The Fresh Loaf

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San Francisco Sourdough Bread

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Maybe this belongs in the "You know you're a bread baker when ..." topic.


I'm going to visit my younger son and his family next week. I haven't started packing, but I have the breads baked. 


 



This is basically my San Joaquin Sourdough but made with the Gérard Rubaud flour mix. I tasted this loaf's mate yesterday (as in 4 slices). The truth is, Rubaud's flour mix is better when baked using Rubaud's formula and methods, and the San Joaquin Sourdough is better using my usual AP with 10% dark rye. Live and learn. Not that this is bad bread. It's just not astonishingly wonderful. (My grand daughters deserve astonishingly wonderful bread.)


 



These boules are the San Francisco Sourdough from Michel Suas' "Advanced Bread & Pastry." It's a wonderful bread. I spiked my starter flour mix which already has 10% rye with extra rye and made a very firm starter which was allowed to ferment for about 16 hours at room temperature. I got a bit more sour tang than previous bakes, which was what I was shooting for. 


The crust is nice and crisp, and the crumb is quite open for moderate hydration (67%?) bread.



 


And, mostly because of how my wife's face lights up when she walks into the house while it's baking ...



The Cinnamon-Raisin-Walnut Bread from Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice." 


I feel better, knowing we won't starve in Las Vegas.


David

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dmsnyder

This weekend I made a miche with Gérard Rubaud's flour mix for the first time. It's nowhere near as beautiful as the ones with which Shiao-Ping introduced Rubaud's formula to TFL, but it is delicious. The miche does seem to have a more mellow flavor than the other breads I've made with this flour mix, but then I didn't slice and taste it for a good 15 hours after it was baked.


The flour mix and formula I used was ...



Gérard Rubaud Pain au Levain

Ingredients

Baker's %

Total Dough

Flour 1 – AP

70

583.33

Flour 2 – WW

18

150

Flour 3 – Spelt

9

75

Flour 4 – Rye

3

25

 

Total Dough: 

Baker's %

Weight

Flour

100

833.33

Water

78

650

Salt

2

16.67

Conversion factor

8.33

1500

 

Pre-Ferment:

Baker's %

Weight

Flour

100

183.33

Water

56

102.67

Starter

47

86.17

Total

372.17

 

Final Dough: 

Baker's %

Weight

Flour

100

650

Water

84.21

547.33

Salt

2

16.67

Pre-Ferment

44

286

Total

1500

 

 

I also made a couple 1 lb boules of the San Francisco Sourdough from "Advanced Bread & Pastry" by Michel Suas. It was an extremely extensible dough, made this time with WFM AP Flour (non-organic. They were out of the organic). I retarded the loaves overnight but wanted to give them an early start, so I took them out of the fridge and turned on my oven when I first got to the kitchen this morning.

 

I trust you correctly inferred this was done before my first cup of coffee. Always risky. 

 

Well, I did have my baking stone in the oven when I turned it on but not my steaming setup. I discovered this when the loaves were ready to load, of course. I did give the oven a series of spritzes with a spray bottle, but my result was a nice illustration of why we bake with steam. So, for your interest ...

 

Note the dull crust and the modest bloom and spring.

 

I haven't cut it yet. I'm sure it's fine eating, but beautiful it ain't.

 

David

 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Today's bake:

I was asked by a TFL member who had already packed his copy of Advanced Bread & Pastry in preparation for a move for the formula for this bread. I have added it, below. Happy baking!

