The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough rising & baking issue!

Elf's picture
Elf

Sourdough rising & baking issue!


Hello I'm new to the forum & new to baking bread!


 


After having some success & a lot of enjoyment baking with dried yeast for a few months I decided to look into bread baking more seriously & recently bought Crust by Richard Bertinet.


 


I started by baking some simple baguettes with a fermented white dough & then a Poolish ferment which went well. I have to say I was intrigued by sourdough having not previously understood what sourdough was (I think I had it confused with Soda bread).


 


So using the very clear instructions in Crust I made a ferment starter which seemed to go like clockwork with my ferment matching the pictures in the book every step of the way. I have to say I didn't find the smell of the ferment pleasant but my fiance did & once it had been fed & left in the fridge I really liked the smell.


 


I then made up a dough working it in the French style outlined in the book. Again this went very well & my dough appeared as the pictures & demonstration video for every step right up to its entry to the oven.


 


However at this stage everything appears to go rather badly.


 


My loaves don't rise very well, often being misshapen & uneven, however the biggest issue is that where they do rise they leave a large pocket at the top of the bread with the dough at the bottom an inch high a rather rubbery.


 


I have now baked 4 loaves all of which have gone wrong, I was convinced that the issue lay with my using the fan setting on my oven baking the loaf too quickly however today I used the conventional setting & had the exact same issue!


 


On the bright side when sliced very thinly & toasted the bread tastes great, with a nice nutty flavour coming through, perhaps from the spelt flour.


 


I can't help but think I'm missing something obvious & that my lack of experience is the issue. 


 


At this stage any ideas would be welcome as I'm drawing a blank!


 


Please could you advise me?


 


Cheers


Tim


 


Here is a photograph of todays effort.



placebo's picture
placebo

Mike Avery has a list of common problems on his web site. Perhaps it'll give you an idea of how to solve your problem.

Elf's picture
Elf

Thank you for the link I'll have a look :)

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

 


Hi Tim,


 


I have recently made a handful sourdough loaves based on the recipe in Crust (prompted by having bought one of Richard Bertinet's sourdough loaves  - which tasted incredible).


 


The first three attempts at making it went very well... then I changed to a different flour and the next two loaves came out pretty much like yours - sporting a big rubbery flying crust.


 


My new flour seems to have weaker gluten and ferments faster. For the time being I am not attempting to follow Richard's recipe with this flour. I have had to reduce the hydration of the dough considerably and also the amount of starter that I include. This seems to be helping.


 


I would say it may be worth you trying a different brand of flour and/or reducing the amount of water you add to your existing flour.


 


Regards,


 


Gary


 


 

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Gary thanks for your reply.


 


I could try using a different flour so far I have only used Waitrose organic Leckford Estate bread flour, which is recommended in Crust. So I may well try a different flour.


 


Just to clarify the crust is lovely not rubbery at all, but the 1 inch high dough beneath it is rubbery.


 


I'm glad to hear you had 3 good loaves based on this recipe it shows it can be done!


 


Out of interest is the flour the only thing you did differently on the one loaf which came out like mine?

Elf's picture
Elf

I guess I should come clean about one thing.


 


In my baking the only way in which I deviate from the original recipe is salt. As I have a condition which requires a I consume extremely low levels of sodium I have used significantly less salt than the recipe.


 


From my previous bread baking it has made no difference at all to how the loaf came out. However could this be the culprit?

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

 


Hi Tim,


 


Sorry, misunderstood which part of the bread was rubbery. As it goes, my crust was probably more leathery than rubbery, but definitely flying ; - ). Sourdough does generally tend to be more chewy than yeasted breads though.


 


I have used the Leckford Estate flour before, although not for Richard's recipe, I would have thought it would indeed be suitable for the job. I found it a very user friendly flour.


 


Salt could be a factor. As I understand it, salt both tightens the gluten in the dough and also slows fermentation. It may be that your dough is over fermented by the end of the long proving period. You could prove the bread somewhere cooler to slow things down. Reducing the amount of starter may also help.


If you are the experimenting type, you could make two loaves side by side - one with the full amount of salt and one with the reduced amount and see how they compare. This could rule in or out the issue of salt.


 


I am very much a sourdough novice myself so these are just suggestions that may or may not help. What I have found though is that things that didn't make much difference to normal yeasted breads can have a big effect on sourdough breads.


 


Cheers,


 


Gary


 

Elf's picture
Elf

Baking 2 loaves with differing salt content makes perfect sense I'll give it a go.


 


As you say that way I can at least rule salt in or out as the issue.


 


I'll let you know the results!

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Tim,


I just wanted to start a new thread in the forum when I came across your post.


I have similar problems.


I watched the DVD over and over again, it looks like RB uses wholegrain spelt flour, this could explain the high hydration (74% overall in the recipe).


And I bought a thermometer and found that my place is much warmer than I thought.


I'll try on the weekend using wholegrain spelt, and adjusting the starter amount to 300g.


The formula is then: 760g wheat flour, 97g wholegrain spelt flour, 683g water, 300g starter, 18g salt


I'kll keep you posted how it went

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi,


I love this lively thread. Very inspiring.


I had a chance to revisit the RB-Crust recipe on the weeekend and would like to share my results.


Having used the originl recipe with light spelt flower (Dove) and white bread flower (waitrose organic) I had a very tasty loaf. My issues: After the proof the loaves were very sloppy, and I reduced the proof to 12 hours at about 17C the loaves seem to be ready for the oven (poke test).


Here's a picture.


RB white sourdough 1


I was thinking about the sloppiness, and which ingredient to change first.


On watching the DVD again I noticed that RB might have used wholegrain speltflour.


I tried a batch with the original amounts using wholegrain spelt. The shaping experience was encouraging, although I had to shorten the proof again.


In the final batch so far I used less amount of starter and adjusted the flour and water accordingly to still have the same ratios ( my new formula: Wheat 0.886 Spelt 0.114 Water 0.822 Starter 0.32 Salt 0.21). Wit h this dough I was able to stretch my patience and proof for 16 hours at 17C. The loaves turned out to be very sloppy again, and went very flat after slashing.


I got a good oven spring and a surprisingly even - but not dense - crumb, despite the dough slighty sticking to the bannetons.


Here a picture of this one:



Great elastic crumb, rich taste, alot more "sour" than my previous batches.


Next I'll check out the hydration level.


I would like to achieve a less sloppy loaf after proof, a bit more "upward" oven spring,


and a nice "grigne" (With a dough that sloppy the slashes just even out instantly).


Any ideas?


Juergen


 


 

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi


the flavour that you get with the wholemeal spelt is what I really love.  The loaves look nice and I particularly noticed that the one made with a light spelt has a far more open texture than the one made with wholemeal.  I am presuming, from your descriptions, that everything else - particularly hydration - was the same.  I do not get the open texture of your first loaf but the more even crumb of the loaf with wholemeal flour and for me that is a good job that I tend to toast this bread and butter would just run through the holes!


My suggestions to help you avoid the loaves spreading when you take them out of the banetton are:


- reduce the hydration to just below 70% (although you may lose some of the large holes in the crumb);


- proof the dough overnight in the refrigerator.


HTH


Richard

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

 


Hi Juergen,


Nice looking bread.


I think by it's nature the Crust loaf is a fairly low profile loaf. I believe the criss-cross slashing reduces upward spring to some extent also.


Having said that, sloppy dough doesn't necessarily mean no oven spring/grigne.


I had a couple of goes at the Tartine approach recently - cooking the loaf in a cast iron pot. The dough was incredibly flat and sloppy - I thought it was going to be a disaster for sure. Not so, the oven spring was incredible. The loaf came out looking like a football (or soccer ball if you prefer). Amazing. In truth though, I wasn't totally enamoured with the crumb I achieved. It had a steamed feel to it rather than baked. I will experiment with it again at some point in the future though. Worth a try.


Sorry, I don't have a photo of the dough before it went in to the oven but it was as flat and sloppy as could be. Here is the resulting loaf...


Regards,


Gary


 



 





 

Elf's picture
Elf

Hello Juergen,

 

Sorry I missed your initial post.

 

Thats some great looking bread, certainly a million miles better than my current efforts.

 

Interestingly I bought wholegrain spelt from waitrose completely by mistake when I found out I was all ready to go buy some other flour when I watched the dvd. I also noticed that the splet appeared to be wholegrain so I've stuck with my flour.

 

I know exactly what you mean about the sloppy proved loaves, overall my whole dough seems very sloppy. Which is odd because it comes together nicely from the slap & fold kneading it also shapes up very well. However in my case the shaped balls appear to spread more than they rise.

 

That said when watching the dvd I find the appearance to be very similar, when you watch RB turning out his proved loaf it sticks slightly to the linen lining his bowl & as he tips it out & you can see it deform in a way that resembles running slightly. My proved loaves behave in the same way.

 

Also from what I can tell RB's loaves are reasonably low & very wide as opposed to big high rise boules..

 

I'm curious about oven temperatures & duration. Have you been following the recipe oven temperatures? Also do you have a convection oven or electric & if electric do you use the fan? I ask because below where I have baked two loaves I had a very different rise from fan & non fan assist bakes.

 

I wouldn't mind the open crumb you have in the first loaf I'd just like my loaves to cook through & rise properly! One of the things that got me originally looking into bread baking is that my straight forward white bread had a very soft tight crumb. While my mum thinks its perfect with a nice crust & a soft tight crumb I was originally looking to find out how to get a more open & course crumb to the bread, which I have succeeded with using the poolish & fermented doughs in Crust.

 

Obviously I know next to nothing but in the book RB explains the secret to increased sourness is leaving the starter longer between feeds & that he preferes his sourdough to be sweet.

 

Thanks for adding to this discussion :)

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Ruralidle, GaryJ, Tim,


Thank you for your comments and ideas.


If you don't mind I'll answer / comment your three posts together, as they raise some common questions.


- General sloppiness /Grigne: In the book (and DVD) you can see the slashes and grigne (smallish). I got some razor blades for slashing, but the dough is so soft that the slashes are being pulled apart right away. I don't seem to have have any structure in my dough that could support a grigne (like in photo 16, page 57 in Crust).I wonder if that is to do with the protein content in my flour, I didn't try extra strong flour yet.


- Oven: Hm. I have got the cheapest Beko, fan assisted. You can't switch off the fan, and it manages just about 230C/450F. I am using a thin slab of granite as baking stone. I am not using water spray yet, I wanted to investigate that separately as I get nice baguettes without spray. The oven keeps steam very well.


- Crumb structure: I did some reading on TFL over the past weeks, it made my head spin, but also improved the crumb:


I had baguettes with some blowouts and started searching for a solution. I ended up reading about no-knead bread, stretch & fold, revisited the post about Gerard Raud miche, watched Greard Rubaud baking (video link in the linked post), read the Q&A with Daniel DiMuzio and looked into his book at amazon, came across this post, looked into Tartine related posts, etc. (My wife is getting worried...)


At the end I tried DiMuzio's straight baguette using stretch&fold and made my most amazing baguette so far.


I might be wrong with this, but it occurs to me that Bertinet's technique is just a variation of stretch&fold, and I realised that I used to overdo working the dough - ripping the gluten apart. My breads - including the ones in the photos - have now quite consistently an open crumb and a certain translucency.


GaryJ, your bread lookes lovely, I would be very happy with that amount of Grigne. Interesting what you say about the flavor.


- Hydration: Since today I kept the hydration level as in the original recipe, at 74%. I just have a loaf proofing at 70% hydration with the "original" amount of starter (50%). I'll post a photo once it comes out of the oven.


Tim, Bread is such a thing of habit! When I was in my teens, living in the south-west German countryside, we had an English exchange student. You can imagine his reaction to that real farmhouse bread we got from local farmer-friends ... (I don't blame the English, I blame the food indutry for creating habits). I believe I will make a very nice Bloomer one day ;-)


I think I should stop here,


Regards,


Juergen


 


 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi,


Here are the results with my RB sourdough at 70% hydration.


The dough doesn't feel dry, just a bit less runny, and it maintains some internal structure.


The following photos show the slashed loaf (after 14 hours proofing at 17C), and a crumb shot of the result.


White Sourdough 70% before bake


 


RB white sourdough 70% after bake


 


On tuesday a colleague at work showed me a white bread made according to a recipe on a flour pack. Her first attempt, and she did well, but thr recipe is high yeast short proof. I gave her the DiMuzio recipe that worked so well for me with the stretch&fold method. And I just wanted to proof for myself again that it works and produces this open, elastic crumb (as I mentioned in the previous post).


Here's a photo of the small batard I made:



 


Enough now,


Regards,


Juergen

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Juergen


That looks nice.  The dough doesn't look to have spread much during baking and the crumb looks really good.


Richard

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Thank you, Richard.


During the whole process with 70% hydration I felt more in control.


And I am very pleased with the result as well.

Elf's picture
Elf

That looks really good very nice.


 


I was struck yesterday on rewatching the dvd on just how much RB's loaf spread between scoring & sliding it into the oven. If you look particularly at RBs large loaf on the bottom of the oven its very flat when it goes in & has spread right the the edges of the baking sheet he uses as a peel.


 


So I can only assume that to some extent this running / spread is normal for high hydration.


 


About to add some thoughts on flying crust to the bottom on the thread.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Thank you, Tim.


My dough spread by about a third when it came out of the banneton (70% hydration).


With the original recipe it was more than that, and it spread further after slashing.


What I don't get is that on the video / in the book it looks more like my 70% dough.


So what's happening there, where does the difference come from? Not just handling, I suppose.


Interesting observation: With 70% hydration the dough felt far less fragile after 14 hours proof than the version with reduced amount of starter. I could have proved for 2 more hours according to the feel of the dough, but did not have the time.


Reducing water from 74& to 70% seems to slow down fermentation more than reductiuon of the starter from 50% to 32%


I didn't have a chance to check out your further thoughts yet.


 

G-man's picture
G-man

Hey Tim,


 


If the salt doesn't work for you, I'd be interested in knowing a couple things.


First, a problem I've had in the past was my proofing time. Namely, I was vastly overproofing and winding up with loaves that looked a great deal like yours. They tasted just fine when I risked breaking my teeth on them but aside from a big bubble here and there they were mostly bricks. What's your procedure look like after you put the dough together?


Another issue could be the age of your starter. If your starter is young (and this really depends on age and your climate where you keep your starter) it might be too weak to produce much lift. How old is your starter?


 

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey G-man thanks for your thoughts.


 


Thus far I have prooved the loaves for about 18 hours as specified in Crust, which does seem like a long time, that said I have left them to proove in my kitchen which when the oven is off is around 16 degrees celcius, the last couple of hours are spent with the oven on full warming the kitchen. Crust specifies 16-18 hours at 18 degrees. So in theory they should be slightly underprooved versus the method in the book.


 


Age of starter is interesting, my starter was made as per Crust method. Effectively as follows 2 days in a warm place, feed a day in a warm place, split in 4 & feed 1 part leave 12 hours in a warm place. Then place in fridge 2 days & use. Since then I've been feeding every 3 days or so & left it in the fridge.


 


So the starter was originally about a week old & has been going for a couple of weeks.


 


One interesting fact is that this appears a very different method to the standard method as the starter is very dry  stiff, while the dough for the bread is very wet & slack.


 


Cheers


Tim


 


PS. After the dough has been worked or kneaded, Its moulded into a ball &left to rest an hour in a warm place. Then folded - which is pretty much reforming it into a ball & rest an hour in a warm place. Then formed into loaves & left to proove.


I think that what you were asking.

G-man's picture
G-man

My starter was pretty old when I started making good loaves as a matter of routine, but I can say that it definitely doubled in size before the first time I made my first "success". A dry starter will double or triple in size easily. Once it starts doing this, the yeast is widespread and established in the mixture I suppose. I've worked with a couple different starters now, one rye and one regular AP flour, and that has been my experience with each one...when the dry starter doubles or triples, it is ready to raise a dough. This can take a little bit so patience is the name of the game.


 


When I bake bread I tend to retard the preferment in the refrigerator overnight because I rarely have time when I wake up in the mornings to get working on the dough. When I DO have time, I will let the preferment rest on the counter for about 8 hours before mixing the dough, give the dough between 3 and 4 hours with two slap and folds, and then shape and rise for another 2 hours in the oven with the light on. By 2 hours it has risen enough to let me know it is alive, and the oven takes a bit to heat up...it rises a little more by the time the oven is heated. In the summer the bread nearly doubles before the oven preheats. In the winter the bread is a bit less active. Nonetheless the finished product is consistently awesome.


 


When I have more than 8 hours between preferment and mixing the dough, I generally have about 12 hours. I've left my preferment in the fridge for up to 24 hours and it has come out just fine, too. The major stuff happens between the mixing of the final dough and the time you put it in the oven. That should be under 8 hours in my experience.

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

My sourdough starter was created using RB's method from "Crust" and is now appoaching 2 years old.  It worked first time, with none of the problems that I read of on TFL from other sourdough first timers.  I have used it in all sorts of recipes with great results.  I have even transformed some to 100% hydration with no problem. 


I have not had the problem of "flying" crust that you have, Elf, and I have experienced no problems with Leckford Estate Bread flour - although I have only used that for yeasted bread not sourdough - I normally use Shipton Mill No 4 organic white untreated flour (that I buy in 16kg bags) and their wholemeal and white spelt flours.


My only though on this is - I wonder if you are overproofing the loaves?

Elf's picture
Elf

Hello Ruralidle thanks for your thoughts.


 


You may be correct regarding overprooving based on you experience of using the same technique.


 


I have left the loaves to proove in my kitchen for 18 hours at 16 degrees rather then the book stated 18 degrees. However I have used significantly less salt. Originally half 5 grams per loaf & since then 2.5 grams per loaf.


 


Are you thinking along the lines of GaryJ that I don't have enough salt to retard the prooving stage enough & this means 18 hours is too much?


 


Cheers


Tim

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Tim


I have proofed the sourdough loaves I have made overnight but I rarely get an average temperature of 16C so I did find that they had sometimes overproofed - and that can occur of your starter is particularly active.  Now I proof the shaped loaves in the fridge - in my RB supplied proofing basket - for 22 to 24 hours and then bake straight from the fridge.  This seems to work fine for my spelt soudough (200 to 225g starter, 200g white spelt and 200g wholemeal spelt with 285g water, 7g salt and 5g ascorbic acid).



