oz water

13 oz First Clear Flour

Dough

All of the intermediate firm starter

2 cups of water

23.50 oz King Arthur European Artisan Flour

3.5 oz Guisto's Organic Whole Rye

0.25 oz Diastatic Malt powder

0.75 oz salt

Procedure

Day 1 - Make the intermediate starter

Mix the Intermediate firm starter. Ferment tightly covered for 9 hours (overnight) at room temperature, then refrigerate for 10 hours.

Day 2 - Mix, Bulk Ferment, Divide and Scale, Shape and Retard

Take the starter out of the refrigerator 1 hour before use.

Mix the water, the diastatic malt and the flours until it forms a shaggy mass. Cover and autolyse (let the flours absorb the water and the gluten start to develop) for 20 minutes.

Add the firm starter cut into 10 pieces to the dough and mix at Speed 1, adding the salt while mixing. Continue to mix at Speed 2 until the gluten is well developed and a window pane can be formed. (7 minutes).

Empty the dough onto the bench and fold the dough into a ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, at least twice its size. Roll the dough ball around to coat with oil, cover the bowl tightly, and allow the dough to ferment for at least 4 hours. (If rising too quickly, do a fold to de-gas the dough, but plan on leaving the dough alone for the last two hours, at least.)

Gently transfer the dough to the bench. Scale and divide the dough as wished, according to the type and size of the loaves you want to bake. (The total weight of the dough is around 4-1/2 pounds.)

Let the dough rest, covered with plastic wrap, for 10 minutes, then form loaves. These can be place in bannetons or on parchment or canvas "couches." In either case, cover the loaves air tight and refrigerate overnight.

Day 3 - Proof and Bake (two methods)

Take the loaves out of the refrigerator and allow to warm up and rise for 3-4 hours until expanded to 1-1/2 times their original volume.

Baking method 1

One hour before baking, pre-heat the oven with a baking stone and cast iron skillet in it to 475F.

Slash the loaves as desired, spritz with water and transfer the loaves to the baking stone.

Immediately pour 1 cup of boiling water into the skillet and close the oven door. If desired, spritz the oven walls with water 2-3 times spaced over the first 5 minutes of the bake. After 5 minutes, carefully remove the skillet from the oven, empty any remaining water and dry it. Put it somewhere to cool. After the last spritzing, turn the oven temperature down to 450F.

Baking method 2

Alternatively, set the oven to 450F.

Slash the loaves as desired, transfer them to the stone and bake the loaves covered with a bowl or a roaster for 15-20 minutes. Then remove the cover.

Continue baking until the loaves are nicely colored and their internal temperature is at least 205F. The loaves will be done in 30-40 minutes total time, depending on their size and shape. Then, turn off the oven but leave the loaves on the stone for another 5-10 minutes to dry the crust. Allow the loaves to fully cool (1-2 hours) before slicing.

Comments:

With this particular combination of flours and the procedure as described, the dough was quite sticky at the end of mixing. After a couple of foldings, it was extremely elastic, and I wondered if I had mixed it more than I should have. However, after bulk fermentation and dividing, the dough was quite relaxed and remarkably extensible. It was not at all sticky at this point. This has been characteristic of doughs made with KA European Artisan Flour, in my experience.

The batard pictured above was baked uncovered with steam from water poured into a hot skillet. The boule was baked under a stainless steel bowl without additional steam. Although the boule was baked about 45 minutes after the batard, the latter rose more quickly on parchment and acted as if over-proofed. The boule rose more slowly in a banneton. It did not seem over-proofed, and it had much better oven spring and bloom. The batard had a more open crumb. My hunch is that how I shaped the boule (too tight) was the major determinant of the differences in proofing time and crumb openness. (Other analyses would be welcome.)

Eating (Batard)

The crust is crunchy but not at all tough. The crumb is tender with a delicious complex pain de compagne-type flavor, except with more assertive sourness.

David

Comments

Eli's picture
Eli

Those look amazing!! Beautful crumb!!! How old is your starter? Do you think that is a variable?

Eli

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Eli.

My starter is about 3 years old, but it has been fed with so many different kinds of flour over that time, it could hardly be regarded as the same starter. I originally got it from King Arthur Flour.

I can't remember who posted the combination of flours I am using to feed it, but I seem to recall that it was originally Thom Leonard's method. The starter: water: flour ratio for feedings was from Peter Reinhart.

Using this combination of flours and feeding ratio yields a moderately firm starter that grows like crazy and keeps in the refrigerator for over 2 weeks between feedings (I've never gone more than that.) without throwing a hooch. 

