The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

San Francisco Style Sourdough

Syd's picture
Syd

San Francisco Style Sourdough


 

Leaven

  • 20g starter @ 100% hydration
  • 100g water
  • 15g light rye flour*
  • 85g all purpose flour

Ferment @ 29C (84F) for 9 hrs. 

 Sponge

  • All of the leaven
  • 250g water
  • 250g bread flour  (12.4% protein)

 Allow to sponge @ 28C (82F) for 3 hours.

 Main Dough 

  • All of the sponge
  • 65g water
  • 250g bread flour (12.4% protein)

 Autolyse for 20 mins.  Now add:

  • 10g salt

Knead until gluten moderately to well developed.  You need to have the gluten fairly well developed because the bulk ferment is very short. One hour bulk with folds at 20 and 40 mins respectively.  Pre-shape.  Rest 5.  Shape. Place in cloth-lined banneton.  Three-quarter proof.(About 1.5 hours).  Retard in fridge for 7 - 9 hours.  Remove from fridge and allow to final proof (about 1 hour).

Pre-heat oven to 230C (450F).  Slash.  Load onto baking stone.  Immediately reduce heat to 205C (400F), convection off.  Bake for 20 mins with steam.  Remove steaming appartatus when the top of the bread starts to show signs of colour.   Reduce heat to 190C (375F), convection on.  Bake a further 25- 30 mins.  (You might have to experiment with baking temps/times.  I baked this at a lower temp than I usually do for my regular sourdoughs. You don't want to have a deeply caramelized crust like for that of a miche, but rather a reddish-brown crust with nice blistering).  

Notes

  • hydration is 69%
  • for the leaven build I use a very light rye with all the bran removed (for all practical purposes, this is an all-white loaf)
  • this loaf improves with flavour on the second day and gets sourer

Taste

 
It has a distinct but, what I would categorize as, mild sour flavour.  This was my third attempt at this recipe and was the least sour of the three.  This could be, in part, due to the fact that the weather was slightly cooler and the temperatures were slightly lower than the temperatures when I first formulated this recipe. It could also be due to the fact that I changed the composition of flours.  Despite the open looking nature of the crumb shot, it was actually quite firm to the bite.  This is undoubtedly the result of the high protein flour.  The crust was chewy, too.

 

Previous attempts


On my first attempt I used 11.4% protein flour for both the sponge and the main dough.  I also gave it a 50 min autolyse and added 3g of diastatic malt.  The main dough was very sour tasting and got sticky quickly.  I attribute this to too much enzymatic activity and the enzymes breaking down the gluten.  The resultant loaf had a rather low profile and a moderate to strong sour flavour. 

On my second attempt I considered using the same flour but lowering the hydration to counter some of the stickiness. Instead, I kept the hydration the same and used a higher protein flour for the main dough. The result was similar to the first attempt although the main dough wasn't as sticky.  The profile was still rather low, though. 

For this try, I ditched the diastatic malt, reduced the autolyse to 20 mins and used a 12.4% protein level flour for both the sponge and the main dough.  This resulted in the best profile but the mildest flavour of the three.  

I want to work on this one a little more. For my next attempt I want to keep everything the same but let it proof for only an hour in the bannetton, then give it double the time (about 16 hours) in the fridge. I am hoping this will get me where I want to be:  a moderately sour, chewy loaf with a reddish-brown, blistered crust.  

Finally, a different angled view of the whole boule (and a gratuitous crumb shot)  for Varda, lest she again accuse me of minimalism (or was it brevity)? :)

Syd

Comments

Syd's picture
Syd

You're welcome! :)

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Hey Syd, 

Looks great (almost the same as your previous).  The Rye you admire is a wonderful Buttermilk Rye.  Its the bread loaded with caraway and Rye that most Rye/caraway nay sayers fall in love with.  Its mostly hydrated with buttermilk and studded heavy with Honey.  

