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can't create a free standing loaf -susie

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avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

can't create a free standing loaf -susie

It doesn't seem to matter if I make a sourdough loaf or yeasted loaf,  I try to maintain a certain amount of holes which I succeed at, but what I can't do is achieve that result from a freestanding loaf.  Unless I contain my loaves in a preheated cast iron pan (lid on - then off) I cannot get a boule to stand on its own nor can I seem to shape a baguette.


I resist adding more flour since I prefer the holey texture.  My breads are always tasty - just pretty flat unless I put them in a container of some sort.


HELP!


susie

Susan's picture
Susan

Susan from San Diego

Pjacobs's picture
Pjacobs

Susan,


What is the best hydration for the stretch and fold thingy, 65 or 70?


Phil

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

I attempted another sourdough recipe yesterday and folded, folded, folded.  It still came out flat.


My dough is always too wet I guess.  How do I maintain the holey texture I like without adding to much flour or holding back the water? OR - do all the 'wetter' recipes require the use of a container to bake them in?


Is my only cure a very stiff starter?


I got really frustrated with my last flat loaf so I poured a 'bunch' of starter into a bowl last night and added some flour and water and didn't measure a thing.  This morning I added some salt, some more flour and a little water. 


I now have a relatively stiff dough that is rising on the counter.  My hope is to bake it off this afternoon or whenever it doubles.


The objective of a holey crumb is probably in question, but I think at least this way I can successfully slash it and then bake it and hopefully it will dome somewhat and not go flat.


I really don't know what the result of so much start will be other than, bread is made of flour and water and a little salt, so my starter should work well even though I added quite a bit in the overall scheme of things?


My big debate now is whether to make it into 2 loaves or 1 large loaf.  I plan to take some chicken salad and homemade chicken noodle soup to my older brother who has no income and thought I'd take him some bread also, but I won't know if it's any good unless I make 2 loaves.  One small test loaf and a larger one for him.


-susie

Susan's picture
Susan

Have you tried this recipe?  Please do, and let me know.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/13941/prescott-flaxseed-sourdough


If this doesn't work, we need to do something about your starter.


Susan from San Diego


 

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

Thanks for getting back to me.  I will definetly try this recipe.  I did make your 'sourdough challenge' recipe and it came out kinda OK.  tasted great! but still a little flat.


I also just took my 'experiment' out of the oven.  the one I just threw together using a large amount of starter and some other ingredients that I mixed in.


to my surprise it's really good! it's not overly holey like I might like, but it has a nice mild sour taste and definetly sprung in the oven.  I slashed the top  and it has such an oven spring that it kinda looks like a head with a nose.  That dough was firm.  I probably couldn't replicate it because I made it out of frustration and just kinda added here and added there til I got a firm dough, mixed up what in reality was just a very large batch of starter, put that in the fridge overnight and then started adding flour, salt and water to it this  morning.  shaped it, let it rise til double and then baked it off.  hmmmmm......


now to get that effect with not quite so much oven spring.  maybe my slashing needs improving?

Susan's picture
Susan

I understand your frustration.  At least you ended up with an edible loaf.  My goofs at the beginning were all bricks.


Why don't you go back to the Simple Sourdough (9/09) instead of the Prescott Flax Loaf.  I didn't think about the flaxseeds when I recommended it.  Doh!


Here's the link:


Simple Sourdough (9/09)

Use either whole wheat or white whole wheat for the 25 grams, it doesn't matter. 


Let me know!


Susan from San Diego

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

I think I'll try both.  When I made the loaf for the challenge I added flax seed since I really like them, but maybe I'll try the plain one first and see if I can get a round - risen loaf.


thanks for all your support. 


Question:  how does starter compare in strength to yeast.  1 C of starter = 1 pdg yeast?  is there a formula?  does firm starter have more oomph than a more hydrated one?  I"ve seen conversions from yeasted to sourdough but they mainly only deal with the amount of water required in the recipe and not the strength of the starter.  I guess what I'm wondering is - what gives the strength to the starter?


-susie

Susan's picture
Susan

I've seen different amounts of starter quoted as equal to a package of yeast, but it really depends on, you guessed it, the strength and activity of your starter.


May I suggest that you read and digest Debra Wink's info at the following links:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10856/pineapple-juice-solution-part-1


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10901/pineapple-juice-solution-part-2


She gives more helpful information about starters than I could ever impart, Susie.


Susan from San Diego

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

THank you so much for that link.  I read thru part 1 and part 2 this morning and found it very interesting and informative.  It's been a while since I've read any techinical stuff so my first read gave me the overview and now I will have to read it again to completely digest the content.


There was one question not asked in that article that I may submit to Debra.  That question is this:


I believe I have a successful starter.  I feed it andit does what I have come to expect, but how does one know if your starter is actually a yeast containing starter or it is just expanding due to the gasses produced by the bacteria which happens in most starters at the beginning but does not actually represent an ongoing yeast culture?  hmmmmmmmmmmm.


I'll have to read thru that again and see if I can find the answers.  I gave some of my starter to my son who tried feeding it and had no success.


-susie

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Hi Susie, thank you, and sorry for the long delay. Hope your sourdough is becoming what you were looking for. It takes some time to master, but keep at it and you will be rewarded :-)


To answer your question (by borrowing your words), you'll know it's yeast because you feed it and it does what you have come to expect. The initial bacteria comes and goes (for good). If your starter is still rising reliably---and clearly it is---it is because yeast are growing in there. What does it smell like? I often ask this question because many microorganisms produce characteristic smells, and yeast smells like..... well, yeast. You may smell other things as well, especially when feeding rye or whole grains. If there are strong aromas masking it, you may find it difficult to pick out the yeasty one, but a white starter generally smells like wet flour or pancake batter when just fed, and transforms into something more like fragrant bread dough when ripe (but not over-ripe).


Happy Baking!
-dw

Susan's picture
Susan

I use S&F's for all my dough--and that's limited to sourdough.  From 65% up!  I'm looking forward to reading about your flour test, btw.  Take a look at Mark's (mcs, Back Home Bakery) videos; he really shows off the S&F's.


Susan from San Diego