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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

My sourdough starter routine: a FAQ

My Sourdough Starter Routine: FAQ

December 30, 2014

 

I get questions about how I manage my sourdough starter frequently enough that I decided to put the information in a single blog entry to which I can refer in the future. What follows applies to a sourdough starter/levain containing mostly white wheat flour. Mostly rye and mostly whole wheat starters are different beasts.

Please understand that this is my routine. It has worked well for me for a number of years. I am not presenting it as the only way to manage sourdough starters. It may not be the best way at all for some one else. But, as I said, it works for me, and here it is:

My starter was originally was purchased from KAF in about 2008. (See: Classic Fresh Sourdough Starter - 1 oz.).

Taking care of mother

I keep my "mother starter" in the refrigerator. It is fed at a ratio of 1:2:4 (Starter:Water:Flour). When feeding the mother, I mix 50 g starter, 100 g water and 200 g flour to make 350 g total. This is refrigerated imediately after mixing. I refresh the mother every 2 to 3 weeks. The flour feeding is a mix of 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% Medium or whole rye.

Getting active

When preparing to make bread, I generally refresh the starter as a liquid starter at a ratio of 20:50:50 (Mother starter:Water:Flour) using the same flour mix described above. This is fermented to peak activity at room temperature (generally about 12 hours). 

This refreshed liquid starter is then fed again according to the specific formula I am following. In other words, the degree of hydration, the flour mix, the ratio of levain:water:starter and the fermentation time and temperature are variable.  When posting a formula, I specify these variables. This may involve converting the refreshed liquid starter to a firm starter.

Ripening

How long it takes to ferment a starter before it is ready to feed again or mix in a final dough depends on four variables (at least those are the ones I can think of at the moment):

  1. What flours you put in the starter. For example, flours with whole grains ripen faster because of their mineral content.

  2. The ratio of seed starter:flour:water. If you introduce relatively more seed starter, it has a “head start” and will ripen faster. All other things being equal, a more liquid starter will ripen faster than a more firm starter.

  3. The ambient temperature. A warmer temperature speeds up metabolic processes, including fermentation, at least within the usual range of kitchen temperatures. (The Temperature/Metabolism curves for fermentation and acid production are beyond the scope of this FAQ.) This effect can be rather dramatic. As a consequence, any instruction for how long to ferment a levain without specifying the ambient temperature should be taken with a grain of salt. (In fact, adding salt to the levain is one way of slowing fermentation down, but that's another topic for another day.)

  4. The flavor profile you want for the bread you are making. A “younger” levain will generally be less sour. A more “mature” levain will have more acid and make bread that is more sour. (Assuming the formula for the bread is otherwise the same.)

 How can you tell how ripe a levain is?

There is a lot of confusion about the criteria to use in judging the ripeness of a levain. The most common criterion I see is how much it has expanded, and “doubled in volume” is most often the specific criterion. The problem with this is twofold. First, unless you are fermenting your levain in a graduated container or have marked your container yourself, doubling is hard to measure accurately. Second, I don't think doubling carries the same meaning for liquid as for firm levains. And, at no extra charge, here is a thirdfold: Depending on the flavor profile you want, doubling (even if you could measure it accurately) may be too much or not enough.

So, as implied, I use somewhat different criteria depending on the levain's hydration, and I do use a container that is graduated, and I do use a semi-transparent container, so I can view the internal structure of the levain, not just its surface. My container is also tall relative to its diameter and has relatively straight sides. It is more like a cylinder than a bowl. This provides support to the ripening levain that permits greater expansion.

My Sourdough Starter Fermentation Container

Ripeness criteria for a firm levain

A firm levain is one with a hydration level of around 50%. That is, it contains half as much water, by weight, as flour. A firm levain can expand in volume a lot more than a liquid levain. So, volume expansion is actually a useful criterion for ripeness. A doubling in volume is generally associated with enough yeast activity to raise your dough well, but it may not be ripe enough to have fully developed flavor. I usually let my levain triple or quadruple in volume before I mix it in the final dough. In addition to volume expansion though, I look for an extensive network of large and small bubbles throughout the levain. I can see these through the walls of the container. I look for a well-domed top of the levain. And, last but not least, I look for any signs that the levain has had a decrease in volume, which indicates excessive ripeness. This is indicated by a concave surface, rather than a dome.

