The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough trouble - flat loaves

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

Sourdough trouble - flat loaves

It seems my sourdough has enough yeast in it to make bread rise, but I still end up with flat, dense loaves (it is about a month old now). At first I thought I was over proofing, but that doesn't seem to be the issue. I am using a converted no knead recipe which follows:

6.75 oz AP flour

5/8 tsp sea salt

4.5 oz water

5.5 oz starter (67% hydration)

I mix the water/starter together then add to mixed dry ingrediants. Let sit 12-18 hours, fold over a few times and proof. I tried this recipe twice once with a 2 hour proof (pictured below) and the next with a 1 hour proof thinking I over proofed. Then into a steamed* oven on a baking stone.

*An oven with a hot pan of water in it.

When I do this with regular rapid rise yeast, I get great results, but when adjusting for my starter I get terrible rise, but great sour flavor. Any ideas on how to improve my technique? I think I probably should cut down on the starter amount, but don't know too much about sourdough baking. This is a new world to me.

The rapid rise version I use is as follows:

6.75 oz flour

5/8 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp rapid rise yeast

6oz water

The results with sourdough picture first and instant yeast second:

 

 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

When you feed your starter how long does it take it to quadruple?

--Pamela

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

The starter quadruples in about 8-10 hours at 75-78 degrees F. It has great flavor too so I am at a loss.

marieJ's picture
marieJ

 I tend to agree with Paul.  Your loaf looks almost identical to my first ever sourdough. The first recipe I ever attempted with my first ever starter was pain de campagne which directed that a total proofing time should be at least 10hours - up to 14-16 hours. My starter was 'Frankenstein Monster active' - feeding every 8 hrs like a voracious freak of nature. The loaf was first proofed for 3 hours, as directed, then final proofed overnight for 8 hours. I then baked it for 1 hour at 220C with steam tray.  The result was exactly the same as your loaf. Flat as flat as flat!!!!!  Interestingly the crumb was beautiful like I would expect an ancient style of bread.  The crust was rock hard and like double glazed glass!

The solution to this issue was to watch the starter & it's behaviour. I keep my starter at the consistency of a wet, unworkable dough. Once fed it has an obvious active span of about five hours of highly animated activity. Like all cultures it continues activity after this but not with the same vigour. Having seen this, I used Avner Laskins' recipe style of 2 hours for first proof - 6 hours for final proof. even this required some adjusting.  The method I use now is to proof for 1 hour then final proof for 7 hours. It has worked well for me and proves to be consistent and reliable.  I hope this helps in some way.  Good luck and joyful baking.

(Remember, practice, practice, practice and you and your starter will get to know each other very well.)

 

flournwater's picture
flournwater

From your comments, I'd deduce that the problem is in the amount of wild yeast acitivity you have in your starter.  I might try feeding the starter and resting it at room temp. for about 6 hours, then feeding it again and after another rise chill it for a couple of hours before applying it to the recipe (sans instant yeast) and see how that works.

Congrats on the results of that second loaf.  Looks great ...

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Maybe the temperature that you are keeping your starter at is the problem. Try keeping it a bit cooler (at approx. 70º) and see how long it takes to 4x there. Too warm a temperature does have some effect on the action of the starter, but I don't remember what it is off the top of my head (perhaps it impedes yeast action). Dan Dimuzio knows.

I use a 67% hydration starter; it 4x in about 12 hours at 70º.

--Pamela

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

The starter has been on a steady feed diet every 12 hours - 1oz starter, 2oz water, 3oz flour. I did that for about a week until the day before I made this loaf where I doubled everything. Not too sure it is a lack of yeast though, initial fermentation of the bread is very good. How are you determining it is a yeast issue?

I will try to bring down the starter temperature during its rise. Right now I have it in the fridge so I wouldn't have to feed everyday. I have a feeling it is my technique causing these issues, not the starter so I don't mind storing it. It does help that not much room will be taken up. With it in the fridge I plan on feeding every 5 days minimum.

Hopefully I can get to the bottom of this without using too much more flour... It just seems like a temperature issue would be too simple, but I don't really know what is going on.

Just as a note the lower bread pictured has no starter in it. Just instant yeast for the action material. It was just an example of what I was expecting.fully I can get

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I understood about the picture. Take it out of the fridge and feed it as you have been doing every 12 hours. Find a less warm place to keep it, e.g., a cooler with an ice pack in it--put a thermometer in there so you know what the temp is.

--Pamela

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

I will need to go out and get a cooler to continue this in, probably this weekend. How long should I continue the twice daily feedings at a cooler temperature? Also, do you know of a source where I can read about the effects of temperature on a sourdough starter?

