The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Starter Day 11 and Counting.....

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CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Sourdough Starter Day 11 and Counting.....

Thanks to all the Magnificent people on this site I have made it to Day 11 using SourdoLady's recipe.  Question #1: I have heard that a Starter can constitute up to 30% of the volumn of the dough.  So do I start to add more flour and water now to work toward that end and build my volumn of Starter?  At the moment the starter is of a pancake batter consistancy with lots of bubbles all the time.  But there is no liquid or hooch, etc...I continue with the 1/4 each of the starter, of the rye flour, and of water. Question #2: Does someone have a Fool Proof Beginner sourdough recipe? My thanks as always...and just for the record...you guys are a whole lot better than Any book for this novice.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

CountryBoy, it's time you baked some bread with that starter! Are you wanting to leave it a rye starter, or are you going to convert to white flour? I would suggest that you convert to white because it is more versatile for any recipe, or you could divide it and keep one rye and convert the rest to white. You can feed as much as you want to build enough starter volume for your recipe.

If you prefer to work with a thicker starter, just use more flour when you feed it. I like to keep mine like a thick batter, but some people prefer a stiff starter. It's up to you. When making any recipe you will have to keep in mind that the original recipe may have been written with a different starter hydration than what yours is, so you may have to adjust a bit.

I have a beginner sourdough recipe I can post but I have to go find it. Will post in a few minutes.

 

Basic Sourdough Bread

1 cup proofed starter

3/4 cup milk or water

2 T. butter or oil

2 T. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

3 1/2 cups bread flour or unbleached AP flour

 

You can leave out the sugar and oil and use water instead of milk for a lean dough. I prefer the richer version because it stays fresh longer. The richer version will be finer grained--more of a sandwich bread. Do what you prefer.

 

I mix everything just until it is a shaggy mass and then I cover it and let it autolyse for 20 minutes before kneading. Knead until the dough looks smooth and satiny. It should be slightly sticky. Let the dough proof until it is about double. De-gas and shape into loaf. Place in greased pan and let proof until it is double again. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread in oven and turn heat down to 350. Bake about 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn out of pan immediately and cool on wire rack.

 

I hope my directions are good enough. Sometimes I forget that newbies don't understand some of the things I take for granted. I'm getting ready to tear down my computer to set up a new one I just got, so if all goes well I'll be back online this evening.

 

 

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

I know I read 14 days somewhere, but I will do just what you say to do, as always.  Is it possible that the longer I continue in this phase, the better the taste in the final bread?  Isn't there a correlation there somewhere?  I am a total novice on this and lay no claim to know anything other than what you, mountaindog, jeff, floydm, et. al. say.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

As long as your starter is showing good activity you can bake with it. It is true that it will continue to improve with time, but why wait? The bread you bake now will be far better than any commercial yeasted bread, so enjoy! I added the recipe above.

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

I will proceed as directed with the recipe you sent...The part of the process that always stumps me is...when early on when the dough gets shaggy...you said."I mix everything just until it is a shaggy mass and then I cover it and let it autolyse for 20 minutes before kneading"  Molly Katzen forgot to mention "to cover it and let it autolyse for 20 minutes before kneading." ....and here I thought I could believe everything I read in books.  Just for the record SourdoLady, I am also reading the bread bible and the bbapprentice book, but it looks as if it is proving too difficult for me to digest ALL the many little details and each seems so important.  Question: If more days are better, then at what point does it become a point of diminishing returns?  After 3 weeks?  3 months?...Most grateful to you.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

There's a lot to learn, but it gets a lot easier. Just take it step by step. Really, all you need to know is:

  1. Mix the liquid, yeast (or starter), salt and flour (and other stuff if in the recipe if it's there). See Floyd's White Bread recipe for ingredients to a basic loaf. Add more liquid or flour if necessary until you get the right consistency. Usually it will be somewhat tacky, but not sticky, at least for your first loaves. Later on, you'll probably want to try wetter doughs that are more difficult to handle.
  2. Knead it until you can snip off a little piece of dough and stretch it into a thin translucent sheet without it tearing. That should take about 10 minutes.
  3. Put it in a bowl, cover it and let it rise until it's doubled. Alternatively, you can poke the dough with a wet finger. If the dent doesn't fill in, it's ready.
  4. Degass the dough, and shape it into a loaf. Easiest is a pan loaf. Just pat the dough into a rectangle and roll it up tight like a jelly roll. Grease the bread pan with butter or spray oil (i.e. Pam) and put the loaf in. Cover it with plastic and let it rise until it's an inch or two above the rim. You can also use the finger poke test.
  5. Preheat the oven to about 350. Let it bake 50 minutes to an hour. It's done when it sounds hollow when the bottom is thumped or, if you've got an instant read thermometer, when the center registers above 190. If it's not done, no need to put it back in the pan. Just put it on the rack for another 10 minutes or so. If it starts getting too dark, lay some aluminum foil on top of the loaf.
  6. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour, on a wire rack or a few rolled up balls of aluminum foil before slicing 

These are the basics. Everything else -- autolyse, preferments, folding, long no-knead fermentations, slashing the bread, steaming the oven, high-hydration doughs -- will help you make BETTER bread, but I guarrantee, if you make some basic bread following the techniques above, your bread will taste better than just about anything you buy at the store.

 

So start with something simple, and then bring the more advanced techniques in later on.

 

Good luck!

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

I have printed off your email and Floyd's recipe.  Sometime simple is better...I honestly don't think you folks realize how much more articulate you are than the books....

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

We were all beginners once; I had plenty of help when I started out.

 

One thing I forgot to mention. I use instant yeast, which allows you to just throw the yeast in with everything else. If you're using active dry yeast, you'll need to "proof" it first in some warm water. Just follow the directions on the package, and use some of the liquid from the recipe for proofing. If you don't have a thermometer, the liquid should feel tepid to your wrist -- neither hot nor cold.

 

Good luck!

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

I printed off that as well. So now I am set to go.  But since I just took 2 loaves out of lthe oven from a basic bread recipe from Mollie Katzen's book I think I should wait a few days or it will send my wife bonkers...thanks again.  Since I Never saw anyone make a loaf a bread before I feel I am playing blind man's bluff.  However with all you folks who are so awesome with your assistance I have nothing but gratitude to you all....Seriously.

Jeffrey's picture
Jeffrey

Sounds like your doing pretty good, keep up the good work.  It will get easier, and you'll always find new problems to work out, which keeps it interesting.

 

So what did your wife think of your bread?  I bet she liked it.

 

jeffrey