There is a lot of wiggle room between “ripe enough to raise dough” and “peak of fermentation, just short of collapse.” A less ripe (“young”) levain will make a sweeter bread, one with more creamy flavor from lactic acid formation. A riper (“mature”) levain will have relatively more vinegar-like, acetic acid sourness. Besides the criteria already mentioned, the aroma of the levain tells you the relative prominence of lactic versus acetic acid. You could use your sense of smell alone to judge when your levain is at the point of maturity you desire, in order to achieve the flavor profile you want for your bread.

 

Firm Levain, just fed

Firm Levain, 10 hours after feeding. Note: Approximately doubled in volume. Full of bubbles. Domed surface. I regard this as a still "young" levain.

 

Firm Levain, after 10 hours. Note: Domed surface. Some bubbles on surface.

Ripeness criteria for a liquid levain

A liquid levain is one with a hydration level of around 100%. That is, it contains equal weights of water and flour. A liquid levain cannot expand as much as a firm levain. Quite simply, all those water molecules get in the way of connections between folds of the long gluten molecules that provide structure to a firm levain and a bread dough. Now, a liquid levain does expand as fermentation produces CO2 gas, but this forms bubbles that rise to the levain surface and pop rather than getting trapped in a gluten web and causing levain expansion. If you use a glass container or a semi-transparent plastic one to ferment your liquid levain, as it ripens you can see the internal structure of the levain become full of tiny bubbles – almost like a mousse.  On the surface, you see bubbles forming, faster and faster as the levain gets riper, until they actually form a froth on the levain's surface. The surface of the ripe levain often has a "wrinkled" appearance.

As with a firm starter, one can choose to use the liquid starter “young” or more “mature.” With a liquid starter, as with a firm starter, levain recession or collapse indicates that you have let your levain over-ferment.

 

Liquid Levain, just fed.

 

Liquid Levain, just fed.

 

Liquid Levain after about 9 hours fermenting at room temperature. Note: Bubbly interior.

 

Liquid Levain surface after about 9 hours fermenting at room temperature. Note: Bubbles forming. Surface just beginning to wrinkle. This would still be "young."

The consequences of levain over-fermentation

Over-fermentation implies any combination of several bad things. The yeast may have fermented all the free sugars they can get at. Reproduction and fermentation will both slow down. The levain may not be as potent in raising the dough to which it is added. The levain may also contain excessive amounts of metabolic byproducts, especially organic acids. A little acid is good for both flavor and gluten strength. Too much acid is bad for yeast growth. An optimally ripened levain has positive effects on gluten structure, but, over time, protease activity increases, and those enzymes will degrade gluten. (That's why a very over-ripe sourdough starter that hasn't been fed new flour for a long time gets more and more liquified.)

What's missing?

There is another important variable in my routine for sourdough starter feeding and use, and that is the manipulation of fermentation temperature. Temperature effects the rate of yeast and bacterial growth and metabolism dramatically. Different metabolic processes are favored by different temperature ranges. Temperature changes can change the flavor of your bread. However, that is an advanced topic which is beyond the scope of this FAQ.

 The one temperature manipulation I will discuss is cold retardation. I often refrigerate my levain, usually at the point that it is nearly fully mature. I do this for two reasons, primarily. The first is, quite simply, my convenience. If I have to go out (or go to bed) at the point that a levain is going to be optimally ripe and ready to mix into a dough, I will stick the levain in the refrigerator, maybe for a few hours, maybe for a day or even two. The other reason I refrigerate a levain is to make it more sour. Especially a firm levain will generate more acetic acid in a cooler environment.

If I have refrigerated my levain, before mixing it into the final dough, I will usually let it come to room temperature. Sometimes, I will let it ferment further at a warm temperature, for example 86 dF in a proofing box. It is appears almost over-ripe already when it comes out of the refrigerator, I usually use warmer water when I mix the dough, so the over-all dough temperature is no excessively lowered by cold levain.

 I believe I have addressed the questions I get asked most often about my sourdough starter care and feeding. As indicated, there are additional more advanced topics I have not addressed in this FAQ. Maybe I will another day. 

