The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hooked on Sourdough

  • Pin It
PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

Hooked on Sourdough

I've been working hard to find the ideal rustic bread.  It seems I could build the flavor profile I liked but never got the crust and crumb like I wanted.  I recently made a starter and my first sourdough loaf was a revelation:  incredible crackly crust, huge holes, chewy crumb. 


sourdough boule


It's not as sour as I'd like but I think I found my ideal rustic bread.  The questions is, does sourdough get most of its flavor from cold ferment?  Currently this bread is a 3-day build:  starter build from mother starter on the first day, dough mix and first proof on the second, overnight in the fridge, and 2nd proof and bake on the third.  Because of the long rise times, and since I work full time, I can't mix dough and proof twice before baking or I'd be up all night.  Is there a way to cut down on the time involved, or do I accept that good bread takes time?


Okay, one more pic.  Man, I love this bread!


sourdough batard


 


-Peter


http://psoutowood.vox.com


 

flournwater's picture
flournwater

This link helped me understand the intricacies of sourdough, it migh also help you:


http://www.angelfire.com/ab/bethsbread/WhatisSourdough.html


I've found that fermentation is the key to my "sourdough" achieving it's hightest flavor potential, but it isn't "sour" to any great extent.


That is one beautiful loaf of bread.  Enjoy .....

colinwhipple's picture
colinwhipple

I start most of my sourdough on Friday night, and finish Sunday afternoon.


Colin

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

So far I've been starting mine on Thursday morning and finishing on Saturday morning.  I've been resigned to the timeline thus far, and have been finding the results worth it.

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

I do mine as a No knead and it's about a 3 day process, not counting feeding the mother

LeahM's picture
LeahM

I have (more or less) been following a schedule like the one laid out here:


http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2009/07/natural_starter_bread.php#more (which is incidentally the post that got me hooked on sourdough to begin with).


Basically, I take my starter out of the fridge the night before I plan on baking and rev it up overnight. Then I mix early in the morning (let autolyse while walking the dog...works pretty well), and let it proof all day while I'm at work. Then when I get home, I shape and do the second proof, and bake. I was having touble with overproofing, so now I only proof in loaf form for 30-45 minutes, and then bake for 20 or so. That way, I can have fresh bread for dinner.


This timing works for my starter. It's been getting sour-er as it gets older, but the bread flavor is still fairly mild. Delicious though.


And I totally agree that sourdough becomes an obsession! here are a couple of my pictures:


flournwater's picture
flournwater

That's a beautiful crumb, Leah. 



Looks like you've got the routine down. Be sure to share your future experiences too.

copyu's picture
copyu

'sourdough' loaf?


I'm amazed. Excellent job on that! You must have the bakers' equivalent of the "green thumb". [Is there an expression for that, anyone? I can't think of any really 'pleasant' ones. "Baker's hands"?]  My goal is also to find a great 'rustic' bread that doesn't require so much time.


It appears that you have a lot of dedication to detail, anyway. I finally made some rye bread from Reinhart's 'Crust & Crumb' that I presented to a German friend. Now he wants to buy it from me. It's a 3-day build and I  don't have that sort of time. 


My favorite compromise is the 'quick' version of no-knead-bread and I always do two or three folds. I use my fairly strong sourdough starter, very warm water [50°C / 120°F MAX!], 0.25 teasp red wine vinegar. I also substitute cornmeal, white or yellow semolina, rye flour, 60-90g [2-3oz] of the bread and AP flour mix. (There is no unbleached flour where I live.) I find the addition of 1/8 teasp of diastatic malt powder really helps to get things going and adds greatly to the flavor. It's do-able within a day and has great taste. The advantage of wild yeast is that the bread 'keeps' a bit longer.


Keep up the great work!


Best,


copyu


 


 

LeahM's picture
LeahM

So, in the interest of science (and convenience) I just tested a slight variation on my timing. Basically, I mixed up the base starter (1/4c starter, 1/2c flour, 6 Tbsp water) on morning #1. Since that takes all of 5 minutes, not a problem on a busy weekday.


Let it sit out all day while I'm at work. Then, that evening, mix up the dough. I let it autolyze for 20min, then sit for 40 minutes, stretching and folding every 20 minutes (so 3 times total).


Then I put the bowl with the dough into the fridge, covered, and went to bed.


Day #2, ignore the bowl all day (at work), then when I got home, I took out the dough, formed it into rough baguette-ish loaves and let them proof/come to room temperature for about 45 minutes while the oven was preheating. Baked for 20 minutes and had fresh bread for dinner, just a bit over 2 hours from the time I walked through the door.


This was definitely a more convenient arrangement of tasks as far as timing went (at least for me), but the end result was still fresh sourdough in a feasible weekday timetable. Oh yeah, and it turned out great! Hope this helps!


Here's a photo:


flournwater's picture
flournwater

What's the formula for your starter?

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

If you're asking me, I use a 70% hydration starter.  I wanted something a little slower and less liquidy that I hoped would add more sour flavor.  Here's the formula:


85g high-gluten flour (I use GM All-Trumps)


15g rye flour


70g water


This makes an incredibly sticky starter which adds good extensibility to the final dough.  Still not as tangy as I want, but it's only been going for a month so far.  Here is my first attempt at bread with the starter, a pretty good effort.


-Peter


 

LeahM's picture
LeahM

mine is about a 100% hydration. But honestly, I don't usually measure exactly, just dump in rough amounts. (a Tbsp or so of starter, 1/4-ish c-ish flour and usually a bit more than 1/8-ish c water. It stays pretty sticky and tacky at this ratio, not liquid but not a dough-like stiffness.


The dough I make is a 1:2:3 ratio (starter:water:flour) with minor adjustments depending on the weather and humidity, to keep it a fairly wet dough.