The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

firm starter

hkooreman's picture

How to store Italian starter (lievito naturale) in water

April 4, 2013 - 2:16pm -- hkooreman

I have been working tirelessly to develop an Italian firm starter.  So far, it seems to be going well.  My question is how does one store an Italian starter in water and what are the benefits of doing so?  I saw a video done by Iginio Massari that showed him cutting up his starter and washing it in water into which he had placed a heaping spoon of sugar.  I am not sure what the benefit of this process is either.  Any thoughts or experience with this process would be appreciated.

PiPs's picture
PiPs

We cut the miche today, three days after baking...and after a lazy Saturday lunch sent my parents home with half.

This miche was made on the fly...with these thought processes.

Total dough weight: 1.8kgs
Hydration: 82% (Freshly milled flour is thirsty...did not seem this hydrated)
Prefermented Flour: 25%
DDT: 24°C

Whole wheat Levain @ 60% Hydration: 400g
Wheat Flour Freshly milled and Sifted: 517g
Spelt freshly milled: 122g
Rye freshly milled: 100g
Water: 661g
Salt: 20g

Milling

Cool grains from fridge milled before being mixed with cool water. Autolyse 1hr

Knead (slap and fold) 20mins with 5 min break in the middle.

Bulk ferment for 2hrs with two stretch and folds in the first hour at 30min intervals as dough needed some strength.

Preshape and bench rest 20 min before gentle shaping into boule. Shaped dough placed into mixing bowl with floured teatowel.

Final proof was in fridge as the miche had to wait for oven. I judged that the size of the loaf would take a while to cool and the proof would be complete in the fridge as the dough was pretty lively...was a good guess.

Baked under SS bowl at 250°C for 20mins then 40mins at 200°C

Really enjoy working with dough this size and was happy with the spring the oven achieved....the rye flour adds a touch of tang and earth. A bread of this size sure gets noticed.

One of my parents dogs, Mr Hermann spent some time cleaning crumbs off the floor.....

Cheers

Phil

 

Mary Clare's picture

Firm starter to liquid starter?

June 6, 2010 - 5:06pm -- Mary Clare

I saw a recipe for sourdough pancakes on King Arthur's website, and it called for two cups of liquid starter.  I have about 1/4 cup left over when I refresh my firm Maggie Glezer starter, but nothing like two cups!  I did make half a recipe of the pancakes and they turned out OK (they also called for baking soda, so that was safe, I guess.)  

How does going from firm starter to liquid starter go?  Two cups sounds like an awful lot!

jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

I have a question on the use of old dough.  I read somewhere that we can freeze old dough,  which I did to mine, probably about 14 days old. Now I'm taking out to use to try out on my Polaine de Champagne again. 

I took out from my freezer and refridgerator to defrost, not counter top. It looks like the yeast is still active.  Am I doing this right? should I have just defrost it within a short period and use it?  The colour and smell still stays good.

I saw a discussion on refreshing the old dough.  Can I just use it as it is,  throw and mix into my dough or I should at least refresh it first?

CaptainBatard's picture
CaptainBatard

I have been getting my stiff starter ready to make Pandoro and Panettone....and decided to not throw out the extra starter and make  Pain au Levain. I started in the morning with coffee and  got every thing together and realized that I didn't have any heat in the house....burrrr.....threw my coat on...mixed and shaped the dough in record time and put the breads to proof in the warmest place in the house...my oven. Believe it or not i just had a new gas heater installed and this is the second time this week they had to come over work on it...first it was a bad water pump...today they put in a new gas regulator....not much else can go wrong! That is what I thought...the heat went on and the repair guy left and I huddled around the radiator to get warm....and with minutes it cut off again....before to long the repair guy was back and the breads (which I thought were way overproofed) were in the oven. The good news is I have heat again...and from the way they look....I think I have a strong starter.

Pain Au Levain  (Hamelman) page 158

 

Ryan Sandler's picture

Sourdough baguette experiment -- Success!

September 27, 2009 - 10:40pm -- Ryan Sandler

Usually when I get it in my head to cobble together a formula based on two or three things I've seen mentioned on this forum, two more in my head, and a bit of whimsy, the results are not pretty.  Especially when it comes to baguettes.  The last two or three times I've tried to make baguettes, they've come out flat, with closed crumb and, with the sourdough versions, crust that provides a thorough jaw workout.

But not this time, oh no!  This time I tasted victory.  Victory, and some very yummy bread.

Here's what I was trying for:

Wild-Yeast's picture

Anyone Else Using Firm Retarded Starters?

March 14, 2009 - 9:02am -- Wild-Yeast

I keep a firm starter refrigerated between builds.  It's allowed to at least double in bulk under refrigeration before use as a poolish in the next batch.  Refrigerated development period is four to five days.  Leavening action is slower than most sourdough starters but the resulting bread is exceptionally flavored.