 


Sorry, no "crumb shot" but the crumb was even and quite light and springy, with no large holes.


Richard

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ


Hi Richard,


 


Have you made Richard Bertinet's white sourdough from Crust using Shipton Mill No.4 flour? Did you add any ascorbic acid to it?


 


It is the flour that I had trouble with when making the sourdough from Crust. The dough came together beautifully but rapidly lost all of it's strength during the initial fermentation. Stretch and folds didn't really help. Got big flying crusts both times.


 


I have subsequently, however, made three very good loaves of sourdough with the No.4 using Clive from Shipton Mill's own method/formula (much lower hydration, long bulk ferment, short prove). In terms of taste I think it really is the best flour I have ever used. Top notch. 


 


Just interested if anyone does make higher hydration breads with the No.4 flour. If so, I will give it another crack.


 


Cheers,


 


Gary


Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Gary


This flour is my standard white bread flour and I have used it for almost everything except when I need specialist white flours such as T55, 00 and ciabatta flour.  Although I more often than not make sourdough with other flours included in the recipe (spelt, wholemeal wheat & rye in particular).  However, I have made a small number of white sourdough loaves (using No 4 flour) and I have had no problems whatsoever.  Indeed,  I have not experienced any problems with this flour in sourdough or yeasted breads, but I do sometimes reduce the hydration a little - I always keep it between 60% and 70%.


I cannot think of what to suggest to address your problems with white sourdough other than have another go.  Sorry I can't be more help.


Richard

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

Hi Richard,


Thanks for the reply. I was just curious to see if you had made the Crust recipe at the full 76% hydration with the No.4 flour. For reasons I can't claim to entirely understand, my choice of flour can fairly significantly effect my outcome/approach when making bread. Either way, the loaves I have made at 60% hydration with the No.4 are so nice that I think it will definitely become a regular purchase for me.


I will have a play and gradually increase the hydration to see how far I can push it though.


Cheers,


Gary


 

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Sorry Gary didn't properly answer your question as it is so long since I first baked sourdough a la RB method that I can't remember.  I use recipes but adjust hydration by feel to what I can cope with. I had a stroke 5 years ago and my right hand has lost some sensation so really wet doughs can present a problem of I am working them by hand.  Hence I tend to keep maximum hydration to about 70% and all my white bread works well with No 4 flour at that hydration.  I use Shipton Mill flours almost exclusively and I find that it is all good - and good value compared to other organic flours (16kg of No 4 is 15.50GBP at present).


I hope you sort your white sourdough problem.  Happy Baking


Richard

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

 


Hi Richard,


 


No worries. I'm just fascinated by how different flours behave. Whilst hydration is undoubtedly a factor, I haven't figured out why it doesn't necessarily become an issue until the fermentation gets underway. Not a huge problem really as I can make decent enough bread different ways with different flours. Interesting stuff all the same.


 


Regards,


 


Gary


 

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

Hi Richard,


I have just had good success with the Crust formula using No.4 flour. I reduced the hydration to 69% to keep it within what you said works for you. It was ready for the oven a few hours ahead of Richard's schedule even though it was proving at a lower temperature. Really nice crumb and, crucially, no flying crust this time. Result.


Cheers,


Gary

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hello Gary


Pleased to hear it!  I also have found that the final proof is quicker than RB recommends but I put that down to the fact that all of our house is quite warm (except when we get temps of -20C and then we get down to around 15C inside) so perhaps the speed of proofing is not just a feature of the proofing temperature, maybe the proportion of starter could be reduced.


I have just baked off my latest spelt sourdough and I used no more than 2g of ascorbic acid (would have been less but my hand slipped as I sprinkled it in) with results that look equally as good, if not better, than with the higher level.  I will add it to another container first in future to get a more accurate measurement of the 1g! I started the loaf proofing in the fridge at 16:30 yesterday and then put it into the utility room at 23:00 to proof overnight (average temperature of about 16C) and I then baked it 12 hours later.  I will let you know what the crumb is like.


Thanks - Happy baking


Richard

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

5g? The normal amount is 10-20 parts per million. For 600g of flour that would be 6-12mg, not grams.


Is your dough, then, very, very elastic? Does it break down quickly? Or, is spelt's gluten development so weak there's little effect? (I've not used spelt so am ignorant of its peculiarities.)


cheers,


gary

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Ah well, perhaps I can save some!  I have been adding similar amounts to other recipes using wholewheat flour and they are at only slightly higher hydration so I don't think that there is much wrong with the spelt gluten so long as you are not really rough with it for too long when you are kneading/working the dough.


Richard


 

Elf's picture
Elf

I'd be happy if any of my loaves looked like that very nice!

Jo_Jo_'s picture
Jo_Jo_

I am not familiar with the recipe you are using, but I make sourdough bread all the time.  You made a comment above that your sourdough starter is very young, only a few weeks old.  I have made many starters, and find that they need to be at least a month old or longer before they will consistently give you really good results in baking breads.  I didn't see where you shared the recipe here, so it's really hard to tell what could be wrong with the loaves above.  Just a guess but it looks almost as if you had a huge gas bubble in the top (overproofed or not shaped well) and very few in the bottom portion.  It would help to see pictures of how you made your dough, and what methods you used.  My guess is salt is not the issue.


An easy test to find out if your starter is just not ready to raise your bread would be to put a very small amount of yeast into your recipe, and if it rises and gives you good bread then that is probably what the problem is.  I also suggest doing a search on sourdough and proofing, so that you can read about how others tell that theirs are ready to put into the oven.


As for the recipe and video, not clue what they have in them, so it's really hard to say "try this" or "try that", but I hope this helps a little bit.


Joanne

Elf's picture
Elf

Hello JoJo thanks for your response.


 


I'm following a recipe from Crust by Richard Bertinet.


if I have my bakers maths correct the recipe is:


100% flour (of which 13% Spelt)


50% Starter


82% water


2.5% salt


 


Dough is worked with french slap & fold method, rested for an hour, reformed to a ball & rested for a second hour. Then formed into a ball & left to prove for 16-18 hours at in my case 16 celsius, though the recipe calls for 18 celsius.


 


The starter is stiff (feeding a ratio of 1 part starter - 2 parts flour - 1 part water) & maintained in the fridge.


 


I did take a couple of pictures of the dough set to prove & the salted dough after proving.


 




 


Any suggestions you may have would be appreciated.


 


Tim

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey,


So heres an update, today I baked two loaves side by side one with the specified salt & one without salt.


 


My salted loaf I baked in my usual manner on my ovens two bar conventional oven setting. My unsalted loaf I thought I'd try using the fan assist but using a lower temperature setting 10-20c less that the recipe.


 


Here is the salted loaf



As with previous loaves t has risen much & appears misshapen.


 


Here is he unsalted



This has risen much more evenly & higher & looks like a nice loaf. So that a plus to using the fan assist.


 


The all important crumb shot - Salted right - unsalted left



As can be seen the salted loaf does have more dough in the upper portion however its still pretty sparse compared to the bottom of the loaf. Also the salted loafs dough is much more rubbery than the unsalted which appears to be closer to being cooked through, although not quite!


 


So where does this leave me?


 


My hunch is that over proving may be the issue, which baffles me as my ambient temperature is lower than specified in the book. Perhaps I have a more active starter? However based on the pictures of Ruralidle with impressively raised loaves that doesn't make much sense to me.


 


I'm thinking l should simply prove the dough overnight thus halving the proving time.


 


Any thoughts?

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Tim


If you look at the postings between GaryJ and myself, above, you will see that we find that hydration around 70% works just fine. 


Looking in "Crust" I can see a recipe for spelt bread using a poolish and RB's "ordinary" sourdough with 90g of spelt flour.  Was it one of these recipes you were using?  If not perhaps you could point me to it.


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Richard,


 


Yes I have been trying the ordinary (though I'm beginning to realise its far from it) sourdough bread, page 54


 


You're not kidding it works for you, your loaves look fantastic!


 


I'm a little baffled that I'm having so much trouble, this is the most trouble I've ever had in the kitchen, makes me extra determined to crack the problem!


 


So do you think I should lower my hydration? I guess It seems to be one of the obvious things to try next.


 


I was also considering proving overnight only.


 


 

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Tim

Let’s look at the formula you are using first,
Ferment 400g is at 50% hydration (2 parts flour to 1 part water) so this means that it is made up of 133g water and 267g flour.
Flour 700 white
         90 spelt
        267 from ferment
      1057 Total (100%)

Water 650
         133 from ferment
         783 Total

Overall hydration is 783/1057 = 74%

The hydration level that I use is slightly lower, at around 68% to 70%.  That would mean using between 585g and 610g of water rather than 650g.  

The recipe also calls for 20g of salt but I would be inclined to use only 15g (still gives flavour but reduces your salt intake).  Beyond this I would add 1g or 2g of ascorbic acid.

As regards method, I mix the dry flours (and ascorbic acid if using), shred the starter into it, add the water and mix until I have a rough dough.  I then leave it to autolyse for maybe an hour or so and then, using the mixer, bring the dough together whilst slowly adding the salt.  I then remove the dough from the mixer, slap and fold it (as per RB’s instructions) for 5 mins or so until the gluten is developed.  I then form the dough into a ball (again as per RB) and leave for an hour, covered, in an oiled bowl.  I then do a stretch and fold, leave it for another hour and do a second stretch and fold.  Half and hour later I form the dough into a ball and place it into a floured proving basket that I then cover with a tea towel.  I aim to get to this point by about 16:30hrs and I then put the proving basket into the fridge for 20 to 24 hours – depending upon the dough development.  I then bake straight from the fridge for about 40mins, on a baking stone, (in the upper part of my Aga roasting oven (about 240C) for 15 mins – with steam.  I then move it to the bottom of the roasting oven (about 220C) for the remainder of the baking time).

This formula and method works reliably for me (although I more often than not use about half the recipe and the flour I add to the ferment is a mix of half white spelt and half wholemeal spelt).



I can only think that you are still overproofing the dough.


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf

Richard thank you very much for your method & measures I really appreciate you going to the effort of helping me. I plan to try in order first overnight proving with the standard recipe then perhaps the standard recipe with a 24 hour fridge prove.


 


If / when all that fails & actually even if it works I shall try making a loaf with your above measures & method. Its quite exciting to actually have another version to try using the same starter especially one with loaves that look as good as yours to aim for!


 


Also thanks for picking me up on my bakers maths, I couldn't for the life of me work out how I got a figure so different to yours. I have to say I'm quite taken aback by how much there is to learn about baking bread I'm finding it genuinely fascinating.


 


So my plan from here is to make a loaf up tomorrow night & leave it to prove in till morning then bake it!


 


Many thanks again for your time & patience!


 


Tim

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

 


Hi Tim,


What size are your bannetons and what weight of dough are you putting in them?


I use ones that are about 240mm (9.4") diameter to hold about one kg of dough and I would expect the dough to be fairly near the top of the banneton when the dough is fully proved.


Like you, being fairly competent in the kitchen generally and pretty happy with making yeasted breads, I have been a little surprised at how much skill/knowledge is required to successfully make sourdough bread. I find it a gloriously fascinating and frustrating process. Patience, practice and experimentation being the order of the day I think. After lots of false starts and failures my sourdough bread is much better now than it was 6 months ago. Still plenty of room for improvement of course but definite progress.


I think Richard is right to suggest trying working at a lower hydration. It is generally a little more forgiving than hydration doughs.


Regards,


Gary


 

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Gary,


 


My baskets are 10" across the top, & were bough as 1kg proving baskets. One loaf is made with 900g of dough.


 


I'd agree that the dough doesn't appear to rise anything like I'd expected. However when watching back the dvd Richard B's looks very similar & has the same appearance. Which is to say it appears to spread more than it lifts however it does have surface tension & at the edges where the dough is in contact with the linen theres a a curl upwards that looks like lift if that makes any sense!


 


Perhaps this appearance is a result of the high hydration is this not how your loaves baked to this recipe appear after proving?


 


I agree I'm hooked on sourdough & cracking this problem & am finding the amount there is to understand fascinating. Its all great fun learning if not a bit of a waste of food!

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

Hi Tim,


This is a photo of a loaf I am just about to put in the oven. It is 990g of dough in a 9.4" diameter brotform. When I get a chance, I will rewatch the Crust DVD to see how it compares but this level of rise works pretty well for me. As ever, I'm still very much a beginner so my way isn't necessarily the right or best way.


Cheers,


Gary


 


Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Gary,


 


Thats exactly the sort of look I was expecting from my proved loaves. However mine aren't domed like this mine have a flat top. The edges sort of rise & curl round but then the top is pretty much flat.


 


The flatness of the rise with mine must surely be the high hydration.

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

Hi Tim,


The flatness of the surface is fine I think. You are using slightly less dough in a slightly larger basket than I am in my photo, however, I would still perhaps expect the dough to have expanded more in your basket than in your photo. Having said that, I'm not the best at visualising relative volumes and also looking at the photos in Crust I see that the dough isn't close to filling Richard's baskets at the end of proving. So maybe it is fine.


Cheers,


Gary

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Just to add, my dough does not get very close to the top of my proofing baskets (which are the standard 500g size from The Bertinet Kitchen) at the end of proofing - but I do get quite a bit of oven spring if I get the slashing correct.


Richard

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Search for "flying crust sourdough", and you'll find lots of threads about others who've had the same problem and lots of discussion and suggested solutions.

Salt tends to reduce yeast activity slightly. So a salt-free loaf is even slightly more active than otherwise, and thus having even worse problems is as expected. Obviously the difference is too small (and the flavor too important) for this to be a solution.

Using the oven "fan" was a worthwhile experiment  ...but again as expected it didn't show the way toward solving the problem. (Many ovens that blow the heat around with a fan work really well for baking bread, while some lead to ridiculously misshappen or mis-baked loaves. Unfortunately I don't know of any way to tell which is which  ...other than "try it".)

I agree that over-proofing is one of the two most likely causes of the problem. I'm a little non-plussed by your statement "over proving may be the issue, which baffles me as my ambient temperature is lower than specified in the book." Rise times are extremely variable, often for no obvious reason. The time given in a recipe is just a rough estimate, and can easily be too short or too long by two or three or four times. Somewhere here on TFL there's a bit of advice for newbies: "lose the clock".

How to you judge when proofing is completed? What results do you get from the "finger-poke test"?

The other likely cause of the problem is shaping. A common issue is trapping an air bubble in the dough (perhaps during folding?). (Unfortunately, I've never figured out exactly how to tell whether or not this is happening, nor exactly how to avoid it:-)

Also, during shaping, development of a "gluten skin" or "gluten cloak" on the surface is important. It helps resist the over-expansion of air bubbles. And it contributes a little to the dough "holding its shape". The quite large fairly flat shapes of your baked loaves make me suspect they haven't held their shape very well, and lack of a good "gluten skin" is probably why.


For some help, see this excellent tutorial on shaping and gluten skins here on TFL.

Elf's picture
Elf

Hello Chuck thanks for your post.


 


You're certainly correct about my loaves not holding their shape. As can be seen from this picture. The loaf on the right was formed immediately before the loaf on the left, it also had the appearance of the loaf on the left when it was put in its basket. In the time it took me to form the second loaf as can plainly be seen it began to lose its shape. I was assuming that this is how high hydration dough operates is this not the case?



 


Here is a proved loaf about 16hours at 16 celsius it has pretty much no shape at all. That said it looks very similar to RBs proved loaf from the dvd.



 


Interesting comment regarding trapped air bubbles, as can be seen in the picture above if you look top centre of the dough an air bubble which has surfaced & to the far left edge you may not be able to make out an air bubble just under the surface. Is this due to poor folding & shaping?


 


On touching the proved loaf gently it does sort of spring back & have a certain amount of tension. It doesn't just give & leave an impression in the dough.


 


I guess as someone new & inexperienced in the ways of sourdough its difficult to understand how proving for a specified amount of time at a lower temperature could result in over proving. I would rather expect the issue to be the opposite ie under proving, hence my comment.


 


I shall read the tutorial with interest.


 


Thanks again for taking the time to comment :)

yy's picture
yy

My first sourdough loaf looked like yours did - mostly dense, but wth a giant cavern on top. I had split the dough into two loaves, which I baked 15 hours apart. The first one turned out looking like the ones in your photos, and the second ended up looking much better.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21524/first-sourdough-loaf-la-tartine


try letting your loaves proof until it is has gained significant volume and is noticeably more aerated. from your "before and after" photos of the dough, it looks like the dough needs more time out on the counter before reaching that stage.

Elf's picture
Elf

Hello YY thanks for joining the discussion.


 


Firstly let me say how good that bread looks!


 


Perhaps I should try making two loaves baking one very early in proving & leaving the second to see if it gains more volume. Its certainly just as simple to make up two loaves at the same time.


 


I think I may take this approach tomorrow - Thursday!


 


Thanks again.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

all speed up fermentation.  I didn't see mention of initial dough temperature but would be important to note.   


If the problem is overproofing, and it does look that way, then methods to slow down  fermentation would help and anything to firm up the gluten bonding would also help. 


Let's see... Raising hydration speeds fermentation so go with lower hydrations closer to 60% (or even lower) as noted with an earlier success.  ...Warm rooms speed fermentation so try a cooler room for resting the dough.  Salt slows fermentation but steadies the rate and tightens protein bonds.  With low salt, the fermenting times may vary greatly from a normal salt recipe more often increasing proofing speeds.



The dough came together beautifully but rapidly lost all of it's strength during the initial fermentation. Stretch and folds didn't really help.



That already sounds like it's got too long a bulk rise, has built up too many enzymes, or started out too wet.  Or, like yy states, underproofed.  (Did it rise between the folds and get lighter and increase in volume over the bulk rising time?  How long was the bulk rise?)


One idea is to look for low salt sourdough recipes and go from there.  Another... The refrigerator is known for stiffening up the dough simply by cooling it, so the idea of retarding sooner  moving the proofing and later shaped oven ready dough directly from fridge to oven might be worth considering.  Another... Might be to take that minumum amount of salt that you will be using and get it into the dough from the very start.  Delaying the salt after combining water and flour would not be helpful.  I might even be tempted to salt the starter (instead of the dough) after the last feed (or build) before using into the dough.


