The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

San Francisco sourdough

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GSnyde's picture
GSnyde


Hello.  I’m Glenn Snyder.  I’ve been a member at TFL for some time, following the baking adventures of my brother, David, and enjoying this web community.  But I never baked bread before yesterday.  And never posted a blog entry before now.


I have enjoyed bread my whole life.  From Karsh’s Bakery (RIP) in Fresno where we grew up, then from various bakeries in the San Francisco Bay Area where I’ve spent most of my life.  My favorite breads are sourdoughs made by Semifreddi and Acme in the Bay Area, by Beaujolais Bakery and Fort Bragg Bakery on California’s North Coast and, of course and especially, those made by David [I may occasionally in this forum butter my brother up, but I also may try to get a rise out of him—btw, I don’t like puns as much as he does].


As has been recorded in these pages (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/19250/premarital-counseling-advice-my-baby-brother-aspiring-sourdough-baker), I fell upon some sourdough starter that David left in our refrigerator at a family gathering several weeks ago.  It was intended for our visiting sister, but she had left town without it.  So I took it in, as a stray kitten.  I fed it.  It seemed to like me.  I decided I should try baking with it.


Now, I am already an avid and moderately skilled cook.  And I do love to eat good bread.  But I had never pursued home baking, except the occasional dessert.  I suppose it was partly because it seems so complicated and time-consuming.  And I already have enough time-consuming hobbies to fill my free time.  But the mewing kitten, and encouragement from my brother and my bread-loving spouse, got me to try it out.


Before I describe my first baking experience, let me explain the reference to “D’Oh! Boy”.   I work in a law firm called Pillsbury.  Our amateur ballteams have often been called “The Dough Boys”.  And I personally love Pillsbury’s biscuits.  The “D’Oh” reference, besides being a good pun and showing my general enjoyment of all things Homer Simpson, reflects my Guiding Philosophy in trying new things.  We learn from our mistakes.  Ergo, the more mistakes we make, the more available lessons from which to learn.  So I treasure those “d’Oh!” moments, and thankfully I have many.   As this post will illustrate.


Before starting my experiments, I read quite a bit on TFL, and got some very useful advice from David about tools and techniques.  I also adopted low expectations so as to increase the likelihood that the results would be pleasing (I am quite skilled at manipulating my own emotions).


First Batch


David suggested I start with a simple San Francisco Sourdough.  He suggested Susan’s recipe (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6927/well-i-finally-did-it).  In order to maximize my experimental data, I made two double batches of dough this weekend to make four batards.  The starter was acting nicely.  It had been fed 1:3:4 with David’s recommended flour combo (70% APF/20% WW/10% Rye).  The first batch of starter was fed Friday morning and was ready late Friday afternoon, and I mixed the first batch of dough Friday early evening using a dough scraper and bare hands.  A very satisfying sensation.  I soon realized that the need to follow the dough’s schedule was going to interfere with sleep (not an option for me) unless I manipulated the fermentation time.  So, contrary to the recipe I was (not) following, the first batch went into an Igloo cooler with some Blue Ice to ferment slowly for the night.  I was hoping it would have doubled by morning but it had only enlarged about 50% (small d’Oh!), so I put it on our kitchen counter and it had doubled by early afternoon.


I stretched and folded per the recipe and had a nice springy ball to work with.


IMG_1416


 


 I clove the ball into two halves and tried to shape them into batards.  I didn’t do very well shaping (‘nother d’Oh!).  I had looked at written instructions on various TFL blog posts, but had not viewed Floyd’s very useful video on batard shaping (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1688) until after making my mistake.  They looked like a cross between a batard and a baguette.  A baguard, I guess.


IMG_1420


But they proofed nicely (I used the poke test…appropriate for a D’Oh! Boy).


IMG_1423]


And they looked pretty decent after baking on a pizza stone (with steam), except scoring with a paring knife didn’t work well.  I need to order a lame.