Thanks for the help!

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Send Dan DiMuzio a message and ask him what he thinks.

dghdctr

--Pamela

flournwater's picture
flournwater

My earlier remarks about my experience of feeding the starter prior to applying it to the bread mix, exclusive of additiional yeast , involved a 100% hydration starter preparation.  I maintain my starter at that level and make the math adjustment when I'm ready to add more flour for the initial rise.  I see your starter is somehwere in the mid 60% range.  Makes me wonder if the mix is too heavy and would benefit from a greater volume of water for the wild yeast to do its work or, perhaps, if the mix is kneaded enough.

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

I typically knead the starter 2 minutes before putting it into the container and letting it rise. Since it quadruples in size between feedings (12 hours max when on the counter). I wouldn't expect it to be a yeast issue. Bacteria wouldn't be causing that much rise, would it?

 

When I was at a decent grocery store this weekend I did pick up some rye flour as I have read that it is good food for a starter, should I try adding that in as 10% of the total flour feeding?

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Rye will add to the flavor profile, but won't help your flattening issue.

After proofing, does the natural starter loaf look normal? At what point is it deflating? You have us scratching our heads because the commercial yeasted loaf looks normal, so we're assuming this isn't a technique-related problem.

The physical appearance of the dough during bulk fermentation, shaping, and final proofing should be the exact same, it just takes longer. So comparing your success with your failure, at what point do you lose the rise?

- Keith

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

The loaf rises like normal over the 12-18 hour time period. During shaping the loaves also feel the same. It is during proofing that I encounter issues. The sourdough loaves don't seem to rise as much as commercial yeast loaves. Should I try to proof the sourdough loaves longer than 2 hours (my normal proof time for commercial yeast)?

If I recall correctly, it does seem as if the sourdough loaf falls flat during proofing while the instant yeast loaf rises normally. If I am remembering this correctly, I have no idea what would be causing it. Perhaps tonight I need to try start up a loaf of each and take pictures of my process.

In general, I am a fairly new baker, and am not really sure how to tell if a loaf is over or under proofed.

marieJ's picture
marieJ

Try gently pressing your finger onto the top of the loaf at about 5 - 6 hours into proofing. Firm resistance where the dough springs back instantly will tell you your loaf is still young. If an indentation is made and it does not return to normal shape, or even causes the dough to collapse slightly, this can mean the loaf is overproofed. Try for somewhere in between, as a general guide only. This will give an indication as to the progress of your dough.  This is passive advice, but has proven to be helpful to me until I learned the more specific and detailed intricacies of bread baking.

Don't forget that baking is a joy and a warm, deep pleasure.

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Avaserfi,

You mention that your bulk ferment is at 12-18 hours, followed by a 2-hour second ferment and a 1-hour final ferment.  That amount of time, plus the pale color of the crust, plus the flattened final bread, suggests that:

- The dough is seriously over-proofed.  The pale color, especially, suggests that the yeast and bacteria chewed through all of the available sugars in the dough and had nothing left to work with.

- Giving that amount of starter that long a time to work has probably seriously weakened the gluten in the dough through acid attack.  That by itself would lead to a flatter bread.  Put it together with over-proofing and just about any dough would collapse.

Here are some suggestions:

- Do 2-3 folds at 45-minute intervals, then let the dough rise until nearly doubled in volume.  Watch the dough, not the clock, to determine when it has doubled.

- Shape the dough, then let it rise one more time until it is not quite doubled in volume.  If you can give it support during the final rise, as with a banneton or couche, so much the better.  Whether or not you use support, try to achieve good surface tension in the skin of the dough while shaping it to improve its ability to stand erect without spreading.  Then bake per your usual practice.

The above approach should give you a good shot at achieiving the bread you want.

Your yeasted version behaves differently because you are starting with a much smaller quantity of yeast, none of the dough has been prefermented in an acidic environment (i.e., your starter), and the dough itself is the product of the yeast activity that produces little or no acid to attack the gluten.

Let us know how this works out.

Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I've been doing some starter experiments here and a 1-2-3 feeding (100% hydrration) is just not enough food at 24°c (75°F), the starters at room temp. are maturing at a rapid rate that implies 3 feeding a day.  I have switched to 1-3-5 and although the starter requires kneading to mix it, takes longer to eat it's flour food.   So far I've got 17 hours and still rising on them.   Therefore:

I think you should use shorter times if your room temp are middle to upper 70°'s F.  The folding Paul mentions is the easiest way to control it.  I've been thinking of my sourdoughs lately as if they had commercial yeast in them and my loaves are not overproofing.  The first rise seems smaller, yes, than instant yeast but the total rise times can almost compete.  The first fold comes at one hour.  If I don't retard my loaves, I add a little bit more flour into the recipe.   This has been working for me.  (Rye will also speed up the rising times in warm weather.) 

