The Fresh Loaf

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Followed Recipe to the letter, but final rise in Banneton not happening?????

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ch40sum's picture
ch40sum

Followed Recipe to the letter, but final rise in Banneton not happening?????

Hi everyone, I am a newbie to baking, and after an intense search, decided to go for Dan lepards book 'The Handmade Loaf' and started with his Leaven recipe and followed it to the letter. The leaven, as the book said was bubbling away on day 6 after following the instructions so i decided to make the 'White Leaven Loaf, which is the first recipe in the book. Once again followed everything recipe said, and was quite surprised how well i did with the shaping and how the uncooked dough had turned out. So on to the final rise before baking, leave for 41/2 hours until almost doubled in height and cover. Set my timer and waited the time and nothing. They had hardly risen at all. Room was at 20 degrees and there were no draughts. I am absolutely gutted as it has taken as it has taken lot of time to do this ( although i enjoyed every minute ). Could anyone kindly tell me what they think might have happed and how i might resolve the situation. Its midnight as i type and i really want to bake them. Many thanks Chris. 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Sorry you did not get any answers yet. What did you end up doing? I think your starter was too young and needed some more time to gain strength. If you had the patience to wait it out, your bread would have eventually risen but it might have been quite sour due to the length of fermentation time. Keep on feeding your starter for a few more days and try again. It will get faster. Good luck!

ch40sum's picture
ch40sum

Thank you very much for your reply Sourdolady. What i did with the dough, well i decided ( as the recipe was for 2 loaves ) to bake one as per instructions and to leave the other and see what it was like in the morning. I know this resulted in a 13 hour final proving, but i thought WTH and went for it. The baked loaf resembled something akin to a flying saucer and was very hard, even though i shortened the baking time. It had a really nice aroma though. The 13 hour loaf had risen quite considerably, and i baked it as per instructions and it rose even more. To be honest i am quite pleased with it, but it is nowhere near what it should be. I will work out how to post photographs so i can show you what they looked like and the differences between the 2. Once again many thanks for your kind and helpfull reply.

Chris.

lumos's picture
lumos

Hi, Chris. Welcome to TFL.....and a wonderful world of baking! :)

Sorry your first attempt of sourdough baking didn't turn out as you expected.  I understand how disappointing it must've been after everything had been going fine until then.  Been there, done that, so have a lot of people around here, too. So firstly, please know you're not alone! ;)

Sourdough can be notoriously difficult because they're wild animal with their own mind, unlike chemical products like baking powder,  so how they behave and react are greatly influenced by environment, ingredient, how you treat them.   So, unfortunately  'following recipe to a letter' does not necessarily give you the result the recipe suggest, especially timing.  A lot of people say often here is 'Don't watch the clock. Watch the dough' as it's only the dough that can tell you when to do what.   To be able to know what your dough is telling, there're few things it can help if you know them. 

One of them which is very useful and quite reliable way to judge when the dough is ready to be shaped and to be baked is finger-poking test.   Can't remember Dan Lepard mentions it in his book, but this is how you can do.

1. At bulk fermentation stage (=1st fermentation before shaping) -- When a few large-ish bubbles start appearing on the surface of the dough, either wet your finger with water or sprinkle some flour in the centre of the surface and poke your finger about 2-3 cm.  If the hole starts to close up, it's not ready.  If the hole remains, it's ready to be divided/shaped.   \

2. At proofing stage (= 2nd and last fermentation before baking) -- Do the same finger-poking test as above, but aim for the timing when the hole only recovers slowly to its half-way.  If it bounces back and closes, it's too early to bake.  If the hole remains as it is and never recovers, you left it too long and need to load it into the oven ASAP....and hope for the best. :p

There're other things you can look for, like how the dough feels, etc., but those are the things you'll learn gradually with experience.   It may take time, but you'll get there eventually. 

A few advices, though.....   If you're completely new to bread-making, it's so much easier to start with commercial yeast (dry yeast) than natural levain.  Because it's made in a factory to a specific specification, it's much more predictable than wild yeast = less guess work.   Once you get used to and learn how dough feels/behaves/reacts at each stage, you can easily move on to sourdough baking.   

But if you insist on pursuing sourdough baking, try using bottled spring water or tap water which has been left for several hours, at least, as chlorine in tap water kills wild yeast.   I also live just outside London, and since I started doing that, my sourdough became much healthier/stronger and quality of my bread much better. 

Good luck! :)

 

 

 

ch40sum's picture
ch40sum

Hi Lumos, thank you for you kind welcome and ever so helpful reply. I am going to take your advice and bake using fresh or dried yeast until i have a good knowledge of everything that is happening. I hope you did mean fresh yeast as well as dried? As i said in my reply to Sourdolady, i am going to post the picturs of the 2 loaves i baked so you can see how they turned out. I have printed your recommendations out, and will refer to them the minute i have enough knowledge to start Sourdough baking. 

Once again thank you very much for you help it is greatly appreciated, and i am sure our paths will cross again. ( soon lol )

Chris.

lumos's picture
lumos

Fresh yeast is good, as long as it is fresh. Unfortutately it gradually starts losing its vigor after 3-4 days. It's still possible to make bread from a week or slightly more old fresh yeast, but it won't be the same as really fresh yeast.  So, again, the result won't be consistant.   Really, dried yeast is the easiest yeast to deal with when you're really new to baking bread.  ;)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And with a new starter, it can be frustrating.  Another way to handle the final rise is that after waiting about 6 hours and nothing is happening, take the dough out of the pans/bannetons, spread out flat and lightly mist with water, sprinkle on about two teaspoons of instant yeast or softened fresh yeast and roll up the dough and knead lightly to distribute.  Shape and let rise to bake.  

If you don't have yeast, you just have to warm up the loaf a bit more and wait it out.  Try to get the dough temp up to at least 24° C.    Twenty degrees C is rather cool (68°F)  and might explain the slow rise times you're getting.  Yeast like it warm!  :)

ch40sum's picture
ch40sum

Hi Mini oven, thank you very much for your kind reply. I will definitely take what you have said on board. I also thought it was a little cool to be honest, but then remembered i had read somewhere that a slower rise was much better so thought i had better leave it. Still not to worry i am sure this is all part of the learning process.

I cooked one of the 2 loaves i had at the alloted time and it resembled a suntanned flying saucer. The other i left overnight, and there was a definite increase in size. I baked this and to be honest it did not look bad at all. It was nowhere near what i wanted but it had a wonderful aroma. I cut both the loaves to see the structure of each and the overnight loaf had far fewer holes in it than the other. I will post pictures so you can see what i am talking about. 

Finally i thought i would taste it and toasted a slice from each, and wow, they were not pretty loaves but they tasted great.

Chris.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Hi Chris and Happy Easter!  

When looking at the crumb, after you take in looking at the holes (!) take a look between the bugger bubbles at the structure between.  You want to see a good webbing and good bubble distribution, a sign that the yeast was working and that the gluten was doing its job trapping gas.  When not enough gas is present, thicker denser areas appear -- under-proofed.  You should be able to see very obvious differences between the two crumbs.  :)  

The sun just came out, it's a lovely day!