If you promise not to tell, I will confide that I had not fed my starter for 7 or 8 days before mixing the "intermediate starter." Given that most recommend refreshing your starter no more than 12 hours before mixing, I'd say this starter is pretty darned resilient.

The bread is absolutely fabulous - the best flavor of any I've made, I think. I had some with dinner, sliced thin and spread with the following:

Crostini
2 T olive oil 
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1 large chicken liver, chopped very fine
1 chicken gizzard chopped very fine 
1/4 tsp dried tarragon
Dash or two of salt
4-6 grindings of black pepper
3 T of Marsala  

 Heat a small frying pan on medium heat. Add olive oil and shallots. Saute until translucent. 

Add the gizzard and saute to brown (2-4 minutes). Then add the liver and saute until no longer pink, mashing the mixture while it is cooking.

Add the salt and pepper and tarragon and mix well.

Add the marsala and let evaporate, mixing frequently, until the mixture is still moist, but there is no free liquid left.

Transfer to a small bowl and serve with thin slices of sourdough baguette.

This made a nice appetizer for a dinner of roast chicken with haricots vertes (boiled 7 minutes then tossed with olive oil and crushed garlic) and a salad of sliced tomatoes with mustard vinaigrette. I had a handful of boysenberries for a healthy dessert. (I'd have preferred them over chocolate ice cream, but I'm not suffering too badly.)

David

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Just beautiful. How would you compare this with Nury's Light Rye as far as  taste?                                                                   weavershouse

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Comparison with Nury's Light Rye. Hmmmm ...... Well, these differences come to mind: 

  1. Nury's rye is much less labor intensive. It is a 2 day rather than a 3 day affair. You don't have a final proofing. You don't really shape the loaves.
  2. The SF SD has a thicker crust that is crunchier when first cooled and chewier than Nury's the next day.
  3. The SF SD has a more sour flavor. Note that it involves cold fermentation of both the intermediate starter and of the formed loaves. I have baked this bread without overnight fermentation of the loaf. It was noticeably less sour.

This particular variation of the SF SD had the most complex flavor of any bread I can recall. Note that it has 5 different flours in it, although the AP and WW  flours in the starter can hardly be counted. 

I had some more for lunch today with a Greek salad. It seemed just as moist as the day it was baked, and the flavors had melded. The crust was nice and chewy. It was wonderful. So, I think this bread and Nury's are pretty similar in keeping quality; both are excellent. 

The other variable that should be noted is that the KA European Artisan flour I used has lower protein than the KA Bread Flour I have generally used for this bread. It absorbs less water, so the dough was more slack. This was more noticeable in the batard, which spread quite a bit while proofing en couche. I thought it might have a less round, more oval cross section after baking, but it had really good even spring and rounded up nicely, as you can see. 

Bottom line: If offered a slice of Nury's Light Rye and a slice of this SF SD, I'd grab both and run!  

David

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Oh, Reinhart's SF sourdough! I had placed that recipe in the back of some cupboard. The basic version of it with white flour and the overnight retard gave a taste and texture I really didn't like! I guess I don't like "sour"dough.

But your mixed version sounds really interesting! The question about the two types of bread is interesting too because I have now done the Nury's Light several times and I find it very complex in flavour and not at all sour even though it sits in the fridge! Right now I am in the middle of making up a dough that is based on the Nury's but not as wet a dough. It is in the fridge and will be baked tomorrow. I put some rye in the firm starter and added more rye in the main dough. I want to see if I can do a formed bread that is still fairly slack and still get that great complext flavour. I don't know why it isn't sour like the SF sourdough.

So, I think I might just have to follow your lead and try out a more "pain de campagne" style Reinhart sourdough to see the difference.

Jane 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Jane. 

It's so interesting, the differences in how we experience the same breads! I find Nury's light rye quite delicious and noticeably sour. However, the SF SD is more sour, at least if made with the two cold fermentations. 

Nury's rye made with lower hydration should be interesting. Please let us know how it turns out. I would also be very interested in how you find the SF SD if you use a pain de campagne-type mix of flours. I think if you skip the cold fermentation of the formed loaves, it would be less sour and more to your taste.

David

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I'll let you know, definitely! I'll try the SF later this week because the dough I have in the fridge will make 3-4 boules/bâtards... a lot!

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

I have the KA European Artisan flour, my milled rye and I have Golden Buffalo which I'll use for the first clear flour so I mixed the intermediate starter and we'll see how it goes. I'll be mixing by hand. I hope the extra time it takes to make this will be worth it. I have to use up my Golden Buffalo soon or put it in the freezer (where there's really no room).

 

Your answers are always so clear and complete, I appreciate that, thanks. So what's next on your Bread Journey? weavershouse

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, weavershouse. 

