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Sourdough Bread Didn't Rise/Too Dense

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Burpo18's picture
Burpo18

Sourdough Bread Didn't Rise/Too Dense

I started a sourdough starter three days ago.

I used a quarter cup of whole wheat flour and a quarter cup of water (half cup of starter now).

I left it for eight hours and added another quarter cup of whole wheat flour and water (one cup of starter now).

Another six hours passed and it already had a good amount of bubbles and had grown twice its size so I added a half cup of flour Gold All Purpose Flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour) and a half cup of water and let it sit a little too long and it passed its peak so there was a small amount of hooch on top (8 hours passed/two cups of starter now).

I then split the starter in half, and fed the half of the starter I was keeping (1 cup of starter) a half cup of water and a half cup Gold flour (two cups of starter saved) and let it sit overnight (9 hours).

The other half of the starter I was using for my bread recipe I added a half cup of Gold flour and a half cup of water (two cups of starter) and I let it sit overnight too (9 hours).

In the morning (this morning) I doubled my saved starter with one cup of Gold flour and a little less than a cup of water too keep it from being too wet (four cups of starter), and I'm going to use half of it for sourdough pancakes tomorrow; after three hours I fed it with a quarter cup of Gold flour and water so it wouldn't developed hooch and fizzle out a little bit like last time.

Anyways, I added two tsp's of salt, 1 tsp of sugar, 2 tbsp's of olive oil, and two cups of flour that I kneaded in until it was very elastic. I took my dough ball and set it in an oiled bowl and let it sit out for eight hours with a paper towl covering the bowl.

The top had dried out just a little bit but it had grown to half it's size and stopped there. I took the the dough ball without deflating it and put it on a cooking sheet, cut a few light slices on top and placed it in an oven at 425*F with a tray of water underneath, covered it "dutch oven style" with some tin foil so the slightly dried top wouldn't burn and cooked it until it was nice and brown and it sounded hallow inside when tapped on the bottom (80 minutes of baking.)

I then let it cool down and when I sliced into it it looks like it's polenta, or rather "cooked dough," not bread. The center was still a little uncooked too. It was very sour though and still tasted good with some melted butter on top.

What might I do to make my bread, well, more like bread? Thank you very much!

***Also, my house is at a constant 80-85 degree environment.

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

Eight hours is a long time for rising/proofing in an 80-85 F environment.  Your starter is quite young, assuming that you started it from scratch and not from a dried starter innoculant.  You may have mostly bacteria at the moment, and not yet as much yeast present as a more mature starter might have.  Did you have any oven spring?  By that, I mean did the loaf expand further during baking?

jillybeansisme's picture
jillybeansisme

Whole wheat sourdough starter takes less time to mature than white flour starter; however, it still usually would take longer than 8 hours for bread to fully rise.  Although you said "stopped" rising after 8 hours, it seems like it should have taken another 6-10 hours to finish rising.  Your "starter" wasn't very mature yet.  I can't imagine baking any bread for 80 minutes at 425 F without it becoming a brick.

I've made many a biga with a bit of yeast for the sour taste, but then added yeast when making the loaf.  I've used starter, but it took 24 hours to rise.  Very perplexing.  The "polenta" texture would say to me it didn't have enough yeast development and was underbaked (but 80 min. would tell me otherwise). 

Have you checked your oven accuracy lately?

Also, adding the salt and oil will halt the yeast development if added before the flour.  I think it's a combination of immature starter with salt and oil. 

www.BakingBread-101.com

Jill

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

I regularly bake 100% whole wheat bread.  The bulk fermentation takes about 4 hours at about 70 F, and the proofing takes 90 - 120 minutes at the same temperature.  In the hotter temperatures of this summer, it is taking no more than 3 hours for the bulk fermentation and about 75 minutes for the proofing.  I use 1 part of active starter to 2 parts of flour, by weight, and no commercial yeast.  I get good oven spring and good bread.

