The Fresh Loaf

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"Third and Fourth" attempts and "Not Too Good at Maths"

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ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

"Third and Fourth" attempts and "Not Too Good at Maths"

Not there yet!

I realise (sheepish grin) that I haven't been feeding my starter properly.  I said somewhere else on this sight that I've been mixing a lot of information together (not good) and totally confusing myself.  Can't wait for my "Bread Baker's Apprentice" to arrive!  Anyway I realised that I haven't been feeding my starter very well.  I was only feeding it one-half-half.  So I did some experiments and made two loaves using the 1,2,3 (fool-proof recipe - ha!).  I fed one starter as I've been feeding it and used it at it's peak, then fed one correctly by weight (1.1.1) and used it at it's peak in the other loaf.  Both loaves failed to hold their shape. I shape into nice tight boules, but they just sag and flatten out to a not too attractive shape.  I'm also being impatient, or my dough is just not rising to double for the second proofing.  I'm using an Austalian unbleached breadmaking flour (it's not specifically for sourdough though, maybe that's my problem.  I think my second attempt was actually better than these....  My next thought is that maybe my starter is just not mature enough even though it's doubling nicely in 2 - 4 hours.  It's about three weeks old now I think; only a baby huh.

Comments

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ


Hi Ronnie 

I see you have repeated your post on your blog so I  copy my comment from the other thread here:

 

Looks good Ronnie! I'll bet it tastes good.

Your starter will be pleased that you're giving it more to eat. May I suggest you take a look at Debra Wink's recent comments in her PJ-2 thread in which she talks about starter maintenance. They start with this post:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10901/pineapple-juice-solution-part-2#comment-140505

(The whole thread is worth reading!)

I wonder once you have shaped your boules, where you put them to proof? Are you using something to support them during the proof?

Many people buy built-for-purpose banneton, but I use plastic colanders. You could also line a bowl with a teatowel (linen is good as dough is less likely to stick to it, op shops often have 'ugly picture' 100% linen ones for a song). I use a blend of flour and rice flour to dust the colander so that the bread releases easily once proofed.  I place the bread into the colander 'upside down'.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1n_vULE7BY

Once ready,  I put a piece of baking paper over the bottom of the bread and support the bread with that as I upend it onto my 'peel' (it's actually a small cutting board). Then I score etc.

I'm sure your flour is just fine. 

Cheers, Robyn

 

ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

Thanks RobynNZ,  I tried using a colander and clean linen tea towel with loaf no. 4, but it still went to a shapeless blob when I tipped it out (very carefully).  Just the fault of my dough, nothing else.  I just have to get used to what I'm doing with it, how it's supposed to feel and actually kneading it enough I think.  Thanks for the  links.  Will read them tonight.

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

Hi Ronnie


I saw your photo on your other thread. Great result! You already have the proof you're going in the right direction. No fault there.


Perhaps taking a look at this lovely video shot at Max Poilane's bakery in Lyon will also be encouraging. See how 'pillowy' the boules are as they are plopped out of the banneton from around 3'10".


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4RiJs1a92U


You're right the more you work with the dough the more you'll get the feel for the whole process. You'll learn to watch the dough not the clock!


Once you get confident with the 123 formula, move on to one of the 'Susan' formulas, and you will learn even more about your sourdough. Just take it one step at a time.


Cheers, Robyn

ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

That is one amazing video.  Very inspiring.  Thanks for the link Robyn.  Yes, I'm very encouraged by my success, just have to replicate it now!  ha

Vogel's picture
Vogel

Your loaf already looks really lovely!


If you are willing to buy more books and are particularly interested in more technical things like feeding your starter, kneading, shaping, etc., I would wholeheartedly recommend Emily Buehler's Bread Science. It is a very detailed so you might have to read some sentences twice to picture them fully, but it gives you a very good insight into all the different steps of making bread and handling with sourdough. Personally, reading this made my results much more constant because it made me more able to identify mistakes.


It is very likely that your starter will gain more strength over time, so don't worry if it doesn't rise your dough as much or as quickly as desired.
The dough flattening a little and expanding sidewards during its final rise, especially if you don't use proofing baskets or bowls to support it, is totally normal. The dough relaxes while rising, the outer skin losing some of its tighness. However, later in the oven the dough should blow itself with gas like a balloon, only upwards, regaining its former shape. If it doesn't, then the dough itself maybe wasn't strong enough. Your should knead it enough to pass the windowpane test (like this; use the search engine to find out more) and do additional stretch & fold during the bulk fermentation to further strengthen the dough, if needed. And when shaping the final loaves, it is important that the smooth side of the dough doesn't rip.

ronnie g's picture
ronnie g


The dough flattening a little and expanding sidewards during its final rise



This whole paragraph is very helpful; a great description of what SHOULD be happening, so I know what to aim for.  thanks