The Fresh Loaf

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Vermont Sourdough with Banana Yeast Water

varda's picture
varda

Vermont Sourdough with Banana Yeast Water

Yeast water Vermont Sourdough with peony...

After being pushed over the edge by Akiko's magnificent baguette, the desire to ferment just became too strong.    So over the last few days I've been making banana yeast water.   I followed Akiko's instructions in her blog post which also refers to a very detailed and helpful web page.   I replaced raisins with sliced bananas but otherwise followed instructions.   This means that I started with banana and water only rather than weaning my flour based levain to fruit as I have seen others write about.  After 5 days it seemed that the yeast water was ready.   I strained out the water, took half of it, added flour, left it overnight on the counter and baked with it the next morning.   The results were tasty but not quite ready for prime time.    Meanwhile I fed the yeast water with another banana and water as per Akiko's instructions and this morning was ready to try again.   I decided to bake Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough partly because it's good and Codruta reminded me of it, and partly to have a well recognized formula to experiment with.   Further I baked two loaves - one with a banana yeast water levain and the other with my regular levain.   Since these were different hydrations the only difference in the two doughs was how much water I added to the final dough.    All of the percentages matched Hamelman's instructions.   While preparing both doughs, I noticed that the yeast water version was always more manageable and with a more silky texture.   Really though, there was very little difference between the two doughs.   However during final proof it became clear that the one with regular levain was fermenting much more rapidly.   In fact so quickly that the oven wasn't entirely ready for it when I put it in.   Unfortunately this caused me to stumble technically.   The loaf bottom split in the oven and so the whole loaf came out misshapen.    I am almost sure this was due to the fact the oven wasn't steamed properly and also possibly the stone wasn't sufficiently preheated.   Oh well.   I waited until the first loaf was done (and the oven resteamed) before putting in the yeast water loaf.    This had definitely needed the extra 55 minutes of proofing and did much better in the oven.  As for taste, what can I say - they are both tasty breads, but the regular levain sourdough has a tiny bit of sour tang which is quite delicious, where the yeast water loaf is a bit flat.   Also if you look at the crumb shots below, even with the poor misshapen loaf, the regular levain wins the competition.   So maybe I simply chose the wrong formula to test out my yeast water on and picked one that is more appropriate for a regular levain.    I will probably try, try again, and I simply love the fact that I can take a piece of fruit, doctor it for a few days, and end up with something that very competently raises bread.   

 

Yeast water Vermont Sourdough crumb...

Vermont Sourdough with standard levain crumb...

Comments

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Varda,

I think you've just provided your own supreme evidence of what a translucent crumb is with that last photo!

Best wishes

Andy

varda's picture
varda

Andy,   You are so kind.   Thanks for your comment.  -Varda

RonRay's picture
RonRay

Varda, if you read my post on using bananas as a banana sourdough,

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20460/banana-saga-%E9%95%B7%E7%AF%87%E6%95%85%E4%BA%8B

or Shiao-Ping's post using bananas

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/14432/banana-pain-au-levain

You will see that banana and flour have much trouble getting 'used' to each other.

If you intend to continue trying Yeast Water, I would strongly recommend using something that others have had success with, rather than one that has been noted for difficulties. At least, until you feel comfortable with YW.

Ron

varda's picture
varda

Ron,  I did read at least some of your post.    However, I did not experience the troubles you describe there.   I got a very good rise out of my banana yeast water starter.   The levain acted like levain - all was well.   The only thing I had "trouble" with if you can call it that, is I picked a formula that probably just tastes better with a flour-based starter.   As I described in my post, I used Akiko's approach to yeast water.   I wonder if that approach is more successful as far as bananas go.   Briefly, you slice up a banana into a tight lidded jar, and add water to double the volume.    Then over the next few days, shake the heck out of the jar frequently, adding water as the bananas swell up, sometimes letting air in to grow the yeast, sometime not letting air in to increase the alcohol.   Then after a few days, when the jar starts hissing when you start to remove the lid (this happened at day 4 for me) refrigerate for a day.   Then strain out the bananas (in Akiko's case raisins) take some of the water and add equal weight flour and leave on counter overnight.   Then use as levain.   Feed the rest with more banana and water and leave out overnight, then refrigerate - in other words what you maintain is the yeast water, not the levain.  In my case, the volume of the levain multiplied by around 3.5 overnight - really not a bad result.   I don't think the yeast water was having trouble getting used to the flour or vice versa.   I think you can see by looking at the first two pictures in my post that I got a very reasonable rise.   If you have any suggestions for better suited formulas for yeast water please let me know.   -Varda

RonRay's picture
RonRay

Varda, as long as you are happy, that is all that counts.

