The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

comments and help on my sourdough?

breitbaker's picture

comments and help on my sourdough?

after a brief (3 weeks maybe?) hiatus from sourdough ...I'm back at it again.....(fall seems to come upon me and then i am struck with baking apple dumplings, oatmeal spice whoopie pies, sticky buns, etc)   anyway, these are photos of my latest bake.....I just need some comments and suggestions's the formula:(thanks to susan in SF!! i wish i could do it more justice)

50 grams starter (refreshed about 12 hours previous 10g:25g:45g as per Glezer--my house has been about 68 degrees)

204 g water

275 g wheat montana unbleached white flour

25 g www

6 g salt

2 T flax meal

Mixed by hand, rested 30 minutes-did a s&f, rose one hour,another s&f, rose another hour, s&f and let rise til doubled..shaped and put in linen lined container..Put plastic over all and refrig. overnite.  Sat at room temp for 2 hours then slashed with razor and baked 20 min. at 450 under cloche, then another 15 to finish it off...... Should i have gotten more rise out of this?  Or not?  with different slashing would i have gotten more expansion? Under or overproofed? sorry, i have a lot of questions and i've been really trying to play with temperatures to figure out what does/doesn't work....

sourdough with www and flax seeds

I think my slashing needs some help?? .i haven't cut into it yet as it's still cooling......

inlovewbread's picture

Maybe I'm too new at this myself, but I think your loaf looks fantastic! Were you expecting more oven spring?

This looks about right to me given the formula- I just made a loaf with this same formula (Susan's Sourdough) and it came out about the same height (proofed in an oval brotform). It is hard to gauge from pictures though.

What container did you proof yours in? If it was proofed in a round container and then you shaped into an oblong before baking, you may have lost a little height from reshaping.

Also, the slashing looks good to me. 

Beautiful loaf! 

breitbaker's picture

the frugalist in me has not yet purchased bannetons or a brotform...:)  so i simply line a bread pan with a floured linen cloth....or use a colander if i want a boule.  thanks for your kind comments...It truly is a one loaf at a time process...i've been baking bread since i was 10 years old or so...mostly pan breads, assortments of rolls, cinnamon buns etc...but my forays into sourdough have only begun in the last year...i've been playing with some of maggie glezers sourdough (columbian from the ABAA) but spotted susan's SD with flax the other day and just had to try it.....always looking for improving........cathy in wi

Susan's picture

I have only one suggestion, but before that, I must tell you that you've done a fantastic job!  Slashing couldn't be better, and I love the shape.  You'll get more flavor if you bake the bread longer so it browns.  Once you think it's done, leave it in the oven for five more minutes. 

And to be clear, you lined a bread pan with a linen cloth to bring about this shape?  What a smart girl you are, and thanks for the proofing tip.

Susan from San Diego

breitbaker's picture

thanks for the comment....I thot i should have baked it a bit longer but I'm always scared of having the top crust be to hard to bite! Does it only brown the crust and add flavor or does it make it harder? also, do you leave the oven turned on to temperature, or shut it off and leave the loaf in with the residual heat,(as I've seen some suggest?)...lots of things to learn...thank you for your kind comments and yes, I just took a regular metal bread pan, laid my linen cloth (floured with AP and a sprinkle of rice flour) inside, and put my dough to sleep for the night in the fridge:)... cathy in wi

Susan's picture

I'm only kidding!  What I aim for, Cathy, is a crust that's relatively thin, but crisp and hard.  It will only stay crisp and hard for a little while, then it will get  leathery, and I love that, too.  After all, we're not after smushy white bread here.

Peek at my blog a bit later.  There's a flaxseed loaf in the oven right now, and I'll post a photo--good or bad--and tell how I put it together.  Wish me luck!


Susan from San Diego

breitbaker's picture
breitbaker's the crumb shot...i really think it needs to be more open, but is this due to my shaping, slashing, or under/over proofing? any opinions?

arlo's picture

I'd say all in all you have a wonderful loaf of bread. The crumb looks fantastic, it's not dense but rather irregular in a sought after way. If anything I think if you were to be a bit more gentle in your shaping you may find larger holes in the crumb. The only other suggestion is what Susan stated, perhaps leaving in your loaf for a bit longer to give it a nicer shade of color on the crust.

 But don't stop, with the skill you have shown your loaves will be exceptional soon enough.

Nathan's picture

I agree with the others. Try baking it a bit longer. In my opinion it gives the bread depth and helps it keep longer.

If you feel the bread was overproofed why don't you try baking it right from the fridge. Final proofing times depend on many things, but in my apartment I find that giving my bread a final proof for 2 hours at room temperature (after a 10- to 14-hour cold retard) is too much and leads to overproofed bread. I bake almost all of my sourdough right from the fridge and have had good luck doing so.

davidg618's picture

to burn a loaf of bread.

Both my wife and I like a dark crust. I've stopped using a thermometer, and now let the crust of breads I bake frequently--pain au levain, baguettes, light rye, and whole-wheat sandwich loaves--reach the color we desire. Sourdoughs I leave in for 5 or 10 mins. after the the oven's turned off, with the door cracked.

Your loaf and crumb look excellent to me. Good job!

David G

breitbaker's picture

thanks for the taking the time to check this usual, I'm excited about my next bake..will be trying the longer bake time and see what I have to report:) Now that I *finally* have gotten around to getting in the groove of taking pics and uploading them, I will start posting in my blog....just another question I thot of...glezer recommends putting your oven racks as close to the top of your oven as possible...why does this seem odd to me? I realize ovens vary a lot, but do any of you bake "a way high up" in the oven? :)    cheers...cathy in wi