Please let me know how the SF SD comes out with those flours. I bet it will be terrific. I have about 5 lbs of Golden Buffalo left which I need to use up too. 

I made a couple loaves of Silesian Light Rye ("Chelba") from "Local Breads" today. We had it at a friend's house. I wanted to take him a loaf, and we got invited for dinner. 

I have a batch of white rye sour refreshed to make Jewish sour rye, but I don't know if I'll get home early enough any day this next week to make it. The SF SD was so good, I may just make another batch of that. I also want to make the Essential Columbia again with higher hydration this time. And my long-term project to make an acceptable baguette still nags. I want to try the Acme Rustic Baguettes, but I may just make baguettes with the SF SD dough.  

So many breads. So little time. <sigh> 

David

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Beautiful bread, nice write-up. I love how dark and toasted your boule is.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


David

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Congratulations on hitting the front page!  Well deserved!

Mini O

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


David

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

Amazing!

The extended ferment must really bring out some wonderful flavours. Do you think without the diastatic malt that it would be wildly different? (I have no access here to diastatic malt...at least none specifically for baking).

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, FP. 

The malt definitely contributes significantly to the crust color, not much to the flavor. I think the enzymes in the diastatic malt are resulting in more simple sugars available for caramelization.  

There have been some threads about getting malt from home brew supplies vendors. But Reinhart's recipe says you can substitute table sugar for the diastatic malt in a pinch.  

As you say, the slow fermentation has a big impact on flavor, but I think the particular combination of flours I used also made for the wonderful, complex flavor this bread had. 

David

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

 One of the most beautiful crusts I have ever seen. Just a gorgeous boule!

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Such kind words coming from you, I am outrageously flattered. <Blush>  David

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Hi David,

Well, this is what I ended up with. SAN FRANCISCO SOURDOUGH

ABOVE--SAN FRANCISCO SOURDOUGH, ONE BATARD, ONE BOULE

SAN FRANCISCO SOURDOUGH CRUMB

ABOVE--SAN FRANCISCO SOURDOUGH CRUMB FROM BOULE

SAN FRANCISCO SOURDOUGH BATARD CRUMB

ABOVE--SAN FRANCISCO SOURDOUGH CRUMB FROM BATARD

SUSAN'S MICHE RECIPE

ABOVE--SUSAN'S MICHE RECIPE

 

SUSAN'S MICHE CRUMBSUSAN'S MICHE CRUMB

 

I made a lot of bread today for two people but I wanted to use up some of my Golden Buffalo high extraction flour.

The crusts on all these breads are hard but not difficult to eat. The crumb in the SF SD boule was a little open and I was surprised to see the crumb in the batard so even because it sat waiting to go into the oven almost an hour after the boule went in. I thought it would be full of holes because it sat so long. The boule was cooked under a pan for 20 min. and then it took another 35min. at least to brown up. The batard was baked on a stone, uncovered. After I took it out of the oven I painted it with butter because I thought it looked dull. The butter put a shine on but didn't take much crunch out of the dough which I was happy about. Both have a sourdough tang that I like but don't love. I'm not sure I'm wild about sourdough and whole grains. They are tasty breads and not at all bitter, they're not heavy and I'm sure they'll be very good toasted.

 

As I said, I made Susan's High-Extraction Miche recipe to use up some more of my Golden Buffalo. I made it into 3 boules. The taste is much like the SF SD. The crumb was very even. I wish I could get a clearer photo of the crumb but I can't.

 

I'd say both these breads, for me, took a lot of time and took up way too much fridge space which you'd think I would have thought of before tackling both the same day! Next time I'll shorten the fermentation times and see if there is less sour. Thanks to you David and to Susan from WILD YEAST for your beautiful breads. Now I have to go rearrange the freezer.

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

Wow, that's a lot of bread in one day, weavershouse, and all of it gorgeous!

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, weavershouse. 

Those all look lovely, but you sound tired. I prescribe a sourdough grilled cheese sandwich with a glass of an oaky chardonney.  

The SF SD makes spectacular toast, with just a little butter. It also makes wonderful garlic bread. Olive oil with crushed garlic brushed on slices and broiled until just starting to brown. 

For a real San Francisco treat, eat the SD garlic bread with Joe's Special. Do you know that dish? It's 1 lb ground sirloin, sauteed with a cup of chopped onion, salt, pepper and garlic powder, until cooked through. Then you throw in a bunch of chopped steamed spinach (or a pkg of frozen chopped spinach, thawed). Mixed well, then add 2-3 beaten eggs and cook, stirring, until the eggs are well-cooked. Yum!  