I'm wondering if anyone else has experience in this technique as it seems to have a related but separate set of rules.

+Wild-Yeast

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I baked my first challah last Thursday and wanted to share.

I was unsure what to expect but it was so much fun. I’d been meaning for some time to bake a recipe from Maggie Glezer’s book, A Blessing of Bread, which is a wonderful compilation of traditional Jewish recipes from around the world. Floyd has written a very nice review of the book here.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/bookreviews/ablessingofbread

I decided to start with Glezer’s own personal recipe for sourdough challah. I love making sourdough and was interested to see what the texture of this bread would be compared to a yeasted challah which I have eaten only a couple times.

The recipe seemed easy to me despite the fact Glezer calls it expert. I’m not sure why but, again, I’m new to challah. The dough was so easy to mix together and then, as Glezer puts it, the time involved is mostly waiting after that.

She says to bake it to a dark brown which I did. I’m not sure if it is considered too dark or not but it was really a beautiful color and I do typically bake my bread darker as she instructs in Artisan Baking.

The crumb was amazing to me. It was very creamy and soft and almost reminded me of an angel food cake. It has remained moist to this day (5 days later) as there are only two of us to eat and can’t quite get rid of all the bread I bake. I am going to cut very thick slices of what is remaining to freeze and later use to make French toast.

I decided for my maiden voyage into challah bread I would make an elaborate braid. I used the six-strand braid version and got a lot of help from the video Glezer did showing how to do it. Gosh, the internet is awesome! Just as she said it makes a beautiful, very high loaf.

Braiding ChallahFine Cooking Video, Maggie Glezer

http://www.taunton.com/finecooking/videos/braiding-challah.aspx?

I’m posting the recipe so those of you who are new to challah as I am can have a chance to make it and perhaps will be inspired to buy this lovely book. For those who have made challah for years I’d love it if you tried the recipe and let me know your thoughts on it compared the some of your favorite traditional recipes.

More of my photos can be seen here:

http://zolablue.smugmug.com/gallery/3500289#197395950

Thank you to each and every one of you on this site that have been such inspirations in baking such as Floyd, Bill Wraith, Susanfnp, Mountaindog, JMonkey, Browndog, Bluezebra, Eric, SDBaker, Mini Oven, Dolf, Qahtan, Zainab and so many others. All you wonderful bakers have helped me incredibly along the way over the past few months that I have been baking so many thanks to all.

My Sourdough Challah - Maggie Glezer's personal recipe from her book, A Blessing of Bread

Sweet sourdough breads are delicious and well worth the time (which is mainly waiting time) if you are a sourdough baker. The sourdough adds a subtle tang to my challah, and the crumb has a moister, creamier texture that keeps even longer than the yeasted version. While it’s true that challah or, for that matter, all bread was at one time sourdough (the Hebrew word for leaven, chametz, means “sour”), challahs have definitely gotten sweeter and richer since the introduction of commercial yeast. To convert such recipes back to 100 percent sourdough, the sugar has to be cut back in order for the dough to rise in a reasonable length of time (sugar that is more than 12 percent of the flour weight inhibits fermentation), so this version will taste slightly less sweet than the yeasted one, a deficit completely overridden by the rich complexity of the sourdough. I have also changed the all-purpose flour to bread flour, which has more gluten, to counteract the starter’s propensity to loosen the gluten (the acids in the starter change the proteins, a natural part of sourdough baking).

Skill Level: Expert

Time: About 20 hours (about 8 1/2 hours on baking day)

Makes: Two 1-pound (450-gram) challahs, one 1 1/2-pound (680-gram) challah plus three rolls, or sixteen 2-ounce (60-gram) rolls

Recipe synopsis: Make the sourdough starter and let if ferment overnight for 12 hours. The next day, mix the dough and let it ferment for 2 hours. Shape the dough and let it proof for 5 hours. Bake the breads for 15 to 40 minutes, depending on their size.

For the starter:

2 tablespoons (35 grams/1.2 ounces) very active, fully fermented firm sourdough starter, refreshed 8 to 12 hours earlier

1/3 cup (80 grams/2.8 ounces) warm water

About 1 cup (135 grams/4.8 ounces) bread flour

For final dough:

1/4 cup (60 grams/2 ounces) warm water

3 large eggs, plus 1 for glazing

1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams/0.3 ounce) table salt

1/4 cup (55 grams/1.9 ounces) vegetable oil

3 tablespoons (65 grams/2.3 ounces) mild honey or a scant 1/3 cup (60 grams/2.1 ounces) granulated sugar

About 3 cups (400 grams/14 ounces) bread flour

Fully fermented sourdough starter

Evening before baking - mixing the sourdough starter: Knead starter into water until it is partially dissolved, then stir in the flour. Knead this firm dough until it is smooth. Remove 1 cup (200grams/7 ounces) of the starter to use in the final dough and place it in a sealed container at least four times its volume. (Place the remaining starter in a sealed container and refrigerate to use in the next bake.) Let the starter ferment until it has tripled in volume and is just starting to deflate, 8 to 12 hours.