Mini

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

PMCool and dghdctr,

Thanks for the in depth ideas. I currently own Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice and plan on increasing my baking libraries size when funds and space allow. Ohh, I got the hint, your book has been added to the list :).

I think the over acidified comments are dead on with my initial hunch of too much starter (or as it seems too much fermentation time). I will try again asap and "waste" some flour in this experiment making a loaf of sourdough and commercial yeast each.

I will attempt to record everything to the standards dghdctr set forth, pictures included. Sadly, it will have to wait until Sunday/Monday, but I will get it all done.

You say I should use the "common temperature calculation" to calculate water temperature before scaling. What should my goal temperature be?

As far as recipes go, I will use the commercial yeast recipe posted originally. For the sourdough I will use the following recipe which lowers the amount of starter considerably such that fermentation can occur along side the commercial yeast version. If it seems as if I am using too little starter, please let me know.

229 grams of King Arthur's AP flour - (100%)

4.5 grams sea salt - (1.9%)

177 grams water - (77.29%)

Calculations above are given considering use of 8 grams 67% hydration starter starter. Thus there has been about 5 grams of flour and 2.5 grams of water added in each respective catagory for inclusion of the starters.

 

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Avaserti, I have this book on my wishlist at Amazon.com:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Bread-Baking/Daniel-T-DiMuzio/e/9780470138823\

and I'd like to suggest you consider adding it to your library.  It is one of the more comprehensive books on the subject of Artisan bread making and you'll be surprised how much it will relieve the stress on your bread making experience.

What I appreciate about this book is the fact that its author is an accomplished baker and a qualified instructor.  It's one thing to be capable of performing certain tasks in any specialty, it's quite another to also be able to teach those skills to others

 

 

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

That's the book user dghdctr mentioned when he said he "Can't remember this one guy's name, though . . ." as he is the author :). I have added it to my wishlist as well.

Does anyone have any comments on the sourdough recipe I posted earlier, I found time tonight and am going to start the process within the hour.

 

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

Here are pictures and information. A recent heat wave hit, so it is a little hotter than normal. Starter temperature before and after feeding was 80 degrees F as was dough temp both times I measured it.

Recipe I used:

191 grams flour (King Arthur's AP)
4.5 grams salt

127 grams water
100 grams starter (67% hydration)

Bulk fermentation was 2 hours
Proofed for 1 hour

Oven at 450 degrees F 20 minutes steamed - 10 minutes not.

Starter pictures:

Feeding: 1 2
After growth, right before feeding/use: 1 2

Dough pictures:

Bulk fermenting: Start End
Before being proofed
End of Proofing - Scored
Just put in the oven
20 minutes in (steam taken out at this point)
Out of the Oven: Top Bottom

The loaf is cooling now. When it is cool, I will cut it in half and get a picture of the crumb. If I used the lame wrong, I am still learning, I just got it. Please let me know if anything else needs to be known, I took pretty good notes and tried to take many pictures.

 

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

It has cooled. The picture of the crumb is below.

From what I can tell, it seems as if the dough was over proofed, hence the tight crumb? Also, the crust is to chewy for my taste, not crisp enough. More time in the oven, next time? Lastly, there is not enough sour flavor. I am guessing this means I should use less starter and ferment longer?

Thanks for the help.

hc's picture
hc

Though a different recipe. I'm using Susan's 63% sourdough recipe (except I'm doing 60% hydration) and I keep getting the dense crumb and gaping holes, which I don't think should be happening, especially since Susan's pics of her results show a gorgeous fluffy crumb, even at 60% hydration. I'll be curious if the steaming adjustments solve the density problem for you. I'm baking mine under an overturned bowl already, rinsed out with water just before going in the oven, but I'm still getting that dense, pockmarked crumb and getting very tired of eating it.

Susan's recipe at this link:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/12006/63-hydration-sourdough

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

I will attempt this recipe again on Sunday using the steel bowl as a steam lock. I won't take as many pictures, but will get pictures of the final product and the crumb, unless you suggest otherwise.

Once again, I greatly appreciate the expertise you have offered here and look forward to your future comments.

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Wow, you really made significant advancements with that last loaf... congrats!!!

Some suggestions, and I see Dan has already responded, but I had similar first time things happen awhile back...

