The Fresh Loaf

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Am I OK Here?

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jcamador's picture
jcamador

Am I OK Here?

Here is one of my first sourdough boules (2nd), but it doesnt seem as dark as some of the other pictures I've seen here. It's a 2 lb boule baked for 28 minutes at 450 degrees. Baked with steam first 15 minutes with baking lid and finishing internal temp is 205 degrees. 28 minutes doesn't seem like a lot of time especially when certain recipes are calling for 45 minutes or so. I'm getting LOTS of blisters...which maybe is not a good thing? If you can't already tell...I'm new to baking and trying to find an accurate barometer of a good loaf.. Thanks!


 



LindyD's picture
LindyD

Twenty-eight minutes for a two-pound loaf is pretty quick. 


The blisters are an indication the dough was retarded.  Nothing wrong with blisters, although the French might disagree. 


What does the crumb look like?  Are you following someone's recipe?


It's a pretty boule.

jcamador's picture
jcamador

Thanks! Internal temp was 205 degrees when I removed it from the oven. It's the Norwich Sourdough recipe from The Wild Yeast Blog... http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/07/08/my-new-favorite-sourdough/


I forgot to take a picture of the crumb, but it was open with irregular hole structure.


 


EDIT: it's hard and crunchy when it comes out of the oven, but softens a little when cooled. Very soft and creamy on the inside with a crackle crust.

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I assume you baked in a Dutch oven or equivalent? If yes, did you preheat it? Greater than 450*F?. Lastly, are you certain your temperature probe was at the center--the coolest region--internally? 


If most of the answers are "Yes"", especially using a DO, and your internal temperature reading was accurate, I think you simply left the lid on too long. Assuming you removed the lid at the 15 min. mark, the remaining 13 minutes wasn't enough to brown the exposed surface nicely.


I would love to see a crumb shot; its description sounds spot on. Externally, the loaf looks very good to me The blisters are to be expected, I suspect their caused by condensing moisture droplets that seep into the dough's skin, and form tiny bubbles of steam when heated. The crust softens because of internal moisture absorbed into the crust while cooling. If you like a crunchy crust, you can pop it back into a 375°F oven for four or five minutes just before you cut into it to eat.


David G

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Do you have a convection oven by chance?  Do you preheat to 475F?


Hamelman's Vermont sourdough (Susan[Wild Yeast] based her Norwich SD on the Hamelman formula) is my "daily" bread.  Following his instructions,  I bake two 1.5 pound loaves in my gas oven for 40 to 45 minutes at 460F, using normal steam. The internal temp, when I've checked it, is around 209 and the crust is nicely caramelized.  I probably could remove the bread sooner, but I favor a bold crust.


Here are Susan's instructions:



Once the loaves are in the oven, turn the heat down to 450F. For 400g loaves, bake for 12 minutes with steam, and another 15 – 18 minutes without steam. I leave the oven door cracked open a bit for the last 5 minutes of this time. The crust should be a deep brown. Then turn off the oven and leave the loaves in for 5 minutes longer, with the door ajar, to help them dry. Larger loaves will need to be baked longer.



You could try removing the lid after 12 minutes, or baking for another five minutes or so, to see if that will make a difference.  An internal temp of 210F is fine, although the max you want to go.   It could be that covering the bread is having some effect, although I've personally not experienced that when I do use a cover.


Your description of the crumb sounds great, so yes, you're doing very well.  As to a bolder crust, well, the fun is in the experimentation and the eating!

jcamador's picture
jcamador

Thank you guys for the replies!


The oven was preheated with a stone at 500 degrees for about 45 minutes, then right before I put it in I dropped it to 450.


It was baked on a stone with a roasting lid as I saw detailed here: http://northwestsourdough.com/newsite/baking.html , and yes, the temp was taken dead center, it was probably a little closer to 208 degrees.