Those are a lot of variables, increasing hydration is not one of them.  Gradually increasing hydration may take you in the wrong direction.  Try not to do everything at once so you can monitor the changes better.  Just a few ideas to play with.   :)

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey thanks for your reply Mini Oven.


 


The initial dough was made at a temperature of around 18 celsuis.


 


The dough was made up folded rested an hour in the airing cupboard, shaped again rested in the airing cupboard another hour then shaped into a ball again & left in a proving basket to prove for around 18 hours at 16 celsius.


When resting it did rise a little & certainly spread then reformed to a ball & as before rise & spread.


 


Interesting idea to add my salt from the beginning.


 


I guess my next step is to see if its under or over proving. To this end I intend to bake two loaves, one proved as usual for around half the time & another left as long as I dare! Certainly leave it longer than 18 hours & monitor how it behaves.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

So a good possibility of being underproofed exists.  Well then... off in the opposite direction... speeding up the ferment.  See what you can do to get a dough temp of 26°C when mixing.  Use warm water for instance.  A good warm start might be all the yeast needs to get going.  I've never seen much going on the first few hours so try ignoring it for a while and then start to fold as the dough shows signs of expanding.  Gas building and gluten stretch work hand in hand together esp. with sourdoughs because they loosen as they sit there fermenting.  Folding the gas stretched dough adds body to the dough tightening up the outside surfaces.

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Mini Oven,


 


I think you are correct the problem may be under proving. I've decided the best way of assessing which way to go is to bake two loaves one with drastically reduced proving time of overnight 8-10 hours. While the second I shall try & monitor the behaviour of as it passes 18 hours & leave it as long as I dare.


 


Apart from the proving time I plan on doing everything else the same this way one of the loaves should be improved & one worse even if neither are edible, it should also hopefully help diagnose under or over & give me a direction to go.

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey everyone,


 


So I'm half way through my latest experiment, two loaves one with radically reduced proving time one with greatly increased proving time. No spoilers here expect my report on that tomorrow.


 


However this morning during the first five mins of baking at a hot temperature I noticed that the oven spring had pretty much finished, with the loaf already having risen as far as I expected it to.


 


Now please accept me for what I am a novice home baker, now paying much more attention to what happens when baking because I've run into issues. Presumably this is normal & further more common knowledge. However it did trigger a thought as to flying crusts & high hydration dough.


 


Stick with me here please.


 


If the dough is of high hydration it is naturally more loose / slack.


 


While I understand there are thing as bakers we do to avoid a skin on dough while proving none the less there is a skin to the proved loaf. It is this that we score to reveal the dough beneath.


 


I know from my own experience & from watching RB's dvd, with the high hydration dough, on turning out the loaf from a proving basket the dough moves around beneath the skin as a high viscous liquid.


 


So assuming that the skin present on the dough is what forms the crust of the loaf & that the dough beneath this is high hydration behaving as a viscous liquid, it would make sense that if the crust rises very quickly while the dough beneath it is still high in hydration & therefore slack that it increases the chances of the crust separating from the rest of the dough forming a flying crust.


 


This in turn fails to stretch out the dough beneath which results in a dense structure which then cannot dehydrate as well resulting in rubbery dough due to high hydration.


 


This is presumably all down to the bonds of gluten not being strong enough to keep the dough bonded together as the crust rises, due to the higher hydration, instead they tear just beneath the crust level with the flying crust result.


 


This is probably all plainly obvious, or better still completely wrong & utter nonsense but its just what occurred to me on noticing how quickly my loaf rose.


 


Assuming the above isn't utter rubbish would it therefore imply that increase proving further weakens the gluten bonds / structure in the dough increasing the problem & leading the my bread.


 


Would that also help explain the success for people who work with a lower hydration?


 


Baking long proved loaf this evening results tomorrow afternoon!


 


Thanks for your time & hope the above didn't make me appear too foolish.


 


Cheers


Tim 

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Tim


Old saying - there's none so foolish as those that don't want to learn. 


I'm not sure whether you are right or wrong but you are learning about baking!  I look forward to hearing about your experiment.


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf

Richard,


 


I forgot to ask in reply to a previous post what exactly is the function of ascorbic acid in bread baking?


 


Cheers


Tim

Elf's picture
Elf

So here are the results of my proving experiment.


 


In a bid to discover the nature of my problem & find a direction in which I can work towards a decent sourdough loaf I made up two loaves from one batch of dough. I then proved them towards what I considered the be two opposite ends of the scale.


 


The first loaf was proved at 18 celsius for 10 hours. The second was proved for 22 hours at an average of 18 celsius.


 


First loaf ten hours proving:



 


Second Loaf proved for twenty two hours:



 


A comparative shot, ten hours left twenty two hours right:



 


So as can be seen from the above pictures, while the ten hour prove has still not baked properly it is better baked than the twenty two hour prove.


 


The loaf proved for ten hours has much more dough towards the top of the loaf than any of my previous sourdough loaves, the closest being the full salt loaf I baked in my salt experiment. Also it is the closest any of my sourdough loaves has come to sounding hollow on the tap test & the dough is significantly less dense & less rubbery than previous attempts.


 


So it seems reasonable from this to say the issue is over proving. Assuming this is correct it would also seem reasonable to say that even ten hours at 16 celsius is over proving.


 


So it look like congratulations are in order for those of you who suggested over proving!


 


Interestingly this would fit in with my previous theory on my flying crust issue.


 


I'm tempted now to try Richard's method of proving in the fridge for around 24 hours.


 


All very interesting stuff, I shall bake the perfect sourdough to this high hydration recipe.


 


Cheers


Tim

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Tim


10 out of 10 for persistence!


Richard

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Tim, this is very intriguing.


What did you just demonstrate?


You have big holes in an underproofed loaf, in an overproofed loaf, and your earlier loafs from the middle region - salt or not - have holes as well. (Scratchig my head right now)


For rye doughs Whitley gives an explanation: too much enzyme activity destroys the little gluten there is - but that's for 100% rye.


Well, something is odd here. I used organic waitrose breadflour before, and was happy with it.


Again, How do youy maintain your starter? Do you have a photo?


Recently IO heared about Leuconostoc bacteria. They mask as yeast and produce loads of CO2, no chance for the wild yeasts. Usually people report thir starter dies or goes through a dead phase. Has any one experience with bread made with a leuconostoc infested starter? There is lots of info out there about the effect on starters, but I couldn't find much about how it affects bread ( if someone dared to use the starter).


with something that creates loads of gas I would expect a result like yours, Tim: huge lift when the loaf goas into the oven, and the dough inside just can't follow. (Whitley also mentions that yeasted bread with too much yeast can have a hole or weak spot just beneath the crust - I had this a couple of times).


Another thought, how hot is your oven inside (not what the dial says...)


Looking forward to learning more,


Juergen


Another thought from my wife: Is the oven OK? You said that you didn't get the hollow sound very much. Is the oven producing heat from below and above?


 


And ... To rule out problems with the starter, would you be able to get starter from someone else?

Elf's picture
Elf


Juergen,


 


Interesting you should mention the bacteria I was also reading about them the other day, must be somewhere on this website, wondering if that was my issue as well. Suffice to say if the 24 hour fridge prove or using richard's reduced hydration recipe fails then I shall be taking that to mean its the starter & make a new one.


 


I don't actually remember the starter stalling which is what is said in the piece I read. However since I followed the recipe it could well have done. On making up the first mix I didn't look at it for 48 hours then it was left without inspection after the first feed for the time stated etc. In short Between feeds I paid it no attention at all, mostly because I didn't want to affect it with a temperature fluctuations but also partly because I made & fed it on a very busy week.


 


I guess its also possible that I have an overactive starter but I'm not sure why that would be. 


 


I just fed my starter so I'll leave it a few days & then take a photo. Thus far I've followed the advice in Crust feeding every few days in the ratios provided & leaving it in the bottom of the fridge. Actually one of the few things that doesn't exactly look like the pictures in the book / video is my starter its much firmer than RB's looks. I had put this down to perhaps RB allowing his starter to come to room temperature before pictures were taken.


 


As far as I can tell though it seems fine after a few days it has a nice honeycomb it smell both sweet & sour & the flavour of the bread toasted is great.


 


As to acquiring another know good starter, I don't know anyone who bakes sourdough so sadly this isn't an option. 


 


As far as my oven goes firstly I should say it works fine for yeasted breads. I did buy an oven thermometer from ebay sadly it tops out at 230 celsius but so far it has shown up the 230 the oven is reasonably accurate. In addition I use a granite stone on which to bake my breads so its certainly heated from the bottom.


 


Thanks for the ideas hopefully through trial & error the answer will reveal itself!


 


Cheers


Tim


 


yy's picture
yy

great experiment - looks like overproofing was the culprit! I'm not familiar with Bertinet's procedure in Crust, but it might help to do additional stretch&folds beyond what Bertinet prescribes to help build structure in your dough. That should help redistribute the cell structure in addition to strengthening the gluten so that the your loaf doesn't sag under its own weight. Try your experiment again, but this time manipulating the number of stretch and folds instead of proofing time. Do one where you stretch and fold to oblivion, and another where you do only as many as Bertinet tells you to.

Elf's picture
Elf

yy,


 


This is perhaps a good idea, though I may reserve a stretch & fold experiment until after a fridge prove & lower hydration have failed to eliminate some other issues.


 


However since you mention the loaf sagging under its own weight & since I took more photos of the method I thought I'd share them & acquire peoples thoughts.


 


This is the dough after working folding & leaving to rest.



 


Here it is after an hours rest



 


Then folded once more



 


Then another hours rest



 


Loaf formed & left to prove



 


Loaves after 10 hours proving



 


If this look particularly odd I would say from what I can tell its not too dissimilar to the way RB's appears in the Crust dvd. Mind you thats only in my opinion others who have seen the dvd may have a different idea, in which case please let me know :)


 


Cheers


Tim

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi, It all looks reasonable, and your description of the starter seems OK.


Is your dough very thin after slashing? ( I made pita bread today and was reminded of the puff-ball effect of thinly spread dough.)


I work in central London and could take you some of my starter if you want. In this case please leave me a message.


 

Elf's picture
Elf

Juergen,


 


My dough doesn't spread noticeably after cutting no, I took a before shot but not an after shot after turning out my last loaf so no comparison sadly.


 


That said from looking at my turned out loaf it doesn't really spread a great deal. Interesting idea though.


 


Thanks for your kind offer of a starter I may take you up on it!


 


Cheers


Tim

ackkkright's picture
ackkkright

yes, I think it looks odd.


Your description of the "viscous liquid," and seeing how the bubbles migrate to the top, suggests a dough structure oddity; and as I've discussed, I don't think there is good volume development.


Could be that organisms in the starter are working against both gluten and yeast.

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Tim


I have just made a wholemeal spelt sourdough to my usual recipe (but only a light sprinkling if ascorbic acid that didn't even make my scales move up 1g).  200g each of wholemeal and white spelt, 290g water, 7g salt and 210g of my RB 50% hydration starter.  I calculate overall flour weight to be 540g and water to be 360g - 67% hydration.  I autolysed the flour, (warm) water & starter for about 1hr, then formed the dough mainly using RB's slap and fold technique. After 3 stretch and folds, over a 2.5 hour period, I formed a boule and placed into a proofing basket.  After a couple of hours at room temp I put it in the fridge for 18 hours then baked it straight from the fridge.


Here is the proofed dough



 


Onto my peel



 


The dough spread a little after slashing



 


After 40 or minutes in the Aga it came out with an internal temperature of 98C



 


The crumb is even and soft but quite chewy, with no large holes that would let my marmalade drip through onto my shirt!



 


That's my breakfasts sorted for the next week!


 


I get very similar results if I take the hydration to 70%, but any more than that becomes difficult for me to work.


Richard


 

Elf's picture
Elf

Richard that look like some tasty bread, very nice would be great to wake up to a slice of toasted for breakfast.


 


I have a couple of questions, first regarding your starter, do you tend to leave it out after feeding or do you feed & then straight back in the fridge?


 


Also what function does the ascorbic acid play in baking?


 


If the retarded prove fails I think I'll try reduced hydration & hope for loaves as good as yours.

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Tim


I really have no fixed method of dealing with the starter.  It depends upon what I'm doing at the time.  Generally, I mix up a refreshed batch of starter whilst the dough is resting (to use RB's terminology - bulk proofing to folk on TFL) and I normally use 250 g of white bread flour, 125 g of starter and 125 g of water.  I then return it to its container and if I am around the house for the next hour or so I do leave the starter out.  This can be up to a couple of hours but, equally, I may return it to the fridge  straight away if I have other things to do.  I find that it keeps quite well for 7 to 10 days in our fridge before it needs refreshing.


Ascorbic acid helps form the gluten bonds and generally helps the loaf to rise.  The post at  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/7416/ascorbic-acid#comment-37635    helps explain this. You can usually buy this from your local independent pharmacy (I do plug these businesses because my wife owns one here in Shropshire) and I have significantly reduced the amount that I add to my bread such that it is now just a light dusting and is below 1 g per 500 g flour.


HTH


How has the loaf that you proofed in the fridge turned out?


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf

Thanks I'll have a read of that thread.


 


Oven is just warming now!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Something just occurred to me...  Elf, Tim, you started creating your starter in cold environmental conditions right?   Did you ever use warmth in developing your starter?  Is it possible that you have grown a low temperature yeast culture?  One that has adapted and thrives in cooler temperatures?


If this is the case, it would explain all the overproofing (because your yeasts tolerate and thrive in lower temps) and theoretically you could drop all your rising temps quite a bit lower.  Another solution would be to start a new warmer sourdough culture that would then slow down or react and retard for the recipe temps.


Or does this sound too far fetched?

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Mini Oven,


 


Interesting idea & not one that I can disprove but I'd be surprised if that were the issue.


 


Although I did mix my pre starter in the kitchen I used warm water & the mix was left in my airing cupboard for the first week after mixing & then between feeds, which is the most consistently warm spot in my house.


 


Good idea though.


 


While on the subject of temperature would it be considered normal to remove the starter from the fridge an hour or so before mixing the dough, to allow it to come to room temperature?


 


Cheers


Tim

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Elf,


Greetings from another UK baker! Have been baking sourdough since last May, with some ups and downs. Very interesting journey...


Looks like you have got some good things going on. The crusts of your loaves are lovely and golden, which takes some bakers time to achieve. Crumb looks good - creamy and open despite the 'flying crust'. 


Just some observations that I could share, on the premise that I am open to correction from more experienced bakers!


Lecford Estate and Waitrose Own flour should both be fine. Another UK baker, lumos, found out that they are milled by Marriage's, which is a good, family miller. Flours are good quality. 


I think you are right  to concentrate on addressing over-proofing. A 'flying crust' can be a classic symptom of this. Overproofing is also suggested by the fact that the loaf with higher salt content did not show quite the same profile, as salt can inhibit yeast activity in some circumstances.


Proofing for less time or retarding overnight might help. It took me a while to work out that the dough would continue to rise in the fridge! I thought it was going into cryogenic suspension... Longer fermentation changes the flavour profile, which is something to consider when choosing between the lesser time or retardation. I like the tanginess the longer fermentation adds to my dough, whereas some bakers prefer shorter and wheatier.


Sounds like the RB formula produces a great flavour! However your circumstances and starter are particular to you and you may need to adapt your approach to get a similar result in your kitchen, something other posters have also suggested.


Looking at the formula as you write it I'm not sure if 50% starter is 50% of flour, as in baker's maths, or 50% of total dough?  However, either way, this is a high proportion of starter to put through an 18 hour proof at ambient temperature. A dough fermented for so long on the bench could start with 20-30% or even 15% starter and achieve a decent rise, depending on the strength of the starter. 


Although RB's formula is very appealing and it's good to follow the original baker's key points when starting - your conditions are very local to you - your kitchen, flour choice, starter and local microflora. I know that Bertinet's starter is stiff. Nevertheless, stiff starters can be very strong, depending on the strength of the yeasts in them, like the stiff 'sweet starter' used traditionally to raise panettone.


I found the biggest step forward I took in the first year of baking was to start to build the formulae I wanted to attempt, around the characteristics of my own starter, rather than pushing my starter through a strict regime not suited to it. If your starter is strong you could take it down to 30% of flour. As it is dry and taking out dry ingredients would obviously tend to raise hydration, you would need to re-check hydration (water/flour) and 'true hydration (water/flour, including water and flour in any starter or other preferment), and take down water in proportion, so the dough doesn't become even wetter!


You can take the starter to room temperature before using it. Alternatively you can compensate for a chilly starter by adding water at a higher temperature to achieve the desired dough temperature (DDT). Susan at WIld Yeast's spreadsheet plus a digital thermometer really help here!


http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/07/05/water/


Good luck with all of this!


Best wishes, Daisy_A


 

Elf's picture
Elf

Hello Daisy_A & thanks for your suggestions,


 


As Ruralidle/Richard in an earlier post addressed my bakers maths was rubbish, no surprise maths has never been my strong suit.


 


The ferment weight is just under 50% as compared to overall flour.


 


Based on River Cottage Bread episode where Hugh uses a couple of tablespoons I'd have to agree but this is the first formula / recipe I've used for sourdough so its all I know, thus far!


 


Its really interesting just how none uniform this form of baking seems to be & how much effort has to be out in to bake the perfect loaf. It does however make it all the more compelling to keep at it until I succeed!


 


I think for now I will stay on plan & try retarding the proving stage by proving in the fridge. I guess if that works or is closer to a nice edible loaf then I can work at adjusting my ratios, in which case I shall seek further advice on adjustments!


 


I'm really beginning to really bore my fiance with sourdough theories :)

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

 Hi Tim,


My wife would certainly have some sympathy with your fiancé. That is the great thing about hanging out at The Fresh Loaf - we never tire of sourdough theories : - ).


I tend to agree with Daisy_A that you are tackling a fairly tricky formula for your first tries at sourdough. I personally found that the Norwich Sourdough recipe over at Wild Yeast (http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/07/08/my-new-favorite-sourdough/) was a good place to start. The only thing I would say is that I have never managed to make it successfully in the time frame outlined in the formula. Fermentation time is given as 2.5 hours and the same for the prove. I find that even with my dough tucked up some where really warm I need more like 5 hours fermentation and 3 - 4 hours proving. There is, however, a great article about the nature of time relating to bread making also on the Wild Yeast blog (http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2009/06/09/two-oclock/) that explains this perfectly.