Boules

Levain

 

 

Ingredient

Amount (Lbs & Oz)

Bakers' %

Bread flour

2 1/2

95

Medium rye flour

1/8

5

Water

1 1/4

50

Starter (stiff)

2 1/8

80

Total

5.75

230

  1. Mix all the ingredients with a DDT of 70ºF.

  2. Ferment 12 hours at room temperature (65-70ºF).

 

Final dough

 

 

Ingredient

Amount (Lbs & Oz)

Bakers' %

Bread flour

14 7/8

100.00

Water

10 7/8

72.80

Salt

3/8

2.53

Levain

5 3/4

40.00

Total

2 lb

215.33

Method

  1. Mix to medium consistency.

  2. Ferment 3 hours with 1 fold. (I did 2 folds at 45 minute intervals.)

  3. Divide into 1 lb pieces.

  4. Preshape as light balls.

  5. Rest 20-30 minutes.

  6. Shape as boule or bâtard.

  7. Proof 12-16 hours at 48ºF, 65% relative humidity.

  8. Score as desired.

  9. Bake 35 minutes at 450ºF with steam.

 

 

Crackly Crust

Crumb 

David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

 


Ed Wood, who sells sourdough cultures from various parts of the world, insists that a culture will maintain its unique combination of yeast and lactobacillus species and, thus, its unique growth characteristics and flavor, forever. My experience has been otherwise. I've bought his San Francisco Sourdough culture on two previous occasions. Both times, after a couple weeks of feeding, they produced bread with the characteristic San Francisco sourdough flavor, but after six months or so the flavor changed. The eventual culture was in no way "bad," it was just different. I assume the original organisms were replaced by others, and, from what I've read, the new ones derived from the flour with which I was feeding my culture.


My understanding is that the yeast and bacteria which inhabit grains are mostly on the outer surface, that is the bran. I have fed my starters with a mixture of white flour, whole wheat and whole rye for some time. Also, I keep my starters at about 75% hydration. Dr. Wood does not address what kind of flour one should use for feeding starters, but he does recommend keeping the San Francisco culture as a liquid. I believe this favors the homofermentive (lactic acid producing) bacteria over the heterofermentive (lactic and acidic acid producing) bacteria which prefer a less liquid (and cooler) environment.


With these considerations in mind, I have purchased Dr. Wood's San Francisco Sourdough starter a third time. I am feeding it only white flour. I still use whole grains in final levain builds, but I will not feed them to my "stock" cultures.


It is now a month since I activated the SF SD culture. I've baked a few breads with it, but I made no special effort to bring out the distinctive SF SD flavor to date. The breads I baked were very tasty – among the best tasting I've made. The dough rose very well, indicating good yeast activity. The sourness has been mild.


I figure it's time to start following the procedures I understand to optimize the culture for making breads with the authentic, distinctive San Francisco Sourdough flavor.


The first goal is to generate a mature starter with good numbers of active yeast and lactobacilli. Second, to have this starter ferment at the hydration levels and temperatures that enhance the production of the “right” balance of lactic and acetic acid. Third, to mix and ferment a dough with the desired flavor balance.


Incidentally, for this bake, I also incorporated Eric's (ehanner) recently endorsed addition of a small amount of Durum flour to a white flour mix to enhance flavor.



 


Penultimate levain build

Ingredients

Ingredient weights (gms)

Baker's percentages

Stock starter (67% hydration)

50

50

KAF AP flour

100

100

Water

100

100

 

 

Ultimate levain build

Ingredients

Ingredient weights (gms)

Baker's percentages

Activated levain

250

167

KAF AP flour

150

100

Water

150

100

 

 

Final dough

Ingredients

Ingredient weights (gms)

Baker's percentages

Ripe levain

200

37

Fine durum flour (from KAF)

35

6.5

KAF European Artisan-style flour

500

93.5

Water

360

67.3

Salt

10

1.9

 

Procedures

  1. Make the penultimate levain by dissolving the firm starter in the water and mixing in the flour. Ferment at room temperature until it is actively bubbling but not foaming. (8-10 hrs) I mixed this early one morning and let it ferment while I was at work.

  2. Make the ultimate levin by dissolving the penultimate levain in the water and mixing in the flour. Ferment at room temperature for 2-3 hours, then at 78-85ºF for another 10-12 hours. I mixed this after dinner and placed it in a warmed microwave oven over night. In the morning, I refrigerated it while I was at work.