100 g of starter seems a bit much for 191 g of flour. That's why you got a ready-for-oven product in 3 hours, and most likely why you aren't finding much sour flavor. I agree that the good news is, there's good yeast activity! If you can afford an overnight bulk, I'd cut that starter down to about 10 g or so. Doing so, for me at least, allowed my bread to get a very nice sour profile (and even more so once I started retarding the shaped loaves). If you change the amount of starter, you will need to increase the flour and water by that much. Let's see here...

100 g of 67% starter = (roughly and rounding) 60 g of flour and 40 g of water

10 g of 67% starter = (roughly and rounding) 6 g and 4 g respectively

Therefore we are missing 54 g of flour and 36 g of water from the recipe, so we'd change the recipe to:

10 g 67% hydration starter

245 g Flour

163 g water

You're going to want to let that bulk ferment overnight on the counter (around 8-10 hours total). The next day, shape and final proof for 1-3 hours, and while I know that's a wide margin, you have to check on them and know when they are between 80 and 90 percent fully proofed, which gets us up out of the cellar (underproofed) and keeps us from crawling into the attic (overproofed). The more we are trending towards underproofed, the more oven spring we get, to a point where it will cause a blowout. So, that 'sweet spot' in the final proof is trying to maximize oven spring without causing a flat out blowout condition. You cannot time this reliably, so only your educated guess counts here, and it is something you will eventually become very good at. If you successfully incorporate this into your recipe, I assure you that if your starter is fully matured, you will get a sour taste in this loaf. If you want even more, then you can learn to retard the final proof in the fridge, which will lend even more sour... but one step at a time here : )

The amount of starter you're using causes a few things... your fermenting times are drastically short, and something that short has little room for error because things dynamically change in just a few minutes. As well, there's going to be too little time for a flavor profile to develop. If you want to combine flavor with short fermentations, you will need to learn to 'build' preferments in stages. Until then, it's best to use small amounts of starter and let the work be done during the bulk fermentation, and preferably while you sleep or work.

- Keith

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

Not a problem at all. I will take the pictures.

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

This is test number 2 using the same exact recipe as last time. Only difference was that I used a stainless steel bowl that had a coat of water on it as a steam trap for the first 15 minutes. After that the loaf was cooked for another 15 minutes.

Still needs more sourness and it is far less dense than last time, but still too dense overall.

Prior to Proofing
After Scoring
After Bowl Removal
Complete: Top Bottom Crumb

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I'm a little disappointed in the absence of images for each step of the process.  I'd be especially interested in the fingertip proof test and a view of the crumb within the sliced loaf.

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

I provided images of each step the first test. Before attempting the second I made me intentions clear and asked for suggestions - I followed all picture suggestions requested. No changes were made between the two attempts except those listed.

The proof pictures turned out blurry, unfourtunatly. The crumb picture is visible under the "Complete: Top Bottom Crumb" link found in the post you replied to.

 

One thing I just noticed - I mislabled one of the pictures. It should not be "Prior to Proofing," rather it should be "Post Proofing"

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

My suggestion would be to try for some flavoring. In the least, while honing your techniques for texture and eye appeal, you should be able to eat and enjoy the full flavor of your breads. Look at it this way, every time you set out to try something that will have more flavor, you will also get the additional benefit of more time handling the dough.

Getting something that tasted good was my first goal, and that didn't take long. I was then able to eat the 'mistakes' and at least feel a little better. I also looked forward more to trying again.

- Keith

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

The flavor is good - in fact, the loaf was finished the day it was made. It just is not the flavor I look for in a sourdough. What bothers me right now is not the flavor, but the dense texture.

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Sorry, I read twice where you said the sour wasn't what you would like, HERE and HERE.

Lastly, there is not enough sour flavor. I am guessing this means I should use less starter and ferment longer?

Still needs more sourness and it is far less dense than last time

So I guess I'll try again to answer one direct question and one thought: Yes, using less starter will likely help you get more sour flavor, but that's only one technique, there are others.

I was suggesting you embark on the road to finding the flavor that you have now stated twice is not currently desired. I wasn't suggesting your posted failures were inedible, but it is much better eating the failures if they taste very close to what you want. I also suggested chasing taste because you are getting better results visually each time, and each time you make a batch to experiment with flavor, you will also get the time with the dough that uses the other techniques you are wanting right now. I apologise if you just want to obsess on one aspect at a time, but again, if you actually post that you want more sour, someone will likely post a response on how to do it.

All good. Best of luck.

- Keith

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

Apologies. Nuance is not the best aspect of the internet. I would like more sour flavor and have some understanding of possible methods to get that, but right now I would like to focus on each individual aspect systematically so I gain a further understanding of the processes involved with baking sourdough.

Thanks for the thought.

Glass-Weaver's picture
Glass-Weaver

Thanks for all the time and energy that's being put into this thread.  You are addressing some of the issues I'm also having, as a new baker. 

