Almost unpleasant results.
Hello I am new to this site, I have been experimenting with homemade breads for a few years now. Recently I decided to have a go at sourdough, I followed the instructions in Hugh Fearnly Whatsit-whatsit's "River Cottage everyday cookbook". I have made a few loaves and the results have been strange verging on the unpleasant, the bread tastes like I used vinegar instead of water. When I have had shop/baker bought sourdough loaves they have not been like this. I was hoping you could give me a few pointers on how to achieve a less sour sourdough, as I am getting to the point where thinking of chucking the starter and going back to bought yeast. I will give a basic description of process I have used, unfortunately it is in metrics I will try and give approximate imperial measurements as I go but 28g is approximately 1oz and 28ml is approximately 1 fl.oz assuming American ounces are the same as UK ones.
To make my starter following the book, I started with 100g (4oz) of wholewheat flour mixed with enough warm water to for the consistency of "thick paint". I attempted to trap as much air in the mixture as possible as instructed by the book. Once the mixture starts producing small bubbles (6 hours-3 days (in my case about 6 hours)) add another 100g (4oz (at some point in the process I worked out that 100g is about a heaped 1/2 cup and used that instead of weighing out flour every time) of flour and enough warm water to bring it back to the consistency of "thick paint". My starter got going quickly and exploded from the confines of it's container on it's first night. I some what attribute this to having and Aga (Rayburn) in the kitchen and thus a warm climate, although the recipe does say to keep it in a warm kitchen or cool airing cupboard. From this point on I discarded half my starter daily, (and continue to do so) added 100g of flour and enough warm water to take it back to the "thick paint" consistency. Recently I have started using white flour instead of wholemeal in order to make a white loaf and see if that would turn out as sour and it did.
After about 9 days of feeding the starter I attempted my first loaf. At feeding time I put half my starter in a bowl instead of throwing it away. I added 250g (9oz) of flour and 275ml (10fl.oz) of warm water, mixed it and left it "overnight" (8-10 hours) to form a "sponge". After that process I added another 300g (11oz) of flour, 1tbs of oil, a good pinch of salt (10g) and kneaded it for about 10 mins until it looked and felt like well kneaded bread dough (based on my experience of making bread with shop bought yeast). It was then left in an oiled bowl to raise "while you are at work" (8-10 hours). Then knock it down and knead for approx 1-2 mins, shape it and leave it to prove (raise) for 1-4 hours (until doubled in size). Then bake in a hot (250°C (480°F)) oven for approximately 45mins with a pot of boiling water until golden brown and makes a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.
I have attempted this with wholemeal, white and a mixture of flour. The results always come out very very sour I would appreciate any suggestions to achieve a less sour result. I am more looking for the tang of the shop/baker bought sourdough than the outright vinegaryness of the stuff I have made so far.