I am not sure I like a sour dough that has a prominent whole wheat flavor, either. I gather you got some of that using the Golden Buffalo flour. Right? The bread I made with First Clear flour didn't have a WW flavor I could identify as such. If you followed my recipe, just substituting GB for FC flour, maybe it would work better for you using a mix of GB and bread flour in the intermediate starter. What do you think?  

Also, you would get less of a sour flavor if you skip the overnight fermentation of the formed loaf. You might like that better.   

David

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

What really made me tiredWhat really made me tired

 

Hi David,

You're right about being tired but what you see in the photo is what really did it. Taking care of Calvin and Hobbes (my grandson) between bread steps. He's so much fun but what energy! Wish I could bottle it for my own use :)

 

Anyway, the day after I posted about the bread, I loved it for breakfast and today I love it more. It does change with time. The crust stayed nice and firm, a lot of the sour is gone and it's still moist and fresh tasting. I am going to try it again with the first clear flour as you suggest. I didn't think there would be much difference but there might be.

 

For lunch I'm going to make that toasted cheese sandwich and a few minutes ago I dug down under lots of bread in the freezer to get a package of ground beef for what sounds like a delicious dinner. Yum.

 

Thanks for being so positive.

 

By the way, I see you made the Russian Rye. I've been waiting for you to make it and knew you would because it looked so good. I'm going to go back over to your post now and check it out. weavershouse

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

is worth 1000 words!  

Your bread output is now even more impressive! 

It is said that one's emotional state does influence the sense of taste, and I can believe it. I'm glad the SF SD is more pleasing after a rest (for both you and the bread!). 

Re. Joe's Special: You know, it sounded so good to me too that I made it for dinner myself last night. In fact, I am eating leftovers, cold (also good) for lunch right this minute! I made it with ground turkey dark meat. I did make garlic bread to go with it, but from some Essential "Columbia" from the freezer.

David

GinkgoGal's picture
GinkgoGal

Beautiful!  Now I'm super-excited that my firm starter for this very recipe is in the fridge right now.  My starter is brand new (I "birthed" it using SourDoLady's recipe a couple weeks ago) and this will be my first time using it.  The firm starter more than doubled yesterday so it appears to be nice & active.  Woo Hoo!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, GinkgoGal.

Are you using Reinhart's original recipe from Crust & Crumb, or my variation? In either case, let us see your results and hear how you like it.


David

GinkgoGal's picture
GinkgoGal

Well, I was quite pleased with the result - nice crust, crumb nearly there, and a little tang. Milder than San Francisco but my starter is just a baby.

I used some of the ideas you outlined but some of my own, with a few accidents. I added about 15% KA White Whole Wheat as well as rye. My kneading got interrupted by a hungry baby so I added a stretch & fold later in the rise. The rise went long too due to the baby again. I liked the idea of refrigerating before proofing so did that.

I baked one loaf on a stone with steam and the other under a cloche. I think the cloche one came out flat because it overproofed while waiting for the oven.

Here's the happy result (if the pictures show up, otherwise I'll work on pics later since the baby is calling again!):

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, GinkoGal.

I'm happy you are pleased with your breads. However, your photos are not displaying for me. I tried opening the link, and Flickr tells me they are "private." if that's so, you need to go to your Flickr account and make the photos you want us to see "public." I'll be looking forward to seeing them!


David

GinkgoGal's picture
GinkgoGal

David,

I had a feeling they weren't going to work.  Thanks for saving me the troubleshooting!  If you could help me out a little more - I've made them public but they aren't showing up in the original post and I don't see any way of editing my post.  Do you know of a way?  I hate seeing those big blanks!  In the meantime I'll give it another go here and hopfully they don't show up in both posts.

Kate 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, GinkoGal.

Those are gorgeous! Beautiful crust and the crumb looks just perfect!

Keep fiddling with the flour mix until you get the taste you like best.


David

Tacomagic's picture
Tacomagic

Wow, those are beutiful crumbs on both the boule and the Batard!  Though I must admit, as somebody who likes a slightly more open crumb in their sourdough, the Batard looks a bit better than the boule.

 

I liked your walkthrough on making these so much, that I actually went and created an account just to join the discussion here.  I've been using thefreshloaf for about a month now as I gradually expand my breadmaking ability, but this was the first post that actually compelled me to join in.

 

I'm currently in the the third week of my brand new, home-grown sourdough starter.  While still a young starter, I've already started to experiment with it, trying to capture the less known and less popular Seattle Sourdough flavour (although from what I understand, it's just a milder version of the SF).  Being in Milwaukee perhaps hinders this attempt a bit, but I am undeterred.  My first two loaves (one boule one batard) turned out fairly well, but the oven spring was a bit on the disappointing side.  I'm assuming it might have to do with something igniting in my oven and me having to move the bread out into the kitchen while I put it out (gah).

