The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Pagnotta

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Sourdough Pagnotta

Sourdough Pagnotta

Sourdough Pagnotta (1)Sourdough Pagnotta (1)

Sourdough Pagnotta (2)Sourdough Pagnotta (2)

Sourdough Pagnotta (3)Sourdough Pagnotta (3)

Sourdough Pagnotta

This recipe is a very slight variation of Sourdough-guy's blog entry on Pagnotta and Ciabatta. Many thanks for Sourdough-guy for the recipe, which he says is his variation of and Il Fornaio recipe. I've posted pictures of my process and a spreadsheet with the amounts in ounces, grams, and baker's percentages.

Ingredients

  • 240 grams fresh 100% hydration starter 
  • 709 grams water
  • 574 grams KA Organic AP (you can substitute any white AP or bread flour)
  • 206 grams KA Bread flour (you can substitute any white AP or bread flour)
  • 50 grams KA rye blend (optional - substitute white flour, whole wheat, or other)
  • 50 grams Heartland Mills Golden Buffalo flour (optional - substitute white flour, whole wheat, or other)
  • 18 grams salt

Mix

Mix ingredients until well integrated and there is some resistance to stirring. Start by mixing the starter and water together, then add the flours and salt. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes fold it gently in the bowl a couple of times, then pour it out on the counter, let rest for 10 minutes and fold the dough into a ball from the 4 corners. Turn it over so it is seams down, and place it back in the bowl.

Then, every 30-60 minutes pour the dough out onto the counter, let it spread a little, and fold it up into a ball. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rest 30-60. Repeat this process every 30-60 minutes a few times (roughly 3 times, but could be less or more) until the dough has elasticity and resilience.

Bulk Fermentation

Place the dough in a well oiled rising bucket or bowl to rise. It should rise to a volume that is about double the volume of the dough when you first started folding it. If you use the quantities above, that will be when the dough has risen to a volume of about 3 liters.

Shaping

Pour the dough out on the table on a bed of clour and cut into three pieces. Work with each loaf separately. Form a ball by carefully and gently pulling the sides toward the center repeatedly to get some surface tension on the smooth side underneath. Do not overhandle.

Use thumbs and fingers of one hand to pinch and hold the gathered sides over the center, holding the gathered edges up a little to help the sides stretch and the shape to become more round and taking a bit of weight off the loaf. Use the other thumb and a couple of fingers to pinch a bit of the side, pull the bit out and up and over to the center, stretching the side as you do. Gather that bit in with the first hand along with others as you work your way around the loaf. Try to make it round by gathering a bit from the place that sticks out the most.

Turn the dough over onto a thick bed of flour with the rough side down.

Final Proof

Allow the loaves to increase in size by double.

For me, this took about 3-4 hours (I baked the loaves one at a time).

Bake

Bake at 425F for roughtly 20-30 minutes until the crust darkens to a pleasing color. The internal temperature should be over 205F.

Cool

Allow the loaf to fully cool.

Results

The flavor was as good as any bread I've made. The crumb open. The crust was thin but crisp and delicious. It was a huge hit with the kids, so I know I did something right.

Comments

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Nice!

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Floyd,

I really like this recipe. It tastes great, and it's easy once you get the hang of the shaping. There's a little bit of peril with high hydration dough getting stuck on whatever floured surface you use, but it's not bad. I just used a couple of dough scrapers to transfer them to a peel from the counter. The olive version was more difficult to handle, but again it sure had the flavor, and probably it would be loads easier with just a slight reduction in water and cutting the loaf size a little.

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Gosh, that looks really delicious.  Would this be a good bread to use for sandwiches?  Like, what bread would not, huh!  But it somehow looks like it might be a bit like Schlotzsky's, if you're familiar with that.  Gosh, this is making my mouth water. 

I'd love to try making this.  One question - is it really necessary to oil the rising tub?  I never do which is not a big deal but I prefer not to if I don't have to.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Zolablue,

This was really delicious bread. I think SD-guy is right that "one long rise from small amount of starter" flavors are excellent, especially with natural leaven and maybe especially with white flour. I still haven't had time to mess with a "one-step" version of my miche recipes.