I don't believe the 4 extra hours would make incredibly noticeable changes.  It seems I failed a touch on our process explanation timing wise.  So the Levain is made at 12am, mixed at 12pm and retarded immediately.  We pull the dough 22 hours later from bulk fermenation 10AM let it come to temp for a 2-4 hours.  Shape at lets say 2pm.  Its then floor proofed for about 4 hours so lets say it goes in retarder at 6pm.  It is then baked at 12 pm the following day (18 hours).  So in my quick description it seems I cut down some serious retarder time.  I appologize I was typing quickly and not actually thinking it out perfectly so:  

(Times are simply a made up to show the process)

Build Levain 60% levain 100% flour (5% is rye), 100% cool water (12 hours) Wedneday night 12AM (midnight)

Mix and retard (dividied into pieces of dough that aren't super thick so the dough temp comes down fastest, we used lightly greased bus tubs.  We are putting 1/2 of what could safely fit in each tub and pressing it out so its even and as thin  as possible) Thursday 12pm (noon)

Pull dough to remove the chill before shaping Friday 10AM

Shape Dough Friday 12pm  Proof on floor in covered rack until 3/4 proof (if your retarder is warmer than mine maybe less proof will help 1/2 way???   about 3-5 hours (this will be different based on your enviroment and the part you will have to fine tune most)  

Retard Shaped loaves Friday 5pm

Bake loaves with steam for 15 minutes vented for 20+(200 deg internal)  Saturday 12pm

So the process begins at Wednsday 12 midnight and finishes Saturday and 12 noon (so all in all this is a 60 hour process) With very little work until the shape/proof.  When our sour comes out of the oven you can smell the sour so thats a thing to look for.  

Once again I appologize for not thinking this out more precisely.  

This is our exact process and as I've metioned we have very similar recipes and looking loaves so maybe give this a try???  

 

Happy Baking

 

Josh

 

 

 

 

 

 

Syd's picture
Syd

No need to apologize Josh. Thanks for giving such a detailed description of your process. 60 hours is a long time, but the schedule you have worked out should fit well into my day.  I would have to start the process on Thursday and bake on Sunday, though, as I wouldn't have any time to proof on Friday.  I will most definitely try your process, hopefully this weekend. 

In the meantime I have yet another experiment going and managed to squeeze in a bake of it yesterday.  This involves my original recipe with the addition of maltose. I got the idea from Debra Wink's post on lactic acid fermentation.  Here is the relevant quote:

 

...is it possible to add particular sugars (eg maltose-rich malt syrup) to bread dough in order to encourage the growth of and influence the metabolic behaviour of particular lactobacilli?

Yes, you can add things to dough to influence end-product formation---they do it in industry. Increasing maltose in the dough could certainly increase activity of lactobacilli, which would increase lactic acid production. To increase acetic acid, however, you'd need to increase co-substrates in the dough (fructose, malic acid, citric acid, pentoses, etc.). One way to increase fructose is by adding sucrose (white table sugar), which is a disaccharide that is half fructose. Honey, is a mixture of glucose and fructose. You'll have to decide which additives are acceptable to you. Do you have a philosophy regarding your bread?

For the first bake I added maltose at a rate of 4%.  There was no overt sour smell when the loaf came out of the oven and even when you take a first bite you don't get any distinct sour taste, but the sour taste comes on slowly and it lingers on your tongue long after the bread has been swallowed.  I don't have any problem with adding maltose to a loaf, much as I don't have any problem with adding diastatic malt.  It is, after all a grain based product.  I know sucrose can produce a powerfully sour loaf but it also slows down the whole process and seems to stunt the volume of the loaf.  That is something I don't want to do.  I also don't want the sweetness that sucrose would bring with it and somehow adding sucrose feels like a bit of a cheat whereas maltose doesn't.   Other considerations would be honey and fructose.  Once again I wouldn't want the sweetness they would bring, but it may be that only a small amount would be needed and sweetness would be negligible.  On my next bake I think I will increase the maltose to five percent and consider the addition of some honey at, perhaps, 2%.

I have two questions for you:  what is the protein level of the flour you use, and when you divide the dough what do you scale your loaves to?  I am guessing yours are 1 pound loaves from the amount of time you bake for.  I have to bake for 45-50 mins before a 2 pound loaf is baked. 