 

 As a side note, I've made 3 batches of sourdough crumpets with left-over starter after feeds.  After eating those, I don't think I'll ever be able to go back to english muffins or bagles for breakfast.  Sourdough cast-off makes a very simple, yet nicely sour crumpet that will have trouble surviving the barrage of family members who steal them off the cooling rack.

 

 Anyway, the crumb was fairly tight, but the loaves had risen pretty well in the kitchen beforehand, so the loaves were still nice and hard on the outside, while maintaining a soft and chewy innard.  I thought it wasn't too bad for my first ever attempt at sourdough, but I'm looking for improvements.  That leads me to a few qestions if anyone would be willing to help me on my quest towards a more sour bread.

 

 First off, I used a mixture of flour that was 60% bread flour, 30% wheat, and 10% rye.  It left the bread with an almost overpowering wheat taste, and I could only smell the sour dough "tang" when I cut the bread and my nose was hovering about 35 cm from the bread.  I'm assuming if I cut down the wheat percentage, I'll be able to prevent the wheat from drowning out the sour taste.  However, when I made these loaves I sort of sped along the process.  I went from peaked starter to finished bread in only 12 hours... which I've learned here hurts the sour flavour.  So this leaves my question, what do you recommend I do in this situaion?  Should I try for the 3 day method here without chaning my flour ratios, or should I also cut back on the wheat flour because I'm using too much anyway?

 

 Second, I'm still trying to learn about doing useful folding, as I currently tend to knead rather than fold due to the lack of success I've had with folding.  I've read a few posts here, and a number of other sites, and there appears to be no clear consensus on when to do foldings.  I'm going to make the bad assumption that you did at least 2 or 3 folds on the boule you made.  Could you let me know when you did folds during the recipe?  From what I can see it seems you did one fold right after the windowpane test, maybe another during the bulk rise, and then a final one during shaping.  Is this correct?  And did you do folding on the Batard, or did you knead?

 

 Finally, I had very little ovenspring, possibly due to the small fire (my 1/2" deep slits only expanded about 3/4", and the dough underneath didn't really spread out).  I did pretty much what I've seen as being common here (500ºF for 5 minutes with a pan of water, then drop to 450ºF), so I'm thinking I might have done something wrong to impeded my spring.  What are some common things that prevent good oven spring in sourdough?  Most other breads I've made so far have had decent, sometimes even a little over-energetic oven springs.  This is the first loaf that I've had its spring remain unsprung.  The only 2 differences I've noticed is that this loaf was sourdough... and the oven caught fire after about 3 1/2 minutes at 500ºF.  The bread itself only spent probably 3-4 minutes out of the oven, but I don't know how much that would hurt my spring.

 

 Sorry for the very verbose post, but I'm extremely interested in trying to replicate the wonderful crumb on the batard pictured here.

 

Cheers,

Taco

P.S. Interestingly enough, the thing that caught fire in my oven was a piece of wood left over from something I had been smoking in my oven a few days earlier.  The fire actually gave my crust a very pleasant and subtle hickory flavour.  I might try purposefully adding hickory chips to my steam pan at some point to see if I can get a more controlled smokey flavour in some of my darker breads.

 Confusion is a state of mind... or is it?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Tacomagic.

Welcome to TFL!

If my blog got you to join, I'm happy.

It sound as if you are riding the sourdough learning curve, for sure!

You have so many good questions. I'm not sure I even caught them all. You might want to introduce yourself to the general TFL family and ask them again.

Here goes:

Kneading versus Folding: Folding is more suitable for slack doughs (70+% hydration). Kneading works better for firm/dry doughs.

Strong wheat taste: It's surprising how little whole wheat can give you that bran flavor. If you don't like it, decrease it. Try 1/2 cup in a recipe that calls for 3.5 cups of flour.

Open crumb: This is going to reflect many variables. Increasing whole wheat and rye will make the crumb less open. Lower hydration makes for bigger holes. Kneading enough to develop the gluten well helps. Over-kneading makes a more even-textured crumb without big holes, though. Full fermentation helps. Gentle handling while shaping is important. Proofing "just enough" is important, too.

Oven spring: I think having to take your loaf out of the oven hurt the oven spring both through cooling and through drying the crust. To get more oven spring, fully ferment the dough. Form loaves gently to not degas them. Slightly under-proof. Have a hot oven with a stone that is fully pre-heated. Use steam during the first part of the bake. Scoring can "direct" the expansion up or out. (Another whole topic.)

I hope those telegraphic answers give you some help.


David

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

"Lower hydration makes for bigger holes."

