The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough taste

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sybram's picture
sybram

Sourdough taste

I made the BBA Italian bread with good results, but it stales so quickly.  I've been redoing almost every recipe in SD just to help with keeping fresh, but I thought there was too much sour taste this time.  Is there a way to tame down the flavor, while maintaining the benefit of the longer freshness?  I've heard some of you talk about slicing your loaves right away and freezing--just taking out what you need each day.  I guess I can do that if I have to, but I love having a loaf in my bread box for a few days, always ready.

athagan's picture
athagan

I do not have nearly the experience with sourdough that some here have, but I'll relate what I do.  I'm not big on a lot of sourdough tang either so I use more starter.  This gives a faster rise, less acid production, but I still get a good flavor and a nice change in texture.  At the moment I'm using two cups of starter for six loaves of bread.  I can mix it up about nine or ten in the morning, bake it about eight that evening.


.....Alan.


 


 

sybram's picture
sybram

Alan, do you mean sd starter or commercial yeast preferment?  If you're saying sd starter, then is the point that the more you use, the faster it rises and the less time it has to get sour?

athagan's picture
athagan

Alan, do you mean sd starter or commercial yeast preferment?  If you're saying sd starter, then is the point that the more you use, the faster it rises and the less time it has to get sour?


I mean sourdough.  Been using it for about two months now.  I feed it up at least once, usually twice, sometimes three times a week if I'm also making pizza dough.  I keep it in the refrigerator most of the week, take it out and feed it on Saturday (I usually bake on Sunday).  Thus it has less acidity going into the bake and using more of it raises the bread faster so less time for acid production.


It still produces some sourdough flavor and changes the texture of the bread but isn't really tangy the way some are.


.....Alan.


 


 

sybram's picture
sybram

Hmmm.  Well, sounds like our sd is about the same.  I hadn't used mine in a while, so took it out one morning (it's 50% hydration), fed it, let it sit out all day and refreshed it again that night, and made bread the next morning.  I baked about 6 pm it seems.  Real sour.


Do you let yours stay out before you use it, or do you feed and use right away?


Syb

athagan's picture
athagan

As the other poster suggested my starter is much higher hydration.  I use pretty much equal volumes of water and flour.


I do deflate the dough and raise it a second time since I mix all six loaves of dough at the same time, bulk ferment, then divide, shape, and proof.  The proof stage is done in the oven and I bake from a cold start.  Saves me from having to find some place to proof six loaves of dough and works well.


If I have my act together I feed the starter the night before and usually once the next morning then use it an hour or two after the morning feeding after it has had a chance to get some good bubbling action going.  I've only been doing this for a couple of months now so my method is still evolving.


.....Alan.


 


 

sybram's picture
sybram

About how long does it take on bake day after your dough is mixed?


Do you steam at all?


Syb

athagan's picture
athagan

Last Sunday I fed the starter before I started breakfast so call it about 8 to 8:30.  Mixed the dough after we'd eaten and washed the dishes by which time the starter had bubbled nicely. That would be maybe ten a.m.  Bulk fermented the rest of the morning and all afternoon in a big mixing bowl in the microwave (it's a closed box big enough to hold the bowl).  I mist the top of the dough before putting it in then again later if it looks like it needs it.


Just before we had supper I deflated the dough, divided, shaped, then panned it.  Put it in the oven to proof while we ate.  About the time I had the dishes washed it was ready to bake.  Call it about 8:15 or thereabouts.  Eleven to twelve hours from the time I put it in the bowl until the time I turned on the oven.


I don't steam in the usual way.  When I put the dough in the oven to proof I spray the tops of the loaves with a mister to keep them from drying out.  I do this again just before turning the oven on and I have a broad, shallow baking pan on the shelf below that I put about a cup and a half of water on at the same time.  As the oven comes up to heat it's rapidly cooking off the water so the dough surface stays quite moist while it's in the oven spring phase.  By the time the water has completely boiled off the bread has sprung all that it's going to and it begins to brown.  I've had very little cracking problems since I started doing this.


.....Alan.


 


 

sybram's picture
sybram

Thanks Alan.  Your responses have been very helpful.


Syb

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I personally do not like the sour tang to some SD.My starter yields a nice,sweet bread.There has been a lot of discussion on how to make SD bread more sour and it has a lot to do with how the starter is maintained. Maybe if you research that topic to see what you should/should not do for sourness. I do know that if I do a prolonged,retarded rise,even with my starter, the dough wil develop more sour.


As far as staling,I have found that enriched loaves do last longer.The addition of some kind of fat,sugar oe protein helps a lot.Even if it is 2 tbsp veg. oil per loaf.


I usually figure 1/2 c 100%(by weight) starter per loaf.For full flavor, I try to make my dough for an overnight rise. If I'm short on rise time, I do add 1/4-1/2 tsp instant yeast.A compromise.Bread still tastes good.

sybram's picture
sybram

Thanks.  Good points.  I have tried adding a bit of yeast to hurry the rise, and I thought the bread staled quicker than when I didn't.  Maybe that's what I get for thinking.  I've purposely kept away from the enrichments, trying to get as lean a loaf as possible, since I want to be leaner, too, but I'm thinking maybe that could be the answer to my problem.


Syb

sybram's picture
sybram

Would you mind sharing your recipe?


Syb

GabrielLeung1's picture
GabrielLeung1

Firm starters, and long slow rises make sourdough breads really sour. The reason being, firm starters select for acetic acid bacteria and long slow rises give said bacteria plenty of time to ferment and produce the acids and metabolites that contribute to the sour flavor (and other flavors typical to those bacteria). In order to get a mild sour flavor, design conditions such that the bread isn't sour based on what you know.


Here's what I'd do.


1.) Keep a liquid levain rather then a firm starter


2.) Use lots of sourdough starter to get a faster rise (within reason of course)


3.) Don't punch down your dough in order to get a secondary fermentation before shaping


4.) Don't use retarded yeast fermentation, but rather try to bake off the dough before you make up your final dough.


Thats all I can think of in terms of getting the mildest flavor you can. Let us know how it goes.

sybram's picture
sybram

OK, I was wondering about #1, since I use a stiff (50% hydration) starter.  So, do you think equal parts starter, flour and water would be good?


I don't understand your #4.  Can you explain?


Thanks for your help.


Syb

GabrielLeung1's picture
GabrielLeung1

Yeah, standard 100% mother is maintained with a 2:2:1 ratio of flour, water, and mother. That particular hydration mother favors growth of lactic acid bacteria that produce a much milder flavor (yogurt vs. vinegar). Give it a try and see how things go.


As for #4, some people like to slow down their sourdoughs in the fridge, then bake them off the next day, that can apply to bulk fermentation or to the final proof before the bake. If you're trying to minimize the sour flavor in your breads, don't do this. The longer and slower the fermentation, the more flavor you'll get in your bread (which in your case you don't want). 


Hope this helps,


Gabriel

sybram's picture
sybram

Thanks Gabriel.  That business about not doing a long fermentation unless you want more sour is another wonderful tidbit for me to put in my "bread bank" of information.  You guys are great.  Even though I've probably read all these techniques, the totality of their effect didn't register until you told me.  Can't wait to bake again with what I've learned here. 


Syb