The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Greater Boston Lurker/Newbie

bobdrob's picture

Greater Boston Lurker/Newbie

greetings to all!  Beware the following longwindedness...

  I teach culinary arts in a vocational school north of boston. I'm the de facto baking instructor.  (Je suis un cuisinier, pas un boulanger!) After our xmas holiday bake sale, i started looking into & playing with sourdough starter to incorporate into the yeast product portion of the curriculum.  In 35+ years in the biz, I'd never come into contact with real starter. A Google search brought me here & I've gained a ton knowledge since!  It remains to be seen whether or not I've actually "learned" any of it...

Anyhoo, we (my classes) started 2 batches of SD starter using the basic formula from "The Pro Chef" 7th ed. We modified  it to a 100% hydration, I think ( 50/50 flour and water?)

My colleague & I wanted to produce an "artisan style" white sourdough & a deli style sourdough rye to sell in our student-school bakeshop. We finally worked out what we think may be  semi-bulletproof/teenagerproof formulae for which we welcome input.

Because of the confines of the school schedule, we've swiped, bent & tweaked a few  formulae to meet our needs. So far, this seems to woik. When we make rye, it's 60/40 white to rye.  Here's what we've been working with:

Hi Gluten  100%

Starter (100% hydration)        20%

Salt               1.25%

Water      40%

At 2 PM combine &  mix 1st speed , 10 mins w/ hook (Hobart 20 qt.) then rest, covered with greasesd saran, over night in cool place. Next AM, 7:30, Start sponge as follows:

Water   20%

Yeast     1.25%

Flour  ( 1 cup to propagate sponge)

When sponge is ready (~45 mins) return dough to mixer, add sponge, mix 7-10 mins 1st speed til uniformly mixed.

Scale out to 2# pieces, rest 30 mins.  Slap & fold method, Make up into boules or batards. Proof & slash. Bake in conventional oven misting once @ 500 in skillets, 15 mins; transfer to convex oven & finish @400, low fan.

We've found that this convoluted method yields a nice flavor & the sponge addition yields a taller product. Our sample testers & initial buyers confirmed the taste & height preferences.  Our crust is decent; the flavor's good; our crumb is still denser than I'd like, but I think more slap & fold & more hydration  may be the solution.   Whaddya think? 

TIA, verbosely yours,  bob

xaipete's picture

I threw some rye into my starters when I rebuilt them yesterday--I'm feeling confident enough about them now to start tinkering!

I proof overnight, preheat the oven with a stone & steaming pan to 500 degrees, slide the loaf in and pour about a cup of hot water in the pan, lower the heat to 450 degrees and in about 30 minutes, I'm done. I let the loaf rest in the turned off oven for about 10 minutes before removing.

I don't know about moving the loaf from one oven to another--that might affect the crumb.

The most difficult part of the whole baking process is letting the bread cool sufficiently before having a peak at it.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

That's pretty low salt for an average loaf,  1.8% to 2% of the flour is average.   I like low myself, just thought I'd mention it.


bobdrob's picture

thanks for the feedback! Our students are adjusting & playing with adjustments.  Weeeeellll    seeeeeeee!