Doesn't *higher* hydration make for bigger holes?  I mean, ciabatta, which is one of the most airy breads I can think of, has hydrations in the 70-80% range, for just this reason.

Incidentally, on the topic of spring, my experience has been that accidental over-fermentation is the biggest culprit, as the yeast then don't have food to feed on during the first portion of the bake, and so, no spring.  And as it happens, folding *can* help with this, as it redistributes food to the yeast.  But don't fold too often or too vigorously... you don't want to go and degass the dough and ruin your poor yeast's hard work

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, fancypantalons.

You are correct. I mis-typed. Thanks for catching it.


David

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

Taco --

How long did you let the bread sit before you judged the sourness? Not how long did you let it sit before you cut it first -- but how long did it have to mature before you decided it wasn't sour enough. The reason I am asking is that it has been our experience, along with that of other people, that sourdough tastes more sour after 24 hours. Before then, it is kinda blah.

I'll let other people comment on your other questions, I just wanted to encourage you to not give up on the flavor -- that is, unless it has already been eaten down to the crumbs!

Mary 

Tacomagic's picture
Tacomagic

Thanks for all the tips!

 For the age of the bread, I'm not sure which stage of maturation you're meaning. For the fermentation process, yes It was very short... only about 6-8 hours fermentation.   Otherwise if you're talking post bake, I did try the bread after a few days.  The sourdough "tang" smell got stronger by the end of day 2 (48 hours), but the wheaty taste still overpowered the loaf, so it tasted pretty much the same as a 30-40% regular wheat loaf (not a bad taste, just not sour).

Also, some clarification on the effect of moisture on crumb size would be nice.  I've always assumed higher hydration lead to a wider crumb... this is the first I've heard of dry dough leading to a wide crumb.  Was that a typo, or is there a general misconception about greater hydration leading to larger crumbs (the hydration of this bread was around 50-55%... sorta low for sourdough if I recall correctly).

 I'll probably open or find a forum thread about folding so I can get some clarification on the methodology.  So far I've heard everything from "every 30 minutes" to "only when the dough doubles".

Thanks again,
Taco

Confusion is a state of mind... or is it?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Taco.

When I said that Lower hydration makes smaller holes, that was a typo. Sorry for the confusion.

Regarding folding versus other methods to develop the gluten: Most of the bread books you will find recommended by TFL members have good instructions for mixing. That doesn't mean they give the only way to accomplish the same end, but they do work.

My advice to you as a sourdough beginner would be to work on one or two recipes from one (or two) good books. Get to really know them. Use them to try out variations in ingredients and techniques. Don't change too many variables at once. Following this learning method, you will develop a better understanding of the great many variables that influence how your bread turns out.

Also, the better bread books have excellent introductory chapters and sidebars with each recipe. These often have information and tips which will increase your understanding greatly. Don't neglect to read them.


David

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

On the topic of folding, Peter Reinhart did a little Q&A here on TFL that you should search for.  Obviously it's just one opinion, but his take is that

1) folding is great for developing strength in wet dough,

2) you should only fold once, maybe twice if necessary, at 30 minute intervals during the bulk ferment.

The reasoning is simple: folding degasses the dough, no matter how gentle you try to be.  As such, the rise is interrupted, which will affect the final crumb.

That said, I have read one opinion that folding is important for any dough that is going to ferment for more than 90 minutes, as the dough needs to be restructured to ensure the yeast has sufficient food.  As such, I've played with folding at the 60 minute mark for  my sourdoughs (which bulk ferment for 3-4 hours), but I must confess I haven't done any serious experiments to determine what the effect has been on rise times, crumb, etc.
MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

I was referring to letting the bread age overnight, as opposed to eating it all the first day. I don't hold out much hope for people not cutting into a loaf right away; people are curious. However, some of us have found that day-old sourdough sometimes tastes more sour than it did when just baked. Try it without the WW and see if that helps. That said -- my husband requests 100% WW sourdough as his bread of choice.

I wonder of some of us taste WW differently? I think maybe this is so.

Anyhow, continue to play aroud with it. The best advice is what David said below -- pick a recipe and bake it many times, tweaking it as you go, rather than jumping all around. You will be amazed a how much you learn doing that. See a recent thread from "Somegeek", who putt in a good 3 weeks this way, and learned a lot.

All the best,

Mary 

Tacomagic's picture
Tacomagic

Thanks for all the help.

 I think I'll take the next sourdough to something simpler.  I'll probably cut out all the WW, and just replace it 1:1 with bread flour.  This will probably increase my hydration as a result, so I'll probalby not touch my liquid unless I have to.  I'll also change my proofing method to use a longer one since I won't be rushed this time.

