The Fresh Loaf

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Floury, bland tasting sourdough

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robadar's picture
robadar

Floury, bland tasting sourdough

I'm working with the Tartine recipe.  I get a floury, bland, almost "raw" tasting loaf.  Baked loaf is beautiful.  Good rise. Nice, expanded slashes.  So shaped loaf rise must be on the  mark.  I know I'm baking long enough.  All I can think of is insufficient bulk fermentation.    I'm giving it four hours, at which time it is not really bubbly or jiggly.  Should it be?  Could that be the problem?


RB

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Feeding, temps and rising times.  At this moment, sounds like the starter has plenty of yeasts but the lactose beasties are not being allowed to put out.  How brown is the crust?

Brot Backer's picture
Brot Backer

Did you forget salt? It's easier to do that with sourdough recipes. I always taste a bit of dough out of habit just to make sure. Also with salt, are you measuring by weight or volume and what kind of salt are you using?

robadar's picture
robadar

The crust was golden brown.  I am using plain, iodized salt, about 1/2 tsp. per cup of flour.  Again, I ask the question, should the bulk fermentation be noticeably bubbly?  Does lack of insufficient bulk fermentation produce a floury, bland taste?


RB

amolitor's picture
amolitor

Bulk fermentation will add complexity to the flavor, but underfermenting it shouldn't RUIN the flavor. If the textures are good, you're at least in the general area for fermentation.


I do not know what the Tartine dough is supposed to look like at any given time, sorry!


Mini could well be on to something with the lactobacilli being suppressed in favor of the yeasts. Not sure if that would account for 'floury' but it could account for 'bland'.


 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

noticeable expansion of the dough.  The usual recommendation is for the dough  to double in volume although some formulae may call for less or for more.  If you were to press on the dough, you should feel the bubbles under the surface.  If your starter is naturally slow, or if the temperatures in your kitchen are below the mid-70s F, 4 hours may not be enough time for the bulk fermentation. 


While longer fermentation times are often used to extract more flavor from the flour, the aim isn't to reduce a "floury" taste.


From what you have described, I wonder if the bread is perhaps under-baked.  The Tartine bread is a lean dough, so the internal temperature should be in the 205-210 F range at the completion of the bake when checked with an instant-read thermometer.  The fact that it is golden brown on the outside only indicates that it is...golden brown on the outside.  You may be experiencing an instance where the outside browns up faster than the inside bakes.  That might be due to an oven whose actual temperature is higher than the set temperature.  Or maybe there's a hot-spot in your oven.  I'd suggest taking the loaf's temperature at the end of the suggested bake time.  If it's above 205 F, it should be alright.  If it is something less than that, give it a few more minutes in the oven. 


What is the consistency of the crumb?  Does it seem to be still doughy, rather than bready?


Best of luck.


Paul

robadar's picture
robadar

The bulk fermentation occured at fairly low temps, around 70 or lower.  No way did the volume of the dough double.  I have always understood (perhaps incorrectly) that with sourdough you do not seek a doubling of bulk.   The loaf temp after baking was 210-212.  The crumb has nice big holes but was dense and seemed somewhat damp.  It was also darkish rather than white.  Does any of this info help?


RB

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi RB,


I've cooked the Tartine formula a few times. I don't have the full text so bakers who do have access to all of Robertson's instructions may be able to help more.


I've found it produces a moist loaf which stays moist a good few days. From your description, though, your loaf doesn't sound 'raw'. It would look more like a compacted, uncooked cake if it were. 


From what bakers on TFL write the double hydration technique works better with some doughs and flours than others. Some find it great. Others do not add the second amount of water. You could try that maybe?


You must know that the method calls for use of a very young leaven so you wouldn't necessarily get builk doubling early in the process. I think it does need long fermentation. I usually retard my dough but other bakers like Sally BR have had success with fermentation on the bench. I wouldn't expect the dough to be really jiggly until nearer the end of the process.


Also like Mini says because the leaven is weak you won't get much of a lactic kick. I do think the 50% wheat in the leaven is needed to aid flavour. After baking it a few times I now add about 33g rye to 750g final dough. SallyBR also reports that some spelt worked well as a substitute for wheat. 


Robertson himself says that this formula really highlights the taste of the flour and when made with some flours it can taste odd. He makes this with a specially commissioned blend of flour. 


From what you write it sounds like the structure of your loaf is fine. I think the first thing I would do is to try the formula with a different brand of white flour, to see how it goes or to slightly reduce the water in the version you are baking now. 


Kind regards, Daisy_A

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

before the acid flavors form, then the yeast would be strong and the lacto-beasties contribution is pushed aside.  That is the danger is pushing food onto the starter for yeast production and not letting it mature for complete lacto acid production.



Also like Mini says because the leaven is weak you won't get much of a lactic kick.



Um... it's actually the opposite.  I find when the leaven (rise) is weak, the sour flavors are often stronger unless both levels are very low.  One wants to get a acceptable balance in the starter of both yeasty and lacto beasties.  So playing with temperatures... warmer ones... might be the way to go.  Especially at the beginning, the first few hours when mixing up the dough. 


I'm still wondering if the starter is rushed into the fridge or if the starter is allowed to mature completely before being fed.  ???  Then it would follow... Was this loaf the result of a fast conversion from a liquid starter to a firmer one?


I have also mentioned (a recent post) that when making a firm starter from a more liquid one that it might take a few days.  This might be the case... an overfed starter that needs time to "step up" its power.  (See archive discussions of firm vs liquid starter.)

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Mini,


Sorry:'Weak' isn't the clearest term. Sorry to mangle your intended meaning! I was trying to describe a very young leaven. Robertson advises that you can use a refreshed leaven after just 2 hours, when it only begins to float in water. Not quite sure what balance of yeast and lactic acid that would have internally but I find the bread made with it less sour that when I use a mature leaven. 


Interesting what you say about warmth at the beginning. You've probably picked up from the book or TFL posts that Robertson stresses that the water added should be 80F on both first and second hydration and several bakers have found that to be key.


However, when temps are really cold, like here in the UK and both flour and leaven are cold, I've found myself wondering about upping that temp. to get a 80F final DDT. I find Susan at Wild Yeast's water temp calculator really handy for this.


Have only been baking sourdough since May this year and am finding the fermentation aspect more and more fascinating. Andy referenced The Bread Builders as being good on this theme. Would welcome any thoughts about texts that are good on fermentation in general? (Have Hamelman, Whitley, Head and Lepard).


Kind regards, Daisy_A