The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fat in Sourdough

BadRabbit's picture
BadRabbit

Fat in Sourdough

I have a sourdough recipe that I really like but it doesn't contain any fat. I would like to add enough to extend the life of the bread but not change all the characteristics too much.


What is the typical baker's % range for fats in sourdough?


What other changes will the addition of fat cause?


Will different fats react differently (i.e shortening vs oil vs butter)?


Do I count the fats as part of hydration (i.e. does it affect the amount of water I should use in the recipe)?

Ford's picture
Ford

I don't know that there is a typical amount of fat in the dough.  I use 3% butter (based on weight of flour) for my sandwich loaves.  More might be used for some sweet doughs, and certainly the typical loaf of the purist, artisan bread has none.


Fats will make the crumb softer, and the raw dough more extensible.  Yes different fats will behave differently.  A stick of butter has about 1/4 to 1/2 tspn of salt as well as about an ounce of water.  This might be taken in consideration, if deemed important.


I hope this helps.


Ford

cgmeyer2's picture
cgmeyer2

i add approx 1 - 2 T. olive oil to my sourdough loaves. this has helped to extend the shelf life a little. i have recently started adding 1 T soy lecithin. this has helped to prevent mold growth now that the weather is becoming warmer in phoenix.


take care, claudia

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Sourdough is a leavening 'agent'.  In breads commercial or wild yeast are used to leaven the dough.  


Sourdough is just another name for wild yeast.  


A dough that uses sourdough instead of commercial yeast can be a 'lean' dough or an enriched dough.  A lean dough contains nothing but flour, salt, water and sourdough - which is essentially flour and water. An enriched dough contains all of the above and can include oil, sweetener plus other ingredients.


Therefore a sourdough recipe can include anything you want to put into it to get the results you want.  Pretty flexible stuff.  :-)


Tastes good too!

BadRabbit's picture
BadRabbit

No offense but it appears you just read the title of this thread and decided what to write. Whether you read my post and decided to reply with sourdough 101 or whether you just skipped reading my post and answered what you thought the thread was about, it doesn't seem to answer any of the questions posed.

polo's picture
polo

...but if it were me I would take a little.


Here's a link to a nice short thread that may answer the question in your post. Hope you find it a worthy response to your original question.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20426/oil-or-no-oil-bread

Ford's picture
Ford

No offence intended, but were any of our answers helpful to you?


Ford

BadRabbit's picture
BadRabbit

Yes. Your post and most others were helpful. I really didn't mean to come across as I did in my former post but it really didn't seem like the other poster was even attempting to help.

G-man's picture
G-man

I think the point was that your sourdough can literally contain almost any amount or type of fat you want to get whatever results you desire. Not everyone is accustomed to working with, say, 50% saturation dough (as opposed to hydration, oil instead of water) but I would imagine it would be rather crisp on the outside and very tender and moist on the inside, like a butter roll. If it was edible...

The difference between saturated and unsaturated fats is also worthy of note. Saturated fats will give you more tenderness, while unsaturated fats will give more of the crispness. But again, I'm not used to working with high saturation doughs so I can't say for certain what you'd get if you made a recipe that contained 40% vegetable oil. I'd guess it would be difficult to work with at the very least.

Given that Ford gave a very informative answer, following it up with a statement that you should feel free to experiment should be pretty helpful.

:)

BadRabbit's picture
BadRabbit

There are very clearly points at which any additional oil will make a bread not only unworkable but also unusable as a risen bread dough. One can't just throw yeast into roux and expect to get bread upon baking.


 


I also clearly said I didn't want to change the characteristics much. I was hoping for some guidelines of a range where the fat would provide the effect I wanted but was unlikely to produce a bread completely unrecognizable from my original product. Therefore the statement that you can put any amount you want in there does not work given the parameters I set out in the original post.


 


 "Given that Ford gave a very informative answer, following it up with a statement that you should feel free to experiment should be pretty helpful."


 


Ford's answer was helpful. The "feel free to experiment" wasn't. I obviously feel free to experiment or I wouldn't be posting about adding fat to a recipe that doesn't call for it. I just didn't want to have to experiment with every different fat and saturation which is the whole point of asking questions on forums like these. That is, I don't have to spend a year working and reworking a recipe when I could benefit from the knowledge of a group.


 


My original questions were very specifically worded so that I would have a starting point from which to experiment. I expressed no need to be educated on things any reasonable person would infer from my post that I already knew (i.e. the definition of sourdough or the difference between enriched and lean breads). The post in question came off as patronizing AND unhelpful.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I am very new here. I am an older woman who has only just begun to add to my severely limited computer skills and one of the things I have added is that of being a member here.  It took me months of reading before I even decided to 'join' this forum because I had questions about sourdough I couldn't find answers to.  Rarely do I respond to anything because most of what I read still goes way over my head and my experience level.


Your response to my reply really shocked me. Most of what I have read here has been really supportive of people - especially beginners like me.  Your response felt like a slap in the face and I am feeling very chastised for something I meant only in a helpful manner.  