I hope this helps.

Happy baking!

David

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Banana Pain au Levain

I am not a fan of bananas but every now and then for my kids I make banana muffins, banana bread (quick bread), banana pancakes and cakes, and banana milk shake and smoothie just to remind myself why people like bananas.  Whenever the bananas in my house have gone sesame (ie, growing freckles), the motherly cook's instincts in me start eyeing on them.  I never force my kids to eat any fruit or vegetables.  That's why the house ends up having so many unlikely combinations of chutney and jams.


Now, I have not come across bananas in a savory, or at least non-sweet, combination with flour.  What if I inject that lovely banana flavor (not to me!) into the crumb of a sourdough bread and use it for sandwiches or just toasts?  Would it work?  No harm trying.


Step one:  I started with four very large ripe bananas (475 grams).  My idea was to use bananas as hydration for final dough.  To puree bananas in my blender efficiently, I need to add some sort of liquid, and I chose to add 20% of banana weight in water (95 grams).  I got 570 grams of banana puree.  In addition to that, I had 100 g of diced banana to put in separately.


Step two:  To decide on a dough hydration percentage.  I picked 65%.  For this I needed to make an assumption as to the solids to liquid ratio in the bananas - my guesses were 35% to 65% (like pumpkin). 


Step three:  To calculate how much flour and starter that I would need for the given amount of banana puree.


Step four:  To work back to see if the figures match up before starting on the dough.  


Well, was I in a hurry?  I didn't go through Step Four properly. Immediately after I got the preliminary flour and starter figures, I poured my banana puree over the starter eagerly and began mixing!! 


                                  


The formula that I used is as follows:


Formula for Banana Pain au Levain 



  • 570 g mature starter at 75% hydration (5% rye flour)

  • 570 g flour (5% rye and the balance white flour)

  • 570 g banana puree (made up of 475 g banana and 95 g of water)

  • 100 g extra banana diced

  • 18 g salt


Total dough weight was 1.8 kg and approximate dough hydration was 80% (not 65% as I set out to do)**!! 


**Assuming bananas were 65% liquid, total dough hydration from the above formula was:



  • (475 + 100) x 65% = 374, being hydration from bananas

  • 374 + 95 = 469, being hydration from banana plus water added to make up the banana puree

  • 570 / 175% x 75% = 244, being water content in starter

  • 244 + 469 = 713, being total hydration

  • 570 / 175% x 100% = 326, being flour content in starter

  • 326 + 570 = 896, being total flour

  • 713 / 896 = 80%, being total dough hydration


No wonder the dough felt very wet and sticky and 3 sets of stretch & folds were needed during bulk fermentation for dough strength.  This dough was very difficult to shape.  An ample dusting of flour on the work bench and quick, swift movement and minimalist handling during shaping were necessary.


Procedure



  1. Bulk fermentation 2 + 1/2 hours with 3 sets of stretch & folds of 30 - 40 strokes each, including autolyse of 20 minutes.

  2. Divide into two doughs of 900 g each.

  3. Proof for 2 hours.

  4. Retard in the refrigerator for 10 hours (I found with this recipe that the retarding process was essential because during the first few hours of the fermentation the dough appeared very sluggish.  It was almost as if my starter was finding it tough adjusting to bananas, but in any event, after many hours of retardation in the fridge, the dough rose nicely.)

  5. Bake with steam at 210C / 410F (lower temperature than usual due to sugar content in bananas) for 20 minutes then another 25 minutes at 190C / 375F (Note: I baked one dough at a time. Lower heat and longer baking appear to be the way to go. Under higher temperature, the crust would just burn.)


 


      


 


                                                         


 


       


 


My daughter said this bread smells heavenly-banana.  I don't know if that is possible but I have to admit that, for a person who doesn't like to eat banana, I find this sourdough very delightful.  It is incredibly moist - a slice of this bread on your palm weighs heavily.   The effect of bananas on dough is probably not dissimilar to potatoes on dough.  It is also very chewy and sour (at least medium strength of sourness to me).  There was no trace of the sweetness from bananas left in the bread. 


