The Fresh Loaf

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sourdough collapse

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jamesl's picture
jamesl

sourdough collapse

help please, I've been making sourdough up till this warm weather decended upon us with good results. However last week I made some in the same old way and left it to prove for the usual 16-18 hours, when i went to bake it the following day I saw it had really ballooned up to about 4 times it's usual size at that stage. So I turned it out to bake it, I  slashed it and it collapsed, needless to say it didn't rise in the oven and came out like a brick. Any ideas as to why?

sephiepoo's picture
sephiepoo

It sounds like your loaf was way overproofed when you turned it out to bake. You say that it rose to 4 times it's usual size, as in, 4 times what it normally looks like at that point, or 4 times the original shaped size? Both sound still overproofed to me.  If a loaf is overproofed, it will collapse when turned out, or if you're not turning it, it will probably collapse when you try to slash it.  The internal structure won't have enough strength left to support a rise in the oven.


I think generally (someone correct me if I'm wrong) we shoot for just under doubled in size (about 75% doubled, so not quite doubled) so that there will be good oven spring during the bake.  Try to underproof your loaves a bit, and you should have good oven spring, resulting in a less dense loaf. My sourdough takes about 4 hours to get to that point, but I'm guessing that you're using a very small amount of starter if you're having a 16-18 hr final proof?

jamesl's picture
jamesl

Many thanks for your reply..........Sorry, yes, 4 times the original shaped size. I'm wondering - as it's almost summer here in the UK, that the general ambient temp' meant that the proove was accelerated, resulting in the massive rise like it was?


I use about 400g of starter for 700 g flour.. RE: the 16-18 hr proof time, I've always followed a recipe that has given me great results, which dictates this amount of time. Maybe I'll try a bit shorter next time!

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I find that my rise times vary wildly with the ambient temperature.  You might want to think about refrigerating your fermenting dough for some amount of time to allow the long fermentation that gives great flavour without the overproofing resulting from a warmer environment.  Otherwise I think you're on-target by decreasing your proofing time.


:-Paul

Davo's picture
Davo

Wow, at that ratio of starter to new flour, I would bulk ferment for about 2-3 hours while folding, then prove for maybe 3-4 hours if going straight through to baking, or fridge retard for 10-20 hours and warm up for 2-3 hours if not fridged long, to maybe a sinlgle hour if fridged a long time.


For my starter behaviour, typical kitchen temps and so on, 16-18 hours proving would be a 100% guaranteed way to make a flat pancake, with no air in it...

sephiepoo's picture
sephiepoo

I was thinking just that, Davo.  That's a significant amount of starter to fresh flour, and seems to me that it would only take a couple hours to proof instead of 16-18.  That just seems tremendously long to me!  I would definitely recommend shortening the time and maybe retarding in the fridge as other people have suggested.


Out of curiosity, what does your recipe and procedure look like? Do you have pictures of during and after? I'm trying to wrap my brain around such a long proof and still having a good loaf, as you mentioned you've achieved?

jamesl's picture
jamesl

Hi and thanks for the interest. Well I've been following the Richard Bertinet sourdough recipe, and as i mentioned it's been great up untill last week, however i made some last night - baked today and with a shorterned prooving time of about 12 hr''s that came out as good as it was before. Though perhaps not rising to the dizzying heights I would have liked, but much improved upon my over proof'd attempt that moved me to seek advice here. Any advice on how t make it reise better woul;d be enourmously appreciated.

sephiepoo's picture
sephiepoo

I'm not familiar with Bertinet's formula so I just did some digging on Google to try to find it, and apparently he recommends a proofing temperature of about 17-18C? You mentioned that the problem began when the weather changed towards the warmer side, so I'm guessing you're proofing on the counter, overnight? If the temperature of the air around the dough is fluctuating, you need to find some way of keeping it constant, or more consistent. Someone has mentioned on the forum before, that they ferment and proof in a wine fridge which has a warmer temp than a regular fridge, but still cool... If your temperature has risen, then certainly your dough will overproof if you keep the duration the same as before. You'll need to adjust how much you shorten the time according to how much the temperature has changed.