Regards,


Gary

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Gary,


 


Thanks for the links I'll have a look at them this evening at work between bits.


 


As I write my fiance just looked over at my MacBook screen then looked at me & shook her head!


 


It nothing but ignorance on my part which lead to me tackling this formula for sourdough, until I read Crust I wasn't really aware of sourdough, I'd heard of it but didn't know what it was in truth. I'm very much an I've started so I'll finish kind of guy so I don't want to stop until I have this down!


 


Cheers


Tim

ackkkright's picture
ackkkright

I'd like to know more about your starter. Does it always stay in a cold environment? Will it gain volume predictably after feeding?


I can not determine much volume increase during the proofing times indicated in your photographs. It looks like during the hour rests after folding, the dough had completely settled and was even concave on its top surface; and I would certainly expect more rise and a puffier appearance after 10 hours prooved.


Looks like you ferment in a glass bowl. Does the bottom of the fermenting dough collect gas bubbles along the bowl surface?


I suspect your starter might have a minimal yeast population. Maybe convert some to 100% hydration and feed it regularly at room temperature until very active.

Elf's picture
Elf

Hello ackkkright thanks for posting,


 


My starter stays in the fridge pretty much constantly I usually leave it out for an hour or so after feeding to give it chance to establish itself. It does seem to gain volume at a similar rate but it never gains a crazy amount of volume I really should measure it I guess as its hard to remember exactly where it was last time I saw it!


 


I keep my starter in a glass bowl & that does have bubbles visible from the bottom evenly spread throughout in a sort of honeycomb appearance.


 


It would be true to say that it doesn't gain much volume when proving, it gains a little volume & spreads out. The tops are flat as a mill pond not concave at all, I assume this is due to a high hydration as in this respect it seems to behave as a viscous liquid. Also I'm not sure if you noticed the large bubbles on the surface, these appear to just move through the dough to the surface without lifting the overall dough which I had also assumed was due to high hydration. Is this correct?


 


Interesting that you suggest it may be an under active starter, would the proving experiment above not imply the opposite? In that the loaf proved for the longest duration demonstrated a bigger problem than the shorter proved loaf, which was the closest to an edible loaf.


 


Or is proving not directly linked to activity?


 


Excuse my naivety I am new to all this :)

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Elf,


Good to hear from you!


Good to change just one thing at a time so good idea to go with the retarding for now.


Know what you mean about sourdough info. and loved ones, but they do tend to warm to it once they get used to the lovely loaves :-).


ackkkright's advice sounds sage. If you prove mostly 'on the bench' you could also try keeping the starter in the same conditions and feeding it up. Firmer starters can also be kept at ambient temperature. I keep one at 67%. It's happier there than in the fridge. 


You're right - sourdough is a challenge but fascinating too! You have also set yourself a challenge starting with 83% hydration, in terms of forming the loaf.


However things will begin to fall into place once you get to know the living 'starter creature' you have created! 


Let us know how it goes...


Best wishes, Daisy_A

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

It seems this discussion has targeted the degree of fermentation as the culprit. Since some very knowledgeable bakers have joined in that direction, I have no doubt it's at least a contributing factor.


But, (you were waiting for that, right?) when I look at your photos, I see the results of poor pre and final shaping. There is a reason the dough is patted flat before preshaping the ball; it is to break up the large bubbles that lead to misshapen loaves. Again after the rest, the ball is patted flat and stretched before forming the torpedo (bastard) loaf.  Watch the experts forming even higher hydration doughs. They still pat it and, if you watch closely, you will see them pinch the dough's skin at a bubble to deflate it. Some even keep a knife handy to slit the bubble's surface.


I'm not saying to beat the dough down, degassing it. That's not the purpose of these final firm pats, or punch-downs, if you prefer; it is to redistribute the bubbles and break up the overly large ones. After shaping, turn it seam side down and run your hand gently over the smooth side. Even if you don't see any large bubbles, you will feel them move under your hand. Puncture them.


Every time, and I mean every time I've had fly-away crusts, a little thinking back will confirm to me that I got sloppy in my shaping. This is especially brought home when one of two loaves from the same batch is fine and the other is more holey than righteous.


cheers,


gary

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Gary thanks for your idea,


 


Always good to have another point of view. From what I can glean from my book RB is specifically quite gentle with his dough. When folding he seems to use minimal stretching even. He sort of pats the dough out & then shapes with a gentle stretching motion.


 


So would you burst the bubbles in the top of the proved loaves seen above?


 


I shall consider this should my retarded prove not work.


 


Cheers


Tim

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

Elf @ 1/24 3:06pm wrote:
Interesting comment regarding trapped air bubbles, as can be seen in the picture above if you look top centre of the dough an air bubble which has surfaced & to the far left edge you may not be able to make out an air bubble just under the surface. Is this due to poor folding & shaping?
This post's photos and a later batch of photos show bubbles that should have been pressed out. When you think of gentle handling, think of hugging your wife; you give her a nice firm hug, but you don't break ribs. When handling the dough, be as firm as you need to be to accomplish your goal at that step, but no more.

cheers,


gary

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Tim


Richard Bertinet is never really rough with his dough but - as Daisy_A and Gary suggest - he is firm with it.  He showed people on the course that I was on how to form the dough into a ball (boule) before putting it into a bowl to rest (bulk prove).  He used a similar method after the bulk prove to form some other breads and that was to flatten out the dough to degass it and then pull the corners in to form a ball.  This ball was then rotated and any "points" left out were pulled into the middle of the ball.  This was done quite firmly (on a lightly floured surface) and was key developing a good "gluten cloak".


It really is difficult to assess these actions from a book and dvd, it was far easier when RB was there to point out our mistakes!


Richard


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Richard,


That must have been great - to shape alongside an expert baker!


I've had a lot of great virtual mentoring in dough shaping and just over the last week my shaping has taken another step forward, mercifully,


However shaping feels like something that would have been learnt historically, alongside other bakers, whether in the bakery or at home.


Would be good to shape alongside someone more experienced one day!


With best wishes, Daisy_A

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Daisy_A wrote:



Would be good to shape alongside someone more experienced one day!



Daisy_A, all I can say for now is ........ watch this space, the opportunity may arise!


Just to return briefly to RB, the one day course was fabulous - and at £100 was great value (prices have increased along with hs popularity). To watch RB produce a dough to bulk proof stage, from the separate ingredients, in about 5 minutes flat - WITHOUT USING MECHANICAL AIDS - was amazing.  I still don't know how he can do it so quickly.  That course certainly changed my life!


Richard

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and with time, you will be good at tilting the computer screen away from non sympathetic partners.  I put bread on my screen saver, works like repellant.  :)


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2450/you-know-youre-breadmaker-when-fun-thread

ackkkright's picture
ackkkright

The dough is 74% hydration?


It looks like there is something strange about the structure/quality of the dough. You describe it as a "viscous liquid." And the visible bubbles seem isolated; and as you described, they float to the surface rather than lifting the dough.


I think there is a problem with gluten structure. I routinely mix 80+% doughs that do not have this "liquidy" quality.


When you mix/knead the dough after an autolyse, will the dough tighten up?..does it tear the surface of the dough to further mix?...And when folding after rests, will the dough tighten up and tear if you over-fold it?


 


Maybe something is working against the gluten development. Could be some aspect of the starter, or inadequate mixing?

Elf's picture
Elf

Yes I believe to dough is at 74% hydration.


 


After kneading, which I'm using the slap & fold method, the dough tightens considerably, also after folding with dough tightens also.


 


I don't autolyse with this formula, I tear the starter into the flour until I have a breadcrumb type mixture, then add the water & mix. When an even consistency I turn it out onto the surface & slap & fold it for around 10 mins until it comes away from the surface clean & has a nice firm feel to it. It does however gradually lose its firmness as it rests.


 


Sadly its difficult to take pictures through this process as my hands are covered in dough, but I'll endeavour to take a few tomorrow so it will be easier to assess whats going on :)

yy's picture
yy

Could you describe in more detail how you are "working and folding" the dough? What are the motions you go through to accomplish that each time?

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Elf,


Just following on from gary's good point and from the difficulties of gauging shaping from a book - like trying to learn to ride a bicycle by correspondence course! 


I don't know if you have seen this video of a Guardian writer and home baker (Tim), going for a course with Richard Bertinet? Apologies if you know this already. It starts with a bit of Richard Bertinet 'worship' - eg. RB is a dough Jedi - but after that is some fairly clear shaping.


It shows shaping for a tin loaf but they are still trying to degass and form the outer membrane so that would still apply to freeform loaves. Particularly good bit where Tim forms the loaf loosely and RB reforms it rapidly. It does help to illustrate gary's point.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/video/2010/jul/20/how-to-cook-bread


Best wishes, Daisy_A

Elf's picture
Elf

This is interesting & thanks for the link Daisy_A always interesting to watch bread made by a pro.


 


Brings up an interesting point, when I've been baking yeasted loaves I have been firm as demonstrated in the Guardian piece forming a spine etc. However in the sourdough recipe & dvd RB seems a lot less firm & much more gentle, no forming spines is done.


 


Also from what I can tell, although I'll watch the dvd again tonight to reassess, there isn't any real degassing just a very very mild stretch before bringing in the edges to form a boule. In the action of bringing the edges in RB appears to pull & stretch the dough out slightly before bringing it up over & down to the middle to form the boule & I have tried to replicate this also.


 


Of course trying to replicate & actually replicating could well be two different things but that is the action I try to use when folding.


 


I think it may be an idea for me to post some pictures of my starter, which I shall do tomorrow when making up my loaf for retarded proving!


 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Just a couple more thoughts:


To rule out problems when transferring the dough from the proving basket to the oven it might be useful to proof and bake a tinned loaf.


I remember being terribly cauteous and nervous when I did my first basket-proved loaves. And I threw them away because they didn't quite look like bread.


The video that helped me getting confident with turning out the dough is Max Poilane's on youtoube. A short sequence shows the baker turning out bannetons.

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Juergen,


 


Thanks for this I shall review the link tomorrow before turning out my loaf ;)


 


Cheers


Tim

Elf's picture
Elf

Thanks for that, such a cool video.


 


I especially liked the way he forms the loaves, no stretching just a super fast rolling motion. Love the oven as well.


 


Cheers


Tim

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey everyone,


 


So today I have made up a loaf & I'm proving it in the fridge, this time I have taken more pictures of how I've done it & other stages to try & answer some of your questions.


 


Sorry cant figure out how to post portrait images so they're sideways while I figure that out!


 


Here is my starter.



 


Here is the dough after mixing.



 


Turned out.



 


After working.



 


Folding technique






Left to rest



After one hour rest



 


After second fold



After forty five mins rest



Formed loaf



Left to prove



 


There we are, hopefully the retarded prove will resolve my issues!


 


Please feel free to comment on these pictures, I'm very open to hearing what you have to say & learning.


 


Cheers


Tim

Elf's picture
Elf

Just finished baking the loaf.


 


Unfortunately I had a foolish moment & forgot to pre steam the oven. I only realised a couple of minutes into baking & decided to mist inside the oven. This could explain the unusual shape & "breakout" for want of a better term.



Will take a while to cool crumb shot to come, has this worked, I'm not so sure!

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

The burst would suggest that you do not have a flying crust on this loaf, but we will have to wait and see.

G-man's picture
G-man

That loaf looks so much better than previous loaves. I can't wait to see a crumb shot.


From what I've read, crust bursting like that is generally caused by underproofing or uneven shaping technique.

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

I didn't want to mention UNDER proofing. ;)

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

No - me neither ;-) Thought it best to leave that part of the struggle til later!


Have just made some leaps forward in my own baking there - phew! I think that was the hardest part of the first few months of sourdough baking - knowing when the loaf was good for the oven during different weathers and temperatures.


This loaf is fine looking...


Daisy_A

G-man's picture
G-man

Oh, I didn't even think. I didn't mean to discourage.


 


Let me follow up my previous post with an addendum. I had meant to post this with the original message but it seemed like a bit too much:


 


I would personally not worry a bit about the 'crust burst'. If you have a flavorful loaf with a great texture, reproduce that success first. When you've got it down, that's when you move on to other issues.


 


This post has been a whole lot of fun to follow.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

With you on that G man - flavoursome is good! Daisy_A

Elf's picture
Elf

Don't worry about discouraging me its not possible & knowledge is power so please keep the information flowing ;)


 


I have made comments on proving etc at the bottom of the thread please tell me if it makes sense or not.


 


Cheers


Tim

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Looks great!


Juergen

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey thanks for the comments, theres no way I would be discouraged by help & suggestions I'm an absolute perfectionist & won't be happy until I get a loaf which is perfect in every respect.


 


Now time for the evidence was it over proving or something else?


 


Crumb




 


Well there you go much better much more even very pleasing & certainly a real step in the right direction!


 


So if this shows signs of under proving I think I may have a solution, actually its a point already suggested by mini oven at least. Reducing my bulk prove time. I have been bulk proving so far in the airing cupboard as RB recommends bulk proving at 25-20 celsius. So I could bulk prove at ambient. The second bulk prove of this loaf was 45min due to my having to leave for work & the dough seemed "happier" to me & was easier to form into a loaf than previous attempts.


It would be easer me me to bulk prove at ambient temperature anyway so maybe this is one way to go. Then perhaps an overnight prove may be ok? Any thoughts?


 


I do have a few questions though which come from my complete lack of experience with sourdough, I've never even bought a loaf!


 


The crumb still has a slightly rubbery feel to it as it did before, especially when compared to a yeast loaf. I can't imagine eating a middle slice of this without toasting it. The crust edge would be fine with butter but a middle piece would have to be toasted. Is this just sourdough or do I still have a long way to go?


 


Thank you all so much for your help so far, look how far you've brought me!


 


Cheers


Tim

G-man's picture
G-man

I think the 'problem' of rubbery bread is probably a result of more gluten/protein in the bread. I say 'problem' because the more chewy crumb is a goal for some folks. Look at the protein content in the flours you're using. I know that spelt flour has more protein than most wheat flours, but you want the spelt loaf so that obviously stays. Changing to a lower-protein wheat flour would probably fix it a little, but might make the dough a bit more difficult to work with since I hear spelt flour has a tendency toward more fragile gluten structures. It may need the wheat gluten to strengthen it.


 


Edit: Reading back through the post, it seems both Juergen and Richard reported something similar, with Juergen saying it was "elastic" and Richard using the term "springy" which I think means about the same thing? It may be that this recipe is meant to have a more solid, rubbery texture. Great for toast and for grilled cheese sandwiches, anyway.

Elf's picture
Elf

Thanks I'll have a look at my flours.


 


I think my crumb is slightly too rubbery to be the same thing, but you may be correct either way it does toast well :)


 


Cheers


Tim

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

Hi Tim,


That is good progress. Congratulations.


Cheers,


Gary

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Tim,


Again congratulations for your loaf, and your curiousness and persistence.


Personally I like sourdough quite chewy - that's what I am used to from Germany.


This sourdough thing seems like a never ending quest with many surprises, I had mine on the weekend as well.


Reading the recent posts in this thread by people who were on Bertinet courses I decided to have another go with the original recipe, aiming for a dough consistency as on the DVD. The one thing that was different from my previous attempts was the starter - I hadrefreshed it about 8 hours before making the dough and left it out of the fridge - my kitchen is 22-26C.


Oh yes, the other thing - I persisted working the dough. My folks were out, no one to annoy with slapping noises. I got really hot...


But ...


What a surprise. The dough behaved so well, not too sloppy, easy to shape, moderate expansion after 14 hours prove with some gluten structure still around, easy to slash, and the result- my best bread ever.


What really changed, I think, was my expectation. And the dough responded miraculously.


Here a couple of photos.


Sourdough surprise 1


 


surprise 2


 


Cheers,


Juergen

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

Superb looking bread Juergen.


Oddly enough, I have just made my first Bertinet loaf for a couple of weeks and like you it is probably the best bread I have ever made. Soft, chewy, crunchy and tasty. Happy man. I could have done with baking it for another 5 minutes or so but other than that it was spot on, even if I do say so myself ; - ).


To anyone who hasn't tried it, I really recommend this formula. When you crack it, it really delivers on all fronts.


Cheers,


Gary





 

Elf's picture
Elf

Juergen, Gary great looking loaves well done I still have some way to go to reach your level.


 


Did you both follow the recipe or did you differ with proving times etc?


 


Juergen you say you proved for 14 hours what temperature was this at?


 


Both your loaves look less wet than mine, chewy I'm happy with but my crumb almost has a sheen to it. Still tastes great toasted.


 


Cheers


Tim

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

Hi Tim,

Mine had the two hours fermentation plus 10 hours proving then I had to retard it in the fridge as it was moving along too quickly. It was in the fridge for 9 hours. Out of the fridge for an hour while the oven got up to temperature then baked.

I think Juergen is right about not stinting with the kneading - it does help if the dough is well worked.

Cheers,

Gary

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Tim, Gary, Thanks for your comments. Great loaves, Gary.


I have the impression that getting through with this recipes makes a lot of other breads easier to bake (and tastier, say my family).


Tim,


I stuck as much to the recipe as I could, with 2 main alterations:


1. Starter. I got very confused when I read in DiMuzio's Q&A about refreshing the starter 2, 3, or 4 times a day and leaving it at ambient temperature. Well, I tried it, and it does very well with 1 daily feed (my flour stoock doesn't...), and I am using 90%white breadflour / 10% wholegrain spelt for the starter. I used this starter im by other recent attempts as well


2. Proof, at 14 to 16C for 14 hours. My dough felt like it could do with more, but I had no time - working from home on Mondays and collecting my son from school.


Anyway, the whole process was kind of unbelievable to me - so I didn't expect to proof for more than 12 hours, based on my experience with this recipe.


Surprise!


By the way, I use shipton mill 701, and usualy Dove wholegrain spelt.


 

Elf's picture
Elf

Juergen, Gary et al,


 


Interesting re your proving times. I really could do with find a system that works, preferably without using the fridge. I'm tight for space in my under counter fridge & would like to bake 2 loaves at a time I may have to experiment some more.


