The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough

bwraith's picture
bwraith

My staple bread for the past couple of years has been a miche. I started doing the BBA recipe with half bread flour and half KA whole wheat flour. Lately I've been experimenting with different blends of organic and sifted flours. I haven't yet settled on one recipe and change things every time I do it lately, but I thought I'd describe this basic recipe.

 Loosely based on BBA Miche and Hamelman Mixed-Flour Miche.

 Loosely based on BBA Miche and Hamelman Mixed-Flour Miche.

Mixed-Flour Miche: Loosely based on BBA Miche and Hamelman Mixed-Flour Miche.

I have some photos of my process.

Many, many thanks to JMonkey, SourdoLady, Zolablue, Mountaindog, Floydm, and numerous others. My results on this and other recipes are much better because of the great ideas I've found in the various blogs, postings, and lessons here.

Mixed-Flour Miche: Loosely based on BBA Miche and Hamelman Mixed-Flour Miche.

There is a "firm starter" that is built from white poolish-like starter as in the BBA "barm" version (50/50 by weight using breadflour and water), which is retarded overnight and included in the dough which is baked the same day.

The recipe I've been doing lately has evolved from the BBA miche recipe to be more like the "Mixed-Flour Miche" in Bread by Hamelman. My objective has basically been to have a high whole wheat content, but use sifted flours to get a less coarse crumb. I have also mixed red wheat and white wheat flours as well as tried some spelt trying to come up with a flavor that is not too "grassy" or "nutty". I find the taste of 100% white wheat bread to be a little too bland, whereas using too much red wheat seems bitter in a way I don't like.

As a result, I've ended up mixing various flours in an attempt to get something that is mostly whole wheat with some of the coarser bran sifted out and partly red wheat, partly white wheat for flavor.

The recipe showing in the photos is as follows, and is loosely based on both the BBA Miche and the Hamelman "Mixed-Flour Miche" in Bread.

For the firm starter:

  • 7oz "BBA style barm" (100% hydration bread flour starter)
  • 6oz Golden Buffalo flour (sifted red wheat flour from Heartland Mills)
  • 3 oz KA Organic Whole Wheat
  • 4oz water

Mix/knead ingredients for about 3 minutes to get a fairly firm not very sticky dough. Place in container and let rise to about 1.5x in volume - about 3 hours. Punch it down and allow to rise again to double - another 2.5 hours, roughly. Place in refrigerator overnight. I was trying to get this one to be a little more sour, and I think I went too far, as the bread was just a touch too sour for my tastes, but I don't like my bread very sour. Some might like the more sour flavor I got. My plan is to reduce the rise time of the firm starter and use less Golden Buffalo and maybe use whole spelt flour in higher proportion next time.

For the dough:

  • 6 oz KA whole spelt flour
  • 8 oz Golden Buffalo sifted red wheat flour (Heartland Mills)
  • 3 oz KA Organic Whole Wheat
  • 6 oz sifted white wheat flour (Homestead Grist Mill)
  • 6 oz Sir Lancelot High Gluten flour
  • 3 oz KA Rye Blend
  • 29 oz water
  • 3/4 tsp diastatic malted barley flour
  • 26 grams salt (about .9 oz)
  • Firm starter from day before.

Cut up firm starter and cover with towel to allow the pieces to lose their chill.

Autolyse: Mix all but salt and starter in bowl until the ingredients form a uniform shaggy mass. Allow to rest for 60 minutes.

Mix and knead dough: Push the pieces of starter into the dough and sprinkle with salt. Mix/knead for 5 minutes to form a supple, fairly soft dough. The total hydration of the entire overall dough is 82%, so it is relatively soft at the beginning. Place in a container to rise.

Fold the dough hourly: The total bulk fermentation time was 4.5 hours. I think I probably went too long, though. Anyway, I was folding it using the technique in Hamelman's Bread, i.e. (very roughly) turn the dough out on a bed of flour top down and gently spread it out/push out some of the gas. Then pull out and stretch one side of the dough and fold it toward the center. Do the same for the other three sides. Put the dough back in the container with the top up and the seams down. I may have "overfolded", as the dough seemed a little "too tough" possibly, and I didn't get as much oven spring as I was hoping for.

Shape into boule: Form a boule not too differently from the folding technique above, except it is more of a gathering in of the edges of the dough and pinching them together to stretch the "top" of the dough (which is face down on the counter as with the folds). Flour a couche with rice flour and place in 8 quart steel mixing bowl, and then place the dough in the couche seams up.