In order to experiment with the folding methods, I'll probably break my recipe into 3 parts just before the bulk ferment.  I'll fold one every 30 minutes (probably fold twice), fold one every 60 minutes, and just do a standard knead on the third.  I'll take a look at the differences of the three methods side by side then go from there, using the knead as my control, since I get pretty stable results from kneading.

 Like has been suggested, I think I'll work at variable control.  As an engineer, I think I'll take some of my design methods into the kitchen with me when I bake... since it appears a more science based experimental setup could be used to great benefit there.  I guess I got spoiled with the rules of regular cooking, where I could arbitrarily change 15 things in a recipe and still have it come out better than the original. I should probably also bring my clipboard too.

 Anyway, this weekend I'll definately take myself back to something more basic and see if I can't get some of the variables stabalized.  I'll probably try to keep close to the time schedule of the SF sourdough here, since it seems to provide stable fermentation results from the others who've tried it.  Hopefully I'll also avoid lighting my oven on fire, which would eliminate the "stalled bake" as a culpret for my poor oven spring.

Cheers,
Taco

Confusion is a state of mind... or is it?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Taco.

Good luck getting the variables controlled. It's a real challenge in a home kitchen with home appliances. Professional bakeries have specialized equipment to control temperature and humidity and, often, machines to handle the dough, so even the pressure used to shape the loaves is standardized.

For the rest of us, over-reliance on measurable variables, especially time, can be a trap. As you gain experience with sourdough, you will find that you control what you can, but the look and feel and behavior of the dough are most important. And the sense of when the dough wants you to take the next step only comes with experience. You seem ready to really pay attention, so you are in good shape to progress rapidly.


David

Tacomagic's picture
Tacomagic

I had meant to post this last weekend, but frankly, I forgot.

 
Two Batards


Crumb

The slashing job wasn't the greatest, especially since I forgot and had to slice them right after I put them in the oven.  But, the oven spring was FANTASTIC!  Far more oven spring than I've had from any other loaf I've ever baked, it was crazy, they almost doubled in size just from oven spring.  This explains the tear in the side of the Batards you can see in the picture.  They crossed the 3" seperation they had and had to be seperated once I took them out of the oven; woops.

The crumb is light and fluffy, the crust is chewy without dominating the bread.  They taste much more sour than my previous batch, although I would have liked them a bit more sour, so I may retard longer next time.  However, regardless of their only mild sourness... the batards didn't last much longer than 4 days before vanishing without a trace from my kitchen.  They made some magnificent grilled ham and cheese sandwiches let me tell you.

The slashing mishap aside, these turned out greater than I'd hoped for on my "second" try.  Thanks everyone who helped out, I can't wait to make these again!  Next time I'm going to try to add about 7 minutes longer baking time to firm up the crust a little more, and go for a longer retard.  Not to mention practice appropriately timed slashing.

Cheers,
Taco

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Wow, nice work!  Those loaves look great!

On the bake-time side of things, if you want a thicker, more substantial crust, after the initial steam, consider dropping the temperature to 400 instead of 450, and then baking for a bit longer (until the center hits 205).  I haven't tried it myself, as I like the thinner, crispier crust from the standard baking procedure, but this is the procedure Reinhart suggests if a thicker crust is what you're shooting for.

And as for slashing, don't be afraid to slash fairly deep (I go down a good 3/4 inch when I slash my loaves).  As you experienced, the dough will quite happily spring up and fill out the slashes you create, and a deeper slash gives the dough a bit more room to expand (and also looks pretty!).  I also slash right before I'm about to place them in the oven (I'm pretty sure this is the typical procedure)... less likelihood of burning myself. :)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Taco.

Wonderful crumb.

If you got that much oven spring, I wonder if a slightly longer proof might have made the crumb even more open.

FP's suggestion may make a thicker crust, but may also reduce oven spring.

I'm really happy you liked the result. This is my favorite sourdough.


David

jondoe's picture
jondoe

I've never made real SD bread, but nothing is better than returning from SF with a bag full of bakery SD bread. Remember long ago, when you could bring baggage???

I usually do a faux-dough in the breadmaker, modified from cooks illustrated's no-knead II bread. In the 1.5c of water, I include a quarter cup mild lager (like Bud. Tastes better on a plate than in a glass!) and a T or two of white or cider vinegar.

(OK, I looked up what I usually use -

For the 2# breadmaker, I add 1/4 to 1/3c beer (yeasty flavor) and a T or two vinegar (tang) to the liquid <1 1/2c total> to the rest of the recipe - 4 1/4 white flour, 3T sugar, 1 1/2t salt. I haven't tried adding the milk powder and butter yet. (cooks omits the sugar from their artisean recipe)

 

You won't think you're on Fisherman's Warf, but this doesn't take more than 7 minutes to assemble in the breadmaker, and is a reasonable facimile - to me.  And it won't be nearly as photogenic!!!

