The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Overnight retard problem

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Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

Overnight retard problem

So I'm using the Basic Sourdough recipe in the BBA. I fed the starter two nights ago, made the dough last night and got a good first ferment out of it. The dough doubled in 4 hours. I knocked the dough down and shaped it into baguettes and boules, covered them with plastic wrap, and stuck them in the fridge overnight.

I took them out this morning and left them in my 75-80 degree kitchen. After 6 hours, they hadn't risen at all. They were still flat as pancakes.

When I baked them, I got a fair oven spring, but not enough to offset the lack of a secondary rise. The interior is dense and chewy.

I did the same thing with some sourdough rye loaves, and got a fairly good second rise out of them.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,

-Joe

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It's an observation I stumbled upon. Would it happen to be that the flat dough was wheat with a rye starter? The rye dough rose because it had a rye starter? :) Mini Oven

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

The flat dough was white with a white starter. The interior was almost gummy, since it didn't rise.

It is sour as all heck, though, and good with butter :)

-Joe

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You got me stumped. Guess it caught a cold. Maybe it just had to wait a little longer to rise although 6 hours in a warm kitchen ought to do it. :) Mini Oven

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Cold sourdough takes a LONG time to warm up after it comes out of the fridge. I am pretty sure that you didn't allow it enough time. It goes completely dormant in the cold and before it can start to grow again it has to warm up to room temperature. It takes forever.

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

6 hours not enough? Strange. The rye and pane siciliano that I took out of the fridge after the white sourdough had no problems.

Either way, I brought 4 different breads to a friend's house, and they liked the white sourdough (the one that didn't rise) the best! Go figure :)

-Joe

case111's picture
case111

If you're using a flaky starter you'll get flaky results. While I have Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice", Nancy Silverton's "Breads From The La Brea Bakery", and "Bread Alone" by Daniel Leader and Judith Blahnik, none of these books deal with sourdough cultures very well at all. I highly recommend Ed Wood's "World Sourdoughs From Antiquity" for culture information (I'm not at all impressed with his baking instructions) and Nancy Silverton's "Breads From The La Brea Bakery" for baking information (my copy of "Bread Alone" has also seen a great deal of use). "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" is on my 'maybe I'll try to trudge through it again later' list.

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

It's a white starter that I seeded with my rye starter from "Bread Alone." It's very vigorous and rises the dough just fine normally. I'll just try again next time and see what happens.

-Joe

case111's picture
case111

"Bread Alone" is a Baker's yeast book (but a good one). I've simply adapted some of the excellent recipes to sourdough. Unfortunately, the sourdough culture info in this book is pretty much useless. I make rye bread using any good sourdough culture. A perfectly balanced sourdough culture is gold, if you don't have one (and most people at this site apparently don't) I recommend the Italian "Ischia Island" from sourdough International. Resist the urge to damage this excellent culture by dumping garbage into it...feed it flour and water ONLY.

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

I agree with case111 - a good sourdough culture IS gold. I also agree it should be made of nothing but flour and water - anything else is introducing "foreign bodies".
Maggie Gleezer has superb instructions for making and maintaining a sourdough starter in "A Blessing of Bread" - though she stresses the need to treat the culture very carefuly, which I don't find to be the case - the starter I made using her method is very robust and forgiving - lives for weeks unfed and comes straight back to life with one feeding, raises dough very quickly, can be refridgerated when the loaves are shaped to massively increase the sourness - and all with just flour and water ONLY.
She also recommended weighing EVERYTHING in metric - which I have started doing - and it makes SUCH a difference. Consistent, repeatable results everytime.

Andrew

pkiziris's picture
pkiziris

You don't say whether you let the shaped loaves proof at room temp. before you put them in the fridge.

Next time let the shaped loaves stand for 3 or 4 hours at room temp. and then stuck them in the fridge overnight. That's how Reinhart does it in "Crust and Crumb". The next day they will only need about 1 hour out of the fridge before baking.

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

I've tried proofing the shaped loaves for a few hours before refrigerating and also tried shaping and immediately putting them in the fridge. I find the second approach produces the most flavour - a very distinct increase in "tang". I read to do that in Maggie Gleezer's book and think she's right! If your lucky they'll proof OK in the fridge and then can go staight into the oven - cold dough is easier to slash and has an awesome spring.

case111's picture
case111

First to andrew_I:
If you developed a real sourdough culture on the first try, I’m jealous. It took me four tries over 6 years to breed a stable sourdough culture, and that required letting the culture sit for weeks at room temp (feeding twice a day) before it finally picked-up a lactobacillus. As to fragility, there are many strains of yeast and lactobacilli compatible with wheat flour but not all can withstand the waste products of alcohol, lactic acid and acidic acid as well as others. If you like really sour sourdough, the levels of contamination in your dough will increase and the number of workable cultures will decrease (It accomplishes absolutely nothing to start with a badly contaminated culture). I’ve killed off my International Sourdough “San Francisco” culture’s lactobacillus twice now due to neglect. I’ve since developed a really good culture drying technique but still have two unopened packages of “San Francisco Sourdough” from www.sourdo.com in my refrigerator.

To everyone else: If your culture isn’t compatible with wheat flour (if it requires ANY other nutrients) and you’re trying to make bread, you might want to seriously consider getting a bread culture.

If you’re new to sourdough, here’s a bit on unsolicited advice:
Learn to make bread from flour, water, salt and culture only. Any sourdough culture that strictly adheres to the "nothing but flour and water only" rule is fine (if your bread isn’t sour, you aren’t using a sourdough culture regardless of what you’ve been told). If you’re not sure of your culture, buy a good one. The Australian from North West Sourdough appears to be OK so far, The South African, and Italian duo from International Sourdough are very good and the SF from International Sourdough is also good, but maybe not for a novice at culture maintenance. Once you’ve learned to make excellent bread from basic ingredients only, you’ll be ready to branch out a little bit and experiment with herbs, spices, cheeses and nut flours (the only breads I add ANY sugar, milk, honey, butter, etc to are bagels and pizza crust). Weigh everything and check your oven temp (my oven is 50 degrees off). I personally prefer 3/4 tsp of fine sea salt to each pound of finished dough, Kosher salt needs to be weighed, not measured; the crystals aren’t solid so measuring by volume is unreliable.

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

Yes, a sour sourdough on 1st attempt !! It has been going now 15 months - it took 2 weeks following Maggie Gleezers instructions to the letter. First few bakes it was a slow process - and made very sour, almost lemony , bread. It has got gradually quicker and I find makes more sour flavoured bread if I refridgerate after shaping - you can smell a vinegar-y smell as it bakes. And I love it!

Andrew

Dennis Sigala's picture
Dennis Sigala

I have been using a sourdough starter from Linda Wilbourne
check out her site. http://www.thewilbournegroup.com/Sourdough/index.html

Its the best sourdough starter that resemble the unique flavor of San Francisco's
bread from Fishermans Wharf,

It works very well, I made some great bread from it. very lively and healthy cultures
I just used unbleached Pillsbury All purpose flour and water to use with the starter.

She has how to's and even provides tech support! Highly recommended.

I combined recipes from Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice

book and results were fantastic.

Dennis Sigala

 

 

jmcbride's picture
jmcbride

I just came across some information on Peter Reinhart's blog regarding getting sourdough starters up and running.  I thought I would pass it on for those who haven't seen it yet.

 http://peterreinhart.typepad.com/peter_reinhart/2006/07/sourdough_start.html

 

JM