Final Proof: Allow to rise for about 2.5 hours - again I let it go until 3 hours, and I think it was probably too long to wait.

Place on parchment: Place parchment on an upside down baking sheet or a peel and flour with coarse corn meal. Invert the bowl with the dough onto the parchment and pull away the bowl. Gently pull away the couche, which works great with the rice flour on the couche. Slash as photos show. I very lightly spray water on with spray mister.

Bake: Preheat oven to 500F well before this point, like an hour before. Use various steaming techniques as described many places for home ovens. Drop temperature to 450F after about 5 minutes. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then rotate loaf and drop temperature to 400F for another 20 minutes. Then rotate and drop temperature to 375F. Continue to bake until internal temperature is about 208F.

I would enjoy hearing any comments about how to manipulate flavor, the amount of rise, crumb texture, and so on. This bread did not rise quite as much as some others I've done in similar fashion. There are a few reasons I can think of, such as too much fermentation and proofing time, starter slightly too ripe and sour, possibly folding too much, maybe kneading too much in the very beginning, and so on. I also think the sour flavor is too much for my tastes, and other versions I've done were less sour. I think this is due mainly to overly long fermentation and proof, and to allowing the starter to become too ripe. Also, I used a higher proportion of red wheat flour in this starter than previously.

mountaindog's picture

help for overproofed loaves?

February 26, 2007 - 11:08am -- mountaindog

For about the past 2-3 weeks, it seems that my Thom Leonard boules, which I have made every week since about November, are suddenly coming out overproofed even though I have not changed my technique: as soon as the loaves are slashed on the peel and hit the hot oven stone, they collapse and spread out at the slashes.

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

I made a half-serious resolution to bake in the outdoor oven at least once a month, and after a few weeks with subzero temperatures, and a weekend out of town, this was my last chance for February. We had a warm up all week, but it was only about 20 degrees at 8 am when I started the fire. We have a pretty good view of the oven from the house, so I was able to load it up with fuel and keep an eye on it from inside, so it's not too bad! The only problem was the warm temps created a very muddy yard, so between me and the dog coming in and out all day my house is not a pretty sight.

 

For this bake, I made three batches of bread: 2 ABAA recipes: the columbia sourdough, and Ponsford's ciabatta, with a levain-risen biga. I also made a couple of loaves of my favorite multigrain sandwich bread, my own recipe adapted from Reinhart's multigran extraordinaire. I mixed the columbia the night before, and as Mountaindog suggested in another thread let it rise about an hour before refrigerating it. I pulled it first thing in the morning, and let it warm up for 3 hours or so before shaping. The ciabatta biga calls for a minute amount of yeast, so I wasn't sure how much levain to substitute. The recipe's description is that the biga may not do much for hours, but will triple in volume in 24 hours, so I decided on a couple of tablespoonfuls of levain, and it perfomed just about right. I would probably use even less in summertime, or if my starter was exuberant.

 

All in all it was pretty uneventful, though I'm starting to realize that I need to let the fire burn down sooner, and/or allow extra time for the oven to cool off before baking. I keep finding myself with ready-to-go loaves and a 500+ oven, which is fine for some breads but a little too hot for others. Anyway my timing was such that it was consistenly 25 degrees or so hotter than I needed for each batch. I can leave the door open to speed up the cooling, but I worry about overdoing that too. I'm still learning, obviously. Here's some pics from the day:

 

Multigrain loaves in the oven with chcken curry--that turned out very well (made by my SO).

 

Some of the ciabattas got a wee bit dark. I've had a habit of taking them out a little too early, so I left them in longer--and overdid it the other way. Everything was quite dark actually, the flash makes them look just right though... :)

 

Ciabatta crumb: Not bad, but a little less holey than the non-levain version I made last time. The flavor is excellent though...

 

And finally, while finishing up with granola, it started snowing!! This wasn't expected to start until after midnight, but you know how that goes. I burned one batch of granola, and I blame blizzard conditions for my tardiness on checking on it!  We now have 8 inches of snow with more on the way--so I'm happy at home with wayyyy too much to eat.