Thanks for your detailed response.

Syd

golgi70's picture
golgi70

For this loaf I actually use High Protein Flour around 13% is the specs I have but I'm sure it fluctuates.  I am baking 30 oz loavess.  It gets 15 with steam and 20+ minutes vented.  I do believe you'll get the sour you want from the retarderas long as your dough temp is getting low enough to produce aecetic acid.  I can't wait to see your results.  

 

Happy Baking

 

Josh

Syd's picture
Syd

30 oz is about 900 grams which is only slightly smaller than I scale my loaves, but you are using a commercial oven and I guess that makes the difference. I also give mine about 15 mins with steam ( I remove the steaming apparatus when they start to take on some colour which is usually around the 15 minute mark).  However, I then give them another 30 to 35 minutes without steam, usually with the convection fan on.

How would you describe your crust Josh?  Does it shatter into shards when you cut it?  On day two mine has usually lost its crispness and gets chewy. It is even more chewy if I use the higher 12.4% protein flour. The crumb is chewier, too if I use the higher protein flour.  Personally, I prefer the bite of lower protein (11.4%) that I usually use.

As soon as I have tried your amended process, I will post the results.

Syd

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Crust is crisp at first and becomes chewy. In fact you describe it just right.  Toasts back up like a dream.  The HP flour also makes the crumb chewy. I took lead at a bakery that used hp as its choice white flour.  I too prefer a lower protein flour. I do believe the HP helps during this long process.  We've made with lower protein  flour by accident and followed procedure to end in failure.  Process may need tweaking to change flour and end in success.  Mostly I'd think some times would need to be trimmed as other softer glutens would collapse.   It's taken me some time to learn HP flour and it works. I still think its best in pizza and bagexciting

 

Excited to see your results

Happy baking

Josh

monnyB's picture
monnyB

Love the crumb, love the flavour development overnight. Still slightly chewy after 8 hours.

For the flour I use (+ 11.5%) 69% is too much water so would try this recipe again with 65%, as it was scary slack at final shape. I should have known it would be a big discus coming from the oven. My oven runs quite hot so the first loaf was a bit blacker on one side despite the falling temp.

I found the crumb then to be a bit too open I quite like a more dense crumb. Glad I doubled the recipe so I could try 2 for the price of one....
Will have another go in a week or two. I spent the day making 5 grain bread with a chocolate malt (gives great colour) and a nice ciabatta that is folded every 20 mins before 1 hour final ferment, while watign for this loafe to be ready. I use a lot of recipes with both yeast and leavan for convenience. Lovely. 

Thanks for the post Syd!

Syd's picture
Syd

You're welcome monny.  By the sound of your description a 65% hydration or even a 63% would be spot on for your flour.  I am not fond of mixing overly slack doughs, either,  because I do all of my kneading by hand. I read somewhere that protein levels are not necessarily an accurate description of the water absorption power of flour.  My 11.4% does fine with a 69% hydration, but that is just my flour.

Your five grain bread sounds delicious.

Best,

Syd

monnyB's picture
monnyB

my five grain bread made with dark chocolate roast malt. Made today with 30% leaven and 2% dry yeast to help the process. A sweeter crumb because the sour doesn't get to mature very far. My husband loves it for the energy value - he cycles to work 3 x per week.

Today's ciabatta was also a great success. Oven spring was 100 %, very satisfying since I use only a manually pumped spray bottle. Lovely porous well hydrated crumb. Delicious with our great NZ salted butter ;O)

Syd's picture
Syd

That is a very pretty loaf monnyb, and I am sure it tastes absolutely delicious, too.  Great colour and I love grainy texture the whole grain give to the crust.  Glad to hear that your ciabatta was a success as well.