Terri

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

I am glad this thread is helping others out. I have learned and am still learning a tremendous amount from this experience. The systematic approach to baking loaves really lets you see how each step can affect the overall outcome.

Nomadcruiser53's picture
Nomadcruiser53

Thanks. I'm also new to SD baking. I find all the info on TFL a little mind boggling, but I'm not complaining. Dave

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

Trying out a new variation intended to increase sour flavor.


245 g Flour
4.5g salt

163 g water
10 g 67% hydration starter

I mixed this up and kneaded like normal. So far it has been sitting about 6 hours and has become more runny* (filling all the crevices within the container), and has risen slightly (not even by half). Hopefully it doesn't turn into a frisby.

*The room is fairly warm a 75-78* F could this be enzyme protease occuring? It doesn't seem as if there has been enough time for proper fermentation, but, perhaps, there was enough time for other issues to occur?

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Be patient with it... using a low percentage of starter to flour can sit for a long time before major changes take place. I've found that it's about the last 90 minutes or so when things go from "is this even working?" to "wow, ok, that's definitely doubled!". But I'd say for 6 hours at 78°, you don't want to go a whole lot longer. Did you give it a small poke test?

- Keith

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

Just poked it, the indentation does not really bounce back.

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

10 g of starter was the actual weight, it has been about 12 hours and is about 1.5 times its original size. Obviously, I am trying to figure out what to do, keep it out all night or put it in the fridge? Probably just leave it out.

Next time I will try to use 12-15% preferment flour.

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Do another poke test... if it's reasonable, I'd shape, cover well, and refrigerate to bake tomorrow. My dough was ready at exactly 6 hours. Room temp was 82.5° and internal dough temp was 83.5°. I have shaped them, added to bannetons, and retired them to the fridge.

However yours ends up, I might highly suggest you try Susan's Ultimate Sourdough. Tons of TFL'ers have found it a great recipe, and I know everyone's sour palette is different, but a majority agree this one's a winner. I'm sure glad I don't owe her a royalty fee every time my family polishes off a boule of it... hehe but I do owe her many thanks for such an easy recipe with great results.

- Keith

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Wow, I learned a lot from reading this thread -- thanks all! Only one thing left this newbie baker confused:  I thought the acidity in the sourdough starter was what makes sourdough sour, so then adding more starter should make the bread more sour, no? But JustLoafin said ", using less starter will likely help you get more sour flavor". I trust you -- I just don't understand the mechanism involved here.

BTW, I've but Dough Doctor Dan's book on my shopping list. Anyone who gives excellent advice so freely to strangers on the internet deserves more book sales!

--Kent in Taiwan

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Reducing the amount of starter is one way to get more sour, there are others. If you want the scientific reason, someone else will need to provide it.. I just bake! The common person reasoning is, the flavor is produced by the length of the fermentation. The longer this is, the more flavor you get. If you put enough starter in your recipe to raise the Titanic, then your fermentation time will be done very quickly and you will end up with very little sour, or very mild at best. Back that amount of starter off, and you increase the fermentation time. It's a balancing act, and needs to be adjusted for your taste and convenience of baking schedule.

Most new bakers to sourdough believe the flavor comes from the starter. It doesn't. The flavor comes from the process, and if you draw that process out, there is more time for that flavor to develop. Once your bread hits the oven, that's it... you get out what you had going in. : )

The other side of the coin is, if you have a recipe where you want to leaven with sourdough but don't want the sour, load it up with high hydration starter!

I'll refer you over to Mike Avery's site to read up and absorb a whole bunch of ideas on flavoring sourdoughs:

http://sourdoughhome.com/sour.html

- Keith

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Beautiful, thanks Keith!  Looks like I have some reading to do!   Sorry for the dumb newbie question, ha ha!

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

Just woke up, it doubled in size overnight, going to shape and proof it now. Pictures will come when it is ready.

Ambimom's picture
Ambimom

 Believe it or not, I had exactly the same problem -- Every loaf was more like a pancake until I did a few things.

  • First, I learned to recognize what  "active" v. "so-so" starter is supposed to look like.  I thought I was using active starter but I wasn't.  I broke down and bought a starter and followed the instructions to the letter.  It was only then that I realized that the starter that I thought was active was virtually dead.
  • Now after every feeding (weekly) I make sure my starter is plenty active before I store it in the refrigerator for the next time I need it.
  • I invested in a scale to measure flour in grams.
  • I changed my recipe

[1 measuring cup active starter; 330 grams bread flour; 110 grams whole wheat flour; 8oz plus 2 tablespoons of water; tablespoon of kosher salt]

Even after all this, I was still making mostly pancakes but better texture and slightly more puffy, UNTIL....