My son had a great idea - he spread peanut paste on a slice of this bread and grilled it.  It tastes amazing:


                                                       


 


Well, if you are interested to try this formula, I would suggest a lower hydration for easier shaping and handling of the dough.  Below I calculate for you an approx. 72% hydration dough formula for a dough weight of 864 grams:


Formula for Banana Pain au Levain @ approx. 72% dough hydration



  • 285 g starter @75% hydration

  • 285 g flour (5%, or 14 g, rye flour and the balance 271 g white flour)

  • 285 g banana puree (made up of 245 g banana and 40 g water)

  • 9 g salt


If it is done right, I believe the simplicity of this formula allows the natural flavor of fermented flour come through and it is in the spirit of what Pain au Levain is about.


   


Happy baking!


Shiao-Ping

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

Flour Tortillas

When I was growing up in South Texas we had this neighbor who would, on Saturday afternoons, make her tortillas for the week.  Believe me, I made friends with her children so I could make myself available for tortilla day.  I think she enjoyed my enthusiasm and always had a few extra tortillas for me to take home. 

They were sublime!  My family would fight over them, and no matter how many she sent home with me they were always gone before dinner.  My mom asked for the recipe, yet no matter how my mother pleaded, or bartered with her own secret recipes, she refused to give up her recipe.

Eventually we moved to North Texas and that ended my weekly tortilla gorge.  It seemed I was destined to eat rubbery store-bought substitutes for the rest of my life.  I survived on them until a few years ago when I was reminded, quite by accident at a local Tex-Mex place, of our neighbor and her delicious tortillas.   I watched as the woman behind the counter rolled and cooked beautiful tortillas and I thought, why couldn't I do that too?

I had quite a bit of culinary know-how, and I had the internet which would surely hold the key to delicious tortillas, right?

You would be surprised!

I tested a number of recipes for tortillas with all manner of ingredients.  Some had vegetable oil, others butter, and some had vegetable shortening.  They used a variety of flours from regular all-purpose to bread flour to even cake flour.  Some used milk, others water.  None of them turned out the way I wanted. 

I discovered pretty early that all-purpose was the flour to use.  It developed a moderate amount of gluten so the tortillas were chewy but not tough.  The liquid I had the most success with was milk.  Water works fine, but the cooked tortillas are not as soft as when you use milk.  As for fat, that was more tricky.  Butter burned too easily and the vegetable oil gave the tortillas an odd texture.  Vegetable shortening left the tortillas with an almost fishy smell, which happens when the shortening gets too hot.

I despaired that I would never find what I was looking for when, while looking at the shortening shelf at the grocery store, I remembered one thing from the Saturday's at my neighbors.  Manteca!!  That is lard to be specific.  So, with my tub of lard in hand, I went back to the kitchen and tried one of the more successful recipes with the lard and ... EUREKA!  I had it.

Now, this is the point where I am supposed to be sorry that I like lard, that I know it is supposed to be evil, and gross, and made from animals.  I'm not.  No, I am PROUD to say I cook with lard.  Using lard I can make tortillas that make people beg.   Some have offered me cash to make them a batch.  I'm not kidding.  Lard adds a depth of flavor with out any funky aftertaste.  It has a high smoke point so it does not scorch, and it lasts for a really long time in the pantry.  It is also versatile.   I use it combined with butter in my pie crusts.  But that is an entry for another day.   

Flour Tortillas   Makes 12

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup lard, or vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup warm milk, or water

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add the lard and mix until it is well combined and the mixture looks grainy.

Add the warm milk and mix until a smooth ball of dough forms, about 5 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll the pieces into balls. 

Cover and let rest 30 minutes.

Once rested, roll the balls of dough into 6″ to 7″ tortillas. 

Cook on a griddle, or in a heavy pan, over medium heat until golden brown and puffy.

Transfer to a plate and cover with a towel while the rest cook.

Enjoy!  Or, allow them to cool and store them in a plastic bag in the fridge.  They last for five days ... if you can keep from eating them hot off the griddle.

Posted on www.evilshenanigans.com - 2/18/2009

meedo's picture
meedo

khobiz mohala (sweet round bread)

 

 

Makes 16.

A traditional bread recipe in Arabic gulf area, bakes in a special tanor build in the ground.