Ron

breadbythecreek's picture
breadbythecreek

I'm curious as to where the yeast came from. I always thought the yeast was harvested from the peels/exteriors of the fruits and was then transferred to colonize in the water. If you peeled the banana before you put the slices in the water-where did the yeast come from? Did you start with a seed of your SD starter? Just curious.
-Pamela

varda's picture
varda

Hi Pamela,   I definitely peeled the banana.   Yeast is everywhere - on skin, in the air, and so on.    Jcking did a cool experiment (it's somewhere on TFL) where he sterilized flour before using it for a starter, and was able to grow a starter just fine.   I was planning to use raisins, both because of your results and Akiko's instructions, but all I had was yellow raisins, and Akiko specifically recommended against those so I just went with a banana.   -Varda

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Varda,
The flowers are so pretty, but so is the bloom on that loaf! Congratulations on your success with yeast water.
Both loaves are gorgeous!
:^) from breadsong

varda's picture
varda

Thanks breadsong.   It was fun to try this technique.  And fun (silly?) to pose the bread and flower as if they were dancing.   -Varda

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Varda,
Fun, yes; beautiful, certainly; but I don't think silly at all :^)
The way the loaf is placed with the leaves around it, it looks like the loaf itself is the 'bloom'...so pretty!
from breadsong

 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi varda,

Both loaves look great - congratulations! Loved the shot with the peony also. 

I often use a mixed SD/RWY leaven for sourdough and it makes a nice, silky dough also.

You did well with the bananas. For another simply yeast water I recommend raisin. No peeling and it produces a strong yeast water!

From my own experience I think your reflections on the formula are spot on. It's a sourdough and worth using for the familiarity of the process, but the sour is an essential part of the bread. Having said this, yeast water breads can taste sourer on the second day.

I've found that yeast water leavens alone really come into their own when used as sugar tolerant yeasts with enriched doughs or in formulae that contain high amounts of whole wheat or malted grains, or contain added malt powder or flakes. In these cases the baker can use a natural leaven but still foreground the sweet flavours of either the enriched dough or the 'sweeter' grains. 

Great baking varda! Wishing you continued good baking. Keep us posted...

Best wishes, Daisy

 

varda's picture
varda

Thanks for your comments.   So you mix Sourdough and Raisin Yeast Water?   Can you give more details (or point me in the right direction?)   I was wondering about that.   Why not juice a dough raised with flour-based levain with some yeast water as well?    Or feed a levain with some yeast water to replace some of the water.   I just worry that there would be some sort of explosion in the oven if I got too enthusiastic.   As for banana versus raisin, I have some banana yeast water sitting in the refrigerator.   Nothing to stop me from feeding it with raisins on the next round.  Thanks for your suggestions on what breads are best for a yeast water levain.   -Varda

RonRay's picture
RonRay

Varda, for sometime I have been combining SD & YW.  If you look at this link, the first table's right hand example, shows the initial test methods I had used.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23694/standard-kiss-loaf-or-keep-it-simple-smiley

In the same post, there are 3 links to loaf sizes baked examples, the second example "One pound 500g example Link:"

will provide you with my baking log of a WSD & AppleYW loaf.

Ron

varda's picture
varda

for the pointer.  I'll take a look.  -Varda

varda's picture
varda

Hi Daisy,  I searched your blog entries for references to mixing starter and yeast water, and see that you did that for your gorgeous pannetone.   But in your message you say you frequently mix these.   Please, please, more details!   -Varda

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Varda,

No problem. I'm working my way with RWY. I've been interested in it since I first saw wao's post but have really been inspired to bake with it by Ron and Akiko's thorough and well-documented explorations.

My first RWY was made in a British winter that was the coldest since the reign of Queen Victoria - kitchen was 9C!. I kept the earliest RWY in the kitchen (which was actually about as cold as the fridge!), but now keep it in the fridge itself, in the Japanese style. 

I've learnt that all my leavens work well in formulae that start with a small amount of levain and go into a long retardation or rise. With a higher amount of leaven and  a long development time they get overblown. I think this is why the panettone formula worked so well. For the 'daily' bread the proportions of the Tartine loaf work well for me in  for the same reason.

For these breads I use an adaptation of the Tartine proportions for a loaf of around 700g: 366g flours; 250 water; 67 leaven: 6g salt. 