I think sandwiches would be great with this bread, but I would follow a ciabatta shape. See Sourdough-guy's blog on pagnotta/ciabatta for some shaping instructions. He provides an interesting, somewhat different approach from what we've been doing according to Glezer. The photos of the ciabatta look very good, so maybe it's worth giving a try - so darn much to try.

As far as the olive oil, I think it probably has a couple of effects, and probably you could go without it. It may soften the surface and protect it from drying out. It may also, give the crust a softer, smoother, appearance. The last one was sprayed with oil before proofing. The first two were sprayed with water before proofing.

Also, I had some problems with crust separation on the first two. There are pictures in that link above showing the problem. Any ideas what is the cause? I blogged a question and photos of the problem on Sourdough-guy's Pagnotta/Ciabatta blog. It might be a better place to look at the problem.

Bill 

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Do you know about how long altogether this bread took to complete?  I'm planning to bake it tomorrow but would really like to be able to get it mixed up tonight so it can be baked and done since I'm also planning to work with the Thom Leonard dough tomorrow (which I'll plan to bake Friday). 

I don't know what is Golden Buffalo (obviously I don't have that) so will most likely use KA bread flour and some WW graham and/or possibly some rye.  (Or maybe some of my first clear flour...heehee.)   But seriously I wonder if that would work, too.

Do you see any problems with mixing up the dough tonight and letting it retard overnight?  Do you have any suggestions for doing this or how a 2-day process might be best planned to make the bread turn out properly?

About your crust separation - is that not generally from not creating enough tension when forming the loaves?  On that note, isn't the shaping for these simply forming a boule?  Or is there some other method that I'm not getting from the shaping instructions other than normal boule shaping?  Thanks ahead of time for helping me.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Zolablue,

I started it at 9:30 AM and finished baking the last loaf, which is the one that came out best, at about 9:15 PM.

Yes, I would think substituting KA bread flour, WW graham, some rye, some first clear flour (seriously, that would be definitely be in the spirit, as that is a component of what is in the sifted flour like Golden Buffalo and would add a little nutty quality to it) would all be good. All I'm really doing is adding a little texture and flavor to get a slightly more rustic texture and look. Nothing more than that to it, so enjoy doing it whatever way suits your fancy. Or, do it as a more purely white bread and replace the Golden Buffalo and the rye with bread or AP flour. I think any of the above will work well.

I don't think it's a problem to retard it overnight. I would just assume the process is at a "standstill" during the refrigeration period. In actuality, it will continue to ferment for a while until it gets cold, and it will take a while to warm up and continue in the morning, but the overall effect on timing ought to be more or less to "put the process on pause" while it is refrigerated. I still haven't gotten a good feel about how to time the folding, to do more the night before or more the next morning. SD-guy said it may not matter a whole lot. JMonkey seemed to point me toward doing some folding the next morning. I think it's just a matter of balancing getting enough tension with not deflating the dough too much. If you do deflate the dough trying to fold it in the morning, you can probably still recover by letting it do an additional bulk rise to get it back to "double the original volume" and with the right texture for shaping and final proof.

The shaping is very much like a boule, but usually a boule is formed "right side up". In this case, the instructions are saying to form the loaf upside down. The reason for this, I think, is that the dough is very wet, so you need to set it on a bed of flour or it just sticks to the counter like glue. If you try to do the usual boule forming process, you will end up with a mess when the bed of flour is pushed into the dough as you try to push the sides under the boule to tension it. Instead leave the "good side (the eventual top of the loaf)" down on the bed of flour and work around the loaf lifting the sides up and over to the center of what will be the bottom of the loaf. Gather them together with the other hand as you work, and then, when you have done this enough times to get good tension and a nice round shape, turn it so the "good side" is up and place the rough gathered in "rough side" down on the bed of flour. Only gather relatively small pinches of the side, or you will deflate it more than tension the sides as you work. Try to get your hands wet and devoid of any stickiness before you start, so that you can release the gathered center when you place it down on the flour. Otherwise, the sticky release can cause the nice round tensioned edges to deform or come apart. Don't take too long, or you'll over handle it and get stuck to it. The weight of the loaf will then do the usual normal trick of sealing the seams underneath. Sorry if this is not clear. I have one somewhat useful picture that might help below.