Serve in weddings, special occasions (Eid al adha), or the religion occasions, with coffee and dates.

This recipe is so healthy and full of nutrition.

For the dough:

5 1/2 cups all purpose flour.

1 1/2 cup wheat bran.

1 tablespoon yeast.

1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

1/4 cup sugar.

1/3 cup date molasses.

A pinch of saffron socked in 2 tablespoon of rose water.

1 cup pitted dates socked in 1 cup of boiling water (let it cool before use it).

3/4 cup water.

In a small bowel mix together:

2 tablespoons boiling water.

2 teaspoons sugar.

1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

 Toasted sesame seeds.

(dates)

 

(date molasses )

1)To make the dough mix the entire ingredient, knead the dough for 10 minutes. Place it in a bowl, cover, let rest for 1 hour.

2)Divide dough into 16 pieces,Shape each into a smooth ball.

3)Flat each to make a flat round square, then brush each with the (sugar and baking soda mixture), make indents with fingertips.

4)sprinkle with sesame seeds, Place on baking sheet, Cover let rise 30 minutes.

5)Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.or until it golden brown.

http://arabicbites.blogspot.com/

bwraith's picture
bwraith

A Hamburger Bun

A Hamburger BunA Hamburger Bun

I just got a new barbecue grill, so hamburgers were in order. As a home bread baker, I've occasionally made homemade hamburger buns, and there is no question that a hamburger is just better with freshly baked buns.

If you've had the same thought, well here's a recipe for a hamburger bun. The recipe uses direct method instant yeast, so it only takes 3-4 hours. The hydration is a little higher than french bread, but still very easy to handle.

A Hamburger Bun

The Dough:

  • AP flour (I used KA AP) 650 grams
  • Water 290 grams
  • milk 200 grams
  • olive oil 30 grams
  • salt 13 grams
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • Mix flour, water, milk together using frisage and a few folds, and let sit for 20 minutes.

Mix/Knead

Work yeast into the dough, then work salt into the dough, then work olive oil into the dough. This can be done with a mixer or by hand using frisage and a few folds. Then knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it becomes workable, stretchy, and seems like it bounces back when you punch it, or whatever magic you use to tell if the dough is right. Add flour or water if necessary to make the dough elastic and not too stiff, but it shouldn't spread out when placed on a table. Place the dough in a container to rise.

Bulk Fermentation and Folding (about 2.5 hours)

When the dough has risen by about half, which should happen in roughly an hour, turn it out on the counter, spread it out a little, pressing on it gently. Then, pull a side of the dough and gently stretch and then fold it into the center of the dough. Do this for four sides. You will now have approximately a ball of dough again. Turn it over and push the seams created by the folding under it. Place it seams down back in the container. Repeat this again in about another hour when it should be about double the volume of the original dough when you first mixed it. Then, let it rise for another 0.5 hours or so.

Shaping

Split the dough into ten pieces. I use a scale and break pieces of dough off if necessary. Let the pieces rest for 5 minutes. Take each piece and do the same type of fold as above in the bulk fermentation. You press it down and spread it out gently, and then fold the four sides toward the middle. After folding, turn it over, and make it into a small boule by pushing the sides under and creating some tension on the top surface. Press down on it with your palm again, to seal the seams underneath. Shape all ten buns and place them on a peel or sheet, leaving some room. I had to bake these in two batches in order to have enough room in my oven. Spray them very lightly with oil. Cover them with a towel.

Final Proof

While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 450F.

Prepare to Bake

Paint the buns with milk and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Press them down gently with your palm to spread them out a little.

Bake

Bake for about 15 minutes at 450F. The internal temperature should be around 207F

Cool

Let them cool for a few minutes at least.

MarkS's picture
MarkS

Help me understand "builds".

Peter Reinhart touched on this briefly in The Bread Baker's Apprentice, but did not elaborate.

I am working on a sourdough recipe. I want a 350 gram leaven in the final dough, so I am starting with 50 grams of 100% starter.

If I understand the meaning, my leaven has three builds with a fourth when added to the final dough, as follows:

First build: 50 grams of starter, plus 15 grams of flour to bring it to 60% hydration. Ferment overnight at room temp.

Second build: 100 grams flour plus 59 grams water, and ferment again at room temp.