 


I'm not sure if I imagine it but I find my starter seems happier if I include a little wholegrain spelt, I guess it may have something to do with the original mix including the spelt, or it could be in my head!


 


I need to restock the freezer with baguettes next week so may well attempt another sourdough then.


 


Considering buying some Shipton Mill flour getting tired of buying small bags from Waitrose, Richard's 16KG sack maybe the way to go!


 


PS nice bread knife Gary ;)

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Tim, Hi Gary


You are not imagining that your starter perks up when you feed it a little wholegrain spelt flour. On the whole there are more yeast microorganisms on wholemeal flours (also including rye and wholemeal) than on high extractions flours. Feeding a little rye, say,  to a white starter is one way to charge it up. 


So no - not in your head, rather in the jar :-)  


Yep - good looking knife Gary. Is that Global? Great looking bread too, by the way!


Daisy_A

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

 


Hi Tim and Daisy_A,


 


The bread knife is a Global knife. A present from my wife about ten years ago. It has had a lot more use in the last couple of years since I took up bread making though. It must be a good knife as it managed to cut through my early sourdough loaves. A chainsaw would have been more appropriate sometimes ; - ).


 


Tim, when I first got my starter going it took a while for it to get used to only being fed white flour. I had to very gradually reduce the amount of rye I was giving it (spelt would be fine too). Eventually it was happy just with white flour. Even now, If my starter is ever looking a little sluggish I will treat it to 10g of rye or spelt on it's next feed. Having said that, since I have started feeding it Shipton Mill (no.4 or 701) it has never been so happy and lively.


 


As for proving, you could reduce the amount of starter that you use to slow things down (adjust the formula of the main dough accordingly). Richard Berinet's formula contains 25% prefermented flour - you could halve that and see how it goes. I have recently been making other loaves with as little as 9% prefermented flour and they still rise in a timely fashion (in a warm place). My house is cold at the best of times but as the weather warms up outside I will probably need to consider this approach when making the Crust sourdough. This is the fun/challenging thing about sourdough, short of having a professional controlled environment, you do need to tweak your approach and/or timings as the seasons/conditions change.


 


Cheers,


 


Gary


 


 


 

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Tim,


A virtuoso is someone who can create mistakes at will (for reference listen to a trombone piece by Luciano Berio, called Sequentia V)


Well, I try to be come one - I hope with enough humbleness.


This thread inspired me to carry out something I had in mind for a while - you could call it test tube baking.


I'll report the results in due time, but let me tell you that much:


Using a RB white dough I made lots of batards, mixed, bulk-proved, shaped and baked them under the same conditions, but varied the final proof from 20 minutes to 2 hours. Except for the 20min loaf all loaves are delicious, with the later ones smelling very lightly yeasty. The 160-minutes loaf collapsed when I slashed it, but came out of the oven quite nicely looking.


How do I overproof a loaf??? I have to add some more time, and you'll get to see the photos soon.


A very ineresting exercise. But, where is the system here? The RB white dough (1/0.7/0.2/0.2, 1h bulk, 1h final proof) seems so forgiving that you can do anything with it. It's more like total freedom. And when you are free you have to make choices ... (Then it comes down to skill, personal taste etc)


Sourdough seems to be a different story, I plan to do my sourdough testtube baking during the last week of this month.


By the way, there is a sourdough bread which you can make blindfolded: Andrew Whitley's sourdough rye, one of my favourites. It is a 100% hydration 100% rye bread using a 200% hydration rye starter. No kneading, it's more like pouring. One proof. Great taste.


Cheers,


Juergen

Elf's picture
Elf

Juergen,


 


I look forward to reading your results :)

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Elf,


That's one good looking loaf - lovely burnished crust and good scoring.


Have to say that the dough looks pretty healthy in the different shots you posted so here's hoping for a good crumb!


Best wishes, Daisy_A

earth3rd's picture
earth3rd

This is rather amazing, watching this whole process. For the folks who just put the loaf shots I'd sure like to see the "crumb shot". Please don't give up until you master it, or die of old age. I'll be following this thread. Very interesting.

Elf's picture
Elf

Crumb shot is now up.


 


I'm a stubborn so & so so I have no intention of stopping until I get somewhere near perfection. Glad you find it interesting I'm hooked I just wish I didn't have to work, if I could bake every day I think it would speed up the process!


 


Cheers


Tim

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A


Hi Tim,


That is one good looking loaf :-)


I can see that you've kept the good characteristics that you were getting - like the even, burnished crust that even a professional would be proud of - and added on some more good things. No flying crust - much more even crumb development and good rise and shape. You must be very pleased. 


You say you are a perfectionist, however, and welcome feedback so here come the 'notes', something I've been really glad to have since I started baking. 


The minor blowout suggests slight under-proofing, as posters have suggested. However it is not major. Experienced bakers still get this degree of blowout sometimes with new formulae or if starter, temperatures or oven conditions vary. Major over-proofing would give a much bigger blowout. Try letting the dough go for 30 mins. or more on second proof and see how it is. It should be sort of jelly like but not sloppy.


Crumb is looking good. Master baker Jeffry Hamelman reckons that holes are fine unless you could hide a mouse in them, which isn't the case here :-). 


Nevertheless the minor compaction at the bottom of the loaf could probably be sorted with a slightly longer second proof. Also the crumb might be rendered open but more even with slightly more assertive degassing at shaping stage.


Welcome to the compelling world of sourdough baking! As said to G-man I reckon the major challenge of the first good few months of baking sourdough was to assess dough readiness when dealing with different formulae and temperatures. You did good.


Mouthfeel of sourdough is different to most shop bought breads. It is more substantial but should not feel too damp. You could address dampness by leaving the bread longer before cutting and/or by baking it out for slightly longer at the end of the bake for 10 minutes or so on a lower temperature or with the oven off. Lots of posts on this on TFL.It is also worth trying different flours, as G-man suggests.


If you don't have one it's good to get a digital thermometer. It's also really interesting to read about dough responses to baking on this link:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/13315/temperature-influences-bread-it-bakes


You can take the inside of sourdough up to C205 and it will still be fine. It will stabilise around 210-212 and not go further, so drying it out a little bit more is not problematic. 


Proofing for slightly longer may also help to take the 'tackiness' out of the dough.


Watch out though! You will get used to the mouthfeel of sourdough bread and puffed up shop bought bread will begin to taste like cottonwood!


With very best wishes, Daisy_A


Elf's picture
Elf

Daisy_A thanks for taking the time to give me some notes.


 


Interesting link & the kind of thing information I really like. I originally started this journey because I wanted to get a slightly more corse crumb with holes when baking white bread & understand the reasons for it. So I bought crust, baked baguettes with different methods, Poolish & Pate with success & then I read the section about sourdough. Interesting I thought & here I am!


 


Underproving:


Does the blowout come from the gluten structure not having developed the strength to keep the gases within the loaf?


Are you suggesting I add an additional 30mins to my existing second bulk prove?


In the case of this loaf after forming it was proved in the basket at ambient (20 celsius) for an hour & a half & then had an additional 20 hours in the fridge. So I'm considering dropping my bulk proving temp from the airing cupboard to ambient (20 celsius) with the goal of proving overnight at around 16 celsius. This is mainly because I have very little fridge space available & would like to have the ability to prove / bake 2 loaves. Does this appear to be correct thinking or am I missing something?


 


Blowout:


When looking at my earlier results I found that I had more oven spring with the oven fan switched on. I have since used the fan setting as it produced a nicer looking (outside) loaf. However this loaf seems to have risen beyond previous attempts I wonder if this additional, fan assisted, oven spring has also contributed to the blowout?


 


Crumb tacky / rubbery:


You've hit the nail on the head, the crumb feels slightly damp or too wet.


My oven baking of this loaf was using the fan setting 5 mins on full 250C, 25 mins 210C, 10 mins 200C & then 10 mins 185. I daren't leave it in any longer as the crust was as dark as I considered ok.


Would it be an idea instead of the last 10 mins at 185 to switch off the oven & leave it as long as I dare?


A simpler option may be to lower the hydration on the dough, trying Ruralidle's 68-70% hydration, would this result in drier crumb of different type of loaf?


I'm not certain that a longer prove would help here as this was also the consistency of my flying crust loaves.


 


Additional information:


I dont think that the base tapping test yielded a perfect hollow sound, it was almost half hollow, would this be a result of the wet crumb?


Also i remember, when handling the loaf out of the oven, thinking that it felt quite heavy. This could be a result of it rising more & spreading less, making the shape different to previous (obviously flying crust) loaves.


 


Thank you for the advice so far please keep it coming!


 


Cheers


Tim


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Tim,


Hope you gave yourself the pat on the back first before getting to the notes!


I can only help with some of these as I don't have a convection oven. But I'll do what I can where I have experience, bearing in mind this is part of a wider debate. Other bakers might give different advice and you will find that you adapt what you are given to your own circumstances!


A slight blowout is not evidence of poor gluten development. Poor gluten dev. tends to result in flatter, more shapeless loaves. As I understand it the blowout is because the still active fermenting yeasts and gases that would have permeated the loaf with more time, raising it and evening out the crumb, get expelled in one quick and intense burst when they hit the oven. 


Over time you will get to see when your own dough is oven ready. It has taken me a while to do this. You could try an extra 30 mins. on second proof but the key is to watch the dough like a hawk in the last part of fermentation and to make sure the oven is heated when it shows the right 'jelly' consistency.


I don't know your formula but the first proof is relatively short at 1.5 hours. I think overnight at ambiient might result in over-proofing again.


To give an example, my yeasts are very active and tasty but slow down a lot under refrigeration. I give the Tartine formula 3 hours on the bench, 12-16 retardation in the fridge, then 3 hours on the bench again before baking. Other bakers would not need as much as 3 hours warm up. However with much trial and error I have learnt to read my yeasts. Seems like yours 'gee up' with higher temperatures and a long ambient proof. 


As for lower hydration - I've spoken out for this earlier in my posts! The formation of dough or 'rheology' is complex. You can get open crumbed loaves with lower hydration formulae - look at andy/ananda's posts for this. He is also a UK baker and baking instructor and so refers to UK flours.


Starting with slightly lower hydration can also make shaping easier in the first place. I struggled to shape high hydration loaves at first although they tasted great! You've done well with the shaping.


No idea about convection from personal experience, sorry, but half hollow suggests the loaf was not fully baked out. You can also tap on the side just above the bottom to check doneness. 


From what I understand of fan settings, the fan or convection can raise the actual temperature by around 20 degrees, so it may be the initial heat was too great, meaning the crust was close to burning before the inside was done?


You could try turning the fan off if you can or reducing the heat by 20 degrees after loading the loaf. dmsnydyer gets great results in an oven with convection so it's well worth consulting his posts. 


There are lots of different ways to approach the bake but one of the main things is the internal temperature of the loaf, so getting a digital thermometer is really key. An oven thermometer can also help check the real temperature of your oven. Apparently some home ovens differ from stated temperatures by up to 30 degrees. 


Just following on from Juergen's post also: I found recently that my own sourdough was easier to shape and had greater internal development when I worked it slightly harder during hand mixing.


Wishing you more leaps and bounds and happy baking!


Daisy_A

Elf's picture
Elf

Many thanks for this.


 


Richard has also been an advocate of lower hydration, however I was very keen to resolve my issue with this exact recipe before changing it too much!


 


Cheers


Tim

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Tim,


That makes sense! Most of the advice says try one formula at a time and if it needs adaptation only change one thing at a time. High hydration doughs can obviously give very good results!  One of my best tasting early breads was a high hydration ciabatta - but you really had to wrangle it! Focaccia was easier to shape...


Best wishes, Daisy_A

Elf's picture
Elf


From what I understand of fan settings, the fan or convection can raise the actual temperature by around 20 degrees, so it may be the initial heat was too great, meaning the crust was close to burning before the inside was done?





I guess this could be the case, however, the temperatures I gave were revised down from those of the book. More importantly though the loaf was in the oven for around 50mins which should surely be enough to bake through a 900g loaf, shouldn't it?


 


Tim :)

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Tim,


That makes sense then to take the temperatures down from those in the book. 


From what I've read of other 900g formulae, they can bake through in anything from 45 mins. to an hour. 50 mins. should be in the right zone, as you say. However if the bottom of this particular loaf sounded 'half hollow' this suggests the interior needed more time.


I found managing the dough in the oven took quite a lot of observation and getting to know my oven much more precisely than before. I was amazed when I read in Andrew Whitley's Bread  that some home ovens can deviate by up to C30 from their stated temperature, during use. I found that using a thermometer to test the internal loaf temperature gave me a greater sense of what was happening to the bread. It's not infallible - good to watch and also sound the loaf as well.


I now bake a 750g hearth loaf on C250 with steam for 10 minutes, on C230 without for 20 and then just observe closely for the next 5-10 minutes to see what else the loaf needs. It took me a while, however, to work out that this was a reasonable system in my oven.


You could try a 'half hollow' loaf for another 10 minutes or so, either with heat on or with heat off. You could also try taking it down a shelf in the oven and adding whatever extra time might be needed. In the end, though, it's all about getting to know your oven and dough. Again some adaptation may be needed when baking out another baker's recipe.


To give an example from my own baking; first time I baked Larry's cheese tin loaf the top began to get well baked before the sides and bottom were quite finished. I tented it with tinfoil to protect the top (not done normally with hearth loaves as a well coloured crust is more desirable here and loaf often has a lower profile). In the end to retrieve it I detinned it and baked upside down for the last 10 minutes. Not ideal as this put a dent in the top! Crumb and flavour were great though... Having done this test bake and thought things through in respect of my oven, I then moved the loaf down a shelf and tented from 10 minutes into the bake. Did the job! However I'm not sure I could have made the adjustments in the early days as I didn't really know why things happened as they did. This has come with time and support from TFLers!


Pictures below l-r are test bake - followed by reflection and adjustment - second bake. You can also see my bread knife here - Victorinox - cool but not quite as cool as Gary's! Wishing you happy baking! Daisy_A


Elf's picture
Elf

Dasy_A,


 


I used to turn my white boules over to assist baking through that was before I used a stone though.


 


For some reason I had thought that getting the loaf to rise correctly would solve the problem of not baking through. I'm now torn between trying again with the same formula but baking without the fan & trying the lower hydration formula Richard/Ruralidle outlined above!


 


Actually I may try baking a none fan assist on Sunday & lower hydration mid next week! Also going to try baking a few fougasse next week, with yeast of course ;)

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hello Everybody


I have been able to keep up with the posts on this thread that have been rather busy over the last few days and haven't been able to reply.


I think that the results that you have all been achieving look fantastic!  I'm sure that there was tasted very good as well.  Congratulations on getting those results with the 74% hydration recipe - I think I will have to give that a go next week, although, generally, I use a higher proportion of spelt flour than in RB's recipe because I love the flavour.


The Shipton Mill white flour that I use is number 105 and is one of only a couple from their range that they supply in large sacks.  The wholemeal and white spelt flour that I use are also from Shipton Mill. 


I think that Tim would find it an awful lot cheaper to buy white bread flour in large sacks as it works out at just under £1 per kilo, rather than the £1.30 per kilo of the small bags as it seems like Tim is getting through a large quantity of flour!


Shipton Mill (and I have no commercial interest in that organisation) offer free UK delivery if you order 24 kg, or more, of flour in total, so you don't need to many bags of other types of flour to make up a large enough order to qualify for free delivery.  I have a couple of home bakers near me and we generally place just one order for all of us so it is very easy to reach the free carriage threshold.


Tim, do you eat all the bread you bake yourself or do you have some very grateful family and neighbours?


I will also be interested to see the results of the "test tube" baking using sourdough.  In my experience, it has been far more resilient and adaptable than those made with commercial yeast.  I have, at various times, cold retarded sourdough during the bulk proofing stage or at the final proofing stage to fit in with my schedule and so far, touch wood, it has come out quite well.  I am not particularly scientific in what I do and how I do it, I generally have a standard method but adapt it as and when necessary - and I don't keep notes :( but perhaps it would be more helpful to me and others if I did so that I can't write to well since my stroke and I try and keep my computer and anything to do with bread dough quite separate!


Thank you all for such an interesting and lively thread.


Happy baking


Richard (Ruralidle)


 

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Richard,


 


Good to hear from you. I'm looking into Shipton mill but must say I find the extensive options a little confusing at the moment. Is the 105 unbleached?You're quite correct though it would be chepaer to buy in bulk & I am getting through flour at a high rate at the moment.


 


I have to be honest I have been adding a great deal of bread to the compost bin recently. I considered some of the failed loaves inedible, toasted a little & threw it out when it was dry. I'm hoping to make increasingly successful loaves as I continue & I shall hawk them around work & neighbours when I feel they are of a high enough standard!


 


I'd be very interested to read & see pictures of your higher hydration results so please post them when you have time. I fed my starter this evening in anticipation of baking another loaf Sunday, I think I shall be testing fanless convection style baking, then perhaps lower hydration Tuesday! So many options.


 


Cheers


Tim

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hello folks


I decided not to go the whole hog and made my next spelt sourdough at the mid-point hydration of 70%.  I now remember why I reduced the hydration a little :) because, as I use 74% spelt flour the higher hydrations can seem quite wet.  Certainly this one seemed wetter than other sourdoughs that I make using mainly white and wholemeal wheat flours.  As I have a residual disabilty following a stroke I can get in a bit of a mess with a wet dough :(


Anyway, here is the result - I used my normal methods (described earlier in the thread) except for a cold retard for 2 or 3 hours prior to final shaping whilst I visited my mother in hospital.



The dough spread a little more when I scored it, but not too badly.



Some decent oven spring and the slashes opened up nicely.




Clearly, the large hole is a c..k up with my shaping!  The crumb was marginally more open then with my usual recipe, but not so much that a consumer would notice.  I still eats well though.


I don't think that I want to go to a much higher hydration with this recipe - but I may give it one more go at 74% and be prepared to add a bit more flour if I find it too wet to work properly.


Richard


 


 

Elf's picture
Elf

Richard,


 


Nice looking loaf, why do you think you got the large hole? Do you try & degas before shaping?


 


You also get an impressive rise in final proving compared to me!