Best,

Syd

Mira's picture
Mira

Hi Syd,

Your posting inspired me to imitate your efforts this week! What a beautiful looking loaf! I followed your instructions with the baking times and temps with the convection on.  I just took my loaf out of the oven and the top is so sickly pale I thought it wasn't ready but internal temp read at 195 degrees.  The bottom of the loaf has that caramelized crust!  Weird, wonder how that happened with convection?  My oven is calibrated and I used steam for the first 20 minutes.  Any ideas why that would happen?  

It's been a long haul with this one (including staying up until 1:30 last night until I could refrigerate the dough) and I often wonder why I continue experimenting with sourdough...but then I see photos such as the one you've posted and I know why I continue:)

M

Syd's picture
Syd

Hi Mira,

I sorry you didn't get the result you were looking for.  I know how disappointing it can be when you have put so much time and effort into it.  Sourdough baking can be very frustrating at times.  It's not like burning a cake that took half an hour to mix up.  Sometimes you can spend the better half of a week planning and making a sourdough loaf.  

The fact that the underside of your loaf browned and caramelized properly but the top didn't suggests to me that you weren't getting sufficient heat from above.  Do you have a top element/bottom element choice on your oven setting knob?  I use both the top and the bottom element when I bake.  If I only use the bottom element my oven won't get hot enough and it will take ages to bake a loaf.  It will also result in a loaf that isn't sufficiently browned on top.  Each oven has its own idiosyncracies and sometimes you just have to play around until you get the right setting.  Do you have an oven thermometer to check the accuracy of your oven?  

My suggestion to you would be to pre-heat your oven for at least 45 mins before loading.  Some people even suggest pre-heating for an hour before loading.   You could also try raising your oven rack.  The higher up in the oven you bake, the more the top will get browned.  Put the rack in the middle and the top of the risen loaf should be close to the top of the oven (watch out for burning, although from the sound of things you would welcome some colour).  If my suggested temperatures are not working for you, try baking hotter.  Try 220C for the first 20 mins with steam and then drop to 200 - 205C for the second part of the bake.  Actually I normally bake at a higher temp than the temperatures suggested in this recipe.  It is just that I was looking for a redder, russet looking crust and was worried about overburning/over darkening it at higher temperatures.

Hope this helps,

Syd

 

Mira's picture
Mira

Thanks for your response, Syd.  I do have a good gas range that is correctly calibrated, and I do usually bake at a higher temperature.    I did pre-heat for 45 minutes beforehand and am wondering if the convection prevented the deep colour on top.  I'll just have to experiment with this one.  After reading other posts, I am also wondering if my bread was overproofed:(  

Sigh...the art of baking bread continues to elude me...it's one step forward and a few steps back...but at least my DH complimented the flavour if not its anemic looking qualities:)  

M

Syd's picture
Syd

Overproofing can cause anemic looking bread, but if your bread had been overproofed, then the bottom wouldn't have browned, either.  I still maintain your top and bottom heat were uneven.  Your convection oven wouldn't have prevented the top from browning.  Convection ovens are about 20% hotter than conventional ovens and, if anything, would have created a darker crust.  I went back to look at my original instructions and I see I incorrectly said that convection should be on for the initial steam.  If the convection is on, then it will blow the steam away.  I will go and change that immediately.  

Best,

Syd

Windischgirl's picture
Windischgirl

So this past Saturday, I realize our bread stocks will not last us until the next baking day and I ask my 15 year old daughter to pick a recipe from this website.  She points to your lovely SF SD, Syd, and away we go.  She reads the recipe to me as I scale out the ingredients for the leaven and I mix it into a smooth little ball of starter.

It isn't until I prep the Sponge the next morning that I realize between the humming to the tunes on her iPod and vigorously texting her friends, she had distractedly given me the wrong proportions, so that my leaven is not at 100% hydration, but rather at 65%.  I attempt to play catchup when I make the final dough, adjusting the water so that in the final dough the proportions are correct.  I hope.

It kneads beautifully in my KAM (since my last activity on this site Santa brought me the 6 qt KAM) with nice gluten development.  But the dough is quite slack.  I do the suggested folds but there is no way I can score this loaf.  In other words, I should have Jayne Mansfield but I end up with Marlene Dietrich.  I do the bulk fermentation as an overnight retard because I have no good place to put this slinky dough without it escaping the fridge.