IMG_1424 IMG_1430


Unfortunately, in my first try at shaping loves I had not sealed the seams well and the bottoms cracked badly.  I think this was due to using too much flour on the kneading board, so the dough was not moist enough to cohere at the seams (dry d’Oh!).  I also must not have pre-heated my oven enough as the oven spring was only so-so and the bottoms are quite light in color (tepid d’oh!).


IMG_1427


The crumb looks pretty good for a first try.  David says it’s either natural talent, a good instructor or beginner’s luck.  I say it’s all three.


IMG_1435


The taste and texture were passable, far exceeding my low expectations, and probably good enough to motivate further trials.  The crust was crunchy and not at all tough.  The crumb was a bit too moist when first sliced, but is much more satisfactory today—pleasantly chewy, and excellent toasted. 


The flavor is complex and enjoyable—sour, yeasty, whole wheaty.  I’m not wowed, but I’m not gonna throw the experiment in the trash either.  Good bread, not great.


More about my second attempt and the lessons I learned in a later post.


This could get to be habit forming.


Glenn


 


 

RobinGross's picture
RobinGross


Croissants made with 100% wild yeast (captured in Paris).  5 rises over 2 days and enough folding and turning to create 55 layers of butter and dough in the final croissant.  Tasty too.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Nothing new in today's baking, but these are two of my favorites.


The San Francisco Sourdough is from Suas' "Advanced Bread and Pastry." I fed my stock starter to make a firm levain with KAF Bread Flour and BRM Dark Rye. The final dough was mixed with KAF AP. The San Joaquin Sourdough was made as previously described (many times). This batch was made with a 73% hydration dough.



I feel my bâtard shaping is coming along. I'm using the technique described in Hamelman's "Bread."



San Francisco Sourdough crumb



San Joaquin Sourdough crumb


I also made a batch of tagliatelle. I use Marcella Hazan's recipe which calls for 2 large eggs and 1 1/2 cups of AP flour. However, I have been curious how it would be made with Italian doppio 0 flour. I used Caputo red label. To my surprise, it was much thirstier than KAF AP, and I had to add a couple tablespoons of water to the dough for it to come together. Even with the added water, the dough was drier than usual. I was surprised because Marcella says the recipe usually used in Italy is 1 cup of flour to one egg. I wonder if Italian eggs are usually larger than our "large" eggs, or if there is another explanation. Maybe one of our Italian members has an explanation.


In any event, the pasta, made with an Atlas crank pasta machine, sure seems lovely. I'll see how it tastes at dinner tomorrow, with a sauce of home made ground turkey Italian sausage and kale.



David

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I baked two sourdough's today. The first, David's Pain de Campagne is rapidly becoming one of my favorite breads because it's so easy to make, is practically foolproof, and has such a wonderful flavor and crumb. I use Guisto's Baker's Choice instead of KA French style flour for this bread, and my own home-ground wholemeal rye. (I think Guisto's Bakers Choice has about 10.5% protein, so it is softer than KAAP.)


The second was kind of an experiment with Dan DiMuzio's SF Sourdough. I wanted to see if I could bake baquettes out of the dough instead of the more normal batards.


I mixed both doughs up by hand using a throw and slap method. (I had just finished watching a video by Richard Bertinet and thought I would give his technique a try.)


http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough


I put both doughs through four of the throw and slap sessions allowing about 20 minutes in between. It was kind of a fun procedure, and I really enjoyed getting down and dirty with the dough. I think this method help to incorporate air into the doughs and probably contributed to their open hole structure.



The hint of rye in this bread really gives it a spectacular flavor and crumb.



I couldn't get my scoring to open up very well on these baguettes. I'm not sure why except that the dough really got a lot of oven spring.



I cut the baguette horizontally for a sandwich. I was very happy with the large holes in the crumb.


I


I retarded half of Dan's formula overnight in a banneton and baked it this morning. It was a little overproofed which didn't surprise me considering the amount of starter. Still, it baked up pretty well this morning. A little bit flat, but the flavor is very nice and the crumb isn't bad either!




--Pamela

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Happy Memorial Day, Everybody!