 


I shall be trying you method & formula for my next loaf ;)


 


Tim

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Tim


I think that the hole was because I was a bit too gentle with the dough.  I tipped it onto my surface then stretched it a little before pulling the corners in to form the boule.  I then turn it, pulling in each "corner" that is generated until the boule is formed.  After that I use the method espoused by dmsnyder at http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/19346/shaping-boule-tutorial-pictures .  All very similar to usual - but just a bit more gentle when pressing the "corners" down in the middle of the loaf.  I can honestly say that I don't recall it ever happening before. 


Also, although the final proof was 16 hours in the fridge, I think another hour or two would have helped.


Richard

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Well, I did have a go at a 74% hydration spelt sourdough.  That is using wholemeal and white spelt and the only white wheat flour is that contributed by my starter.  The recipe is exactly the same as I have posted earlier in this thread, with the exception of the hydration.  I found the dough very wet and, particularly for me with my impaired right-hand, very difficult to work.  The most difficult aspect is that neat flick that you need to develop as you slap and fold the dough over to get the dough off your fingers.  Anyway, I did manage to pull a dough together, even though I had to use a little more flour on my work surface than I normally would.

The first picture, below, is of the dough just before the first stretch and fold. It is far more liquid then my lower hydration versions.



This is just before the second stretch and fold.  It has tightened up a lot.



Here is the dough when it was first placed in the proving basket. It is far flatter than the lower hydration versions.



This is "fully proved" but it is far less risen than my usual recipe.



The dough spread noticeably more after slashing.



The spring was excellent but a little uneven, because of my slashing.



The crumb is a little more open but still none of the large irregular holes.



I'm not convinced that the change in apparent texture (I haven't eaten any yet) is worth the extra difficulty that it is for me to work the higher hydration dough.  However, to get back to the original point of the post - there is not a sign of a "flying crust".


Richard


 


 

Elf's picture
Elf

Richard,


 


Many thanks for this, very interesting & given me some food for thought. I was planning on reducing hydration for my next attempt but now I'm not so sure. As your higher hydration doesn't demonstrate any of the issues I'm having. The crumb isn't even as open as I would have expected compared to your lower hydration.


 


I'm beginning to wonder if my issues lay elsewhere. I think I may have a try at making an all white flour sour dough, or perhaps sifting out the wholegrain of my spelt flour. Is it possible that my issue lays with the wholegrain affecting my gluten structure? I have been reading about such issues & also browsing youtube at lots of baking videos which backup the idea of adding air to high hydration doughs & being careful to keep it in the dough, not degassing.


 


By the way have you tasted this loaf yet, how does the flavour & texture differ to your usual hydration?


 


Still looks very nice by the way :)

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

I don't think it is quite as good as the lower hydration loaves.  The crust is nice but the balance of flavours seems to have changed and the flavours are not as deep. Certainly the 70% hydration loaf was - for me - the best balanced in terms of both flavour and crumb.


I think that I will, in future, increase the hydration to a maximum of 70% - from the 67% I use at present - and also try to use my (Kenwood) mixer a little less so that, by treating the dough more gently, I may get some bigger holes.  This is always a tricky balance for me as using my hands to work the dough more can cause some unpleasant physical after effects.


My recommendation to you would be to lower your hydration to 69 - 70% and practice until you can get a good loaf out of it and then increase your hydration again, when you have got your methodology sorted.


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf

Richard,


 


I think you've convinced me, I think I may break my change only one thing rule. Take out the whole grain, fiddle with my proving times, lower the hydration to 70% & see how it goes.


 


I think your crumb looks very good, I was discussing Kenwood mixers yesterday. Hope you're not suffering at the moment.


 


Cheers


Tim

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Tim


I don't know what your spelt flour is like but I really don't think that sifting is necessary, given the comparatively small quantity of wholemeal flour you are using (my recipe uses 37% whilst the RB recipe you are using has 13%).


As for mixers, we have had a Kenwood Chef for years and it still works fine, but we bought a Kenwood Major Titanium when I started baking bread in earnest for its greater capacity.  I use the mixer as little as possible, just to get the dough together and everything mixed in. I then start working the dough using RB's slap and fold methodology so I don't usually bake on the days when my hand hurts (usually on alternate days) because it just makes the pain worse. However, when things aren't hurting the processes I use are great physiotherapy!


Just try reducing your hydration to 70% or just below and watch that you don't overproof the dough and you should be fine - I hope :) .


Good Luck


Richard

Cachi's picture
Cachi

 


Tim,


Much better!


Too many posts to read them all. So can you give me the skinny on what you did different? Were you underproofing or overproofing? Please give time and temperature as a pair since time or temperature alone means nothing for before and after cases.


Thank you


Cachi

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Cachi,


 


It seems from my experiments & my last loaf that overproving was the source of my problem.


 


I was originally bulk proving for 2 hours at around 24 celsius with a stretch & fold in the middle. After forming the loaves I was proving them from between 16-18 hours at 16 celsius.


 


My last loaf was bulk proved for an hour & 45 mins with a stretch & fold then the loaf was proved at around 18 celsius for an hour & a half or so before a fridge prove for 22 hours.


 


I still have a problem with an overly wet crumb but otherwise I'm getting there.

Cachi's picture
Cachi

Tim,


OK, thank you for the info. Not being familiar with Bertinet's method, may I ask why your bulk fermentation is much shorter relative to the final proofing? I haven't come across such formulae...interesting.


The reason I picked up on your thread is because I've had similar issues though not as severe as what you showed here. My short experience with sourdough has been to err on the overfermenting and overproofing side of things if anything and give a good development of the dough through multiple S&F.


For the wet crumb, well I like that since I use 75% hydration but the foolproof method for knowing whether your loaves are fully baked is to use a probing thermometer (KAF sells an excellent one which is ultra fast reading, 3s). I've been using this method rather than relying on the thump test. For my loaves, an internal temp. of 210-212 is OK.


Thanks again and good luck with figuring it all out.


Cachi


 

Elf's picture
Elf

I'm afraid I have no idea why the bulk fermentation differs so much to the final prove as I'm new to baking as well as sourdough.


I can only say because thats RB's technique ;)

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey folks,





Latest experiment: 
Does baking the loaf with the oven fan switched off improve wetness of the crumb / bursting issue


Loaf




As can be seen from the pictures of the loaf it hasn't risen anywhere near as much as the loaves baked with the oven fan switched on. Less oven spring also closer to resembling RB's sourdough.


Also the crust is a lighter brown.


There is still a small burst at the top centre of the loaf & I noticed when handling the loaf small jet of steam issuing forth from the burst.


Other variations, this was bulk proved at ambient in the kitchen with the oven on, 2 hours at 20 celsius with a stretch & fold halfway, rather than the airing cupboard.


The loaf was proved for 2.5 hours in the same conditions then, retarded in the fridge for 20 hours, taken out of the fridge & left at ambient with oven on, 20 celsius, for 2 hours before baking.


Crumb Shot:




As can be seen there are a good deal of large holes, too large for me to consider this loaf a success as it happens!


So where do these holes originate? Over proving shouldn't be the cause so I think it must be my shaping. The only thing is I find this confusing as RB's entire method seems based on getting air into the dough & keeping it there by handling gently. This is backed up by more video I have watch of RB working with dough which has large bubbles in it which he does not burst.


My shaping: I shape as far as I can tell from watching video & looking at pictures as close as I can to RBs technique. in shaping this loaf I heard the repeated popping of bubble bursting! Clearly I am missing something but I am slightly baffled. Perhaps I should as members have already suggested be degassing my dough before shaping?


Crumb wetness:
This was improved & not so wet which was pleasing, but I really feel like I baked the life out of it by comparison to the recipe stated baking.


Here's how the loaf was baked, all on convection setting the temperatures are from an oven thermometer, not the oven dial (which is all kinds of wrong it seems).
250 celsius 5 mins
220 celsius 25 mins
After this point there was lots of turning & tapping of the loaf.
210 18 mins
200 9 mins
185 15 mins
Oven switched off 10 mins
Total baking time 1hour 22mins


Not tasted yet this loaf is in the freezer to send up home with my father midweek as I have half a loaf remaining from the previous bake.


So what do I think I have learned:

  • This loaf is still underproved, as shown by the minor bursting. So 4.5 hours at ambient & 20 hours in the fridge still isn't enough.
  • I'm getting something wrong somewhere hence the large holes in the crumb, even though I see no evidence in RB's method I must try degassing the dough.
  • I was underbaking the loaf & getting a crumb that was too wet.
I'm actually planning on trying Richard's lower hydration recommendation next mostly because without the burst allowing steam out of the loaf I don't see how the crumb could lose the water leading to its wetness!


As ever notes & thoughts always appreciated. Tim

Cachi's picture
Cachi

Tim,


I'm glad you believe you've been underfermenting and or underproofing. From your recent picture, aside from the large holes, the rest of the crumb is very dense which suggests you in fact did not develop the dough enough. Having had to bake the loaf for so long tells you something went awfully wrong.


May I suggest...


Not knowing the formula you're using, I would follow it to the "T" and unless it says to retard it in the refrigerator, I would refrain from doing that since you probably don't know the exact temperature of your fridge and it is just throwing one more variable into the equation. Just one to two degrees difference in temperature means you have to adjust the time by about 1.5 hrs. French call the first fermentation "pointage" which is the optimal point of fermentation. If you mock with both time and temperature, it will become difficult to debug the problem. It's a good idea to stick a dial thermometer in the dough so you know its temperature rather than the room temperature, it can vary widely depending on the flour, water, levain temperatures and friction factor during the mixing. 


Once you've figured out exactly where the problem lies you can then begin with experimentation. Just my two cents.


Good luck,


Cachi

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey all,




Yesterday I baked another sourdough this time with a 70% hydration as Richard suggested.


Along with the hydration I decided to sift my wholemeal spelt through my widest holed sieve, just to take out the very largest bits.


I rested / bulk proved at ambient (20 celsius) for two hours forty five minutes, folding half way through.


Also as I knew I wouldn't have time to bake today I decided to prove on my kitchen side at ambient (20 celsius) & kept an eye on on loaf throughout the day. Reasoning that this way it would prove faster & I could assess when it was ready for the oven. I thought it was ready after eight & a half hours.


This was the loaf set for proving




Here is the loaf after eight & a half hours of proving.




After baking.




Crumb shot.




Impressions:
The loaf has risen & spread a good deal more from oven spring.


There is a large burst in the centre. Does this imply underproving, are there any other causes of bursting? I was pretty sure watching like a hawk I had picked the correct moment to bake!


If underproving is the main cause of bursting may I ask how you assess that your loaf is ready for baking?


Otherwise, the crust doesn't have quite the same caramel colour as my higher hydration loaves. I could perhaps have baked it longer to achieve a darker crust.


This loaf actually sounded hollow on tapping after 25mins baking, which is a first for my sourdough loaves, so thats a good sign.


Also the crumb is my best so far, still looks chewy but not as wet, more evenly distributed holes & few large holes. Still room for improvement though.


So a big improvement but still some way to go thanks for your help so far.


Cheers
Tim

 

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Tim


That loaf looks like a great improvement!  Congratulations.


The burst suggest some slight underproving but the holes look great and I hope that it tastes good, I expect that it will.  Now its just down to bit more practice ;) and then you will soon have so much good bread that you are giving it away!


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Richard,


 


Thanks I'm pleased to have improved but I'd like the crumb to be like a cross between yours & mine! I wonder if the way I'm doing the slap & fold is putting too much air into the dough or perhaps if I should go against RB's advice & knock out a lot of the air before shaping the loaf?


 


Also when shaping this loaf I noticed that the skin split a little when stretching, does this mean I didn't work the dough enough & if so could this contribute to the bursting?


 


Cheers


Tim

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Tim


Now you are posing some really difficult questions.  I do doubt the ability of any home baker, who is making their dough manually, to fold too much air into the dough. I think you would need to have muscles bigger than Arnie :)  If that assumption is correct, the answer must be in the way that you handle or degas the dough as you mould the loaf.  Perhaps you do need to be a bit firmer so that you degas the dough a little. I agree with your assessment of the "perfect" crumb so we are both trying to solve the same problem, but from different ends.


When it comes to tearing the gluten cloak when you mould the loaf, I think you have identified one of two main possibilities.  The other likely cause is that you are handling the loaf with more force than you should after all - anything will tear if you apply enough force.  Certainly, tears in the gluten cloak good be a contributory factor in any bursting that you experience. It is very difficult to tell, without seeing and handling the dough myself, which of these is the cause of the tears in the gluten cloak.  All I can suggest is that, if you have successfully made yeasted breads in the same shape, the sourdough should not feel significantly different.


I am sure that, given the determination and skill you have shown so far, you will soon sort the remaining minor issues that prevent you from baking your "perfect" sourdough loaf.


Richard

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

This was at 69.7% hydration.  I used double hydration by holding back 56g of water and dissolving the salt in it. I added this after the autolyse, used the mixer for just enough time to mix the water in and was comparatively gentle in the final shaping.  There are definitely more holes and the texture is lighter but the holes still don't let the marmalade through thank goodness.




Thanks to all the contributions and discussions here I think it is the best so far!


Richard


 


 

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Richard,


 


Ignorance moment here: I'm not sure I understand the double hydration part, how does keeping back equate to double hydration? Do you think this had an impact on your finished loaf?


 



I have never bothered to wait for autolyse I just crack straight into slap & fold after mixing, never seem to have to extra time at the moment, I have used it before for a yeasted dough though & added a ferment to it. I found it harder to mix into the autolyse than just mixing the original ingredients Does it really make much difference?





Looks like your hole & cell structure is more open, does this equate to the perfect crumb? I cant quite tell from the pictures. Looks good to me though with a few large holes a god number of medium holes to compliment. Do you think the key for you was less use of the mixer?


 


Glad you hear you had no marmalade incidents!


 


Cheers


Tim


 


 

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Tim


Sorry about the photo quality, for some reason my Eos D SLR won't download to my laptop so I have been using my Canon compact and although it is newer and has a higher resolution than my SLR its lens is not so good.


I definitely would not claim that it was the perfect crumb, just the best so far.  As for double hydration, have a look at http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22154/dissolving-salt-water and follow the link to the blog referred to.  I don't know if it produced an improvement but I will keep trying different techniques to see if they give a worthwhile benefit.


As for the mixer, again I'm not too sure of its effect. I think that the biggest difference was probably because of the gently handling as I formed the loaf but, as long as my not so good hand isn't hurting too much, I enjoy working the dough using the slap and fold technique.


How has your baking been going? (Or have you just been eating the fruits of your earlier labours?)


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf

Richard,


 


No need to apologise for you camera or pictures, I use my iphone so my pictures aren't particularly good. Always helps to see pictures tho.


 


I shall have a look at the link you posted many thanks.


 


I have to agree I also enjoy working the dough it very therapeutic, hopefully it doesn't aggravate your condition.


 


My baking is still ongoing, still baffling me on some levels but also still enjoying it thanks.

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Tim, Hi Richard,


Have been enjoying following your baking but not been able to make detailed comments on the Bertinet formula, having not baked it.


However, Tim, the question 'Does autolyse make a difference?' is a more general question.


I would say it makes a massive difference. Starting to use autolyse was one of the things that really took my breadmaking on.


Try it and see what you think!


Best wishes, Daisy_A

Elf's picture
Elf

Hello Daisy,


 


Good to hear from you always interested in opinions even if you haven't used this formula.


 


I shall try adding some autolyse time to the beginning of my next loaf.


 


I'm interested to find that so many bakers describing their systems online autolyse with yeast / starter in the mix. My understanding of autolyse was that it was just for the water & flour to incorporate fully & that yeast should be added before working the dough.


 


Any opinions on this?


 


Cheers


Tim

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Tim,


Thanks for the kind message!


You're right in your observations. The original, classic autolyse, as defined by Professor Raymond Calvel, included flour and water only.


However this practice has been adapted in some cases. One theory is that an autolyse containing yeast/starter is appropriate when the raising agent's activation is slightly delayed.


Can't say how accurate the second supposition is but this is how I understand it at present. Perhaps other TFLers can chime in?


I have read some interesting posts on TFL about this but here are some pizza makers also riffing on the same subject!


http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=2632.5;wap2


With best wishes, Daisy_A

Elf's picture
Elf

Here we go again.


 


So once more I have baked a sourdough.


 


Using 70% hydration as per Richard's suggestion.


Rested / bulk proved for 3 hours with a stretch & fold halfway.


Tried to be more firm with my folding & shaping.


Proved for 14 hours at 16 celsius, keeping an eye on it after 8 hours.


Baked as usual.





 


So as can be seen, I still have quite a large burst in the top of the crust.


Cell structure of the crumb is nice for the most part with just a couple of large holes, so some improvement there. That said I'm not sure how I can reduce the holes any further without radically altering the technique as my shaping bordered in kneading at times.


The crumb is a little more tacky than my previous loaf so I could have perhaps tried baking it for longer.


No taste test done yet!


 


Thoughts for my next bake:


I may try altering the way i work the dough so that I actually knead it in the Anglo-Saxon way & see how this affects the crumb. I still suspect that my slap & folding is partly to blame for introducing too much air. This may not seem correct but if you were standing next to me as I work the dough I could show you what I mean.


 


The burst still indicates over proving even at 14 hours, so I shall once more keeping an eye on the proving loaf prove for longer.


 


I perhaps need to bake my loaf longer to reduce the moisture content of the crumb.


 


Still all good :)


 

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Tim


That one looks better, hopefully you've got rid of those flying crusts for good!  The burst can, as you say, be because of underproofing but there could be another reason.  Looking at your scoring it could be that you have not slashed deeply enough and this could lead to the score crusting over before the oven spring is finished.


Rather than return to "Anglo Saxon" bread-making techniques, try using RB's method of forming a boule when you are at the final moulding stage and see if that gets rid of the very large holes.


I have revisited the 74% hydration loaf I made a week or so ago (I had frozen half of it, as usual) and it has confirmed my initial impressions.  The texture is OK but a bit friable, whilst the flavour is, for some reason, not a strong as the 70% recipe - so I will not be increasing the hydration much above 70% again anytime soon.


Daisy_a your comments are always appreciated, even if you haven't baked the recipe yourself (I am using a recipe that is a bit diffrent to the one that Tim is using).


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf

Sorry for the late reply, I've been really busy recently.