I think I combined a couple set of instructions and settled on 15 minutes under the lid. So I think you guys are right to remove the lid after 12 minutes or so...I'll give this a shot in the next few days.


I've always like the way blisters look too...makes me think of crackly crust! I'll take a picture of the crumb over the weekend to get some feedback. Thanks for the feedback and great advice you guys!


EDIT: This was not a convection oven...it's an old commercial gas oven.


EDIT EDIT: Oh yeah...I also spritzed the dough with water as soon as it touched the stone, then sprayed the stone around the loaf and then covered.

LindyD's picture
LindyD


it's an old commercial gas oven.



Do you use an oven thermometer to confirm the temp you've dialed is the temp your getting?


Also, be cautious about spraying a hot stone with water - can cause it to crack.


Happy baking!

jcamador's picture
jcamador

Good question Lindy...no I didn't use an oven thermometer and I know this oven hasn't been calibrated in years. I'll check it this weekend. Could this be why your baking a 1.5 lb boule for 45 minutes and my 2 lb is only 28 minutes? I have been ignoring the clock and just been going off of internal temperature. Baking does make me happy!

BerniePiel's picture
BerniePiel

You might also keep in mind that frequent opening and closing of the oven door to check temp will cause a loss of oven temp.  I fully agree with Lindy and David that you should check the calibration of the oven, particularly if it is "old".  Also I have heard, but I don't know this for a fact that opening the oven door will result in a 50% loss of oven heat.  That said, I've never heard just how long one needs to have the door open for this to occur.  I would think not too terribly long.  Also, if you are able to monitor the loaf in the oven through a viewing window, I would first get the oven calibrated as Lindy says, and then confident of the oven's temp just watch and patiently wait till you see the crust turn the marbelized color that you prefer.  I sometimes use a strong flashlight because the oven bulb doesn't provide enough illumination for my old eyes.  After burning a loaf or two I now follow Mini's adage about lowering the temp and keeping a longer cook time, but again monitoring the color of the crust.  In time you'll be pulling them out to your satisfaction without thinking twice about it.  Personally, I think the loaf looks wonderful and bet it tastes even better.  Congratulations.


Bernie Piel

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi jcamador,


I am also just trying to get to grips with sourdough. Wow - have to say the shaping and slashing of the loaf look great!


Re: coloration of the crust - as a newbie I found the information on this link really useful http://www.thefreshloaf.com/keyword/maillard-effect


It gave me a much better idea of how to manage the loaf in the oven. According to the document, when conditions are right the Maillard reaction, which stimulates browning and caramelization kicks in when the temperature reaches 212˚ to 350˚F (100˚ to 177˚C).


Obviously a loaf can reach this in greater or lesser time, depending on oven heat. 28 minutes seems a quick bake for a 2lb loaf. Many recipes have an initial period at high heat (say 12-15 mins. or sometimes less) then a longer period at a lower oven temperature. Might be worth looking at some recipes for similar weight loaves and experimenting? The Maillard reaction should also happen with this approach.


Again, I found that you need to monitor your own loaf temperature and reactions, as you have been doing. There's no way I understand the science of baking yet but just wanted to pass on this information that I found on TFL that helped on the browning front.


Glad you're enjoying it - wishing you more happy baking!   Daisy_A

jcamador's picture
jcamador

Good point Bernie... I was opening the door quite a bit so that may have played a large part in the (non) browning. I'm going to check the oven temps in the next few days.


Thanks for the link Daisy- great info on the Maillard Effect! I forgot to mentioned that when I spritzed the dough, I spritzed it quite well, so maybe that played a part in keeping the crust from browning? Don't know...but I have so many experiments to try (and taste)!


Thanks for the great observations everyone!

jcamador's picture
jcamador

Well I double checked the oven temp with the thermometer and it's right on. Soooo...I'm thinking that maybe since all ovens are different and I'm using a commercial oven...maybe my bake time might be quicker than a home oven? Not sure if that's a possibility, but these are 1.5 lb boules baked for 28 minutes. Internal temp, dead center is 208 degrees. I still think this is kind of a fast bake time, but internal temp dictates doneness? Any ideas?