  3. Mix the final dough by dissolving the ripe levain (Feed the extra and save it for another bread.). Add the flours and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and let it sit for 20-60 minutes. (Autolyse)

  4. Add the salt and mix thoroughly. Knead by french folding or in a stand mixer until the gluten is moderately developed. If using a KitchenAid mixer, this dough will not completely clean the sides of the mixer. With the flours I used, this was a moderately slack and somewhat sticky dough, even though the hydration was actually lower than what I most often use for sourdough breads these days. I assume this was because I have generally been using about 10% whole wheat or whole rye flour, which absorbs more water.

  5. Transfer the dough to a large bowl and cover it tightly. Note the volume of the dough.

  6. After 20 minutes, “stretch and fold in the bowl” for 30 strokes. Cover tightly.

  7. Repeat Step 6. two more times.

  8. After the third “stretch and fold in the bowl,” let the dough rest for another 20 minutes, then transfer it to a lightly floured board and do a stretch and fold (“letter fold”). Return the dough to the bowl.

  9. After 45 minutes, do a second stretch and fold on the board. Return the dough to the bowl. Cover tightly. Continue fermenting until the dough has doubled in volume from the original volume that you noted in Step 5.

  10. Transfer the dough to the board. Divide it into two equal pieces, and pre-form each piece into a round (if making boules) or log (if making bâtards). Cover the pieces and let them rest for 10-20 minutes to relax the gluten.

  11. Form your loaves and transfer them to bannetons. Cover with plasti-crap or place each banneton in a food-grade plastic bag.

  12. Cold retard the loaves until ready to bake. (12-16 hours at 40ºF)

  13. Remove the loaves from the refrigerator and allow them to warm up and continue proofing until they have expanded by 50-75%

  14. One hour before baking, preheat your oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and your steaming method of choice in place.

  15. Pre-steam the oven.

  16. Transfer the loaves to your peel. Score the loaves. Transfer the loaves to the baking stone. As anticipated, the loaves spread some when transferred to the peel and spread more when scored.

  17. Steam the oven and turn the temperature down to 460ºF.

  18. After 12 minutes, remove your steaming source. (If it is already dry, you can leave it in place, but do open the oven door for 10-20 seconds to vent the steam.

  19. Continue baking until the loaves are done – about 18-20 minutes more. (Their internal temperature is 205ºF, and thumping their bottom gives a hollow sound.)

  20. Leave the loaves in the turned off oven with the door ajar for 7-10 minutes to dry the crust.

  21. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  22. Cool thoroughly before slicing. (At least 2 hours)

 

The crust is very crisp and crackly. The crumb is moist, tender and quite full of lovely holes. The flavor is sweet and "clean" with no perceptible sourness. This is a wonderfully tasting bread, but the absence of any sour flavor is a mystery.

My next experiment needs to be to bake the "San Francisco Sourdough" from Reinhart's "Crust&Crumb." If that is not sour, the lactobacilli must have missed the plane from Idaho!

David

Submitted to Yeast Spotting.

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

These breads were made with my recently activated San Francisco Sourdough starter from sourdo.com. I used 100 gms of starter fed with a mix of AP, WW and Rye flours, 500 gms KAF Sir Lancelot flour, 360 gms water, 10 gms salt. The formed loaves were cold retarded for about 14 hours.




The flavor is very nice. It is a little more sour than yesterday's San Joaquin Sourdough, as expected, but still only mildly sour. I'm hoping the distinctive SF SD flavor will develop over a few weeks. Stay tuned.


David

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dmsnyder

Peter Reinhart's recipe for San Francisco Sourdough Bread in "Crust&Crumb" is one I keep coming back to. I have enjoyed many French-style levains with a more subtle sourness, but I still prefer the assertively sour San Francisco-style Sourdough. Reinhart's formula in C&C is the one with which he won the James Beard Award, and it is a winner in my book too.