I can use 67g of flour and water sourdough leaven to produce the initial starter. Alternatively I can use the RWY in the initial leaven in two ways. The first way is a multiple build inspired by Ron's baking. I build a leaven over 2 days with 36g RWY, 18g plain flour and 18g whole wheat plain. I do this at 24 hour intervals, refrigerating it in between. In this case,  I also use the refrigerated RWY as the water in the total dough. This gives me a mix that foregrounds the wheaty flavours of the flours and I use around 20% whole grains when I bake this way. With both the leaven and the final dough I am mixing flour from the counter with RWY from the fridge. I have more yeasts overall in this version than in a sourdough version, but the rise time is comparable as the initial total dough is much cooler. 

However, I also use RWY in a hybrid leaven and this is the one I refer to in the panettone blog. This came out of my weekly bread baking but it was also extremely useful with the enriched dough. I love baking with multiple builds. It's one of my favourite ways of baking. However I also appreciate having a leaven that is 'baking ready' on a daily basis so I can whip up some bread quickly when we are running low.

Thinking about the RWY builds I reflected that this was one way of 'teaching' the flour to get used to working with the RWY. As this requires daily builds I then just wondered what would happen if I simply kept on feeding my regular flour leaven with RWY on a daily basis. 

I then 'morphed' my sourdough leaven. The current regime is to feed the hybrid leaven at a ratio of 1:2:3 with starter, RWY and 50/50 plain flour and whole wheat plain flour. I actually find this easier than faffing about with filtered water as the RWY is pretty easy to keep healthy. I keep this starter out on the bench. When I'm using this starter in the formula above I use filtered water in the final dough, at the 80F recommended for Tartine.

For hearth loaves I feed the hybrid starter 1-2 times a day, depending on the weather. For panettone, I would feed it as close as I could get to 4 hour intervals in the 2-3 days before baking.

I think the reason the hybrid starter works well in enriched doughs like the panettone is that it has already grown strong in the presence of sugar. For the daily loaf I find this hybrid leaven still gives a sour flavour to the loaf, with some additional sweetness. This may be comparable to what  Ron notes in hybrid loaves . The crust has good caramelisation, due to the sugars, I think. I find doughs made with this hybrid to be very creamy and workable with a lovely creamy scent. When both the starter leaven and the RWY are strong it produces some of the best balanced loaves I can make, with a crisp crust and tracery-like crumb. This type of loaf has become our preferred daily bread.



I hope this is helpful! Wishing you continued good baking.

Best wishes, Daisy

 

varda's picture
varda

Thanks so much for sharing your techniques.   It is obviously working for you judging from your results.   I'm impressed by the fact that you are able to maintain such a high percentage whole wheat starter.    I tend to keep whole grains to less than 10% in starter because otherwise I find it breaks down.   I wonder if your RWY routine is a factor in making that work.   -Varda

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi varda,

Many thanks. I'm more than happy to share.  Just realised when topping up the leaven, though,  that I need to clarify the maths. on the RWY version. It's 36g RWY and 36g 50/5o flour over 2 days or 18/18 (9+9) each day.

The RWY can deal well with whole wheat plain flour but so can my standard sourdough leaven. I started off with 100% hydration white sourdough leaven but found it really porridgy to use. However, I think the UK plain whole wheat is quite low in gluten. The initial leaven doesn't do well with whole wheat bread flour.  So I think it depends on the flour. However with the flours I have I do find that the hybrid mixture tends to produce a silkier leaven. In some cases when using this leaven I need to use slightly more water in the final dough than with standard sourdough leaven, but only a few grams. 

Good to see your great results with the two breads! Wishing you continued good baking,  Daisy

Syd's picture
Syd

Nice baking, Varda.  The yeast water loaf looks great!  It shows a really good oven spring, lovely crust colour and excellent crumb.  Despite your protestations to the contrary, I think you did very well with the  banana yeast water. 

Best,

Syd

varda's picture
varda

I guess I wasn't exactly disappointed nor entirely satisfied.   But so it goes.   Thanks for your comments.  -Varda

teketeke's picture
teketeke

 What lovely loaves, Varda!  Thank you for showing us of the crumb between banana yeast water and sourdough loaves.   If you don't mind, could you tell me the ingredients and method you used for the banana yeast one?   I like that yeast water bread  to have higher portion of levain ( exception: multi build levain).  I also like that the yeast water's hydration in the levain will be less than 100% at least. 

Happy baking,

Akiko

 

varda's picture
varda

Hi Akiko,  Thanks for your comments.  I was trying to match Hamelman's recipe but I overshot on the hydration of the yeast water.   So I built a 133% yeast water levain the night before baking.   (Hamelman's levain for Vermont Sourdough is 125%.)