I made Dan's SF SD bread yesterday, baked it last night (it got a lot of oven spring), and let it cool on the counter overnight. When I sliced into it this morning, I was very pleased with its structure and open crumb. I would have liked a bit more tang but think that could be achieved by retarding the proof overnight in the fridge. I'm not sure if that would required reducing the amount of starter, but perhaps Dan will supply an opinion. Dan's formula for SFSD was both easy and rapid. Another benefit to Dan's formula (indeed all of the formulas in Bread Baking) is that you can use KA AP, which can be purchased is 25 pound sacks, instead of KA Bread flour. I was amazed that I could turn such a professional looking loaf in a mere day, not counting the time required for getting the starter ready. Dan's formula also incorporated a lot more starter in it than I'm used to! I think this was a very successful bake and I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to reproduce an authentic San Francisco Sourdough!

dimuzio san francisco sourdough

Formula for two loaves:

700 g bread flour (because KA bread flour is so strong, I used KA AP)

500 g water

20 g salt

480 g firm ripe levain (67% hydration)

My method: mix the water and ripe levain together to combine, add the remaining ingredients and mix with the paddle on speed 1 for 1 minute. Turn off mixer and let rest 5 minutes. Mix with dough hook on speed 2 for 4 minutes. Let dough rest covered in mixer bowl for 20 minutes. Dump dough on lightly floured counter and do a stretch and fold. Put dough into an oiled dough bucket and let rest another 20 minutes. Do another stretch and fold. Let rise until double in the covered dough bucket. Form into two loaves and proof onto a well-floured linen-lined banneton until nearly double. Bake at 450º on a hot stone with steam until done, about 27 minutes. Let rest in a turned off oven for about 10 minutes to darken and harden the crust.

dimuzio san francisco sourdough

--Pamela

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I've been experimenting with various method of making San Francisco Sourdough for some time now. Suas' SF Sourdough loaf came out pretty well. I baked it with steam instead of under a cloche and didn't get as much oven spring as I hoped for. This loaf underwent bulk fermentation on the counter and was proofed in the refrigerator. It isn't quite as sour as I would like. I achieve the degree of sourness I'm looking for only when I do both the bulk fermentation and proofing in the refrigerator.


Suas San Francisco Sourdough


                      The crumb of this loaf is medium open and doesn't have a glisteny wet look about it.


Levain:


2 1/2 oz. bread flour


1/8 oz. rye flour


1 1/4 oz. water


starter (stiff) 2 1/8 oz. (50% hydration)


Mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Allow to ferment 12 hours at room temperature (65º - 70º).


 


Final Dough:


14 7/8 oz. flour (I used bread flour)


10 7/8 oz. water


3/8 oz. salt


6 oz. levain (all of the levain)


My Method: mix water and levain in mixer with paddle to loosen levain (about 1 minute). Add remaining ingredients and mix for an additional minute. Let mixture rest for 5 minutes so flour can hydrate. Resume mixing with dough hook for about 4 - 5 minutes to achieve a medium consistency (gluten structure is developed, but not fully--window pane forms but breaks upon stretching). Put dough into an oiled container with a lid. Let ferment for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. Do a stretch and fold. Let ferment for another 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. Form into a ball and let rest 20 minutes. Shape into batard, put into a banneton, cover with a plastic bag sprayed with pan-spray and refrigerate for 12 to 16 hours. Turn out onto pan-sprayed parchment and bake on a stone in a 450º preheated oven for about 25 minutes with steam.


Makes a single two pound loaf (weight before baking).


Below is a picture of a loaf I baked several days ago. This loaf underwent overnight bulk fermentation in the refrigerator after the stretch and fold, overnight proofing in the refrigerator, and was baked with a cloche; it got much better oven spring and had better sour flavor. I'm sold that this is the way to go. I don't think it is so much the particular formula as the method. Additionally, in my experience, loaves that undergo this much refrigeration, tend to be pretty wet (slack, extensible, whatever you want to call it), but seem to bake up well in spite of this characteristic. I'm not sure how you go about successfully scoring such a wet loaf, but perhaps that isn't as important as the taste. Yesterday I read in Local Breads that wetter doughs have bigger holes. Based on my experience, I'm a believer.