I generally make three 1.5 lb boules from this formula, but I had wanted to make a sourdough walnut bread again for quite a while. So, I made two of my usual boules and one batârd with walnuts. The walnuts were lightly toasted (15 minutes at 350F) and kneaded into 1.5 lbs of the mixed dough before bulk fermentation. 



I think this bread has the most beautiful crust! Can't you just hear the crunch when you imagine biting into a slice?



And for the crumb aficionados ...




The crumb is not as open as usual. Maybe the white whole wheat (10%) was thirstier than I thought.


David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

On Decembeer 31, 2008 ...


Norm's Onion Rolls


Norm's Onion Rolls (and a lone kaiser roll)


and ...


Apple Crunch


Apple Crunch, from the Summer Shack Cookbook


And, on January 1, 2009, I baked ...


San Francisco Sourdough from Reinhart's "Crust&Crumb"


San Francisco Sourdough from Reinhart's "Crust & Crumb"


The sourdough was delicious with lentil soup and a salad.


David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


Above are pictured three loaves of San Francisco Sourdough made from the recipe in Peter Reinhart's "Crust and Crumb." They each turned out with subtle differences that are instructive regarding the variables that affect the appearance of our loaves. I thought it might be useful to describe these differences and what produced them.


I'm not going to describe the formula or method, because these were according to the recipe and were identical for all 3 boules. They were proofed in identical coiled reed brotformen. The two loaves on the right were baked together. The one on the left was baked 45 minutes later, and was left in the refrigerator, where all had been cold retarded overnight, 45 minutes longer than the other two. As you can see, they were scored with the same checkerboard pattern. Both bakes started in a 500F oven. The temperature was lowered to 450F when the loaves had been loaded. They baked for 30 minutes then were left in the oven for another 10 minutes with the oven turned off and the door ajar.


What were the differences in my procedures, then?


For the first bake (the two loaves on the right): 5 minutes before loading the first loaf (the one in the middle). a handful of ice cubes were put in a pre-heated metal loaf pan on the lowest shelf. Then, I dumped the boule on a peel, scored it and loaded it. The oven door was closed. I scored the second loaf (the one on the far right) and loaded it. I then poured a cup of boiling water into a pre-heated cast iron skillet on the bottom shelf and closed the door. The loaf pan and the skillet were removed after 10 minutes.


For the second bake, the loaf on the far left was scored and spritzed with water, loaded and then covered with a stainless steel bowl. The bowl was removed after 10 minutes.


What were the differences in outcome?


Comparing the two loaves baked together, the first one loaded had better oven spring and better bloom. I think it got the benefit of a slightly higher initial oven temperature. The second loaf was loaded within 2-3 minutes of the first. I have seen this difference between 2 loaves loaded sequentially in this manner repeatedly. I think the differences are "real."


The third loaf and the first (the one on the far left and the middle one) had about the same oven spring and bloom. If anything, the loaf in the middle had more. They were both, of course, the "first" loaf loaded. However, the one baked under a bowl for 10 minutes had a much shinier crust due, I think, to dissolved and gelatinized starch on the surface.  The difference "in person" was more dramatic than what I see in the photo. This shininess is an effect I've seen only with breads baked covered. The longer the loaf is covered, the stronger the effect.


These differences may be of little significance. All three boules are quite satisfactory. But the differences do elucidate the effects of minor changes in temperature and humidification and might answer questions other have about how to achieve desired improvements in their breads.


FYI, we had part of the loaf on the left with dinner (Onion soup and Dungeness crab cakes with an Anderson Valley Sauvignon Blanc). The bread had a crunchy crust, typical chewy crumb and lovely complex soudough flavor. This is still a fabulous version of SF Sourdough.


Any comments about the observed differences would be welcome.


David

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dmsnyder

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

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