Third build: 70 grams of flour plus 56 grams of water and ferment.

The final build will be adding it to the final dough. This, to me, seems what is meant by "build". Is this correct, and if so, what purpose is there in doing this as opposed to just adding the correct amount of flour and water to bring it to 350 grams and letting it ferment?

eatalready's picture
eatalready

Borodinsky Supreme -- Old School -- 100% Rye

Borodinsky bread is my childhood staple food.  We had it practically every day and never grew tired of it. The aroma, the well balanced sweet and sour, the substantial “meaty” crumb and thin glossy crust — should I go on listing all the wonderful things that put this loaf in the bread hall-of-fame?

Nowadays, it seems that every dark rye bread sprinkled with caraway or coriander seed claims the name Borodinsky.  I tried those sorry numbers from stores that carry Russian foods… Half of them are too dry and too fluffy, others are missing that signature tang that only wild sourdough can lend, others still, generously “enhanced” with chemicals resemble very little of the bread we used to eat instead of chocolate.

Over the years, I’ve seen scores of recipes of Borodinsky and, having tried more than enough of them, came to a grim conclusion that the true Borodinsky has become a myth, an urban legend, an elusive unicorn — many claim to have seen one, but none actually delivered the goods.  However, I knew that somewhere out there in the world of used books, there should be an old school formula from soviet bread factories, a so called GOST (Government Mandated Standards) recipe, or even an older one, which, if done right with good ingredients and a bit of careful planning, could yet bear the right results.

Making 100% Rye Borodinsky Supreme

I was right.  There are still some serious bread enthusiasts, both in Russia and otherwise, who dug up the old textbooks and technologies and rendered very good step-by-step instructions accompanied by beautiful photos explaining the process in modern terms and in great detail. Some even dared to adapt for available flour types in each country via many a trial (and, no doubt, some error).  Exciting!

Now to the business of the actual Borodinsky.  Majority of us who grew up with Borodinsky, consumed the part rye/part wheat bread.  It was delicious and we loved every bit of it.  There is, however, a version of Borodinsky of a higher grade, called “supreme”, which is 100% rye.  It blends whole rye and white rye flours in 85/15 proportion.  No wheat to be found. The formula of that bread is cited in the book by Plotnikov called 350 Varieties of Bread (4th Edition, 1940). Some of the formulas in the book existed before government standards were established (1939).  See, many GOST formulas were streamlined for mass production, sometimes simplified, cheapened, etc., while many of the pre-GOST formulas upheld the old school best traditional methods and standards of bread making, thus yielding superior (albeit more labor and time consuming) bread.

Making Red Rye Malt Flour

Sprouting organic rye berries to make red rye malt

Making Red Rye Malt Flour

Final product — red rye malted flour, milled moderately fine

When I stumbled upon the pre-GOST formula, and soon thereafter a detailed blog post with illustrations, I was beside myself. The only thing that stood between me and 100% rye Borodinsky loaf was red rye malt, more precisely, the lack of the above.  Now, that one I still can’t get over.  Possibly due to differences in product naming, and partly due to the fact that I can’t reliably get the true organic red rye malt anywhere in quantities less than 100 kilo (190 lbs), I finally decided to make red rye malt flour at home.  I entrusted myself to the detailed set of instructions I found on this site (THANK YOU!!!), and made my first batch the other day.

Making 100% Rye Borodinsky Supreme

I have to say that the aroma that permeated my house during the roasting process has brought back some serious childhood memories, and for that alone I will be forever grateful.  It also brought the first promise of true Borodinsky in the future, because it smelled exactly like our USSR bread shops filled with still warm unwrapped bread loaves.

Anyway, I am getting distracted here, as my bread is almost done baking and the entire house is now smelling unbearably beautiful.

The process is quite lengthy, but the actual hands-on time is minimal. Good ‘ole “good things come to those who wait” has never been more true (well maybe beat by the famous Pumpernickel). The most important thing here is to plan your pre-baking stages, so that they don’t disrupt your busy schedule.

