The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Where I am now

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Pablo's picture
Pablo

Where I am now

Hi Everybody,


I started browsing this site and getting into artisan bread baking in August.  Many people have contributed to my bread journey and I just wanted to post an update about where I am now with bread.


I generally bake every two days.  I only use wild yeast.  I was feeding my starter twice a day until I read, I think it was mini oven, saying she didn't want to live for her starter.  Right on!  So I took a couple of hundred grams and kneaded enough rye into it to get to 50% consistency and put it in the 'fridge.  It worked great.  It took me several weeks to go through the first load and no problems.


From The Bread Builders I liked the clearly spelled out 3-build process.  My current process is:


I start with 20 grams of starter from the 'fridge and add 40 grams of water, mix, and add 40 grams of flour.  Generally white.  I let that ferment until doubled at least, usually in a small bathroom that we keep heated.  This usually takes 10 hours or so.


Next I mix that 100 grams with 200 grams of water and 200 grams of flour.  I use some combination of white, reduced bran whole wheat and rye, so I'd mix in here whichever of those I feel like mixing in.  I let that ferment until doubled at least, again around 10 hours.


Then its the final build, which is my dough.  I add 660grams of water and 1000 grams of flour (in this method the flour is always double the weight of the previous build in total) that gets me to 75% hydration.  I mix that in, maybe do some slap and folds, some frissage if I've created lumps of flour, do a couple of stretch and folds 45 minutes apart and let that ferment until doubled at least.  About 10 hours at cool room temperature.


It's funny how different parts of the process are difficult at different times.  I went through a lot of iterations of how to mix the flour and water and starter together for instance.  Currently my bugaboo is slashing.  I had a devil of a time with preshaping/shaping for awhile, but I'm happy with what I'm doing now.  I saw a video of Dr. Calvell shaping baguettes and it works for me - it makes sense and feels right. 


I always make baguettes these days.  I make them as long as my stone is wide, 15" and they are weighed at 250 grams before baking.  I bake 4 at a time, on parchment paper.


Recently I had a bit too much dough and it sat in the 'fridge for 4 days.  I thought "what the heck" and stuck it in the freezer for a couple of days until I could bake again.  I let it thaw back to room temperature and went through my shaping and baking process and it came out just fine.  That was interesting - I mean it was abuse but the dough was fine.


Currently I have an experiment going.  I mixed a little over 4000 grams of dough.  I baked on day 1, day 3 and day 5.  I have the last one proofing right now.  I wondered how long it would last refridgerated.  Each time that I took some dough out the remaining dough was punched down.  This last batch was pretty sticky and rather flacid.  I'm curious as to how it's going to come out.  In any event I have no qualms about leaving dough in the 'fridge for 4 days now.


That's what's up with me these days.  Thanks to everyone who helped me directly and to all the questions and answers and musings that I regularly browse on this great site.


:-Paul


 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Hi Pablo, nice to hear from you!  Sounds like your baking is doing great!


Sylvia

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hola Pablo, Que tal?


Glad to see your still pump'in dough and testing the limits of non-involvment style dough tending.  I am kind'a in that camp too.  It's led to an interesting but seductively tasty twist though.  Firm starter poolish's lay over in the fridge for around five days or until the dough can no longer be punched down into the container to keep the lid from popping off.  Reminds me of the "Little Shop of Horrors" "feed me" routine.  It's usually time for another build as the last build is just about gone around this time.  The starter has a most beautiful perfume after having the necessary time to reach a ripeness that only a long cool fermentation can yield.  The hooch has begun to color the dough slightly yellow and a firm starter has now become  somewhat sticky. 


The build is similar to a Poilane with a 12 hour retard before forming, proofing, slash and bake.  Big oven spring, gaping ears, the aroma of baking walnuts and a lively conversation when cooling.  It's not good till the next day and best on the second (sound familiar?).  The taste is hard to describe other than the ecstacy of the perfect pastry that has an unbeliveable sustain.  Out of laziness and hunger I decided to try a little cinnamon toast using unsalted butter, turbinado sugar and fresh ground Vietnamese cinnamon the other night.  Now I have another food addiction that I'll have to be weened from...., someday, but for now life is good. . . ,


+Wild-Yeast

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Bien, gracias, Wild Yeast, y tu?


Hummmm.... firm starter, 5 days in the 'fridge...  I'm trying to translate that into what I'm doing now.  How firm I wonder...  My 50% hydration starter never rises much in the 2 months or so that it sits in the 'fridge.  This is very intriguing.  I've tried different temperatures for the builds as they ferment, but I haven't tried one in the 'fridge yet, just warm rooms and cool rooms.  I have this dream that we'll get a new 'fridge and I can takeover the old one.  Hopefully I could get it up to 50 -55 degree range and use it for flour storage and fermenting area.  Thanks for the ideas. 


I'm curious as to what hydration your firm starter is and what flour(s) you use.


:-Paul

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast


I'm curious as to what hydration your firm starter is and what flour(s) you use.



I'm using Central Milling organic flour with diastatic malt.  It's hard red winter wheat with around 12% gluten with very little bran.  I've been buying it through Costco who now, it appears, has stopped carrying it (The temple of manufactured food has failed me again!). 


Hydration is hard to state directly due to my not really taking the time to weigh everything as it introduces unnecessary steps in small batch style production (I prefer to call my builds performance art which it sometimes turns into). Excuses aside, I make the starter with the same hydration as the dough.  It's dry enough not to stick to the bowl when being worked with a dough hook.  The starter is allowed to ferment for an hour or two before being placed under refrigeration.