Tonight, after bringing the dough to room temperature, I cut it into two rectangles and shape it into a Ciabatta; actually, it brings to mind the Pierre Nury Rye in Local Breads.  I got some nice oven spring, with a lovely russet crust dotted with small bubbles.  Since the loaves are just out of the oven, I will have to wait till breakfast time to assess the crumb. 

So what I ended up with certainly ain't your beautiful SF SD, Syd.  I have no idea what I ended up with, but the proof will be in the eating.

Can I blame my 15 year old for this?

 

 

 

 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If you want your daughter to bake with you again, involve her in assessing your results. Get her opinion of both the process and outcome. Ask for her suggestions for improvements to implement the next time you bake together. Make sure she knows you enjoyed working with her. Ask if she wants to share some of the loaf with her friends. 

Besides, suppose the bread turns out to taste just wonderful. Who gets the credit?

Both my sons are terrific cooks as adults/husbands/fathers, but, in hindsight, it would have been neat to have them working with me in the kitchen when they were kids. I'm envious of you.

David

Windischgirl's picture
Windischgirl

Thanks for your feedback, David.  When I came home from work today, I pointed to the two long loaves (actually, one loaf and a heel--her brother ate half a loaf for an afterschool snack, but what can I expect from a 17 yo?) and observed that my results were nothing like Syd's picture. 

"And do you know why?"

She grinned at me.  "Did I read 4 cups when I should have read 4 Tbs?"

"Something like that.  So, what did you think of the bread?"

"I thought it was pretty good!"

And it did turn out all right.  Little sour--that may change a bit by tomorrow morning--but a wonderful chew and it was delicious spread with bleu cheese for lunch.

I bought a manual pasta roller/cutter Saturday, and when daughter spied it, she wanted to try it.  I stepped back and let her take over kneading the dough, rolling it and cutting fettucine, adjusting the thickness and trouble-shooting the machine's quirks.  Soon all the kitchen chairs were draped with golden strands which made a tasty dinner.

She did a good job critiquing herself, deciding that the cooked noodles were too thick and doughy, and vowing to try again.  

Last summer I delegated weeknight dinner prep to my three teens, with anything being fair game...as long as Mom didn't have to make a last minute grocery run or act as sous chef.  I'm thinking I'll do that again this year!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Bread-wise, too.

David

Syd's picture
Syd

Yes, blame it on her, but if, as David says, it turns out to be some accidental masterpiece, then the credit is hers, too.  

My eleven year old daughter likes to bake with me but is still more interested in turning it into a restaurant game where she takes pretend food orders from her three year old brother and mother .  It is fun nevertheless and I know she has learned along the way.   For instance, if you ask her what you need to make bread, she will reply:  "Flour, salt, water and yeast!" My three year old son goes crazy for raw dough and will do anything to get it.  The minute he hears me thwacking the dough on the counter, he is there for his fix.  I worry about him getting a stomachache if he eats too much, so each time I tell him:"This is the last piece. No more." But he just smiles and barely a minute later he is back again!

Best,

Syd 

varda's picture
varda

Ok.   I tried it.    Suffice it to say that it came out less than yours:  less tall, less golden, less blistered, less sour (just guessing.)   Really pretty crumb though, and tasty enough that I will try, try again.   -Varda

Syd's picture
Syd

How did the dough feel Varda?  Was it slack?  Could it perhaps have been too much enzyme activity?  I have noticed that if my levain build goes past its peak (in other words peaks and starts to recede) then I get problems with sticky dough and a lower profile.  On my last two attempts at this loaf (since I posted this) I have reverted to using 11.4% protein flour but adding and extra 50g of it.  So I add 300g of flour to the final dough but of a lower protein level.  I haven't worked out the hydration but I am guessing it is somewhere around the 65% mark. My results have all been very consistent.  I have also been adding maltose at a rate of 5%.  This seems to encourage really nice smooth sour.  At the moment I am experimenting with trying to find the perfect amount.  I have another boule retarding in the fridge.  Talk about being obsessive!

