The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Best Sourdough So Far

mse1152's picture
mse1152

Best Sourdough So Far

Hello there, flour-heads,

This weekend I made my usual sourdough, but added the extra step of retarding it in the fridge after 4 stretch & fold cycles. It was in there for 19 hours. Then I let it warm up for 2.5 hours, shaped it, rested it for 30 minutes, slashed and baked. It's a two sponge recipe that I began on Friday morning and finished baking about midday Sunday. It has the best tang of any I've made so far -- wouldn't really call it sour, but a nice lingering aftertaste.

The first sponge usually begins with just one tsp. of starter, but for some reason this time, I thought 1/4 cup would be good. So now I have introduced two new variables: more starter, and the refrigeration. Oh well, now it's hard to say which change affected the flavor. Guess I'll have to do it again, playing with more variables. It's hard to limit myself to just one change each time I bake this!

The Blob after 19 hours in the fridge

The Blob after 19 hours in the fridge

 

I only recently figured out how much to slash the dough to avoid blowouts in the oven. I go over the initial cut a time or two to make sure the dough has room to expand. Who cares if it's not traditional? Neither am I!

Slashed just before baking

Slashed just before baking

 

Ta-daaaaaaa

Ta-daaaaaaa

 

This recipe/formula claims to be about 65% hydration, so I guess I won't get the big holes unless I increase that. But it sure tastes good!

I use Bob's Red Mill flour exclusively right now. The sponges contain some whole wheat and some rye, thus the tan color. The rest of the flour is organic unbleached, protein approx. 11.75%.

The un-holey crumb

The un-holey crumb

Now as a last note, I must thank Susan for suggesting that I resize my photos to 640 x 480 in order to post. I was at my wits' end trying to post pictures. They just would not appear. So resize those buggers and start posting! Susan, I owe you a loaf of bread....someday....just not one of these...you understand....!

Sue

Comments

Susan's picture
Susan

You got such wonderful oven spring! They're beautiful. I may have to 'borrow' some of your starter.

Hmmmmm, recipe? Glad the photo resizing worked.

Susan

tigressbakes's picture
tigressbakes

Those loaves look amazing. I can't wait to try my next sourdough loaf!

browndog's picture
browndog

what a glut of ovenspring. they really are gorgeous loaves. I still haven't quite got my head around this 'hole' thing. What's with the holey grail of bread that deposits jelly in your lap? You must be an excellent starter tender.

mse1152's picture
mse1152

Thanks for your kind comments. Susan asked for a recipe, so here are the particulars -- makes about 2100g of dough:

Day 1, a.m.: To about 1 tsp. of your active starter, add 60g water and 60g flour (your choice). Mix well, cover, let rest about 12 hours at room temperature.

Day 1, p.m.: Add 140g water and 140g flour (your choice). Mix well, cover, let rest another 12 hours.

(I used all whole wheat in the first sponge; next addition was 25g whole wheat, 25g rye, remainder unbleached. The original formula specified all unbleached.)

Day 2, a.m.: Mix 30g salt with 580g of water. Mix this with the sponge. Add 1000g unbleached flour in increments (I used 200g per addition, whatever works for you). Mix till all flour is moistened. Cover and autolyse about 45 minutes. Repeat: [S&F, 45 minute rest] 3 or 4 times. At this point, I put it in the fridge for 19 hours, but this step is not required, nor is there anything magic about 19 hours. If you do refigerate the dough, let it warm up for 2-3 hours before shaping.

Turn on the oven (unless you are cold start kind of baker -- I still have to try that) to 425F convection (this is what I do), or 450F regular.

Shape the dough as you wish. It makes 2 nice batards or boules. Last time, I made 1 batard and 2 small boules. Rest shaped loaves, covered, about 30 minutes. Slash just before baking. Bake 35-40 minutes, till internal temperature reaches 210F. I use a cast iron pan in the bottom of the oven, which I almost fill with water and place in there when I turn the oven on. I don't like to dump water into a hot pan like Reinhart, et al., tell you to do. It gives me the willies! I also rotated the loaves halfway through baking -- this may be unnecessary with convection. It's just a habit. I bake on a stone with parchment under the loaves.

NB: I've used this method eight time so far, and for the first seven times, I used only 1 tsp. of starter in the sponge. The dough is very soft. Shaping it is like trying to shape a partially deflated balloon. I often had blowouts on the sides of a loaf until I started slashing deeper. The dough is not so soft if you use 1/4 cup of starter, as I did last weekend. All other measurements remained the same.