San Francisco Sourdough


                      The crumb of this loaf is very open and has a glisteny wet look about it.


--Pamela

rryan's picture

First San Francisco Style Sourdough Batard -- Tender and Delicious, but Soft Crust

March 2, 2009 - 7:28pm -- rryan

This is my third sourdough bread-baking attempt.  The first two loaves were baked as boules in a cast iron pot.  The bread was delicious, and the crust was crunchy and chewy and had a bit of a shine to it.  The scoring was a bit rough on the second loaf, but it was still a better loaf than I had expected.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

SF Sourdough Baguettes 6-29-08

SF Sourdough Baguettes 6-29-08

SF Sourdough Baguettes Crumb 6-29-08

SF Sourdough Baguettes Crumb 6-29-08

These baguettes were made with the formula for San Francisco Sourdough from Peter Reinhart's "Crust&Crumb." The firm starter was made with a mixture of Guisto's Organic (whole) Rye and King Arthur Bread Flour. The final dough was made with King Arthur European Artisan Flour.

The recipe makes 4-1/2 pounds of dough. I made two 1.5 lb. boules and these two baguettes. The dough was on the dry side, although I added about 1/4 cup of water during mixing. I cold retarded the formed loaves for about 18 hours. The baguettes were baked with steam for the first 10 minutes, then dry for another 15 minutes. The crust is crunchy, thicker than a traditional baguette. The crumb is less open than I wanted. The taste is typical of breads made with this dough - moderately sour and complex.

A word about the scoring, since that has been a source of frustration for me: These results are as good as I have ever obtained. I think the factors that contributed to it were 1) The dryer dough is easier to slash, 2) I was careful not to over-proof. They were baked 2 hours after being taken out of the refrigerator, 3) I consciously attempted to implement what Proth5 calls "Mental mis en place." I take this to mean clearing your mind of any other thoughts, then reviewing the procedure elements and visualizing the procedure before starting to slash, then executing the slashes quickly and smoothly according to the chosen procedure. I did not achieve perfection, but I feel I have progressed. What's needed is practice, practice, practice.

Here is one of the boules made with the same batch of dough:

SF Sourdough Boule 6-29-08

SF Sourdough Boule 6-29-08

David

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

SF Sourdough baguettes

SF Sourdough baguettes

SF Sourdough baguettes crumb

SF Sourdough baguettes crumb 

These baguettes were made with the same dough I have described in http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/7446/reinhart039s-san-francisco-sourdough-quotcrust-amp-crumbquot-some-new-variations.

I have been trying various formulas and techniques to make baguettes that have "classic" crust, crumb and taste. This is not them, of course, but I have also wanted to see if the pain de compagne dough, which has such a wonderful taste in a boule, would also make a good baguette. Well, the crumb structure and the taste are essentially identical to the boule. The baguette just has proportionately more crust.

The baguettes were scaled to about 10 oz. I preshaped them according to Hamelman's technique in "Bread," let them rest for 10-15 minutes, then formed the baguettes. I should have let them rest longer. The dough was very elastic. I attempted to be as gentle as possible in handling the dough. I proofed them for about 45-50 minutes only, until they were just swelled a bit, then baked with steam, starting at 500F and reducing the oven to 460F after 10 minutes. The total bake time was 25 minutes. They rested in the turned off oven with the door ajar for 10 minutes more.

 

The combination of the stingy proofing and the hot oven resulted in enormous oven spring. The bloom practically obliterated my cuts. For this "rustic" baguette, I'm not unhappy with the effect.

A word about how I steamed the oven: Hamelman's suggested method of oven steaming for the home baker was used. The oven was preheated with a pizza stone on the middle shelf and a loaf pan and a cast iron skillet on the bottom shelf. Just before spraying the loaves with water and scoring them, I placed about a cup of ice cubes in the loaf pan. Just after loading the loaves, I poured about a cup of boiling water into the skillet. The door was opened briefly at 10 minutes to remove the loaf pan and skillet. I did not spray water into the oven. 

David 

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