The Fresh Loaf

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100% starter loaves

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Pablo's picture
Pablo

100% starter loaves

A Tale of Two Boules



I wanted to find out if I could bake a decent loaf without adding any flour to a starter.  I keep my starters on the counter and feed them twice a day at 1:5:6.  My routine has had me taking 5 grams out and mixing that with 25 grams of water and 30 grams of flour.  The leftover I then mix with flour down to ~50% and stash in the 'fridge.  I'm currently running two starters, my own that I started around the time that I started here at the Fresh Loaf last August that has been with me through thick and thin, which is fed 85% white, 10% rye and 5% ww, and Carl's Oregon Trail starter that I rehydrated a week or two ago and have been feeding 100% white.



The starter balls on the left are Carl's, accumulated for a few days, those on the right are my regular starter.  I'll get to the bread cubes in a minute.  For the Carl's loaf I had 375g of starter at 50% hydration and I kneaded in 45g water mixed with 6g salt.  The dough handled nicely, I proofed it for 2.5 hours at room temp and baked under a bowl. 


The loaf looks nice, but the crumb is very close.



I haven't played with the Carl's starter yet at all.  This was my first usage.  I imagine that treated differently I'll get a more open crumb.  It's certainly edible bread. 


For the other starter I was inspired by reading David and Mini's recent comments about including old bread in your loaf.  As long as I was experimenting anyway...  Something I learned is that I probably want to cut the crust off tough old SD (leftover from the proofing experiment) before using it.  Luckily I picked up from David the idea of soaking the bread before adding it.  I did not do that with the BBA Pumpernickle loaf that is now proofing and I think what I'll have is "Chunky Pumpernickle".  Since the soaked bread crumbs were a complete hydration unknown I just winged it adding water and I added a little too much, the dough was pretty tacky, but I could handle it, barely.  I was determined to not add any flour and to just use 100% starter.  It was doing fine until it stuck to the couche when trying to get it onto the parchment paper to bake.  I panicked and just abandoned it to the Oven Gods.  What I think I should have done was treat the inadvertant degassing as simply a degassing and reformed the loaf and let it rise again.  Lesson learned.  So the poor flat thing went in the oven and came out as above.  But, look at the crumb!



Not spectacular but much more open than the first one.  How 'bout that.


So, I answered my own question about whether I could bake a serviceable 100% starter loaf.  Yes. 


:-Paul

Comments

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I think the crumb on Carl's loaf looks nice. You don't have huge holes but the texture looks light. Artisan SF SD bread usually has a dark thick crust and a very sturdy, open crumb with big holes. But there are many other types of SD bread sold in the SF Bay Area and Carl's loaf looks a lot like many of them.


Not everybody enjoys the artisan variety, which is too sour and thick-crusted for many.


What's amazing is that you baked it with only starter.


--Pamela

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Maybe my sour taster is broken.  I try everything that I read and can think of to get my breads more sour.  Still haven't gotten anywhere near what I would call really sour.  These breads taste good, the flater one is really full-flavoured, but I still wouldn't call it "sour".  sigh.


:-Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


"Something I learned is that I probably want to cut the crust off tough old SD."


Unless it's burnt, I hope you don't mean that.  Please keep it, that's the flavor inhancer!


On the the sour part.  I guessed you may have missed some discussions a while back.  If you want strong sour, let your soured dough rise and ripen partially at proofing temperatures and then put the dough into the 50° to 60° F temperture range, or let it "cross thru" that range, to many that means retarding the dough in the fridge.  The sour is then brought out in the dough chemically.  Seems to work better for sour when some fermentation has already taken place before retarding.


I suspect the starters you are using above are not quite over-ripe and broken down and that is why you're getting some rise from them.  Also altus does have some food and stuctural properties that can be used by the starter beasties to make gas and hold shape.  You are lucky the gluten can hold out for so long.  High gluten flour?


One man's starter is another man's overproofed dough.   When does the starter end and the dough begin?   I guess you can think of sourdough as a continuum.


Mini

Pablo's picture
Pablo

...continuum.  starter to dough and fermenting to baking - the first stages of baking are really rapid fermentation, eh?  "oven spring" or that's part of it, anyway.  It seems to me that in addition to flour, water, and salt, bread is also the result of time, temperature, and technique.  In a certain way they could be considered ingredients - something put into the bread.


I was reading about your putting the altus and recipe liquid through the blender.  That sounds good.  I did it all by hand and it was a mighty frissage effort to incorporate the crusts.


I have tried retarding in the 'fridge, but not a substantial amount of fermentation before the 'fridge.  I'll give that a try.  Thanks.


I've been purposely giving some life-support to the leftover from refreshing the starter (how about a term for that?  starter discard..) anyway, I've been taking my ~83% hydration starter discard and introducing enough flour to get it down to 50% and stashing it in the 'fridge.  Essentially a refreshment, I suppose I could say that I'm maintaining two styles of starter, one on the counter and one in the 'fridge. The one in the 'fridge can sit in there and accumulate until I have something to do with it.  I've taken to just using 2g of starter to keep the process going on the counter with minimal discard.  I was keeping my starter in the 'fridge and refreshing much less than the 2x day that I'm now doing, but I wasn't happy with the starter activity when I used it. I bake frequently so I'm willing to putz with it at the moment, at least until I am confident that I know enough to get good results consistently, then I can go back to an easier maintenance schedule when I have a better understanding of what I'm shooting for in terms of active starter.


Or that's today's plan, anyway.


:-Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

If you've no blender, let bread dry so crust gets hard, then grate to turn the crust into crumbs.  You could also try pounding them but it can get messy.  I noticed earlier you weren't satisfied with a starter that was too long in the fridge.  Yes, there seems to be some kind of limit.  Your jars of starter balls looks interesting.   I can see why you're tempted to turn them into loaves. 


Right now I'm keeping a firm starter as back up.  I feed a small amount of starter to make enough for a recipe plus a spoonful for the next feeding.  That keeps it pretty fresh and rising well.  It stands overnight on the counter and in the morning, I mix up my dough and feed the starter keeping it small.  After the starter has been sitting out about 4 hours, it's into the fridge until I want to feed it anew for another overnight freshening.  If I bake again the next day, I still let it sit out 4 hours but make enough for the next recipe always leaving a teaspoon for the next starter.  The cold starter comes out a few hours early to warm up before going into dough and the cycle repeats.   There is a small amount of discard if I don't bake every day but discard starter gets thrown into a pancake. 


I have a one person pancake recipe using one egg, starter, a heaped up fork of flour and about 1/2 c milk, & a few drops of vanilla, a dash of salt.  That works for the two of us and keeps the bread starter active and the discard low. 


Mini

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I've had the best sour taste in my SFSD when I proof in the fridge. Fridge proofing (sounds like a joke, which you already know I enjoy--hey, maybe I've coined a new term here!) really intensifies the sour flavor.


But you would be surprised at how many don't enjoy that flavor or my jokes. I've come to think it is an acquired taste but then you are on the West Coast so you must have acquired it somewhere if you think your bread isn't sour enough.


--Pamela

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I tried to be clever today with "I feel your pain" get it?  pain?  bread?  I feel your bread.  ha ha.  Didn't fly.


:-Paul

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I get it Pablo. It flew!


--Pamela

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I'm sure you know this but just in case: stiffer starters are usually sourer and, I think, if you let the starter sit for a while unfed in the fridge that helps too.


--Pamela