Another NB: This is a formula I found on the Yahoo sourdough group, posted by a person who was asked to leave that group, then showed up here, and was also asked to leave (which I thought was the correct thing to do). Too bad, since he knows a lot about baking, but his delivery and attitude were lacking. Just goes to show, you have to sift out some crud to find a gem sometimes.

Let me know if you try this bread!

Sue

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

Incidentally he wasn't asked to leave the yahoo group if I remember. Heather didn't get involved at all. A couple of newbies decided he said the opposite of what he actually said and a crazed 'off with his head' rally ensued, he left because why would you try to help after that? 

It's about baking bread not a personality competition. I've found Americans have very low tolerance when it comes to things they don't like. On the other side of the pond we're a bit more accepting of other peoples ways and tend not to dictate how people should act.  But that's life, we can't all be perfect. <g> 

Maybe for the last time.

Sourdough-guy

Cathy_Chang's picture
Cathy_Chang

Hi Jim,

Ahmen to that. I just wana bake them buns, not beat them.

CC

browndog's picture
browndog

People are such interesting animals, and God knows how we expect entire countries to get along (well I guess we don't) but I find your posts are sometimes thought-povoking, sometimes acerbic, sometimes hilarious and usually informative.

Thegreenbaker's picture
Thegreenbaker

Sourdough guy....where do you hail from?

 

 

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

A small mining town in the north of England. I live in London now. I'm a real Heinz 57 though. Bred out as mum says. You?

 

Sourdough-guy

leemid's picture
leemid

where are you, sort of exactly, generally speaking? I've spent time in several spots, from New Addington, Croydon to Kensington, to somewhere up north that I can't seem to remember now, 35+ years later. They tell me that old town has changed some in the interim...

Now I'm back in Oregon where I belong. I'd love to come visit again, though. I loved it out on the east coast in Leiston too. I need to get back... what a country! And I love you people.

That's my story,

Lee

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

Hi Lee,

I'm in Waterloo, on the Elephant side, it sure  has changed a lot. It used to be a ghost town around here at the weekend but now it's quite lively, around London Bridge has really taken off, probably due to the Market and Bridget Jones. lol. I love living here it's so central and yet you can get away from it if you want to. Kensington is very posh though you should have stayed there you'd really be minted now.  

Have you chatted with Q? (qathan) She's a Fulham girl ( was going to say bird but thought better of it. lol. ) but she flew the nest for your side of the pond and London's a sorrier place for it. 

Well you should come and visit. Wait till the dollars a bit Stronger. A friend from another group is coming over in November, I'm playing it cool but I can't wait. lol. 

SDG

mse1152's picture
mse1152

My memory was incorrect, and I didn't go check the Yahoo message history to verify.  Thank you for clarifying.

Sue 

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

No problem, you're welcome. I'm sure he would be very pleased to see you baking such lovely bread with that recipe. : -) I was going to say that reminds me of a recipe I saw that got an update at Carl's Friends where all the stages are combined for one long rise. But I think you're doing a better job than he does. : -) Then I got side tracked with the NB. If you proof longer you tend not to get the blow outs but that comes at the price of a milder flavour. I go for the deeper slashes these days, it's safer. I wish I'd taken pix of the bread I baked at the weekend at the time it reallys was the best yet. I've got some of the sun flour left, (could do with a bit more honey) but it's really tasty, I'll dig the second loaf out of the freezer and take a pic. Oh found one piece left ready for toasting.



Sourdough-guy

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Sourdough-guy,

Would you explain why proofing more results in less blowouts but more mild flavor? I thought more fermentation time would result in stronger flavors, rather than milder flavors.

Thanks, Bill

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

Hi Bill, when I wrote that I had a foot tapping partner stood looking over my shoulder, we were supposed to be going out for dinner so perhaps my choice of English wasn't very good. Eg. Sun Flours. lol. 

I meant a longer fermentation will mean that you forfeit the mild flavour.

Why do is reduce splitting? A longer fermentation means less oven spring, but not necessarily less overall rise.

Sourdough-guy

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Sourdough-guy,

Thanks, I understand how the foot tapping goes. Makes it tough to even spell right let alone write clearly. Thanks for the explanation.