  • I adapted methodology from Almost No-Knead Bread from America's Test Kitchen.  After letting the dough rise for 12 to 14 hours, I knead it 15 times on a floured board; shape into round; place on round skillet lined with greased parchment. Let rise again anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.
  • Preheat dutch oven for 30 min at 500F.  Reduce temperature to 425F and grabbing hold of parchment drop loaf into covered dutch oven.  Bake for 30 min covered....20 to 30 min uncovered.  Internal temperature 200-212 degress F.

Kneading those few times had made  ALL the difference!

Ambimom's picture
Ambimom

Have you tried adding more flour?

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

What would that do?

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

After 5 hours the dough was slightly more than double its size, I just shaped it into a round and am proofing now. It was far easier to work with and much more supple. Additionally, the fragrance was far more sour than the 100 gram starter method. So far so good. I will post back with pictures later tonight.

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

Recipe used:
218g flour
4.5g salt

151g water
50g starter (67% hydration)

When I was previously discussing a recipe that had 100 grams of starter I was refering to the original recipe I was using, comparing the one offered within this post and the other.

I have not changed any starter maintenance since the beginning of this experiment. At 9AM I take 1oz of starter mix with 2oz of tap water and then incorporate 3oz of KA AP flour. The same happens at about 9PM which is typically the point where the starter changes from a convex bubble to a flat top from the weight of itself rising (this is also when I harvest for use in baking). If I am not going to bake for 3-4 days I refrigerate the starter after it has doubled in size (2-4 hours) and pull out of the fridge and try to feed twice before use (I have used it after feeding once). I will not let the starter sit refrigerated for more than 5 days without a feeding regardless of use. At some point I am sure that last part will change, due to travel.

Pictures:



It seems as if I cut too deeply with my lame and perhaps under proofed slightly? So far, looks wise, this is my best sourdough loaf. It smells wonderful and slightly sour as well.

The crust is light and very crisp with tons of flavor. It smells just like a good sourdough and has a nice sour flavor. I think I would like to up the flavor just a little more as the crumb has opened up more compared to my last non-frisbee attempt. I am thinking my next variation will use 35 grams of starter. If that is successful, I will be extremely happy. Perhaps I will also start researching refrigerated retardation.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I wouldn't change anything yet.  I would try letting it rise (after shaping) upside down in a floured cloth lined sieve.  I think you will find the shape will improve. 

Mini

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

I realize the shape is not that great - I am still working on shaping skills. I have been wanting to get a proofing basket, but am moving now and holding off on it. Right now, I don't think I have a suitable tool for the job of proofing in. My sieve is too small for this relatively small loaf and my bowls are all too large for this size loaf.

I will certainly keep this idea in mind though, thanks.

The only change I am really looking for is more acidity in the bread, not much, just a touch more. After I get the taste I am in search of aesthetics are next.

 

Glass-Weaver's picture
Glass-Weaver

Did you check out the pizza shaping video that was mentioned here two days ago?

http://how2heroes.com/videos/entrees/crispy-chewy-pizza-dough

The baker is shaping pizza dough for bench proofing, but he does a little twist at the end which helps the dough ball round up higher.  I used that trick with my final shaping on a boule' today, and was very surprised how much it helps.  My loaf was noticably higher and rounder, and that was the only change I made as the dough proofed on the work board.  (I would describe the shaping technique, but it's really better to just watch the video.)


Terri

 

 

hc's picture
hc

Terri

How did you do that hold-in-one-hand, twist-with-the-other move on a boule if it was bigger than a ball of pizza dough? Did you have to put the boule upside down on the countertop, or did you manage to hold it in one hand while twisting the seam?

Glass-Weaver's picture
Glass-Weaver

I had "cloaked" the dough ball (I think that's what it's called when I tighten up the skin by tucking the edges around to the middle-bottom) so it was behaving itself, then just held it upsidedown in one hand and pinched and gathered the "lips" into a little column, gave 'em a quick twist and inverted the ball onto a semolina-sprinkled parchment.  I try to get the twist to lie in the center of the bottom, as it's given it's final placement.  I've done technique three times now, so I know it works to get a higher loaf, and wasn't just a happy accident.

