The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

two strikes: brick-like flat loaf plus weird flavor

  • Pin It
summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

two strikes: brick-like flat loaf plus weird flavor

I am relatively new to sourdough.  I made a new starter according to Bertinet's directions in Crust, which seemed like it was doing everything right.....  until I actually made the loaf!  The flavor is like a sweaty sock and the texture, well, that brings me to my next point.  I have made several loaves of different varieties using the Bertinet dough working method and everything has been fine, however in this sourdough the dough was INCREDIBLY sticky and then wouldn't even allow itself to be formed into a ball.  It didn't rise so much as spread like a thick soup (only a slight exaggeration), then became a dense, flat, smelly loaf once baked.  My suspicion is that I should have added more flour but the proportions worked before on previous loaves and the kitchen was only at about 57 percent humidity.  Does anyone have any advice on: 1) Why the flavor was so horrible when I only used the flour, water and honey that the recipe called for (and stuck to the resting times exactly), and 2) Why it turned into a brick?  I would really appreciate the help.

staff of life's picture
staff of life

The very sticky dough, the fact that the dough was so slack, the terrible smell/flavor all point to one thing: your culture was overripe when you used it.  If you're not sure if the culture is past its prime, work up the gluten in the culture a bit, and then pull on it.  In a ripe culture, you should be able to pull it quite a bit without it shredding.  Not the same for a culture that's too ripe.  Try again, either letting the culture mature less or using less starter to seed it.  I'll bet those problems go away.

SOL

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

Thank you very much.  I just checked my refreshed starter (had it in the fridge) and it has that same odor so I don't mind sending it to the compost pile and trying again tomorrow.  Even though it was quite stretchy I don't think that I want to risk it!