The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

SF Country Sourdough – My Best Ever…Not Sure Why

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

SF Country Sourdough – My Best Ever…Not Sure Why

They say everything happens for a reason, and I believe them.  But I can’t always identify the reasons some things happen.  Why was this bake of the San Francisco Country Sourdough (my version of pain de campagne) the best ever?   This was probably the 7th or 8th time I’ve baked it, but this one had that je-ne-sais-what like my best bakes of Tartine BCB and last week’s bake of Hamelman’s pain au levain.  Beautifully caramelized, golden brown, crispy crust; moist, airy-but-substantial crumb, with nicely gelatinized membranes; complex wheaty flavor with a hint of rye.

I guess I should compare this to other bakes of the same formula.

Here’s what was the same:

  • The ingredients and the basic technique (described below).

Here’s what might have been different:

  • My starter was very active (after last week’s near-death experience).
  • Both the primary ferment (3 ¼ hours) and the proof (2 ¼ hours) were on the long side.
  • My handling/shaping skills are improving, and I got a nice taut sheath.
  • I made a recipe-and-a-half so I could cold retard one loaf’s worth to bake tomorrow for some friends.

Whatever factor(s) made the difference, I hope I can do it again.

And excellent with some early Autumn barbecue.

San Francisco Country Sourdough (Sourdough Pain de Campagne) version 10-8-11

Yield: Two 750g Loaves; or Three Mini-Baguettes (235g each) and one 800g Loaf; or One 1000g loaf and two 250g baguettes; 0r Three 500 gram loaves; or…   

Ingredients

LIQUID-LEVAIN BUILD

100 grams   AP flour

24 grams  Whole Wheat flour

12 grams  Whole rye flour

170 grams   Water, cool (60 F or so)

28     Mature culture (75% hydration)

FINAL DOUGH (67% hydration, including levain)

640 grams   All-Purpose flour (83%)*

85 grams  Whole wheat flour (11%)**

45 grams   Whole rye flour (6%)

435 grams   Warm water (80 F or so) (56%)

17 grams   Salt (2%)

306     Liquid levain  (48%)   

* used CM Artisan Baker’s Craft (malted)

** used CM Organic Hi-protein fine whole wheat

Directions

1. LIQUID LEVAIN:  Make the final build 12 to 15 hours before the final mix, and let stand in a covered container at about 70°F

2. MIXING: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the levain, but not the salt. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated into a shaggy mass. Correct the hydration as necessary.  Cover the bowl and let stand for an autolyse phase of 30 to 60 minutes. At the end of the autolyse, sprinkle the salt over the surface of the dough, and finish mixing 5 minutes. The dough should have a medium consistency. 

3. BULK FERMENTATION WITH S&F:  3 hours. Stretch and fold the dough in the bowl twice 20-strokes at 45-minute intervals.  Place dough ball in lightly oiled bowl, and stretch and fold on lightly floured board at 45 minutes.  If the dough has not increased in size by 75% or so, let it go a bit longer.

4. RETARDED BULK FERMENTATION (optional):  After second S&F on board, form dough into ball and then place again in lightly oiled bowl.  Refrigerate 8-20 hours, depending on sourness desired and scheduling convenience.

5. DIVIDING AND SHAPING: [Note: if bulk retarded, let dough come to room temperature for 30-90 minutes before pre-shaping.]  Divide the dough into pieces and pre-shape.  Let sit on board for 30-45 minutes, and then shape into boules or batards or baguettes.

6. PROOFING: Approximately 1.5 to 2.5 hours at 72° F. Ready when poke test dictates.  Pre-heat oven to 500 with steam apparatus in place.

7. BAKING: Slash loaves.  Bake with steam, on stone.  Turn oven to 450 °F after it hits 500F after loading loaves.  Remove steaming apparatus after 12 minutes (10 for baguettes). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes total (for 750g loaves; less for smaller loaves).   Rotate loaves for evenness as necessary.  When done (205 F internal temp), leave loaves on stone with oven door ajar 10 minutes.

Happy baking!

Glenn

Submitted to http://www.wildyeastblog.com/category/yeastspotting/

 

Comments

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

What a great feeling when everything comes together just right.  Nice write-up..percentages and all :)  and wonderful photos, crumb shot looks great...even got the bar-b- que ribs 'meat' included :)   I don't see anything that this post is missing...Gorgeous bake, Glenn!  

Sylvia : )

 

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

 

I don't see anything that this post is missing

What's missing is a way to convey smells and flavors over the internet.  The house was aroma heaven yesterday, with the smoking ribs on the porch and the baking bread in the kitchen.  And the fresh picked corn from our favorite Anderson Valley farmstand...and the oniony-apple cider vinegary cole slaw.  It was a wonderful array of flavors.

Thanks.

Glenn

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Fine looking SF SD, Glenn! wonderful looking all round.