 



 



 


EDIT: I reduced the roasting lid "steam time" by a few minutes...from 15 minutes to 12. The crust was darker and had more crunch...

BerniePiel's picture
BerniePiel

Hi JCamador,


I don't think anything is wrong with what your doing, crust and crumb couldn't be better; nice marbelized crust, great open crumb, superb scoring.  I suppose my question back to you is.....What about these loaves don't you like???  They are beautiful.  I don't think there's a probaker on this site that wouldn't like to have these on his shelves for daily inventory and maybe a hundred or so more.  Great job, JCamador.


Bernie PIel

jcamador's picture
jcamador

Hi BerniePiel- thanks for the comments! I hope I didn't sound like I was complaining, but since these are some of my first loafs, I really didn't have a baramometer with which to judge. I will say that in my mind, they taste pretty darn good. Nice chew, slight tang, crisp crust...not heavy at all...so I'm pretty happy. But SOOOO much room for improving technique and consistency.


My bread experiments were born from my pizza experiments which were born my sourdough starter experiments. So many experiments to experiment with! Thanks for the feedback!


Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi jcamador,


Wow - those loaves look lovely- what great crumb structure! I also see that you are getting the more golden colour on the crusts so you must be happy about that.


As far as 'doneness'. Well if the inside's done at 28 min. at 450F, then it's done. I see Susan's Norwich sourdough recipe also bakes quite quickly, although she does crack the oven door with the heat off for the last 5 minutes, which can produce a crispier, rather than a browner crust. This is discussed here by thebreadfairy http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/17801/quotactive-coolingquot-path-crispier-crust


However if I read the notes right, 'doneness' inside the loaf does not necessarily indicate that this is all the baking that the loaf will take, although you do have to be careful at this stage. Basically the interior reaches a maximum of around 210C, so its temperature stops rising, while the crust continues to increase in temperature, which leads to crust coloration and caramelization.


I too am on my first sourdough loaves, but the most golden was tested for internal 'doneness', then put back in the oven to brown more.  I had to observe it closely as crust coloration happened very quickly at this point. After preheating the oven to a maximum 240C (475F), I baked a 1kg boule at 230C (450F) for 15 with steam (uncovered), then 20 without and then chose to leave it for 3 mins. more after the internal temperature was reached, solely to promote crust coloration. I think I could have left it for a couple of minutes longer but took it out when I was happy with the golden brown colour.


Hope this helps. As a fellow sourdough newbie I'm really impressed with your loaves. Happy continued baking,  Daisy_A


 

jcamador's picture
jcamador

Hi Daisy_A- the suggestion to steam for less time definitely allowed the crust to brown more and I saw a big improvement in overall color. Thanks for the link for the theory on crispy crust...a very good read and I have it bookmarked for future reference. So many variables go into making a good loaf and I need to start taking notes so that I can become more consistent. I know what you mean about reaching a point where the crust starts to brown VERY quickly...more trials to come! Happy baking to you!

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Jcamador,


That's all good then! I know what you mean about the variables and notes - mind you all your variables seem to be headed in the right direction!


I am still working hard on crumb, particularly as I tend to like breads with rye. I do a chart now, with the predicted formula and method and er...what actually happened. Helps with reflection and feedback.


Needed to say - I can't seem to edit my post above but it should read bread reaches internal temperature of 210F.


Happy continued experimentation,  Daisy_A

jcamador's picture
jcamador

Ha ha! I thought 210C seemed pretty warm for internal temp! I like the idea about the chart..I think I will try to replicate that as well. It's funny, but before I make anything I always try to visualize what the finished product would look like...that's why I love cookbooks with pictures! Reflection and feedback...I like that. I think that's why I love baking so much...Thanks Daisy_A!