Also, it may help you to know how large and how wet my recipe is: 11 oz iced water, 5 oz white whole wheat bread flour, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 11 oz white bread flour and a generous 1/4 c. 100% hydration starter, so it's not quite as loose a dough as you may be using.  (Little shamefaced here, I should be able to tell you the baker's percentage on that recipe...I'll work it out one of these days...)  This is the recipe from Breadtopia's No-Knead Video, but I've cut the water by one ounce, and I knead 20 times with the initial mixing, rest 30 minutes and do 4 stretch/folds in midair before bulk fermentation.  Those changes took me from kinda rubbery bread to lovely bread.  Amazing how the details matter so much with such a simple recipe.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

But that last one is pretty acceptable. 

After you have moved and got your bannetons, you might also consider some oven mitts. That burn is healing nicely, but it must have smarted. Next time, put an ice cube on your burn immediately for half a minute. It will cold retard your skin and keep it from cooking.

David

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

dghdctr:

Thanks for all the tips. I plan on dropping hydration to 60% for the next loaf - I will be fine with the math. I will be sure to update the thread as soon as the next loaf is made.

I do want to learn why, so one change at a time is perfect.

Glass-Weaver:

I tried that shaping trick this last time, I just need more practice it seems.

dmsnyder:

The burn in the picture is actually weeks old, the scar is pictured. I use silicon pads in the kitchen, I have never felt comfortable with oven mitts on - too little dexterity. I do not burn myself too often, but when I do I attribute it to living in the kitchen and actually rarely notice until I see the burn.

 

Mitch550's picture
Mitch550

This is my first time posting at this site and I'm really happy to have found it.

This thread is fabulous and Dan DiMuzio is terrific for his time and patience!!!  I jumped in because I too have found bulky oven mitts to be very difficult, if not impossible, to work with. Then I discoverd these Kevlar gloves here:

http://www.breadtopia.com/store/kevlar-oven-mitt.html

They are not inexpensive at $12.00 each plus shipping but they are excellent and give you total control because they are a glove, not a mitt.  And, no, I'm not connected with that site and derive no profit from this.  The fellow who runs the site is very friendly, informative, and will personally resond to your emails.

I'm looking forward to getting my hands on Dan's book. It looks like this one's a winner.

Mitch

deblacksmith's picture
deblacksmith

This is a common type of industrial glove used today and they work very well for higher temperatures.  We use them in "blacksmithing" not to handle red hot metal but to reduce the chance of a burn.  They are also sold to reduce cutting.

Breadtopia price is a bit high, but if you only need one and are buying other things it makes sense.  I purchase mine from an industrial supply house for $ 5.55 a PAIR, not $ 12 for a single glove.  Use-Enco.com is my source and the glove is Sperian # 505-4134.  I buy these for my students in Blacksmithing at John C. Campbell Folk School in bulk.  They also make great work gloves and last for almost ever.  They can be washed.  Blacksmiths like the black ones as they don't show the dirt.

I keep a pair in the kitchen for my bread baking.

Dave

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

The Sperian gloves you suggest are not listed under "hot and cold protection" on the Use-Enco website, instead they are stated to be for cut resistance and "extrication".  Will they really work as oven gloves?

I've been wanting some heat protection gloves like that but i'm too cheap to purchase the ones advertised for oven use at $12 apiece.  I love the idea of paying only $5.50 per pair!

J

Mitch550's picture
Mitch550

Dave,

I was just on their site and they are showing the price as $5.55 each, not $5.55 a pair, unless when they say each they mean each pair is $5.55.

 

Mitch

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

woodburning stove dept. of a nearby hardware store. Thought I had a pair (it was in a box) and was frustrated but liked it so much, I went back and bought a second.  They also protects against hatchet cuts while chopping wood. 

Outer layer is made of 72%Nomex & 28% Kevlar (or 86%Nomex & 14%Kevlar ). This layer won't melt and catch fire when exposed to open fire. It can resist heat up to 480F.  Inner lining is made of 60% cotton and 40% polyester  Suited for household, kitchen and barbeque.

Mini

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I'd never heard of Kevlar being a heat retardant so I went to both websites--Use-enco.com and Breadtopia,com--and looked at the two gloves. The Breadtopia is a mix of Kevlar and Nomex; the Use-enco gloves contain Kevlar only. Kevlar is known for its strength--for equal weight it is approximately five times stronger than steel. I've used it, in cable form, towing heavy arrays from ships. Nomex is known for its heat insulation capability. Firefighter's outerwear is made from it, and it is also used in some high-fire risk military wear.

I'm not disputing the Use-enco gloves can second as oven gloves, but I don't think they can do as well as the Kevlar-Nomex mix.

I've placed my hand on one side of a piece of Nomex, and its salesman attacked the opposite side with a roaring blowtorch. My hand got a little warm. While seemingly pricey, the Breadtopia glove is probably worth the 12 bucks.