 

 

 

CountryBoy's picture

SourdoLady's Deluxe Sourdough Recipe

February 23, 2007 - 1:34pm -- CountryBoy

For the record, I believe SourdoLady walks on water, as well as makes bread.  So thanks as always.  However, I have a question, as a Novice, that I am puzzled by.  Your Deluxe Sourdough Recipe is for 2 loaves I believe, but I only got one loaf from it.  In your posting of January 10th where you give the recipe you definitely say 2 loaves, but I only get one.  Could you tell me what I am doing wrong?  Just for the record, I have absolute faith in your recipe and know you are right if you say so but I am just curious.  Could my problem be that my flour and proofing is not warm enough and

anawim_farm's picture
anawim_farm

This past Sunday I made enough dough to make four loaves of  bread using Daniel Leader recipe for San Francisco Sour dough.

  

This first photo is one of the two loaves I baked tonight, the dough having been in the refrigerator for two days.  The crumb was open and the sourness buildup wasn’t significant.  Lousy photo but the coloration was browned well, I  lightly sprayed the loaf with water then slashed, there was some tearing on these loaves from oven spring as well.

 

On the Sunday batch I used a glaze of one whole egg with a little water and a dash of salt. The coloration was nice and the crust was chewy instead of crisp which seemed to bring out more flavor. The glaze gave a nice texture and something I would like to experiment more with, maybe using just egg yoke. Even though the wash moistened the crust and I slashed the loaf.  It expanded out the slashes and tore along the side.

 

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

This weekend was a long weekend. Presidents' Day, we call it in the U.S., and presumably, it's a day on which we celebrate the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln. I don't know this for a fact, but I'm pretty sure both presidents ate sourdough bread at some point, given the scarcity and expense of baker's and brewer's yeast. So, in their honor, I baked sourdough. And apparently, the sourdough beasts were having a party as well -- perhaps it was my rigorous application of an 85 degree F final proof? In any case, the sourdough critters were mighty happy over the long weekend.



On Monday, I made a couple of loaves of Five Grain Whole-Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread. I've never had sourdough rise like this before. And, wow, is it sour. I'm not sure what got the lactobacteria so excited -- the butter? the rye chops? the oats? who knows? -- but it is delicious, if, like my wife and I, you like sour bread.

Here's how I made it:

Ingredients:

  • 430g starter (at 60% hydration)
  • 560 grams whole wheat flour
  • 465 grams water
  • 18 grams salt
  • 27 grams butter (roughly 2 Tbs)
  • 170 grams mixed grains (cracked wheat, ground flaxseed, rye chops, millet, steel-cut oats) soaked overnight in 250 grams hot water

How I made it

First, I dissolved (as much as possible) the starter into the water. I then added the flour and salt, and mixed it up until I had a dough. I gave it a good thorough kneading of about 450 strokes, and then added the butter, which I'd cut into pats. I spread half on the dough, folded it over and then repeated it. After another 100 strokes, the butter was mixed in, so I then used the same process to incorporate the grains.

I shaped the dough into a ball and let it ferment for about 4 hours at 68 degrees. It probably tripled in size. Next, I did a stretch and fold, let it rest for 15 minutes, divided it and shaped it into loaves. I then put it in my makeshift proofbox at about 85 degrees F for 2 hours, after which it was just about spilling over the side of the pan.

A slash down the center and then 55 minutes in a steamy 350 degree oven.


On Saturday, I made another loaf of desem bread MountainDog has a beautiful post on her success here. As you can see, though, by the time I got around to taking a picture, there wasn't much left (and, darn it, the best photo I have is blurry -- ah well). In any case, I made it this time at 80% hydration, and was pleased to see that I got an even lighter loaf. Next week, I'll shoot for 85%. For some reason, the crust was not as crispy as it had been last week. Still delicious though, and a good keeper. Two days later, it's still fresh, which is pretty amazing for a lean loaf.


I had some leftover starter, so I took a bit of it, and built it into a wet starter for sourdough muffins. I played around with the recipe a bit. For starters, I doubled it. I also (in the doubled recipe) upped the salt a bit to 3/4 tsp, used brown sugar instead of white sugar, added 1 tsp cinnamon, increased the bluberries to 1.5 cups and only used 1 tsp baking soda for all 12 muffins. They really popped in the oven but, sad to say, they were a bit bland. Next time, I think I'll up the blueberries to 2 cups, use butter instead of oil, and up the salt to 1 tsp. I think I'll also use less hard whole wheat flour and more soft whole wheat flour, and go ahead and acidify the whole thing overnight.

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