Bill

leemid's picture
leemid

Our ability to spell correctly and type without errors is inversely proportional to the number of extry eyes watching...

Lee

mse1152's picture
mse1152

That seeded loaf looks great...is it a standard sourdough with the addition of seeds and  honey?

The recipe/method I detailed is the one that finally got me close to the bread I was after, after about 18 months of dense, disappointing stuff.  I like it with the addition of whole grains in the sponge -- just a little different flavor. 

Sue 

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

Hi Sue, yeah, I used exactly the same recipe as the other loaf, in fact, I just took out some of the same dough and folded in the lightley roasted sunflower seeds after mixing plus a little water, roughly equal parts flour and sf seeds. I used malt syrup this time instead of honey which was fantastic, the smell, mmm, but it is nice to have that sweetness, so next time I'll add both. Though now I'm not expecting the sweetness I love it just the same.  I added 3% syrup, so half as much more syrup than the salt.  

Sourdough-guy

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Sourdough-guy,

I've been following along and love the look of the seeded loaf. I don't quite get the handling of the seeds. You roast or toast them slightly and add with flour? About how many g of seeds did you use for this batch? I take it you made a two loaf batch. Do you have the recipe for the underlying dough posted somewhere? I'm curious about your handling of the dough with the seeds folded in.

Very nice work sourdough-guy!

Eric

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Sourdough-guy,

The texture and crust on that sun flower loaf is incredible! Could you clarify the amount in percent you added to the recipe please. I think you were saying 50% and it looks like there a lot of seeds. How does the use of seeds effect the gluten and rising?

One other thing, is this a 100% AP flour formula prior to the sf seeds?

Thanks sourdough-guy, I have enjoyed your posts here as I learn this craft.

Eric

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

Hi Eric, you're welcome, I came across another question of yours earlier that I missed I'll try to get back to it tomorrow. 

 

The sunflower seeds would normally go in with the mixing as you say but as I was making a few loaves as well as pizza I just cut a piece of mixed dough when I was about to do the fold thing. I used about equal quantities of sf seeds lightly roasted as would have been the flour in that part of the dough. 

 

I spread out the dough and covered it with the seeds, rolled it up and put it back in the bowl along with the excess seeds. I folded it a couple of more times incorporating the seeds plus adding a spot more water because they absorbed a bit as it went. Okay I know, you're thinking you mad fool but it kind of did save mess and time doing it this way. Okay, okay I admit, I forgot I wanted to make a sunflower seeded loaf. Core, give me a brake. lol. 

 

Sourdough-guy

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Ha that's funny. You know some of life's best inventions came as the result of chance. I always heard that it was when an ice cream truck and a root beer truck collided that some one discovered how good the combination is.

Well the loaf could not look any more interesting. It is a piece of art. Do you think it would help to rehydrate the seeds first or maybe then you loose some of the crunch in the seed?

Thanks for taking the time to detail the process. To date I haven't baked much with added ingredients except cheese and rosemary. This will be interesting.

Eric

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Sourdough-guy Sunflower seeds are tasty! I posted the images on the other side so I won't redo it here. I took your game plan to heart and waited until the last minute to add the seeds. The basic sourdough formula was a little slack after sitting in the cooler for two days so I skipped adding additional water and it worked out OK.

The family loved it and have hidden the last of three loaves so I can't gift it as planned. I'll have to scout for those toasted seeds. Thanks for your inspiration and consult on this. It's a keeper with us.

By the way, your tutorial and basic formula are nothing short of brilliant. You have a clear writing style that I believed has helped many new bakers. The French Fold is what changed me from a dolt to a semi conscious bakers assistant, thanks! I'd love to discuss politics off forum at ehanner at gmail dot com if you are interested.

Eric

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

Ah Eric sorry I missed these last two messages. Thanks for that. I'm glad I can help. You're a star. Love the chats.  

 

SDG

redivyfarm's picture
redivyfarm

You are baking some beautiful loaves. It looks like you are successfully addressing some of the issues I've had with refrigeration, shaping and slashing. I'm eager to use your recipe and notes in my baking. Thanks for the detail.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You have a convection oven and you preheat?  The perfect oven not to preheat.  You should just try it cold and no stone...  cuts 15 minutes off proofing time too for the first bake.  Mini Oven

mse1152's picture
mse1152

I probably won't do sourdough for another 2-3 weeks, then I may try using a cold start.

Sue