 


Interesting that you describe your 74% hydration as friable, mine was more like gluey. That said mine didn't really come out properly!


 


Also regarding your theory about my bursting issues I'm not sure, it could be possible as I sometimes have the odd burst on my baguettes. Heres a picture of my loaf post slashing, would be more than happy to have your take on it :)



 


As for forming a boule RB style I think I am, pretty similar to the folding but pulling it together tighter.


 


Still at least I'm getting edible bread now thanks to your help & the help of others here.


 


Next bake in a weeks time!


 


Cheers


Tim

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Tim


Sorry that it has taken me so long to post a reply but I have been rather busy myself, what with one thing and another.


If you're loaf is a little gluey it is probably because it needed a little longer in the oven.  I try to bake to an interior temperature of about 98.5°C and I use a cheap meat thermometer as a guide.


I think that the slashes on your loaf look good so that should not be a contributory factor to the burst that you experienced. Perhaps it was that the loaf was a little under proved.


I made another loaf on Tuesday and something went drastically wrong with my recipe.  I ended up with something more like batter than a dough so I must have measured something incorrectly.  I added a little more flour until the dough felt like it should and then carried on as usual.  Fortunately, everything worked out fine and the loaf has already provided tasty breakfasts for me and lunch for my wife.


I still haven't been able to produce a loaf with the large holes that you do.  I have a fairly even crumb with a series of a slightly larger holes near the crust.  I will keep trying but the main thing is the bread is very edible.  I'm pleased that you also have edible bread and I think that is the most important thing.


Happy Baking


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf

Thanks for the replies Richard & Daisy__A. 


 


I shall try autolyse for my next attempt.


 


Richard its good that your bread is tasty after all is said & done thats the prime concern I can honestly say with the help gathered from this thread my loaves also make for good eating!


 


I'd like to talk starter for a moment now if I can because I think I may have had an absolute shocker!


 


I have noticed that my starter appears more active than ever before recently which is no bad thing, however it also appears to have lost most of its sour pungency, smelling mostly sweet. I have a really bad feeling I may have contaminated it with some commercial yeast. As I generally don't get much regular free time, I seem to only get a day to bake every couple of weeks, I wind up going all out on that day & baking various different breads. I don't actually remember doing anything obvious but I do have a feeling that this may have lead to contaminating my starter.


 


Having said this I fed my starter tonight contaminated or not & left it on the side & it looks ok hasn't doubled in the few hours its been left out so will check it tomorrow.


 


Either way I have taken 150g of my dried backup & rehydrated it, currently in the airing cupboard hopefully reactivating, so I'll have something to compare it with.


 


Hopefully I'll be baking next week, starter permitting!


 


Cheers


Tim

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Tim,


Please don't worry. It's very unlikely that you have contaminated your starter with baker's yeast. Baker's yeast does not tend to have a predominantly sweet smell in my experience.


Your starter can tend to smell 'sweeter' or 'milkier' when it starts to produce lactic rather than acetic acid. 


Even if you compare it to rehydrated backup and it smells differently this is not conclusive proof that it is contaminated. The starter you have now is not the same starter you began with.


The microbiology of starters is complex and changeable. To begin understand it in real detail it's good to search for threads and contributions by Debra Wink.


The short and good news, however, is that it is possible to re-establish an acetic or sour bias in your starter. Ways to do this are debated and some microorganisms can go down different pathways dependent on their conditions, so please look at Debra's threads as she is an expert on this. 


My guess is that if you are baking mostly on one day you are hitting the starter hard on that day and so changing the microflora temporarily.


It is not problematic. Some people try all out to get a sweet starter!


Short and good answer is that your starter can be led to produce the sour aromas again.


With best wishes, Daisy_A

Elf's picture
Elf

Daisy_A thanks for that I have read some of Debra Wink's threads & have more of an idea as to what may be going on!


 


In the last month or so I have adjusted the way a store & feed my starter.


 


I originally fed my starter & then returned it to the fridge straight away, however I found that it was not as honeycombed as I wanted so I adjusted this to feeding it & leaving it out overnight before returning it to the fridge.


 


Further to this I originally stored the starter between feeds in a bowl with a plastic bag held on with a rubber band (Berninet's recommended method). Recently though I decided this was taking to much room & have started using a small glass Pyrex casserole dish with lid.


 


From reading Debra's threads I get the impression that both these adjustments are likely to have an effect on the makeup of the starter. As different acids are produced at different temperatures & with differing levels of oxygen. Its all very complex & quite fascinating. 


 


So how to get my starter back, as I see it I have a few options ranging from:


Start again my dried backup its looking nice & bubbly.


Add my reactivated backup to my current starter on the next feed.


Stick with my current starter & use my previous techniques & it should over time revert to its previous sourness.


Junk the lot & make a rye heavy pain de campagne!


 


I think I may try option 2 & see if it short cuts the recovery of acidity & revert to my previous feeding & storage regimen. 

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey,


 


After more reading I'm no longer concerned that I have contaminated my starter, so no action taken just going to keep it in a bowl with plastic cover as originally.


 


Today I baked a couple of sourdough loaves with a couple of changes.


 


I recently took delivery of a 16kg bag of Shipton Mill number 4, as per Richard's recommendation. So the flour is new.


I also gave the dough 30 mins of autolyse after mixing.


 


Same 70% hydration as previous loaves


30 mins autolyse.


Worked till springy & smooth.


Fermented 1.5 hours @ 22 celsius


Stretch & fold


Fermented 1.5 hours


 


Loaves formed


1st loaf proved @ 16 celsius 17 hours


2nd loaf proved @ 16 celsius 18 hours 15 mins


 


Baked 5 mins @ 250 celsius with steam.


25 mins @ 220


20 mins @ 210


 


The autolyse made working the dough much easier which I would say is an improvement so I'll continue with autolyse for my sourdough.


 


The dough seemed softer, slightly more slack to work than previous 70% hydration doughs using Leckford Estate flour. It was much more along the lines of my previous 74% hydration dough.  Does this imply Shipton Mills number 4 has a lower protein content than Leckford Estate bread flour?


Could this also explain why Richard's 74% hydration version seemed friable?


 


1st Loaf




2nd loaf




 


1st loaf proved for 17 hours has a pronounced burst in the middle, the 2nd loaf has a very small burst in the middle & poor slashing! Which is odd as the slashing technique is the same as it has always been, I think I may be over flouring my bannetons making my slashing reseal.


 


Both loaves have a tacky crumb which isn't great. The loaf with the longer proving has superior shape, evenly rounded not flying saucer shaped, & a more even crumb.


On the tacky crumb I'm considering adjusting my oven temperatures down by 10 celsius & extending my baking time 20mins would this seem a reasonable solution?


 


I think with my next attempt I may preshape & rest the dough before shaping which may degas the dough a little more.


 


Thats it for now apologies for any spelling mistakes up early!


 


Cheers


Tim

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

They look good Tim.  Strange how the shorter proofing time gives the most open (too open?) crumb.  The loaf you proofed for longer has a very nice crumb but do I detect the beginnings of a flying crust?  Seems like, in the spirit of the Great British compromise, proofing time should be mid-way between the two?


How about trying a cold retard at final proofing stage?


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Richard,


 


I think my crumb pictures are misleading, one thing I didn't add in my list of adjustments is that I used different shaping techniques when forming the loaves. The 1st loaf (17 hours prove) I used the technique demonstrated here http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/videos.html but without the preshaping. The 2nd loaf I shaped as normal using Bertinet method. I think without the degassing that the preshape gives the Hammelman technique gave too open a crumb.


 


I hadn't noticed the flying crumb, that hole is directly underneath the burst if that makes a difference. Surely its not overproved if it is whats the cause of the burst? Also is the correct prove of a sourdough really such a narrow window? When the prove takes around 18 hours is there really less than a 1 hour window of correct proving opportunity? 


 


I find the difference in shape really interesting, the longer proved loaf has a much more even dome shape to it than the underproved loaf.


 


I could try returning to a retarded prove, I'm not sure how far into the 16 celsius prove I should retard though, 16 hours?


 


I was surprised to find the dough softer with the Shipton Mill flour have you tried this formula with different flour?


 


I've given away the underproved loaf & frozen the 2nd loaf as I still have a little of my previous loaf left. So I haven't tasted this new flour loaf yet. The recipient of my underproved loaf said it makes nice toast though!


 


Cheers


Tim

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Tim


I haven't used any flours other than Shipton Mill for about 2 years now.  We were in Norfolk in Feb 2009 and we visited Leatheringsett Water Mill and I couldn't resist trying some of their products but it was just before my sourdough starter was ready and I only used them for yeasted breads.


As for the proving "window", I have experienced different results from, particularly yeasted breads, when I divide a large dough into two or more loaves.  All treatments were the same, proved next to each other etc, but the results would sometimes be markedly different - and I have no idea why!


I usually leave the formed spelt sourdough loaves out on the worksurface to prove for an hour or two before putting them in the fridge.  I will then cold prove them for up to 24 hours and if the dough still isn't properly proved I will leave it out of the fridge for a while before baking it.  I have to confess that I am very relaxed about the process after the recipe (and my last bake shows that even that can be adjusted by feel if you make a mistake) and just deal with the dough when I can and when it looks "right".


I certanly know about a surfeit of bread - My wife regularly tells me to stop baking for a while so that we can generate room in the freezers for meat etc and not just an ever increasing stock of bread :) !!


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Richard,


 


So how do you test if the loaf is correctly proved?


 


Presumably after a retarded prove in the fridge the dough responds differently to room temperature prove. I think I've finally worked out how the dough should look & behave when correctly proved at 16 celsius but I expect it will look completely different when left in the fridge?


 


Hopefully I can attend the course you're planning & be shown the answers to such questions!


 


Until then I shall continue baking.


Cheers


Tim

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

I still use the finger poke test.  When the dough slowly fills the indent - but not quite fully, I bake it (if I am around when it reaches that stage :) ).


As for the course, we would prefer it if a few more would sign up!


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf

Am I considered to have signed up or have I missed something?

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Tim


You are on the list but we only have 7 so that would increase the cost to each participant to a little over £140 so if we can get a few more it will be helpful.


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf


Hey,


 


Today I baked another sourdough, again using Shipton Mill No4.


 


As with my last bake I Autolysed for 30mins worked the dough until smooth & springy, bulk proved for 3 hours with a stretch & fold halfway. The loaf was formed placed in a floured basket & left to prove at 18-17 celsius for 18 hours.


 


I was unable to follow my own idea from last bake of preshaping the loaf & allowing it to rest before forming the loaf as the dough was too tacky to preshape!


Also had a really hard time turning the loaf out of the proving basket I had to gently pull the loaf out a bit at a time previous loaves of higher hydration have always turned out with ease at most I've had to tease them a little.


 


I decided to go hotter to try & eliminate the tacky crumb & baked at 250 for 6mins then 222 for 25mins followed by 210 for 10mins & 200 for 5mins.


 


Here is the loaf



The crumb




 


As can be seen this loaf is significantly flatter than recent loaves & still has a small burst in the centre.


I can't explain why but I'm happier with the crumb overall although again I'd rather the very large holes to the top not be there!


 


Questions:


For Richard in particular or anyone with experience of No4 flour.


I was once again struck by how slack & sticky my dough was even after working. This made forming the loaf a real pain. Also as I last fed my starter with No4 I found a big difference to the makeup of my starter not at all as stiff as previously it resembled a far higher hydration starter, somewhere between the Bertinet & a 100% starter really odd. the bubbles in the starter were far smaller & the starter wasn't stiff enough to hold the honeycomb I usually get to my starter.


This behaviour is so far removed from my experience with Waitrose Organic Leckford Estate flour I can't help but think there's something amiss with the flour as its sold as bread flour. I don't see how I could use this formula with this flour at 74% hydration as the dough would be unworkable.


How does No4 affect your bread / starter?


 


This not withstanding the No4 does make a very tasty loaf of bread!


 


Overproving


I'd say that this loaf shows signs of over proving, the lack of rise being the main sign. But also the very large hole to the top of the loaf, beginnings of a flying crust once more?


I really hope that Richard & Ananda's course does go ahead as I really really need to be taught how to tell when a loaf has correctly proved.


I tried the poke test using the pad on my index finger with this loaf. The dough seemed to spring back quite quickly but when the time went past 18hours remembering the last overproved loaf I decided to bake it anyway.


 


Ho hum I will get there... As ever any information or advice will be gratefully accepted.


Cheers


Tim


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Tim,


Your new bake makes my mouth water.


I've been away from this thread for a while, mainly because I was battling with the humble baguette, but also because I pursued some other recipes and baking methods.


I tried the levain recipes from Hamelnan's books, a very different experience.


However, I think it helped me understand RB's better.


Yesterday I came across a very useful blog of a German baker who chats about his professional ways with sourdough.


The links (in German) are:


Sauerteig, Sauerteig 2, Sauerteig 3


The most interesting patrs for me were:


1. If the levain (refreshed starter) is too sour the crumb will be hard/gummy


2. Temperature is very important: For a specific bread the master Suepke uses 10% starter for the levain at 24C dough temperature, but only 2% starter at 28C dough temperature.


3. The increase of proofing time per degree C less is roughly 15minutes, in his example.


Today I made some Hamelman "Levain with wholewheat", keeping Meister Suepke's suggestions in mind, and I am very pleased with the result:


Levain 1


levain crumb


 


How long was the time before yoiur refresh and making the dough?


I found that the consistency of the levain (or poolish) is quite important for the final dough.


I had a few experiences where for some reason the gluten in the poolish had degraded, and that made very funny looking things (I shall call it "sword-bread" or "boomerang-bread", flat and rock solid).


Cheers,


Juergen

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Juergen great to hear from you again.


 


That a nice looking loaf of bread with a great crumb. How does Hamelman's method differ? Did you modify your Bertinet style starter for the Hamelman loaf?


 


Sadly my German is poor at best, I was hoping for an english translation button, so I couldn't really get much out of your links! Interesting notes though it seems my next kitchen related purchase may have to be a digital probe thermometer. Dasiy_A mentioned in a previous post that temperature is very important. Have you found monitoring dough temperature helpful?


 


I found the consistency of my starter much more runny this time than before due to my use of a new I think lower protein flour, Shipton No4.


My time between feeding & making up the dough was I think just under 4 days which is about normal for what I have been doing recently.


 


No sword bread yet here, no flying crusts for a while either so with everyone's help I'm on the right track.


 


Cheers


Tim

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Tim,


I changed the way I treat my starter considerably after having read blogs by DiMuzio and Hamelman's book. And their approach to starters is consistent with what Suepke does.


When I started reading into DiMuzio I was baffled about refreshing cycles of four times a day!


The three authors mentioned have in common that you should bake when the levain is at its best - and that depends on the amount of starter in the levain, the hydration, the type of flour and the temperature.


For my bread above I used a 60% hydration starter with 93% Leckford Estate strong flour and 7% Doves wholegrain rye. This has been in the fridge fot a week or so. For the levain I used the same mix, plus 16% starter. It matured in my kitchen (22-24C) in about 8 hours.


The dough uses 7% rye and 20% wholewheat flour in the overall formula, with about 15% fermented flour overall at 68% hydration.


My process was according to the book:


Autolyse of flour and water 30 min, add levain and mix, rest for 2 hours at 26C with 1 fold after 50 min, shape and prove.


I got the famous doubling in size.


I proved for 11 hours at 19C, Hamelman proposes a range of proof times and temperatures, ranging fron 2.5 to 18 hours.


I am quite consistently somewhere in the middle.


The dough was never sloppy, and easy to slash.


The crumb is moist and tender. The taste is neutral with a bit of rustic wholewheat flavor and a hint of acidity.


My family like this very much, I (on the other hand) am investigating means to get the more German sour taste.


A colleague at work brought me a some bread into work which was made by a young baker in Hackney, and it had a very rich aftertaste and the sour taste. I have to visit his shop (well, I am going to the Lighthouse bakery school tomorrow. They might have some answers)


I practised a lot with RB loaves, and I used his formula but used the starter 12 to 24 hours after refreshment. I think that made the biggest impact for me.


I'm starting to monitor dough temperature just now.


I'll keep you up to date.


Juergen


 

Elf's picture
Elf

Juergen,


 


So with this method you have your starter in the fridge & from that you make a sponge / sourdough preferment which as with a poolish you then add to your final dough?


 


Are the temperature ranges Hamelman gives for dough temperature or ambient temperature?


 


I hope you enjoy your baking lesson,, which course will you be taking?


 


I'm not sure if you know but I think your Hackney baker was in an episode of "Great British Food" http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/zf9vd/ <-iPlayer link.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Tim,


Hamelman gives ambient temperatures for proofing.


As Hamelman writes for professional bakers there is no talk about starter in the fridge - the assumption is it gets refreshed and used several times every day.


I don't bake everyday, so I need to keep my starter happy. Just to see how it goes I did a few weeks where I refreshed once every day, using 50% starter (I did this with RB and Hamelman starter). I noticed that the starters worked best at about  12 hours after refreshment depending on ambient temperature, starter composition etc).


When I left the starter unfed for longer than 24 hours it stalled or shrank.


Based on that experience, and given that I don't want to waste too much starter


I now do the following:


I refresh about 12 hours before I intend to bake, using the starter culture from the fridge. I would call this one the levain, as most of the amount is used for baking. In that way it is similar to a poolish or any other pre-ferment. The unused part goes as starter back into the fridge. This way only well developed starter gets into the fridge.


If I feel the starter is a bit strange, or I want to change hydration or flour composition of the levain (like using a lot more rye etc) I do 2 refreshments during a 24hour period.


The German baking terminology is new to me, but it makes the steps and doughs involved a bit clearer (maybe it's just because it's my mothertonge);


1. Anstellgut (AS): This is the bit of mature starter culture (in my case out of the fridge) which is used as a "seed" culture. In Germany this is almost always a rye culture. I think the French call it the "chef".


2. Sauer or Sauerteig: This is the fermented water / flour / starter mixture, the levain,  which gets added to the dough or to another "Sauer", if the formula requires several steps.


I hope this makes sense.


About the course: I took the "advanced" course which was baking with preferments.