My impression of the bread: for me it turned out a bit sweet and under-salted, even though I weighed everything quite precisely. The aroma and visual appeal were definitely there. The crumb and crust are both as I remember them. Thin, slightly crunchy crust and substantial, lightly moist, uniformly porous crumb. Color is about milk-chocolate shade. I feel I could have given it a bit more rise and it could be baked at a higher temperature — the top didn’t come out quite as dark as it should be, but the bread was at 180F throughout and baked uniformly through.  I will definitely try this recipe again with the above adjustments.  Overall, I would wholeheartedly recommend this formula, especially if you like your bread with a touch of sweetness.  It passed the ultimate test of schmaltz with cracklings and coarse salt, the sweetness of the loaf was just perfect for this.

References/Sources:

- Detailed blog post with superb step-by-step photo of rye+wheat Borodinsky 1939 version (in Russian) http://registrr.livejournal.com/16193.html

- Blog post with excellent photos  of 100% rye Borodinsky Supreme (in Russian) http://mariana-aga.livejournal.com/152489.html

Borodinsky Supreme

Makes a small loaf in a 1-1/2 quart (1.4 liter) pan.
From start to finish (with some steps going simultaneously) – 14-16 hrs

Step 1: Rye starter

Refresh your 100% hydration rye starter (6-8 hrs), you will need 125 g of it

Step 2: Scalding (5-6 hrs)

  • 200 g boiled water at 150F (65C)
  •   50 g whole rye flour
  •   25 g red rye malt flour

Step 3: Pre-ferment  (3-4 hrs or until doubles or more)

  • all of the scalded batch
  • 125 g refreshed starter
  • 125 g whole rye flour
  • 125 g water, room temperature

Step 4: Final dough — soft and very sticky (30-90 min bulk fermentation or until doubles or more)

  • all of the preferment
  • 200 g whole rye flour
  •   75 g white rye flour
  • 5 g salt
  • 30 g sugar
  • 25 g molasses (I used Blackstrap)
  • 2.5 g ground coriander (best if freshly ground for more intense flavor)
  • 0.5 g dry yeast activated in 75 g water and 3 g sugar (20 minutes)

Step 5: Shaping and final proofing (60 min or until tops the pan)

Grease 1.5 quart loaf pan. Pack the dough nicely into corners at first and then the rest. Smooth over with wet hands. Cover with plastic and let rise until reaches the top of the loaf pan.

Step 6: Flour washing (1 min)

Mix 1 tbsp AP flour with 50 ml water, shake well. Brush the bread right before setting into the oven. Sprinkle the top sparingly with whole coriander or caraway seed, if desire

Step 7: Baking (60 min)

Preheat to 400F (200C). Bake 60 minutes.

Step 8: Kissel (custard) washing (1 min)

Mix 1 tsp corn or potato starch with 150 ml water. Bring to a boil.  Brush the bread as soon as it finishes baking. Remove the loaf from pan and cool on rack.

Flour wash before baking and custard wash after baking are needed for creating that famous beautiful glossy, almost lacquered looking crust on top of the loaf, which also prevents the bread from going stale too fast.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Greenstein's Sourdough Rye (Rye Sour) care and feeding, illustrated

Eagleswings' struggles with a rye starter and the current interest in Jewish sour rye and corn bread have prompted me to re-post my response regarding the care and feeding of rye sour. After making sour rye breads last weekend, I took some photos of my rye sour refreshment which might be helpful to those undertaking rye bread baking for the first time.

 The photos that follow illustrate the progression of each stage's ripening. The volume of the sour is, of course, increased with each stage.

 

DMSnyder's adaptation of Greenstein's Rye Sour:


There are 3 "stages" to make a sour ready to use in a rye bread recipe. You can refrigerate overnight after any of the stages. If you do refrigerate it, use warm water in the next build. The mature sour will probaby be okay to use for a couple of days, but I try to time it to spend no longer that 12 hours since the last feeding. If you have kept it longer under refrigeration, it should be refreshed.

 

Stage 1:

50 gms of Rye sour refreshed with 100 gms water and 75 gms rye flour

50 gms of Rye sour refreshed with 100 gms water and 75 gms rye flour, mixed into a paste, scraped down and smoothed over.

 

 

Refreshed rye sour with 25 gms (1/4 cup) rye flour sprinkled over the surface.