Then mixed the final dough on the morning of bake:

        final    starter      total    percent
Bread Flour3607343390%
Rye50 5010%
Water2159731265%
Salt9 91.9%
Starter170  15%
   804 

With these numbers I matched Hamelman's percentage numbers, including his percentage of pre-fermented flour.   Since I had put too much water in the starter I reduced the amount that went into the final dough to get the correct hydration.   

Method: 

Mix all but salt and autoloyze 1 hour.  Mix in salt.   Bulk ferment for 2.5 hours with two Stretch and Fold.   (Here the Yeast Water loaf was much more cooperative and supple than the standard loaf.)   Preshape and rest for 20 minutes.  Shape into batard and proof in couche for almost 3 hours.    Slash and bake at 450F for 20 minutes with steam, 25 minutes without. 

I made the loaf with sourdough the same way except my starter was 68% hydration, so I adjusted the water for the final dough accordingly.  It was also 5% rye, so I put in less rye to the final dough.    But all the percentages, including prefermented flour matched Hamelman.    The biggest difference that I could see between the two was the fermentation rate.   The sourdough was ready for oven almost an hour before the yeast water loaf.   But the yeast water loaf was better behaved when it did go in the oven.

teketeke's picture
teketeke

 Hi Varda,

 Your formula and method sound fine to me. then, I looked up for the method to make banana yeast  in Japan. 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is the example:

An example of success:

 http://cookpad.com/recipe/424470   She uses the banana peel to make strong yeast.  Even, your levain rises, at the final proof stage, it goes slow down rapidly although it has good oven spring. Here is the example of mine that was weak yeast water:

 https://www.evernote.com/shard/s46/sh/86178889-1bb8-4f47-8d19-594f34944a6e/84f37f24c0db9ab26d0c1d5daa714655

 When I made banana bread using Shiao-ping's, I used " Jump-start" with banana ( food part) and a little bit of my raisin yeast water.   

Note: The taste of the banana yeast with vigorous shake frequently with banana peel  may suffer from the bitterness from the banana skin.  I rather try Okiraku lady's method. gentle shakes and wait...

-------------------------------------------------

An unsuccess example:

http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/chiko_o321/59604180.html   She used only banana food.  She mentioned that she couldn't make bread on the conversation between her and her guest at the bottom. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To make yeast water from beginning, I think that we need to use their peel. I may be wrong, but I leave it for reference to you.

Although your banana yeast water loaf looks good.  I understand of  what you are not satisfied with the taste of the loaf. I have the same experience sometimes.   Please let us know if you try again. :)

Happy baking,

Akiko

 

varda's picture
varda

Hi Akiko.   Thank you for your comments.   I was able to make a banana yeast water without peel using the steps you listed in your webpage, only swapping out the raisins for banana slices.   So it is do-able - the bread did rise both during proof and in the oven.   So maybe it is simply an issue of strength and thus speed.    In the two bakes I did with yeast water, the first had a pretty meager rise, and the second, documented in this post, a pretty good one.    So perhaps once you build up your yeast population high enough, no worries about the type of fruit.   I think I'll feed my banana yeast water with raisins next, and see what happens - hopefully my mason jar won't explode.   As for taste, I did a blind taste test of both Vermont Sourdoughs this morning - one made with yeast water levain, one with regular levain.   This is two days after the bake, and I'll note that both breads still are moist and tasty.   However, the regular levain one had a much more subtle, interesting, and complex set of flavors.    It was obvious which was which.   I've been baking with this regular levain for over a year, and the yeast water for less than a week.   Way too early to draw conclusions I suppose.   -Varda

teketeke's picture
teketeke

  Hello Varda,

Thank you for taking the time to explain how you made and  your thoughts about your banana yeast water loaf,  Varda.  I just thought that 3 hour proof  is too much to leave at the room temperature.  I had let the sandwich loaf dough at the final proof for 3 hours before because the dough didn't rise much as usual ( I think the yeast water was mature enough ), the taste was little unpleasant that I tasted a bit of sour and some weird combination of flavor from the fruit and the flour.    I just thought of your yeast water is not mature enough to become flavorful bread yet because of the proofing time and the taste.

Akiko  

varda's picture
varda

I agree with what you are saying.  And of course value your experience.   -Varda

MadAboutB8's picture
MadAboutB8

Both loaves are gorgeous, Varda. I prefer the one with levain...I love those translucent crumbs. It must be flavourful. You did such a great job for both. 

Sue

http://youcandoitathome.blogspot.com

 

 

varda's picture
varda

I got a visit from the translucent crumb fairy I guess.   Never know when she is going to show up.   Thanks for your comments.  -Varda