The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My San Francisco Sourdough Quest, Take 2

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

My San Francisco Sourdough Quest, Take 2

A couple weeks ago, I blogged on my attempt to make a San Francisco-style sourdough bread that  had a crunchy crust, moderate sourness and a nice, complex flavor. (See My San Francisco Sourdough Quest).

My quest  continued this weekend. The formula and method were amended in these ways:

1. Rather than activating my starter at 100% hydration and building my 50% hydration levain from that, I activated my stored 50% hydration starter at 50% hydration. In other words, I did two firm starter elaborations. These were fed at 12 hour intervals.

2. The levain was then fermented at room temperature for 16 hours and was not retarded.

3. The final dough was mixed substituting 10% whole wheat flour for some of the AP flour.

Otherwise, my formula and method were as described previously. I should point out that, with these changes, the only differences from the formula and method for San Francisco Sourdough found in Advanced Bread & Pastry were:

1. The substitution of some WW for AP flour,

2. The longer fermentation of the firm levain, and 

3. The higher fermentation and proofing temperatures or the final dough and formed loaves. 

The results were very similar, but the bread was substantially more sour. I'd rate it as moderately to very sour. The crumb was a little less open, presumably because the WW flour absorbed a little more water. I loved it. My wife loved it. I recommend it.

David

 

 

Comments

Syd's picture
Syd

Fine looking loaves David. 

The longer fermentation of the firm levain, and the higher fermentation and proofing temperatures or the final dough and formed loaves.

Definitely two very important procedures for getting more sour out of sourdough:  let the starter ripen longer (thereby making it more acidic) and higher proofing temperatures which favour the lactobacilli. I get really sour loaves quite often in the summer here in Taiwan without even trying.  But if it gets too acidic everything degenerates into a weeping proteolytic mess.  I favour a milder tang myself which is why I discard most of  my starter each time I refresh it thus encouraging the yeast more than the lactobacillus.   I also only let it ripen for somewhere between 5 to 6 hours and use cold water to keep the dough temp down.  I must say, I don't feel a firm starter has any particular advantage over a 100% hydration starter when it comes to making a sourer sourdough.  But I do think a firm starter which has been left to mature in the fridge for a few days does produce a more complex flavour than a liquid starter.

Best,

Syd

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

My experience with firm vs liquid starters is similar to yours. The other point is that a firm starter that is retarded is less subject to proteolysis than a liquid one and that there is an advantage to using a higher gluten flour for the starter that will be fermented for a longer time.

David

scottsourdough's picture
scottsourdough

Sorry if  this is covered elsewhere, but what starter/water/flour ratios did you use for the levain? Did you change it at all from last time because of the much longer fermentation?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I fed the levain as described in the previous blog. The difference was that, this time, I went through two feedings at 50% hydration before using the levain in the final dough.

David

CarlSF's picture
CarlSF

Hi David,

I notice you're still experimenting in your quest for obtaining a SF SD bread with the proper amount of sourdough taste.  I've looked over your formula, and have you every thought about lowering the amount of hydration in the final bread dough recipe?  Why not try lowering the hydration down to 67% instead (of 72%) and see if that will give you a more sourdough-i-ness taste to your bread?  I've had some success with a lower hydration in that range.

Carl

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Carl.

I thought about lowering the hydration, but did just a little, in effect, by adding some more absorbant WW flour. The truth is, I like this kind of crumb better than the more traditional, denser, SF SD crumb.

A lower hydration dough might generate more acetic acid, but, believe me, this bread is plenty sour!

David

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

I can't speak for others, but I have learned much from your quests and experiments over the years. I too experiment but you seem to have a higher success rate than I, and will look forward to future posts.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Intriguing series of experiments, David.  I don't have the proofer to get the steady high temperature, but I'm going to try my SF Country Sourdough formula with the longer fermented levain and warmer fermented dough (using my microwave with a pitcher of hot water).  I'm not sure I'll like it sourer, but I gotta try these techniques.

Thanks. 

Glenn

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The experiments could well be filed under "reinventing the wheel." Alternatively, it could be filed under "everything matters." My personal goal is to gain a greater control over the nuances of flavor. 

Before I got the Folding Proofer, I used the microwave to raise the temperature. I could get it up to 78-80 degrees F at most. That's good for bulk fermentation, and that's where most of the flavor development happens. The higher temperature (85 degrees F) for proofing just speeds things up.

I do like a pretty sour bread when it's mostly white flour or high-rye. I'm less fond of too much sourness for mixed grain or mostly whole wheat breads. Your taste may differ, of course.

The SFSD made delicious panini for dinner tonight - chicken, arugala, caramelized onions in balsamic vinegar, emmenthaler and a light smear of deli mustard.

David

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi David,

I am enjoying coming along for the ride on your noble quest :)

Your formula sounds great. Nice work.

Cheers,
Phil

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

probably helped the sour too I would think.  The crumb seems more even and a deeper richer light brown?

I know you won't quit till it is spot on.

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi David,
Admiring the burnished crust and amazing crumb!
These two are just as gorgeous as the last two.
:^) from breadsong

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

run4bread's picture
run4bread

David, did you still use 2.15 oz of stiff levain? Also, why did you choose oz instead of grams for recording your recipe?

(grateful lurking learner and TFL fan/baker)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I believe I did use 2.15 oz of stiff levain.

I used oz rather than grams because I started with a formula that was in oz and was too lazy to convert it at the time. It's on my to do list.

David

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi David,

Interesting to read implied differences of view concerning sourness and stiff levains.   I use the stiff levain made with bread flour as I think it makes for greater tolerance..both in the leaven stage and in final dough quality.   I don't think I have a definite opinion on sourness.   But, using warmer temperature will obviously have an impact.

It looks a beautiful loaf, great crumb, especially.   For me, I'd go less sour, but a bit more wholemeal!   But, then it wouldn't be a San Francisco Sourdough I guess, would it!

All good wishes

Andy

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I made two more loaves of this SF SD bread today. They are retarding to be baked tomorrow. Stay tuned! I made them with a stiff levain fed with bread flour (12.5% protein) and a bit of medium rye. And they will be double the size of the last two bakes - 994 g each, pre-bake. 

I happen to enjoy an assertively sour loaf, as long as that's not all there is to the flavor. Tomorrow's SF SD should be pretty sour. I let the levain get pretty ripe before mixing and fermented at 76 degrees F.

I must confess, my head is a bit wobbly on details. I did Hamelman's Pain au Levain and the Tartine Basic Country Bread today as well as the SF SD. Between the mixes and the frequent S&F's for the T-BCB, not to mention the clean-ups, I was on my feet and running from dough to dough most of the day. It was loads of fun but also confimed that I'm too lazy to ever want to be a professional baker.

Thanks for your kind words.

Regards,

David