The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My white Sourdough is grey - how do the SF SD's do it?

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StuartG's picture
StuartG

My white Sourdough is grey - how do the SF SD's do it?

Hello all,


Hope this is a quickie and you don't mind but I'm wondering how do the SF Sourdoughs stay so white?  I love my SD and they come out with grey crumb. 


Is it a bleached flour?


Thanks, Stuart

ehanner's picture
ehanner

It could be the flour or you could be kneading (oxygenating) to much. What brand of flour are you using and what recipe are you using?


Eric

StuartG's picture
StuartG

I'm in Europe (Denmark) and am using an organic white flour which I assume is unbleached because it's organic.


My recipe is my adaptation of the 1-2-3 ratio soudough where I've lowered the hydration to 66% which gives


180g 100% hydration starter


540g flour


12g salt


339g water


 


10 min autolyse, 10 min kneading.  It doesn't windowpane very extremely well but it does do it.  Proofs in a cold room (15C) for 8 hours while I'm at work or overnight.  Bake at 250C for 25 mins with a bit of steam then 175C for the remainder (about another 25 mins).


The bread comes out perfect and looks a lot like the french soudoughs (e.g., Polianes) but I was surprised to see a picture of SF sourdough where the crumb is as white as a sheet of office paper.


Thanks for your thoughts!


Stuart

copyu's picture
copyu

Hi Stuart,


I make most of my 'white' breads with a dash of whole-wheat or rye (or both) and I  keep ONLY a rye-fed starter for all of my sourdough baking...(I think true "SF sourdough fanatics" keep all-white-flour starters...but I can't be bothered!)


When I use white flour and durum semolina, only, the loaves usually come out white to golden, but everything else that I bake is grey-ish (I make it like that and I like it that way!)


Cheers,


copyu


 

lumos's picture
lumos

Does it only happen to your SD based bread but not to yeast-based bread? If you're using rye/WW flour like Poilane bread, its crumb does have greyish tint. But not all SD bread has rye/WW in it. As long as it's based on SD, it's called 'sourdough' bread even if it only used white bread flour, which crumb is white. It also depends on shade of white flour which was used as well, because some white flour is whiter than others, depends on type of wheat and how it's milled. Every flour has its own unique shade of 'whiteness' even if its unbleached. So whiter white flour produced whiter crumb, naturally. And longer fermentation tends to produce less-white crumb, but I would describe it as 'warmer or more yellowish tint' rather than 'greyish', so it may not the case in this particular problem.


But if you still get grey crumb even when only white flour is used, here is one possibility.


I used to have one student in my cookery class some years ago who was wondering why her bread always came out with grey crumb. I went to her house one day to see how she was making her bread and it turned out to be her worktop wasn't quite as clean as she thought it was. So basically she was 'cleaning' her worktop with her dough everytime she was kneading on it. It did look clean, on naked eyes, and she insisted she cleaned it every day, but obviously it wasn't because since she thorughly, meticulously, almost fanatically cleaned it, much harder than ever, all the breads came out with beautiful crumb as it should be.


I'm not suggesting your worktop is filthy in any way, so please, please do not be offended, and I apologize if you are, but I'm just presenting one of the possibilites based on one experience I encountered, though its possibility might be minute.


And just one small warning if you're thinking of cleaning your worktop, just in case.... If you use cleaner with anti-bacterial/disinfectant, don't make SD based bread on it straightaway. It may kill part of wild yeast (not all of them, but some of them)  and give adverse effect on proofing and baking. It doesn't seem to effect commercial yeast so much, but with wild yeast a little bit of TLC may be necessary.


lumos

StuartG's picture
StuartG

What a great reply! I have a tear in my eye from laughing and my wife is shocked.  I love your reply and love that you replied!


I'm hoping they greyish crumb is from the organic flour but will give the worktop a better 'once over'.


Hillarous and you made my day.  Thank you thank you for posting so honestly!


Stuart


PS: in case anyone thinks that 'cleaning the kitchen' is my wife's job because she's upset and I'm not, please let me assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.  I certainly own all the mess I make and if the kitchen isn't clean, its bound to be my fualt.

lumos's picture
lumos

Phew! Relieved to know at least you're not angry with me. :p


Yeah, I can't guarantee extra scrubbing of your worktop would have any beneficial effect to the colour of your bread, but it may worth a try. And even if it doesn't, you can at least be assured your worktop has always been very clean! :D


Whereabout in Denmark do you live, if I may ask? I used to have a Danish friend who brought back a few loaves of bread whenever she was over there on holiday to see her family and they tasted great! They were just plain white or ones with some grains in it, Unfortunately she wasn't a food-fanatic/bread-geek like me, so she didn't know (or interested) how it's made or what's in it, and she said she just picked them up from a small bakery near her family live and they're nothing special, but still they were really good. At least much better than any of breads most of average bakeries here (UK) sell, and that's exactly the reason she always made sure she brought some back.

StuartG's picture
StuartG

I'm an Aussie and have been living in (or around) Copenhagen for the last 12 years.  Danish bakeries are pretty good on average but there have been some interesting trends over the last 5 years or so as the global 'return to good/organic/slow food' has really kicked in.  As such, there is a popular  chain of really bakeries that does really heavy, earthy breads thats good.


The Danes themselves are prolific bakers - it just seems to be something that they all know how to do or grow up learning.  They're also very fond of seeds/grains in their breads which make things more interesting than the regular sandwich loaves I grew up with.


But in as far as I can tell, they don't do sourdough.  So when I got hooked on it, I felt quite proud to up my bread skills in a highly bread skilled environment and on something a bit exotic :)

lynne.up's picture
lynne.up

Slightly beside the point, but rumor in SF was that the reason the sourdough had that unique flavor was that the bakers slapped the dough against their sweaty chests.  Probably the fog has something to do with it also.  The early mornings in North Beach exuded the smell of fresh baked bread, and the generous bakers would give us poor collegiates extras.