I learned a lot. Just being in a bakery where the normal production is going on was very interesting. Working the doughs and shaping alongside our teacher, Liz, was a very valuable experience, and working with 5  completely different doughs and preferments (sponge, biga, poolish, old dough, rye sourdough) on a single day was also quite an experience. We were 4 students, all with a similar level, the staff at the bakery were very helpful and interested, and all questions got answered.


Now I am trying to reproduce this amazing pan pugliese at home ...


Happy baking,


Juergen

Elf's picture
Elf

So you are using your starter in the fridge as a Motherdough, from which you make a preferment with which you make your bread.


 


Using this technique does it matter how long the motherdough in the fridge has gone between feeds? Does this add another layer of complexity or get round it by giving you a consistent method timing etc for your preferment?


 


Sounds like you got a lot from the course, I've put my name down for Richard & Ananda's course this summer, also been in touch with Clive at Shipton Mill about the number four & he's given me some dates for his course. So One way or another I hope to be going on at least one course this year :)


 


Good luck with your pugliese.


Tim

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Tim,


Yes, I use the stuff in the fridge as motherdough. Today I refreshed my wheat-based ferments (I'm a bit crazy, I currently keep a RB mother, a Hamelman starter (39%wheat, 7%rye, and my own mix) after they had been in the fridge untouched for 2 weeks. They all came to life very nicely and trebled/quadrupled within 16 hours or so. They are back in the fridge again, as my family are quite understandably demanding more pugliese.


With this way of refreshing / baking  feel I have more control / less complexity, and the preferment / levain has more strength and liveliness.


I heared about Clive, they hold him in high esteem at the Lighthouse Bakery.


Here a picture of my latest pugliese:


pugliese


Cheers,


Juergen

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Juergen,


 


Thats a very good looking large loaf very nice, really interesting bubbly crust lovely crumb too I'm impressed.


 


The crumb actually looks quite soft also does the formula for this include olive oil?

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

It's just flour, water, salt and yeast. I'll post the formula in my blog shortly.


Quite surprising, this result


Juergen

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi, I published the formula in my blog.


Happy baking,


Juergen


 

Chuck's picture
Chuck

...I was hoping for an english translation button...


Google translate does a reasonable job on these.


For your convenience, the translated references are:



 

Elf's picture
Elf

Thanks Chuck I didn't know Google could translate entire pages thats genius!


 


Tim

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Again there is a substitution of cumin for caraway (we've been here before!) in the translation.  

Elf's picture
Elf

Since writing my "Another update" post I have run Shipton Mill flour through a few search engines to try & deduce if I have a poor batch of flour, or if I'm generally missing something due to my lack of experience.


 


I have found a few bits & bobs but most heartening is from RonRants blog who has recently had exactly the same experience as myself. Going from using supermarket flour to Shipton Mill & finding it doesn't handle higher hydration as well. Ron describes exactly the same issues as I have which I'm rather pleased about as it means its neither the flour nor myself going mad!


 


In accordance with this information I intend on lowering my hydration levels further to see if I can find a combination that keeps everything happy.


 


Still very interested to hear about the experience of others with Shipton Mill No4.


 


Cheers


Tim

Azazello's picture
Azazello

Perhaps Shipton Mill has a lower protein content because they use English wheat, so can't absorb so much water. That's certainly the case with a French Type 85 flour I got from Flourbin, who sells some very nice Canadian flours (higher protein content) which handle high hydration levels well.


 

Elf's picture
Elf

Hello Azazello,


 


I think you may be correct, the flour I'm using is organic no4 which is said to be a blend of English & Canadian organic flour. Interesting that you've had a similar experience with a French flour. Did it take you by surprise at first in the same way it did me?


 


It certainly has a very different feel from any flour I've used before, it has a lovely velvet soft feel. I have to say actually I really like it, but perhaps I would have been wiser sticking to one flour type until I gained more experience. That said I have about 12kg left to find the perfect hydration for this flour.


 


Cheers


Tim

Azazello's picture
Azazello

The French flour didn't as it was highlighted when I got it - I'll bake something with it later but I tend to use it in blends. It was recommended to use about 10% less water than you would with, say, a Canadian flour.


The No. 4 is a lovely flour - I always order some! I'd never noticed it as being very soft, but I guess the inclusion of English what is bound to affect things.


I tend to use the No. 4 to make a fairly 'standard' white loaf, and it seems quite happy with a hydration level of about 70-75%. I've used it blended with wholemeal and rye flours up to about 80%.


As you say, the thing is to keep experimenting. 


 

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Tim


I have to confess that is so long since I used any white flour that is not Shipton Mill No 4 that I cannot give you any real help with how it compares to other flours.  I am well aware that it, and most UK baking flours, are not as high in protein as those from Canada and the USA but I have found that No 4 is a great all round bread baking flour.  It produces nice yeasted breads and seems to work quite well with a natural leaven.  My starters are both fed with the flour and although my starters do not have masses of bubbles they both seem to work quite well - you only have to look at the pictures to know that they do a decent job.  The 100% starter gives an audible sigh when I dig my dough scraper into it to take some for baking and the starter is so firm that, straight from the fridge, you can cut some and then handle it without getting sticky.


My usual sourdough bread that I have posted about on this thread only uses No 4 from the starter, the rest of the recipe is for spelt flour so that would affect how 74% hydration works for me.  As I said previously, I use a maximum of approximately 70% hydration and I'm very happy with the results.  Indeed, I have found that 70% hydration is about as wet a dough as I can cope with so I use that as a practical maximum for just about every type of bread (unless the recipe calls for a lower level of hydration or uses a high hydration but without the need to work the dough).  Whether I could use a higher hydration level if I used a different flour I don't know, but Shipton Mill does sell a Canadian bread flour.  Their baker (Clive - ex Baker?)  recommends No 4 flour for most things, including maintaining a sourdough starter.


Also, being an accountant by profession, I suffer from the "deep pockets and short arms" syndrome of so many of my professional colleagues (and I am sure we can all name some nations and one or two areas of Britain where their stereotypical traits are similar).  So when I use so much white flour (I get through three x 16 kg bags per year) and I can get a good flour like No 4 delivered at less than one pound sterling per kilo I am immediately attracted to it!


Happy baking


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Richard,


 


Just thinking aloud here but is it possible that I've not been working the dough enough? Hence the gluten isn't as developed & the dough is more sticky? If it takes more work due to a lower protein content I perhaps have failed to work the dough enough. I must confess I rarely do a window pane style test to see how developed my gluten is.


 


Thinking logically it seems impossible that there is an issue with the flour itself as it would mean a whole batch was out. Far more likely its my inexperience I think I was tired when writing my latest update post!


 


Interested to read that your 100% starter is stiff, or have I misunderstood, as my starter I think is 50% as per bertinet & with number 4 is very slack, almost like a thick batter. So much so I ended up using a table spoon to scoop it out. When fed with Leckford Estate it is stiff & as you describe & not overly sticky. I guess I could always reduce the hydration I feed my starter to get the same stiff consistency I had before?


 


Aside from my having 10kg+ left I intend to adjust my formulas working of the dough etc to work with this flour because if nothing else I really like how soft & silky it feels as compared to the Leckford & my sourdough flavour is much better with this flour!


 


Richard I don't suppose you can remember or were told which flour RB used on his courses, from his book he does use Shipton Mill.


 


I must now ensure my name is down for a much needed bread baking course ;)


Cheers


Tim

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hello Tim


Sorry!  I meant my 50% hydration starter is quite thick and not too sticky.  My 100% hydration starter is a batter-like consistency and pours nicely.


RB uses Shipton Mill flour during his baking course, as far as I recall (3 years plus a few months on and my aged memory isn't absolutley certain, but I do know that I began using Shipton Mill flours because of RB's recommendation during the course).


I am really puzzled by your experience with No 4 flour because mine are quite different, particularly with regard to the 50% hydration starter.  I have another 16kg bag of No 4 on order at the moment so I will find out in the next week or so if there is any difference to the flour I have been using so far.  I certainly haven't noticed significant differences between batches in the past - the local weather conditions make a more noticeable difference.  Perhaps you have high humidity in your part of London :) .


One thing that occurred to me after I had done my last post is that your sourdough loaves spread more than mine - even more than when I achieved 74%  hydration using my usual 74% content of spelt flour - and also when I make other sourdough loaves with 70% of No 4 flour and a hydration of at least 70%.  This could fit with your theory about gluten development but it could also be how you shape the dough and create the gluten cloak.


I usually use my Kenwood mixer to pull the dough together - including the leaven but not the salt - and then I leave it to autolyse for 45 mins to 1 hour.  I then switch the mixer onto low speed and gradually add the salt, keeping mixing until it is all incorporated.  I usually give the mixer a short (15 to 20 second) blast at high spped then turn to dough out onto my worksurface.  I leave it there for as long as it takes my to refresh my starter and then I use RB's slap and fold technique for 5 to 7 minutes until the gluten has developed and the dough no longer sticks to the work surface during the slap and fold routine (this may take 10 mins or a lttle more if you haven't used a mixer).  I then sprinkle my worksurface with flour and form the dough into a boule, leaving it to rest for about 1 hour in an oiled bowl covered wth a shower cap(!) and tea towel. I do a stretch and fold after 1 hour and leave to rest again for another hour.  I then stretch the dough a little before forming it into a boule and placing it into a proving basket.  It can prove for about 20 hours in the fridge or 12 ish hours at room temperature (springtime room temperature in the UK). I sometimes add another stretch and fold, depending upon how the dough feels, and rest another 30 minutes before forming the boule.


That is quite a detailed description of my present methodology (which changes over time as my knowledge and experience develop) so perhaps you can identify where your techniques differ and consider if that may be the reason for the difference in results.


I hope this helps, and that we can get the course, where we can learn from Andy, up and running.


Richard


 

Elf's picture
Elf

Thanks again for you description of your technique. Its very similar to what I do, perhaps because I've been taking much of your advice from this post. I look forward to seeing how my shaping differs from others hopefully on the course.


 


My slapping & folding usually takes around 10minutes sometimes a little longer, rarely much less.


 


I may try retarding my prove in the fridge again although I'm very tight for space in the fridge at the moment.


 


Baffling that we have such a different experience on the Number4 flour for our 50% starter. The way you describe your starter is how my starter has behaved before feeding with Number4. Just a thought I'm using tap water & its not the best, perhaps I may try some bottled water.


 


Cheers


Tim

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I recall(?) that you don't have scales yet.  Is your 50% hydration 1 cup of flour and ½ cup of water? If so, that's ~100% hydration, as hydration is calculated by weight. One cup of flour (correctly measured) is 4½ oz avoir. or 125g, and ½ cup water is 4 oz avoir. (not exactly, but close enough) or 118.5g. That ratio would gibe with your description of your batter-like consistency.


Rule of thumb #1: Water weighs twice flour for the same volume.


Rule of thumb #2: When debugging, change only one thing at a time. Then, evaluate the results of that one change. If it helps, continue on that path. If it doesn't, undo the last change and continue in another direction.


cheers,


gary

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Gary,


 


Thanks for you idea but I do have scales. 


 


My feeding regime is 200g starter - 200g water - 400g flour.


 


I do try to follow rule of thumb 2 when I can but since I only really get the opportunity to bake once a fortnight I do sometimes get impatient & play with more variables. Its poor form on my part but sadly my job really gets in the way of my baking!


Bah


Cheers


Tim

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

Hi Tim et al,


For what it is worth, I too struggle with Shipton Mill No.4.


It is fine at lower hydrations 65-67% but any thing over that causes me difficulties.


The dough needs watching very carefully during proofing to catch it at the right point. There doesn't seem to be as much leeway as with many of the other flours I have tried.


It is, however, a flour that produces really good flavoured bread so probably is worth persevering with.


I find Shipton Mill 701 flour much easier to deal with than the No.4. Much more akin to flours that I am comfortable with (Doves Farm, Tesco Organic).


Cheers,


Gary

Elf's picture
Elf

GaryJ,


 


Thanks for your message, it may mean I'm not going completely mad!


 


Have you used Number4 to feed your starter & noticed any difference?


 


This may also explain my under proved at 17hours, over proved at 18 experience. However that said I really need to learn to identify a correctly proved loaf!


 


I shall be reducing my hydration to 69% for my next bake!


 


Cheers


Tim

GaryJ's picture
GaryJ

Hi Tim,


I did use the No.4 to feed my starter. After an initial sulk (my starter is a little flat for a day or so when I switch flours), it was very lively whilst being fed on No.4. No complaints. If, however, I was then a little slack on the feeding front, the starter would rapidly turn very liquid (complete breakdown of the gluten?). Again, other flours seem to have a little more leeway on this front.


For now I'll be sticking with the Shipton Mill 701 as, for me, using No.4 adds a layer of complication that I prefer not to have to deal with at this point due to my relative lack of experience with sourdough. Your mileage may of course vary.


Have said all that, using Clive from Shipton Mill's own formula (low hydration, long bulk ferment, shortish prove) I produced excellent bread with No.4. I just struggled when trying other recipes.


Regards,


Gary

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey,


 


Well I'm not sure what happened with my first Number4 feed of my starter. I've just fed my starter again & this time the starter was as stiff as normal with a nice honeycomb texture.


 


So who knows what happened last time very probably I added too much water for some random reason!


 


So I'm happy & looking forward to baking next week though probably at 69% hydration.


 


Cheers


Tim

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Tim


I did something similar with a dough a couple of weeks ago.  I either got my (mental) maths wrong or I wasn't paying attention when I measured the water but, instead of a nice 70% hydration dough, I ended up wth batter!  In the motorsport world the phenomenon, usually used to describe the cause of a driver inexplicably launching himself into the scenery, was known as "brain fade".  This just goes to show that you don't have to be driving fast to experience it!


There again, perhaps it just took a little while for your "beasties" to learn to like their new diet.


Glad it is looking better, I hope the bread comes out nicely.


Richard

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

I was a bit short of splet flour the other week, waiting for my delivery from Shipton Mill, and I only had 150g of each so I added 100g of plain white (SM No4) bread flour.


The results look like:




It has a slightly more open crumb than my usual recipe - and a little less flavour - but nice all the same.

Elf's picture
Elf

Hey Richard,


 


Nice looking loaf as always.


 


I have to say your loaves generally do rise very well, what weight are they? Mine tend to be flatter than yours. Not a problem but interesting that theres such a big difference from a similar formula.


 


I'm going down to Shipton Mill on Wednesday for Clives' introductory baking course which I'm really looking forward to. I'll be pumping him for information all day long.


 


Mostly on how to tell when a loaf is correctly proved ;)


 


Cheers


Tim

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Tim


I hope you have a good time at the Mill.  Please feedback to the forum how it goes and any useful tips you pick up.  I'm sure Clive will have sme interestng input to our discussions around No4 flour!


My loaves are 400g spelt (equal white and wholemeal) plus 140g of No4 (from starter) so 540g flour.  Water is 300g + 70g from starter = 370g (68.5% hydration).  Total weight of ingredients = 540+370+6 (salt) = 916g before baking (or thereabouts - I now add only a small pinch of ascorbic acid that doesn't register on the scales).


HTH


Have a great time.


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf

I'm sorry to say I had to miss the Shipton Mill course due to illness. As I'm sure you can imagine I was really looking forward to the course & I'm a bit gutted :(


 


Anyway I'm pretty much recovered now so I'll have to try & book another day :)


 


In other news it looks like I'm going to have to look into using a retarded prove in the fridge for my sourdough as my pantry has been hitting 20 celsius with our recent early summer!


 


Cheers


Tim

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Tim


Sorry to hear that you have been ill (and even more sorry that you missed the course).  Did you lose your course fee or did they allow you to carry it over?  If you lost it you should have got in touch and perhaps I could have taken advantage of a "free" course :) .


Glad to hear you are almost fully recovered.


I have been cold retarding my dough in the proofing stage because of the temperatures in my kitchen (the Aga keeps it around 18C or higher on all but the coldest nights). The last loaf was cold retarded for a little over 18 hours (after 3 hours at kitchen temperature),  There was a very small burst but nothing major, indicating that I may have been able to leave it another hour or so.  Sorry, but no pictures as although it was slightly bigger than the others it wouldn't have been noticeable in a photo and you have seen enough of the outside of my loaves.  There are no crumb shots because my wife cut it in half and froze it before I realised!


Richard

Elf's picture
Elf

Richard,


 


There was no charge for the Shipton Mill course run by Clive so no money lost. I have rearranged to attend another beginners course, assuming work allows me the day off, early May & will report how it goes.


 


Hopefully acquiring another fridge to keep in the garage (not sure where exactly) which would allow me the space to retard my prove. Also somewhere to keep my starter etc. So will be trying retarded proving again!


 


Cheers


Tim

Elf's picture
Elf

Hello all,

 

I've not posted in ages been very busy with work & wedding stuff.

 

Thought I'd post some amusing pictures of my last sourdough bake. Tried retarding the prove in the fridge for 24 hours, also thought I'd use the oven fan. As can be seen the loaf seems underproved & combined with the additional oven spring from the fan gives a spectacular effect!

 

Thought you may appreciate the pictures!

 

In other news, a couple of weeks after the above loaf, I did manage to rearrange my visit to Shipton Mill for a baking day with Clive Mellum & a tour round the mill.

Had a fantastic day with the really friendly people at Shipton Mill. Clive is a baking genius his depth of knowledge is as amazing as his patience. I spent the entire day bombarding him with questions, for which there were always answers. Clive had a great ability to make many things appear quite simple.

For instance one tit bit which Richard & I may find helpful in our search for the perfect crumb "if you want a more open crumb next time you bake add more folds, if you want a tighter crumb use fewer folds". This makes a lot of sense as when I fold my sourdough the dough has been quite slack & I put in a lot of folds in my stretch & fold to get some firmness back. Also I tested it by adding some folds into my poolish based mini baguettes which I usually just leave for a long bulk prove & sure enough they have a more open crumb than usual.

I took so much away with me from the course in terms of important tit bits here & there which have already begun to make a difference in my baking, giving me more confidence & control allowing me to take a step back from my books & use them as guides rather than bibles!

I also gained an appreciation of British techniques & skills which while not differing greatly from other european systems I had no idea we had also used for generations, all be it with less exotic sounding names.

I shall write in more detail about my day at Shipton Mill as my first blog entry when I eventually find more than 2 minutes to rub together!

 

Hope you're all doing well & enjoying your baking.

Tim