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Glenn

lumos's picture
lumos

That happens A LOT with me, too; exactly the same formula and methods but the varied results for some mysterious reasons unknown to me.    I feel the bread journey is often like this....and sometimes can be like this.  :p

Really love the way your crumb opened up with lots of good size holes and the colour of the crust.  Must've tasted great, too. :)

Thank you for sharing.

lumos

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I think it would be easier to solve the mysteries if I baked the same bread week after week.  As many here have suggested, that's a good way to isolate the variables.  But, even if one has more data, there are still some intangible factors.  Makes every bake like a suspense novel...but edible.

Thanks for the comment.

Glenn

lumos's picture
lumos

Probably....if you can stand eating the same bread week after week. And you and I both know we can't! :p   I'd just just tell myself going 3 steps forward, 2 steps back repeatedly with lots of unexpected variables on the way is the fun of homebaking, too....to comfort myself. :p

Syd's picture
Syd

Excellent result, Glenn! Its great when everything comes together in one bake like that.
Best,
Syd

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

It is indeed rewarding when things go right.  Of course, I want it to happen every time.

Thanks.

Glenn

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I've always said I would rather be lucky than good Glenn. I hope you can duplicate these beauties.

Eric

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I guess my karma and my kismet were messing around in the kitchen yesterday.  

I'm surprised you didn't note the good red patina on the spare ribs, Mr. Q-Man.  Tony Cachere spice mix as a rub and a combo of apple wood and hickory, in case you wonder.

Thanks.

Glenn

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Glenn got the requested meat photo included :-) a super Q of ribs!  mmm bread and Q :) 

Sylvia

Franko's picture
Franko

Your friends are in for a real treat when you present them with a loaf like these ones Glenn! You've been making some awesome looking loaves of late and these 2 beauties are no exception, with the nice bold bake on the crust and airy open crumb. Tasty looking ribs as well!

Franko

 

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

We're going to pick up a half a local lamb they procured for us, and a nice loaf of sourdough will be a good "tip".

Thanks for your comment on my recent bakes.  I'm pretty happy with my sourdough production lately.  I just have to keep consistent techniques and maybe I'll keep my batting average up.

Thanks.

Glenn

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The explanation for your bread's improvement is simple: It's "all of the above."

Each detail makes a difference. When every one of them - good ingredients, good dough developement, optimal (long, slow, but ample) fermentation, good dough handling and good baking - happens, there is joy.

David

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I guess all of those factors play a part.  I think my instincts/feel about how long to ferment and proof and how gentle-forceful to be in mixing and shaping are evolving.  But, as Eric suggests, luck plays a role, too.

Thanks for the compliment.  Coming from a bread artist like you, it means a lot.

Glenn

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Alan Scott helped build a friend of mine's oven and one of words of wisdom was to do with day to day consistency.

His words were along the lines of "you are baking today's vintage

I think we can control a great extent, but I love the fact that sourdough is a natural process using natural ingredients and elements ... This allows room for delight.

The bread looks stunning and "toothy" ... yum.

Cheers, Phil

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Glenn,

Excellent bread.   Phil's comment from Alan Scott is revealing.   We get better by doing things over and over; I don't think you have to be too narrow about it, and the range of breads you have experimented with along the way give you good breadth of knowledge too.

Best wishes to you

Andy

Segale's picture
Segale

Thanks for sharing, this is really inspiring!

I also think that the best way to improve is to practice alot, possibly with the same receipe. So I picked this to use for my practice. My only question is: I understand only a part of the liquid levain is to be used (306g out of the 334g built up), but with this amount (306g) the hydratation comes out 66%. So, since the stated hydratation is 67%, maybe I have to use all the liquid levain built (334g). Not sure it would make such a big difference but, since I'm trying to isolate my errors, i'd like to be as accurate as possible.

Many thanks!

TorontoFlour's picture
TorontoFlour

I tried this one and the result was nowhere near as good. I am just a starting baker and am trying to get the hydration right as I realize different flours have different water absorption capacities so the recipe has to be adjusted. My dough ended up way to wet. I added a bit more flour than the recipe but it still was wet (using Robin Hood Whole Wheat Flour, All Purpose Flour and fresh ground rye berries).

I am wondering what such the very liquid levain does for the outcome vs using a bit drier one?

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

By the book, I believe, a stiff levain is supposed to give a more sour taste. I don't have any personal experience with this, however.

SLKIRK's picture
SLKIRK

GLENN,

I WANT TO TRY THIS --- AT WHAT TEMP DO YOU RETARD IN THE FRIG --- PLS REPLY TO MY EMAIL --- THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP --- I LOVE BAKING SD BREAD AND THIS IS ONE I MUST TRY ---

TONYK

tony@centex.net

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I don't have a thermometer in my fridge, but it's at standard temperature.  Maybe 40 F.

Good luck.

Glenn

London Andrew's picture
London Andrew

This is my first post here on this website.

I have enjoyed baking  my own bread for a about a year, and hate going to the shop when I run out.

I would love to post a picture...but i don't know how

I really need a longer last prove....

I rushed at the end...but wow what an amazing flavour 

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Upload the photo to facebook (You can set privacy setting so only you see the photo) Right click on the Facebook photo and copy. Come back here and press Ctrl-v (voila!) and it pastes right in. 

London Andrew's picture
London Andrew

not there yet...

 

thanks David Esq...for the facebook info :-)