Baking day - Mixing the dough:

In a large bowl, beat together the water, the 3 eggs, salt, oil, and honey (measure the oil first, then use the same cup for measuring the honey — the oil will coat the cup and let the honey just slip right out) or sugar until the salt has dissolved and the mixture is fairly well combined. With your hands or a wooden spoon, mix in the bread flour all at once. When the mixture is a shaggy ball, scrape it out onto your work surface, add the starter, and knead until the dough is smooth, no more than 10 minutes. (Soak your mixing bowl in hot water now to clean and warm it for fermenting the dough.) This dough is very firm and should feel almost like modeling clay. If the dough is too firm to knead easily, add a tablespoon or two of water to it; if it seems too wet, add a few tablespoons flour.

The dough should feel smooth and very firm but be easy to knead.

Fermenting the dough:

Place the dough in the warm cleaned bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment for about 2 hours. It will probably not rise much, if at all.

Shaping and proofing the dough:

Line one or two large baking sheets, with parchment paper or oil them. Divide the dough into two 1-pound (450-gram) portions for loaves, one 1 1/2 pound (680-gram) portion for a large loaf and three small pieces for rolls (the easiest way to do this without a scale is to divide the dough into quarters and use one quarter for the rolls and the rest for the large loaf), or sixteen 2-ounce (60-gram) portions for rolls. Braid or shape them as desired, position them on the prepared sheet(s), and cover them well with plastic wrap. Let proof until tripled in size, about 5 hours.

Meanwhile, 30 minutes before baking, arrange the oven racks in the lower and upper third positions if using two baking sheets or arrange one rack in the upper third position if using one sheet, and remove any racks above them. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C/gas mark 4). If desired, preheat one or two baking sheets to double with the baking sheet(s) the loaves are on. Beat the remaining egg with a pinch of salt for glazing the breads.

Baking the loaves:

When the loaves have tripled and do not push back when gently pressed with your finger but remain indented, brush them with the egg glaze. Bake rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, the 1-pound (450-gram) loaves for 25 to 35 minutes, or the 1 1/2-pound (680-gram) loaf for 35 to 45 minutes, until very well browned. After the first 20 minutes of baking, switch the loaves from front to back so that they brown evenly; if the large loaf is browning too quickly, tent it with foil. When the loaves are done, remove them from the oven and let cool on a rack.

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Also known as Baguette aux lardons.

 

This is fabulous bread!  I baked it yesterday from Daniel Leader’s new book, Local Breads.  It is a very easy recipe, absolutely delicious fresh from the oven and today it made incredible toast.  The incorporation of slightly browned bacon and his recommendation to retard the shaped loaves overnight to infuse the dough with more of that great smoky bacon flavor is a winner.

 

His recipe calls for making four 316g baguettes but for some reason I only ended up with about 1100g total dough so I made 3 roughly 366g baguettes.  The dough was supple and slashed really well which I was concerned about with the bacon.  No problem though.

 

His method of using floured parchment and then making your own couche worked really well for this.  I was able to fit all three baguettes perfectly on a quarter-sheet restaurant style pan with rolled up dish cloths on each side to keep the loaves from spreading.  You make the troughs for the dough creasing the parchment between each loaf and then tuck the rolled cloths against them and the rim of the sheet pan. 

 

The next day I removed from the fridge and slid the entire thing onto the counter, took off the plastic wrap and covered with a cotton flour-sack towel.  I let them warm up and finish proofing for about 2 hours and then baked.  Even in my small oven all three loaves fit perfectly on my smaller-than-normal baking stone.  I steamed the oven and baked them about 25 minutes at 450°F and was really happy with the way they rose and actually grew ears.  (chuckle)  That is always welcome and always surprising for my breads, it seems but I’m getting better. 

 

I have not typed up this recipe yet.  I encourage you all to go buy Daniel Leader’s new book.  This is the first of his two books I have purchased so others are way ahead of me in the knowledge of his great breads and first book.  Mountaindog is lucky enough to live close to his bakery – wow!  That would be a treat.  So far in what I’ve read I’m very impressed with this book although since I use a firm starter I do have a couple thoughts that may differ from what his instructions are only by means of my own experience.  All in all it is a wonderful book and I’m thrilled to have it.  Can’t wait to try more new recipes.

Baguettes aux lardons

Great crisp crust and you can see how the bacon bits on the exterior crisp when baked. (yum)

Crumb was creamy with bacon infused throughout in little bits.  He doesn't show a photo of the crumb so I'm hoping this is how it is supposed to look.  He does have you beat the tar out of the dough and with a mixer it does break down the already small cooked pieces.  I didn't mind. :o)

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