+Wild-Yeast

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I'm glad.  Glad that you're back and keeping yourself busy, and you've found something that works for you and it just happens to be rye!  I'm partial, can you tell?  Seems to be the favorite here in Linz too.  Gives me the least amount of problems and the most flavour. 


Mini


 


 


 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hey, Paul,


Good to see you again!


So you only feed your starter once every couple of weeks, very low hydration, put it in the fridge immediately, and it stays active and equally good for both flavor and raising bread the whole duration? Pretty cool!


That is so low maintenance, I have to try it.


So where are your baguette pictures? ;-)


David

Pablo's picture
Pablo

No photos for awhile, I'll stick one up when I get another pretty one.  Only my slashing is not making me happy right now.


Here's the deal on the refrigerated starter:  at the second build stage when I have 500 grams of starter mixed up from the initial 100 gram build, I take a couple of hundred grams out before it's undergone it's long fermentation period.  It's at 100% hydration.  I knead enough rye flour into it to get to 50% consistency.  I let that sit at room temperature for an hour or two until there is definite movement, then I pop it in the 'fridge.  It's good for at least 2 months in the 'fridge.  I use 20 grams of it at a time.


I've yet to get a sour that I think is sour enough with any technique.  Currently I'm using the wild yeast from above and playing with time/temp/hydration/flours of the 3 build cycles.


Here's a photo of the mother starter from the 'fridge, it's been about two weeks on this one.


:-Paul


Soundman's picture
Soundman

Thanks, Paul, that helps. I was wondering about maybe letting the thing have a couple of hours to get started, and you do.


Now, about sour. I think I can get you to bake a sour bread. It's pretty simple, actually. It involves having a secondary starter. In my case I have a 65-35 rye starter (with AP). If you refresh this once a day and keep it out of the fridge, in pretty short order you will develop plenty of bacteria which will produce acetic and lactic acid when you mix a small (variable) amount into your dough along with your regular levain. Typicially, if I want a sour sourdough, of the levain that goes into the dough, half might be this rye starter. I play around with temperature on this starter as well. After 12 hours out, I'll find a cool spot, say 50 dF, and let it finish its cycle in relative cool. It all depends on how sour it's smelling and tasting.


Try it. What have you got to lose?


David

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hi David,


Just when I was thinking I've gotten it to where I don't need to feed the starter everyday you come along and dangle sour in front of me.


With your daily refresh you have some discard, eh?  Can you say in grams how much levain you're talking about?  I'm guessing that in my 3-build process you're talking about the 2nd stage.  In other words 1/2 of the 500 gram middle build would be this sour rye levain.  I keep the second build at 100% hydration, what is your sour rye levain hydration?  That 500 grams (250g sour rye, 250g my regular 2nd build) would then get combined with 1000 grams of flour and 660 grams of water to make the dough (using my measurements to end up with a 75% hydration batch).


Salt wise I use 1% of the total weight of the dough, by the way.  That's on the 2 side of between 1 and 2 baker's percentage.


:-Paul


 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Paul,


Just to be clear, I keep 2 small amounts of culture, one wheat and one rye. Very small. These are like your 1st stage. When I build stage 2, my "final levain",  I will use typically 30 grams of culture to 100 grams of flour. I choose how much wheat to rye culture depending on how sour I want the bread. The point about the rye culture is that twice daily refreshments can dilute the bacteria so much that they don't have enough time to fully develop. Once a day and you will have plenty of sour power. But not as many yeast as you need for good rising. Thus the mixture.


On to your situation. This is thinking out loud. Yes, you would add a small amount of rye starter into your build 2. Since you have 100 grams I would say you could use anywhere between 10 and 40 grams of rye starter in your second build. My rye starter is around 85% hydration, but I find that is a matter of convenience. As you know from your main starter, lower hydration is easier to set and forget.


Since you bake every 2 days, I think you could probably avoid much if any discard. To create the rye starter, take a small amount of your regular starter and feed it whole rye and AP, 2:1, at about 80 - 90% hydration, TWICE a day for 2 or 3 days, to get the starter active. You will have some discard during this time, of course.


Once you have created the active rye starter, you will see plenty of bubbles, but less rise. That's OK. Let's say you have 30 grams on Sunday night. (You want to use 30 grams in your build 2, on Monday night, to mix dough Tuesday morning.) For this refreshment you will have some discard, but not much after that. Keep 5 grams of culture and add 14 grams of water and 16 grams of flour (whole rye + AP, 2:1). That's 35 grams total, of which 30 will go into the second build. Monday morning, check the rye starter. If it's bubbly and has grown a little, put it somewhere cool, but not the fridge just yet. (By that I mean that over time the starter will become sour enough that refrigerating for half the cycle will be OK, but not at first.) I find anywhere between 50 and 60 dF slows the microbial growth enough to keep it just bright enough.


On Monday night, after using the 30 grams in build 2, refresh the remaining 5 grams, leaving out for an hour before refrigerating. Take the rye culture out of the fridge on Tuesday night and let it develop. Wednesday morning, check it, and put it in the cool spot so it develops for 24 hours before using again Wednesday night in another build 2.


Something along those lines will work. It boils down to this: most people's twice daily feeding favors the yeast over the bacteria. My rye culture's once a day feeding weights the scales toward the bacteria, without harming the yeast.


Let me know if you try it!


David 

Marni's picture
Marni

Nice to hear what you've been up to...


I had followed your bread journey here on TFL and enjoyed your comments.  It sounds like you've found a good system.  No more mustaches or bread sculpture?


Marni

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I seem to have spurts of creativity.  Once summer is here I'll be back to fermented fruit loaves so who knows what will happen.  Nice to hear that you enjoy my 'stache.


:-Paul