Syd

varda's picture
varda

Syd,  I cut the starter maturation to 5 hours since it seemed ready, then only did the sponge for 2 hours, because it was starting to bubble, as though the whole thing turned into starter, then mixed and did the 1 hour ferment with 2 S&F, then shaped and right into the refrigerator for 10 hours.   Then 2 hour proof on counter in the morning.   So my timing was somewhat different than yours.   I went back and read the comments before scoring and saw that you said to go easy, but I didn't really - not enough control - and so that may have spread it out a bit, but really it spread as soon as I tipped it out of the basket.   I used half and half 11.7% protein flour and 12.7% plus AP flour for the starter feed.    It is not at all sour, so I feel I haven't yet arrived at something I could call SF Style Sourdough.   -Varda  

Syd's picture
Syd

It sounds like it was all a bit overactive.  Maybe too much proteolytic activity, or too wet for your particular flour.  My suggestion would be to either subtract some water or add a bit more flour and try a hydration of about 65%.  Also, don't let your starter overripen.  

Best,

Syd

Syd's picture
Syd

They all look good!  Nice shaping and crumb on the sourdough loaf.  Is that wholewheat sourdough focaccia?  Looks great.  What did you sprinkle on top?  Yes, once you have tasted sourdough, everything else seems to lack in flavour.  

Nice baking,

Syd

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Syd, congratulations on this one. I tried it a couple of weeks back and was very pleased with the crumb and flavour. I can't recall having baked a nicer tasting all-white sourdough. Your process really draws out the flavour of the grain. As usual, my proof times had to be reduced (although only a little) - surprising, because I imagine your ambient temps in Taiwan are higher than mine here at this time of year (approx 22C for this bake). I must have a manic starter.

Anyway, thanks again, and here are a couple of pics.

Cheers!
Ross

 

Syd's picture
Syd

Lovely crust and blistering there Ross.  Your loaf is very consistent with the results I have been getting.  Even my crumb is similar to yours.  I don't get any large holes in the crumb because I knead it pretty well owing to the short bulk ferment.  My recipe has changed a little from the one posted above and when I get some time I will post the updated version.  I now only bulk ferment for 50 mins with two folds at 25 and 50 mins respectively.  Then a five minute rest to relax the gluten before final shape.  45 mins out of the fridge in the banetton and then 18 hours in the fridge.  Another 45 out at room temp while the oven is preheating and then into the oven.  I am also now using a lower 11.4% protein flour rather than the higher 12.4% protein flour I used above but I am using slightly more of it.  

Nice baking,

Syd

 

salma's picture
salma

I have made this bread before with good result. Tried it again, made the leaven Tues night and then had to refrigerate, made the sponge Wed and then had to refrigerate, put together the final dough Thurs, after shaping, proofing and retardation overnight, baked straight from the fridge Fri morning and it is one of my best loaves. I did replace 50g bread flour with coarse semolina flour and also added about 40g each of flax and sunflower seeds. Also some sprigs of frozen rosemary. I think next time either fresh or dried, frozen does not have enough flavor. The oven spring, scoring look great, thin crisp crust and soft chewy inside.
I wish I knew how to post pictures from an iPad.
Thanks Syd and David.
Salma

Syd's picture
Syd

You're welcome Salma.

I wish I knew how to post pictures from an iPad.

You need to upload them to the Fresh Loaf Server first. 

  • click on My Account
  • now tap File Browser
  • next choose Upload
  • now tap on Choose a File 
  • your iPhone or iPad should ask you Choose Existing or Take New
  • choose whatever appropriate and Voila! now you can include it in a post or multiple posts

This works on my iPhone with iOS6 but it doesn't work on my iPad with iOS5.

Syd

salma's picture
salma

Thanks Syd, hope this works.  salma

Syd's picture
Syd

That's a beauty Salma.  Lovely open crumb.  It looks soft and light.  I can see the rosemary and seeds in there, too.  You got a lot of oven spring.  

What did it taste like?!!

Best,

Syd

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