Refreshed rye sour with 25 gms (1/4 cup) rye flour sprinkled over the surface. This prevents drying out. Cover airtight (more or less) to ripen.

 

 

Ripening refreshed rye sour, starting to rise and form a dome, spreading the dry rye flour.

Ripening refreshed rye sour after 3 hours or so, starting to rise and form a dome, spreading the dry rye flour. Keep covered. Be patient.

 

 

Ripening refreshed rye sour. Expanded further with more pronounced spreading of dry flour.

Ripening refreshed rye sour after 4-5 hours. Expanded further with more pronounced spreading of dry flour. 

 

Fully ripe rye sour. This should be used immediately. If you are not ready for it, I have refrigerated it overnight. What you don't want is for fermentation to continue until the sour collapses.

Stage 2:
All of the Stage 1 starter
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup rye flour

Mix thoroughly into a thick paste. Scrape down and smooth the surface.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of rye flour all over the surface. Cover the bowl and let rise for 4-8 hours or untile the dry rye on the surface has spread into "continents" and the surface has domed. Don't wait until it collapses.

Stage 3:
All of the Stage 1 starter
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of rye flour.

You may have to transfer this to a larger bowl. Mix thoroughly into a thicker paste - It should pull away from the sides of the bowl as you mix it. If it is too thin, you can add more rye flour until it is more "dough-like." Cover the starter and let it rise 4-8 hours. It should nearly double in volume and be bubbly.

It's now ready to use to make rye bread.

Greenstein advises to keep the starter refrigerated and stir the starter every 3-4 days and refresh it every 10-12 days by throwing out half of it and mixing in "equal amounts of flour and water."

Greenstein says, if you are going to refrigerate the sour for any length of time, keep it in a covered container in the refrigerator and float a layer of water over it. (I don't generally do the water cover trick.)

I hope this helps some one.

David

meedo's picture
meedo

chocolate faces

For the dough:

3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon yeast

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup milk powder

1/2 cup butter or 1/4 cup oil

1 cup water

For Filling:

chocolate chip (each face take about 6 pieces)

For Glaze:

 One egg yolk + 2 tablespoon milk + 1 teaspoon vanilla

And some melted chocolate chip to drew the eyes and mouth .

1-Make the dough by mixing all the ingredients , Turn out on to a floured surface ,Knead it to get a nice smoth and elastic (about 8 to 10 minutes). Place in a bowl ,Cover ,let rise in a warm place till double ( about 1 hour).

2-Cut the dough to 64 equal pieces , Flat each one with your hand , And fill it with 6 pieces of chocolate chip , close it and shape it to a nice round ball. Place it in a baking sheet ,Brush it with the Glazed , then take a small piece of dough to make round nose.

3-Let it rise about 30 minutes, Bake in 350 Oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.

4-Let it coll for 10 minutes ,Then drew the eyes and mouth . And serve 

Makes 63 faces.

Lesson Five: Ten Tips for Better French Bread

I've been baking something along the lines of what Americans call French Bread (a simple bread containing flour, salt, yeast, and water baked directly on a hearth or baking stone) almost every weekend for over a year now. Sometimes I bake more than one batch a weekend.

Over these 50 or 60 batches of bread there has been consistent improvement in the quality of my breads. Certainly there have been failures but, without question, I've gotten a lot better. Compare the tightness of the crumb of the breads I baked in my early lessons with the openness of my recent loaves. Much closer to what French Bread is supposed to be.

Through trial-and-error, by reading a lot of good baking books, and through numerous discussions with folks on this site I've learned a number of things worth passing on to other folks who want to try making artisan bread at home. Most of these rules hold true whether you are trying to bake pain sur poolish, pain de campagne, Ciabatta, or a rustic bread by any other name. Keep these tips in mind and bake regularly and you'll be making top notch artisan breads (whatever you want to call them) in no time.

Without further ado, the list:

Ten Tips For Better French Bread

10. Use Good Ingredients

9. Use a Preferment

8. Autolyse

7. The Wetter, The Better

6. Folding & Shaping

5. Slow Rise

4. Scoring

3. Bake with High Heat

2. Use a Baking Stone

1. Steam the Oven

0. Practice!

On to Number 10: Use Good Ingredients.

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