Until a few months ago I thought sourdough was a type of bread. It was here that I learned the difference and I really couldn't tell from what you had written in your original post if you knew that or not either because you only mentioned the word sourdough.


I know I am not the best when it comes to putting things into words and I shouldn't have answered at all because it was late at night and not many had responded.  My response was only to try to help out.


I see now - I just sat down here at my computer -by reading all the other responses that you have gotten that I did interpret your question wrongly due to my inexperience and shouldn't have even tried to respond.


I have taken note and will be very careful in the future...


In closing I am extending a word of thanks to those who have written on my behalf who were able to see that I had merely missed the mark.


Good luck with your baking.


jc

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

Your reply was perfect alright, and you should not feel bad at all!


 


sometimes written posts sound harsher than they are, so don't let this bother you...


 


I've been reading this forum for years, and when I started I could barely make a loaf of sandwich bread without severe hyperventilation...      ANd almost never posted anything either.  


It's a wonderful source of info, and thanks not only to the experts but to people like you!

G-man's picture
G-man

jc,


 


Please don't take one rude response as an indication that you should not have responded.


 


The vast majority of people on this forum accept any help provided, even from obvious amateurs. this can be doubly true when it comes to sourdough, since sourdough tends to be quite fickle and different starters can have different results, even when the same baker is using and maintaining them.


 


Please, feel free to post replies in the future. Just ignore those folks who get irritated. While they tend to detract from the scenery, they go away if you ignore them.


 

BadRabbit's picture
BadRabbit

Double post.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Quote:
What is the typical baker's % range for fats in sourdough?
The range is 2% - 3% of the total flour weight. I would start with 2%.

Quote:
What other changes will the addition of fat cause?
Softer crust. You may have trouble getting a crackly crust.

Quote:
Will different fats react differently (i.e shortening vs oil vs butter)?
I typically use either olive oil or home-rendered lard. At 2% of the total flour weight, I don't really notice a difference between the two. Butter, of course, is not pure fat. To get pure butter fat you would have to make clarified butter. I seldom bother doing this.

Quote:
Do I count the fats as part of hydration (i.e. does it affect the amount of water I should use in the recipe)?
In practically all bread formulae I've seen, fat is not included in the calculation of hydration. Instead, the fat is listed as a separate ingredient, as a  percentage of the total flour weight.

When it comes to adjusting the amount of water used in a formula that did not, originally, include fat, my advice would be not to adjust the hydration automatically. Assuming the oil is kept to about 2% of TFW, try doing your final kneading by hand and see if the developed dough has a feel similar to what you're used to. You may want to add a small amount of flour during this stage. IMHO, experimentation will serve you best.


 

BadRabbit's picture
BadRabbit

Thanks. That was very helpful.


Do you think that adding butter will affect the sourness of the bread?

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Quote:
Do you think that adding butter will affect the sourness of the bread?
No - assuming your butter is about 2% of the total flour weight.

The sourness of your bread should primarily come from the sourness of your sourdough starter and your fermentation methods. Beyond this, I can't really help you without knowing the actual recipe and methods you're using.


I have assumed that the sourdough formula you wish to modify is a simple one - just sourdough starter, flour, water and salt (typically called a "lean dough"). My responses to you are based that assumption. My comments may not be helpful for sourdough recipes that have a more elaborate list of ingredients.


The adage  "do not presume to assume" is relevant here, so I think I should bow out of this thread at this point.


Best of  luck to you in your bread baking. Do let us know how your experiments and modifications work for you. - SF


 

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I read this thread through and I don't think there was any intention of condescension on anyone's part. I think the poster was responding,stepwise and logically, to an unwritten assumption in your original post that sourdough = lean. Your questions are excellent but, by their nature, can make you sound inexperienced with both sourdough and bread making and there is nothing wrong with that-it is where we all started  and why we are here on this board-to give and get help.Now, you may or may not be experienced-I don't know you- but I'm sure the poster saw an opportunity to be helpful and responded to your unwritten assumption about sourdough=lean. She accurately stated that the ingredients in "sourdough" are NOT set in stone and you can pretty much add what you want.


So sometimes you get specific answers to specific questions and sometimes you get information you didn't know you needed. The intent, in both cases, is to help you.   


I use a couple tablespoons of canola oil per loaf in my "French" bread recipe. It doesn't affect the crumb much but does make the loaf softer for more days. Otherwise, it gets hard within 1-2 days of the bake.


Butter adds a flavor richness and can help with browning. When making recipes/formulas that are  only for 1 or 2 loaves of bread, the moisture content of a small amount of butter is not that great an issue. It is when you scale it up for big batches that it becomes more significant. Unless you are using butter to make a flaky or laminated dough-then there are other considerations.


Come back and let everyone know the outcome of your experiments.