David G

 

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

I looked at another Use-enco glove, #505-4135 which says that it is "flame resistant to 800 degrees" even though it's made of 100% Kevlar.  I don't know if "flame resistant" is different from "heat resistant"--perhaps they won't burn but are not good insulators?

The picture makes the gloves look quite flexible and this particular model is yellow which would hopefully show less flour and be easy to find around the kitchen. 

I decided to try them, for $4.95 a pair for medium weight  (Yes, it is for a PAIR).  With tax and shipping (that's the expensive part)  it still comes to about $12, but better than $24 plus shipping.  Unless they don't work for heat resistance--in which case I've wasted money unless I decide to take up welding. 

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

LOL.. not sure the use of something only being flame resistant.. because if it's in flames, it's also going to be heated! Keep us posted when you get them, because I'm kinda in that market if something proves to be a good deal and actually does the job!

- Keith

deblacksmith's picture
deblacksmith

I have been using these kevlar gloves for more than 10 years around the open flames of a coal blacksmithing forge.  They do not burn and don't "melt".  With a lot of wear they will get holes in the ends of the fingers etc. and you know it right away because you feel it!  So they go in the scrap at that point.

Many times in blacksmithing you work with metal without using tongs.  It can get rather hot.  As some point even these gloves are not enough and you have to cool the "back end" of the piece you are working with water.  Or you switch to the heavy kevlar gloves call "hot mill gloves" that are about $ 20 a pair.  (I have one pair of these and they are now 13 years old.)

I also use the "light" kevlar gloves for TIG welding.  They are industrial grade, they work well.  For TIG welding I like them much better than leather because the Kevlar is a good insulator and leather is not.

Dave 

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

My starter is now 60% hydration and I got another loaf going today. My plan was to keep everything the same as last time, adjusting for the different hydration of the starter.

221g flour
4.5g salt

147g water
50g starter (60% hydration)

When I mixed all the ingredients together the dough was entirely too wet - same brand of flour, new bag (King Arthur AP). I don't know if I mis-measured or my math is wrong (checked it again and it seems right). To alleviate the problem I added another 35 grams of flour. I will try the exact recipe above again later to have a more accurate representation and try to figure out what went wrong. Any idea besides measurement error?

The recipe I ended up using:

256g flour
4.5g salt

147g water
50g starter (60% hydration)

Pictures, as usual, will come later.

 

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

Bulk ferment for 2.5 hours and proofed for another 45 minutes. Seems like I could have gone maybe 15-30 minutes longer proofing?

Cooked at 450 degrees for 15 minutes steaming about about 20-25 minutes no steam. I will go longer next time, but the power went out... Also, I did not cut quite as deep with the lame this time.

Overall, I am very happy with the crumb, it is far more open than my earlier attempts. I would still like a little more acidity, it is getting there, but does not have the nice bite I love from sourdough. The starter has had three feedings at 60% hydration - I am not sure if more time will cure this. I think my next step is either to drop the starter amount to about 35 grams or retard the shaped loaf overnight. Not sure which would be better, I think the latter due to increased flavor from lengthened proofing.

To the pictures:




I think my shaping has improved some, but there is still much more room for improvement - I have been reading Hamelman. I did try to pinch off the bottom to prevent the hole, but I must have not done it well enough, next time.

Any suggestions on my next step or ways to improve quality would be greatly appreciated!

 

 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

That's looking pretty good, and WHAT an improvement! Knowing how long to proof is difficult. I've baked a lot of SD loaves and I still find if challenging. When I don't proof enough my crumb is uneven--a little denser near the bottom crust. It looks like you could have let it go just a little more before baking, but nice job.

--Pamela

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

SD is a bit more complicated than regular bread, but so much fun (and tasty). I am glad I am learning, next time I will give it a little more time to proof.

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

Yesterday I made Reinhart's basic sourdough from Bread Baker's Apprentice, it is not really sour. I was going to use Hamelman's basic SD, but had to return the book to the library before I had a chance.

Basic idea of what I did:

4.1oz flour
2oz starter (60% hydration)
1.4oz water

Mix together, let double and refrigerate overnight (mine ended up going for about 16-20 hours in the fridge).

Next morning let warm up and then mix with

20.25oz flour
.5oz salt
12oz water

Bulk ferment until doubled (about 3.5 hours). Shape into a loaf and bake at 500 for 10 minutes then 450 until done.

The loaf turned out looking good and it tastes pretty good. It doesn't taste like I used commercial yeast, but it doesn't taste sour like a sourdough either...

He mentions bulk fermenting in the fridge overnight for the second stage, I figure that is my next best attempt at getting more sourness and flavor, any other tips? I am at a loss. The breads turn out wonderfully in all other aspects.