Edit: Another issue is the amount of starter to flour that the OP used.  Without weights for the starter and the flour, it is guesswork, but an estimate would be 20 oz of starter to somewhere between 9 and 12 oz of flour.  With the high hydration of the starter, which looks to me to be about 200%, this is not enough flour to feed the rising and still lend structure to the final loaf.  After 8 hours at temperatures in the 80s F, it would be as if one was trying to bake starter.

jillybeansisme's picture
jillybeansisme

MangoChutney's success is probably with starter that is aged longer than 3 days.  I think MC's bread looks delicious and do agree with the comment that there's probably not enough flour to feed the "starter" Burpo18 was trying to use.

ladybird's picture
ladybird

hi jill

you dont have to use yeast for sourdough just cut a 4 inch pierce of rubarb put it into your flour 2 hrs to ferment then take a cupfull out and the rubarb  carry on as you have been doing i watched a TV programme there was this recipe for the sourdough i never miss this chef's programme's type into google rivercottage bites channel4.com look for 40D scroll down its the 25th recipe its got loads of diffrent recipe's and you can watch every one it will take you to the page were you can watch it show's you how to make two types one out of quacker oate's that is procced into rye sourdough this is a sweeter honey taste the chef is called Hugh fearnley whittingstall  he gives every step of any recipe for anything you want to make and very simple recipe's i watched him make the sourdough bread he is a really good it it may ask you to register or you may not have to i didn't iv'e just watched again for any one having problem's getting it to rise so i will give you it again  type into google rivercottage bites channel4.com takes you to 4oD page iv'e never tasted it myself but i must say it looks tempting to make and only 6 day's from start to finish to make one of them the rye one take's 2 hrs from start to finish as you use the stater with the oat's and flour wich is good really hope this helps any one who is in doubt.

chris

Burpo18's picture
Burpo18

@MangoChutney My starter is now exactly six days old today, so it's pretty immature. It did have a minuscule amount of oven spring just enough for the slits I cut on top to expand about 1/4".

@jillybeansisme The two cups of starter I used was pretty inactive at the time of using it, so it probably wouldn't have risen even if I had left it for 24 hours. I also found out I added 3 tbsp's of oils and 3 tsp's of salt and 1 1/2 tsp's of sugar because I found out that the meauring instruments I use have a "full line" mark but you can add another 1/2 of the same measurement to it. My oven is one of the most accurate ones we've had, I set it to 400*F and checked the temperature with a thermometer and it read 400*F. I believe that the two factors of the starter being inactive, adding the other ingredients before the flour and adding too much of the other ingredients killed all the yeast and left me with a dead brick of a loaf. Next time I will wait till my starter is at the peak of activity, add the flour before and add the foresaw amount of the other ingredients and add just a little bit less salt than that.

@MangoChutney I made sure ny starter is at a 1:1/100% hydration level (it may very well be at 98%-95% hydration right now). The proofing time of my starter is around two hours right now approx. because I have been feeding/attending and stirring my starter a couple times a day now. I still don't know the bulk fermentation time yet because I haven't made another recipe for my really active started right now. My question is, should I go ahead and add a packet of active dry yeast to make sure my bread dough rises? And if so, how do I go about adding the yeast to the two cups of starter and how long should I wait to start turning the starter into dough?

@jillybeansisme I do believe that was what the problem was. =]

@ladybird I'll have to check that out, we have a store called Food 4 Less that sells 100% organic local grown rubarb at a low cost.

jillybeansisme's picture
jillybeansisme

Regarding adding active dry yeast -- if you are going to do that, then you can add it when you are mixing your "starter" with your other ingredients.  In my opinion, this would be similar to the sourdough bread I make using a sponge.  I make my first biga, wait 2-12 hours, then make my 2nd biga and add the first to it and wait 2-12 hours.  Then I make the bread.  I take the warm water, add the yeast and sugar and let it proof.  Then add the biga biga that was already made and sitting.  Then add the flour, oil, salt, etc.  Mix.  Knead until elastic.  Let rest in a covered, oiled bowl.  Divide and form loaves. Cover and let rise.  Egg wash if desired and bake.  You can make whole wheat or rye sourdough this way also.

Jillybeansisme

www.BakingBread-101.com/sourdoughbreadbaking.html