The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough success (almost) at last!

venkitac's picture
venkitac

Sourdough success (almost) at last!

I made Hamelman's vermont sourdough again:


 



 


The bread was somewhat misshapen, also my scoring wasn't great. I tried scoring it in a square pattern, as Dan had mentioned in one of his posts, with the lines of the square extending past the square itself. Somehow, the square was off-center and the bread profile was lopsided as you can see. That said, otherwise it turned out ok. I think one of my problems was, as Pamela said, underproofing. With the above bread, I did the poke test, and felt the bread was ready to bake, but then I held off baking it for atleast 25 mins and then baked. Turns out that that was the right time, I got really great ovenspring and the crumb is pretty good atleast by my standards. I still need to learn to tell when the loaf is proofed, it appears I was always baking when it was a bit underproofed. I can't quite get the poke test right (any tips?) BTW, the above bread was with 10% whole wheat, but with the flour I sifted yesterday. Only 6% of the flour was sifted off, presumably all bran, but the taste is markedly milder).

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Very nice, do you like the milder flavor? I think it you tighten the skin more when shaping you'll get more height.


Betty

venkitac's picture
venkitac

Thanks. It's different, both flavors are good:) I'm thinking of increasing the percentage of sifted whole wheat to see if it compromises loaf volume. If it doesn't, I'd actually like to bake with increased (sifted) whole wheat percentage. I'm going to experiment with it...

venkitac's picture
venkitac

BTW, I had asked questions on sourdoughs in the past and received a LOT of helpful advice, I'm hoping this question will be answered too: When kneading the dough, I autolysed for 30 mins, kneaded till aI got a windowpane. Hamelman advices 2 stretch-and-folds at 50 and 100 mins. At 50 mins, when I checked on the dough, it was completely loose, lost almost all its elasticity. So instead of a single S&F, I gave it like 20 stretch-slap-folds, Richard Bertinet style. Dough firmed up considerably. Again, at 100 mins, dough didn't feel strong enough, so instead of a single S&F, I did around 20, at which point dough felt ok. When shaping, the dough felt slack still, but I went ahead and shaped and proofed. Seems like that was just about fine.


Question is, is this common with sourdough? A single S&F simply wouldn't have been enough at 50 and 100 mins, do others do the same ie. many S&Fs instead of just the recommended one S&F? Or do you knead past the windowpane in the beginning to develop dough strength? There's definitely something I need to learn around this..thanks!

rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

In my limited experience, you're not aiming for a windowpane, a medium amount of gluten development will lead to a better texture in the final bread.

Alpine's picture
Alpine

Was your bread sour?

I've never seen that texture in sourdough bread (unless it was grossly overproofed and too ugly to sell). The lactic and acidic acids generated by an active lactobacillus retard the yeast and create a slower rise and overall finer texture.

The only way I know to get that yeast unleashed texture is to use a yeast only starter or bakers yeast. This is not to say the bread isn't excellent, if the dough contains only flour, water, salt and yeast and still has great flavor; it's still a winner.

Any bread containing milk, sugar, oil, eggs, etc. is not bread, it's cake/wonder bread pretending to be bread.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


Any bread containing milk, sugar, oil, eggs, etc. is not bread, it's cake/wonder bread pretending to be bread.



I'd say your definition is rather idiosyncratic. Not to mention wrong.


David

venkitac's picture
venkitac

The bread was mildly sour, flavor-wise it's just the way I like it. I have retarded the same recipe for a bit longer to get a more sour taste. (OTOH, I prefer the mild sourness anyway).


The bulk ferment was 3 hours. I made 2 loaves, one was proofed at room temp for 2 hours, the other was slightly retarded in the fridge (just because of oven space reasons) and the proofing extended to 3 hours. That's pretty much what the recipe advocates (2 hours proofing). And yes, dough is only flour, water, salt, and my own starter (no commercial yeast added).

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I think your crumb looks pretty good, Venkitac. Hamelman's Vermont SD is a great formula that produces very reliable results. I'd say you getting closer and closer to producing a great loaf.


One suggestion: try making a batard instead of a boule. There is more surface area on a batard which means your dough makes greater contact with the stone when you bake it which should help with oven spring. It also might be a bit easier to tell when a batard is sufficiently proofed.


--Pamela

venkitac's picture
venkitac

Hi Pamela, thanks for the advice (it helped, as you can see!). The above was baked under a steel bowl, and after seeing the ovenspring when I bake the first 10 minutes covered, I have sworn that I will never bake bread without covering it for the first part of the bake, ever:) So, unfortunately, I'm kinda stuck baking boules atleast for now - I need a tin foil pan to cover the batard, bowl won't fit, couldn't find a foil pan that is deep enough around here after one whole day of searching in various shops. For now, that is - I will continue hunting for a good foil pan and then switch to batards..thanks!

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I use a turkey roaster. Try one of those foil turkey roasters.


--Pamela

venkitac's picture
venkitac

dmsnyder said the exact same thing - I have to wait till November, it appears:)

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Check out garage sales, estate sales, resale shops, Goodwill stores, etc.


After a three-month search I found an old roaster pan (at least, that's what I think it was) with the top and bottom each five inches tall.  The width and length are the precise measurements of my stone.  Best of all, it's not oval, but square.


Cost three bucks at the local Goodwill.


 

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark


The only way I know to get that yeast unleashed texture is to use a yeast only starter or bakers yeast.



Getting that texture/crumb with a (nonyeast) starter is absolutely do-able. Most folks here have had that success. I accomplish it every time with only 62% hydration in my sourdough breads


Larry

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I suspect that, if you had a very slack dough, your slashing (scoring) was for naught.  It's very difficult to get a slack dough to hold it's shape long enough for the slashing to have any real affect.  As good as the crumb looks, I'd say job well done.

venkitac's picture
venkitac

Thanks! Dough wasn't really *that* slack (66% hydration), I think it was just a bit underdeveloped...

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Could somebody please explain why I can't view any of the pictures? Just get a big empty space - and I really want to see what's going on! A.



bwaddle's picture
bwaddle

I have had success baking this bread in a loaf using two smoky pyrex loaf pans (using one for the lid), preheating them both to 450. Great oven spring.


The only difficulty I had the first time was keeping the top one steady and removing it without breaking it or burning my hand. Settled for burning my hand.


My solution looks pretty weird, but it works. I broke two bamboo skewers in half and stuck them in the corners of the dough pointing straight up or a little to the center. Pull them out before the bread cools.


AnnieT: click on the empty space and then select Show Picture.


 

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

How bout using closepins to hold your top and bottom together.  most loaf pans have a ridge around the outside?


-Susie

bwaddle's picture
bwaddle

 


Thanks for the idea! Clothespins are certainly handy for all sorts of things.


The only problem I see is being able to hold the pans steady enough (without burning myself) to get the clothespins on there. Wonder what they'd do at 450 degrees?


 


Bettie