BadRabbit's picture
BadRabbit

Perhaps that is what happened. My intention was never to imply that sourdough was necessarily lean. My only statement was that the recipe I liked did happen to be.

G-man's picture
G-man

Sometimes something written with the best of intentions can come off sounding dismissive, patronizing, cynical or aggressive. Given that people on this board tend to be nicer than most other forums I've visited, I'd personally assume someone is being nice and I'm misinterpreting their statement.


 


Otherwise, you come off sounding rude in your response. That leads folks to make assumptions about your character which could lead them to be dismissive, patronizing, cynical, or aggressive.


 


The miracle of modern technology.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Is you were rude to a person who was attempting to help you. The range of computer skills and baking experience here runs the gamut from beginner to expert in both areas. When you ask a question in the open, expect that some of the reply's will be useful and some will not. Slapping grandma's wrist is bad form son.


Eric

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

life of the bread?  I'm not so sure.  

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Mini,


Be assured that fats do indeed extend the shelf life of breads. The mass market industrial bakeries rely on it as well as other additives to help deliver a moist, viable product to the consumer days after it's been baked. This has been the case for 70+ years now from what I can gather. The inclusion of some form of fat in the mix results in a tighter more closed cell structure resulting in less moisture loss over the same period of time as a loaf made without including any fat in the mix would have. My guess is that this has a lot to with why there's been such an interest in 'lean' mix breads over the last 20 years or so. People are trying to reduce fat intake and discovering that well made bread doesn't need anything more than flour, salt, water, and yeast in order to make the same kind of bread our ancestors ate and thrived on.


Franko

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

on Mar 28 Mini Oven wrote:
Has it been shown that oil, fat, etc actually extends the life of the bread? I'm not so sure.

Hi Mini


I'm well aware of your baking expertise and am somewhat hesitant to reply. However, in response to your comment (and based on my own baking experience) I would say...


YES - adding a fat (liquid - an oil - or solid - lard or butter) does keep the crumb from drying out. Assuming the fat is only a small amount of the total flour weight, in my experience, it will keep the crumb tender for an extra one or two days.


IMHO, a typical "lean" bread recipe (wheat flour, water, salt and yeast - either made with sourdough starter or a preferment made with commercial yeast) is best eaten within (max) 2 days.


Also IMHO, modifying a simple lean bread recipe by adding fat (at 2% - 3% of the total flour weight) preserves the softness of the crumb for an additional day or two.


As I'm sure you're well aware, adding fat is not the only way to extend shelf life. Adding liquid sweetener (honey, molasses, barley malt syrup, etc) also has the same effect, since these ingredients are hydroscopic.


Adding a small amount of flour milled from beans has a similar effect. In commercial baking, soy flour is most common. In my home baking, I have found that soy flour or garbanzo flour works well. Also, adding barley flour (though barley is not a legume) has a similar effect.


I do confess to having become somewhat of a bread snob. I bake a variety of breads and have my personal opinion of the best window in which they can be eaten. However, I do (on a very small scale) sell some of my more popular breads and I find that those who buy are less disciminating than I am. They think the bread tastes just fine for 2 - 3 days longer than I would.


What is your experience?. Would love to know. Thanks - SF

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Side note: Even granulated sugar is hygroscopic, at least after mixing.


I just did a recipe and omitted the granulated sugar(about 10% flour weight) that I usually use and the bread seemed noticeably drier and firmer than the complete recipe(with granulated sugar). I usually let these rolls set out, bagged, at room temp for a day or so and they stay reasonably fresh for that time.


The rolls without the sugar, I felt needed to be put in the freezer after they had been sitting, bagged, for just half a day or so.


My personal- maybe unscientific, maybe incorrect- observation.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

...I just didn't want to muddy my post with too many details.


Just curious, but how do you manage to reply to TFL posts in such a swift manner? Do you monitor TFL in some way?


thanks - SF

clazar123's picture
clazar123

It adds a nice mellowness to any bread-kind of like the difference between a broth soup and a cream soup. But then, my sourdough is only mildly tangy and it really is a function of a long rise. All my other "sourdough" based breads are not at all tangy.I make whoile wheat,a fruited Breakfast Bread with cardamom and coriander,Multigrain,White sandwich and a sandwich Potato Rye.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I didn't "see" several of these posts when I posted.Perhaps a function of getting  world-wide responses and the server puts them in chronological order!


Adding oil or fat seems to make my bread stay softer longer than lean bread would. It probably still molds/stales in the same time frame but just stays softer while doing so.


 

Chuck's picture
Chuck

I didn't "see" several of these posts when I posted.


That's just how "the web" works, whether or not it's "world-wide" and whether or not it's TFL.


If you and I both start posting a response about the same time, neither of us will see the other's response  ...simply because it's not done yet! When we both finish, the thread has to do something with both responses, and arranging them according to who finished first seems as good as any.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

On the homepage in the left column under the searchbox and your user name is "Messages". I sent you a message!


PSShould have checked my messages first! I got yours after I sent mine. Your welcome!