The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First "Sourdough"

  • Pin It
dasein668's picture
dasein668

First "Sourdough"

Just finished my first "sourdough" loaf. Or maybe I should say "naturally leavened" 'cuz it sure isn't sour! I made a starter 5 days ago, feeding daily, and it certainly leavened the dough, but not a hint of sourness. Great crumb, and the flavor was great too, if I had been comparing it to a "standard" dough.

Maybe my starter just needs to age?


I also had some trouble with the dough sticking to the banneton during the 4 hour secondary. I salvaged it OK, but it looks a little silly:

 

Here's a shot of the crumb:

Comments

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Dasein668 - thanks for the pics - your sourdough looks great and is very inspiring! Beautiful crumb and certainly not like what I got this past weekend. I see you just kept feeding daily before using and that must be where I went wrong, I stopped feeding and refrigerated it - probably a big mistake unless I was going to refresh and ferment at room temp again before using. Nice to know you can get such a good rise out of a 6-day old starter like you got.

dasein668's picture
dasein668

Yeah, the rise was good. But long. I fed the starter daily for several days, then doubled it on Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning I pulled a few ounces aside and fed that—then into the fridge. The rest of the starter I used to make a dough that was about 50% starter to 100% new flour to about 60% water (plus some salt). I don't know exactly how much water I used—not all of the measured amount, but I added it until the dough seemed to be about 65-70 percent total hydration (based on previous experienc.)
It's pretty cool (low 60s) in the house now so I did both the primary and secondary rise in the oven with a pan of boiling water to keep it both humid and a bit warmer than ambient. Fermentations were long—about 5 hours for the primary and about 3.5-4 for the secondary.
I was very pleased with the bread... except for the lack of sourness!
I'm going to pull the starter out of the fridge this morning and feed it out on the counter for the next two days so that I can make a loaf for our Xmas eve party. Maybe it'll be a bit sourer this time around...

Nathan Sanborn dasein668.com

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Nathan - I'm certainly not one to ask about sourness since my first sourdough attempt last week was such a failure, but I do remember BBA stating that if you want your sourdough to be more sour, then each time you refresh you may want to only double the amount of final starter rather than triple or quadruple it: for example, if I have 100g of starter to refresh, I would do so by adding 50g of water or juice and 50g of flour, resulting in 200g of new starter. That, according to BBA, would give you a more sour starter than if you took that same 100g of starter and added 100g of liquid and 100g of flour to refresh it to make a total of 300g of new starter. Maybe some others can chime in here if I'm wrong. Also, I hear that if you feed it with rye or whole wheat flour rather than white, it will be more sour.

 

I myself prefer a less sour taste in the final loaf, I just want the leavening power and the complex flavors that get drawn out of the flour from slow fermenting. Good Luck - check out SourdougLady's blog for more tips if you have not already.

dasein668's picture
dasein668

That's pretty much how I was working. I also am working with a drier starter than that of the BBA's recipe. I think he mentions in one of the gracenotes that that tends to increase sourness as well.

I haven't checked out that blog—is that a blog here (I've seen her post before)? Or elsewhere?

Nathan Sanborn dasein668.com

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

I've taken some technical classes about sourdough, but of course don't have my notes with me here to properly regurgitate the details, BUT the 'jist of it is that there are 2 kinds of beasties contributing to the flavor of the bread, and the one that is "tangier" likes drier conditions and the milder flavored one likes wetter conditions.

So, a stiffer consistency to your starters should contribute to more of a sour flavor. Also, if it's a fairly new culture of sourdough, it will take some time to develop more complex flavors.

 

Good luck, looks like you have a good start.

dasein668's picture
dasein668

My current starter is about comparable to, say, a Ciabatta dough—I'm guessing about 75-80% hydration. Should I go even drier than that? Compared with the super-loose starter that the pictures in BBA show, I was thinking that was quite dry.

Should I be shooting for more like 50 or 60% hydration?

Thanks for any tips!

Nathan Sanborn dasein668.com

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I wrote a lesson over the summer that incorporated what I'd learned in my multi-month quest to get a sour sourdough. Here's a link.

dasein668's picture
dasein668

I'll start keeping my starter even drier than it is now and proof my next batch out in my low-60s kitchen, rather than in the oven at an estimated 75 degrees. Then I'll see where we are at and whether I should try my final proofing in the fridge...

Nathan Sanborn dasein668.com

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

JMonkey - great lesson, I wish I had seen that earlier! Very instructive photos too.

FYI - Nathan, the link to SourdoLady's blog is on this site here.