I've also made the real NKII recipe in the  oven, and it tasts great, but is a lot more work.

 

Aprea's picture
Aprea

Hi David - I have been working on your formula this week.  I tried it to compare with BBA basic sourdough (with whole wheat implemented to both starter and final dough).  I have had wonderful success with that recipe - nice open crumb, chewy, and crunchy crust.  I wanted to try your version, to see if it would taste more sour - it really does.  It also seems a bit heavier though.  I am wondering if, because I do not shape and retard proof, if I am not getting the maximum open crumb.  I simply cannot figure out how to shape, put in the refrigerator in an airtight container.  We prefer batards, baguettes.  The bannetons are not airtight, and I prefer to have the dough covered without anything touching it, like plastic.  I suppose I could use a large roasting pan with parchment - covered with plastic, but I was wondering if you have any other suggestions.


 


By the way - this recipe makes the most DELICIOUS sandwiches!  The other night I made a huge antipasta for us to dine on while we watched a movie - .  The next day my 14 year old feasted to the envy of his track buddies while eating an avocado and tomato sandwich.  My childrens peers are terribly envious - 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Anna.


If your crumb is less open, I'd look to the usual suspects first:


* Needs higher hydration.


* Not fully fermented.


In general, I get a more open crumb with batards than with boules.


To cold retard loaves in bannetons, I place the bannetons in food-grade plastic bags, tie the bags shut and refrigerate. The plastic never actually touches the dough. I re-use the bags. I use the same bags to keep my bannetons when not in use and as freezer bags. Also, to cover bannetons while proofing on the counter.


For my huge banneton (for 4 lbs miches), I cover with plasti-crap.


David


I got the bags from KAF Baker's Catalogue. The come in 100's in several sizes. There are other sources too.

Aprea's picture
Aprea

Today - the bread turned out with signigicant improvement.  I bulk femented for 24 hours - used bread flour and Bob's RM dark rye, rather than first clear and guistos.  I also used organic malt syrup from KA website.  It was perfect!  The flavor was complex, the crumb was open, chewy - and the crust was delightfully crisp.  I cannot tell you how happy I am to find this community of bread lovers.


 


We had asparagus risotto with a side of baked yams (called sweet potatos in Jacksonville - yams in CA).  The king of good food is bread.  It is the formula that unites us throughout history!!!


 


Bon Appetit!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

My favorite flour mix for this bread is 90% white (usually BF or KAF European Artisan) and 10% whole rye. 


Local asparagus appeared at our Farmers' Market a couple weeks ago. The early crop is so sweet when eaten a few hours after cutting. I have been thinking about making a risotto with it. I generally turn to Marcela Hazan for risotto recipes, but I'd love to see yours, if you would care to share it.


David

Aprea's picture
Aprea

I use her recipes as well - Do you have the Essentials of Classic Italian?  I think that is where I got this recipe - I modified it with no butter added at the end...I use Swansons Beef broth diluted.  Ok I will start from the beginning..


 


 


Discard rough portion of stems and steam a bunch of young asparagus al dente (5 minutes steamed in an inch of water).  Cut the asparagus into one inch pieces.  Put the spears in a separate bowl for later.


dice 1 small onion into small pieces.  Saute in a few tablespoons of good olive oil.  Add the cut up asparagus stalks and 1.5 cups of Arborio rice.  Stir for a minute or so - add salt and pepper. On medium high,  Now 1 ladle at a time, add diluted beef broth and stir until absorbed by the rice.  Always cook away one ladle of broth at a time.  When the risotto as good texture, not chalky, but al dente, remove form heat.  Add 1 cup freshly grated parmigiano regiano (sp), and the spears from the asparagus.


 


Most recipes add butter at this point too, but we think it tastes better without it - healthier too!  The yams on the side were a perfect compliment - and we don't add butter to that either.  It helps to justify the extra carbs we get from the bread.


 


Have a wonderful weekend -!  Thank you for the terrific bread.


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I used to make my own brodo from beef shank, but these days I use home made chicken broth. I also leave out the final butter addition. Otherwise, your recipe is just as I would make asparagus risotto. Oh, one other difference: I reserve the tips as a garnish - a few on top of each serving. 


For some vegetable risotto, for example celery (which is wonderful, by the way), I add about 1/3 - 1/2 cup of dry white wine as a substitute for one of the broth additions towards the middle of the cooking.


I may make it tonight!


David