On crust separation, I think that I wasn't getting the hang of the shaping quite right at first. I also notice that the last loaf, which proofed for 4 hours, not three, and was slashed worked better. SD-guy suggests recovering by poking the loaf with a knife during the bake if it appears to have a giant swell on top indicative of a separtion. Also, I'm suspicious that maybe there is something about spraying them with water, which I did not do with the last one that had no separation, so maybe that has an effect. However, SD-guy's analysis was that it's about shaping and maybe about letting the bulk fermentation run too long before doing the shaping. So, maybe don't let the dough quite rise by double during the bulk fermentation, and then do your magic with handling. I know you'll get that part.

OK, show me how it's done, ZB.

Good luck with it.

Bill

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

Hi Bill, lol, you've done it again. lol. I love our chats Bill, but you love misquoting me. lol. Good job I love you. : -) 

I wouldn't got poking the bread while it's in the oven. Pop any big bubbles before it goes in with a sharp knife or skewer. If they're an inch down you might not notice them but then that's just tough I suppose. 

Hope you're well I haven't heard from you in a couple of days. Did you get the formula I sent?

Sourdough-guy

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Sourdough-guy, 

Sorry about that. I'm glad you're taking it lightly - thanks. I had the idea you were talking about poking the big bubble that seemed to form on top on my first two loaves as they started to really heat up. That had to be the crust separation, and somehow it made sense to me that it might be possible to "pop" those early in the bake if you saw them happening. I see that is not what you were suggesting. Sorry once again. Thanks for being so understanding.

Meanwhile, yes I have the spreadsheets and will be messing around with some sort of 24 hour loaf soon. I'm on a sailing trip right now, and I'm not sure when my next chance will be to try another long rise, one-step, no-knead, folding style sourdough bread.

Bill

sourdough-guy's picture
sourdough-guy

Hi Bob,

Well, that's a poor excuse for not baking, you've got a galley haven't you lol,  

Well you're assumption made me think Bill, so when I was scoring my loves on Saturday, with a lame, that is, not with cash, I had covered them too well and the 'skin' was sticky, so one I scored with difficulty and the other I put in the oven as it was, after a few minutes the scored loaf had opened out quite a bit so I opened the oven and throwing caution tot he wined scored the second. Now I see how some people have had a really sharp score line with a little lip. Ha Ha. Rumbled. It worked really well. The scored in the oven loaf got approving nods from my friends.

So Bill, it might not be so daft to poke the bubbles while baking, though I have no idea what would happen. You'll have to let us know if you try it.

Oh about the spreadsheets, I wasn't joking when I said they will self destruct in the 30 days. lol, okay I was. Well, not quite, ...

SDG

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Sourdough-guy,

Actually, I did bake while sailing. I found a 2lb bag of KA organic White WW and a package of yeast at a store on the way to the dock. Then, we had to use a little ingenuity to figure out the measures, since the galley was missing a scale or even any measuring spoons and cups. So, we used the 907 grams on the flour package * .85 and figured out the water needed was very close to one of our bottled waters with a few extra tbsp added. Then I just had to guess on the salt. We added a big quantity of sunflower seeds and raisins to it, as well as two tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp honey. I added 1/2 package of yeast. All went quite well as far as mix, rise, and folds. The only mistake may have been not adding a little more water, as the sunflower seeds (roasted) and raisins later seemed to absorb more water than I had expected. We had a decent sized non-stick plastic cutting board that worked great for the folds. So, I started the whole thing at about noon, and the dough was shaped at about 8pm. Then we got impatient for some sleep, since we had beaten to weather in 20-25 kts of wind in a somewhat tender sailboat for about 7 hours, so I baked before they had risen all that much in the pans. They rose nicely in the oven from a cold start, just slashed down the middle once. The darn oven only gets to about 400F at most - more like 375F - but we baked them for an hour and 10 minutes. The result was delicious but slightly dense - not bad though. I think it could have been great WW bread if I had given it maybe two more hours of final proof. The sunflower seeds and raisins worked well  in that bread for breakfast next morning. I did amaze my sailing mates with the ease of the mix, stretch, fold technique. There was so little mess, and it was so easy. They were quoting out of a cookbook they liked and had used for bread that has some of that "knead 800 times" advice, and were quite intrigued that we could make very good bread with little effort. On a sailboat in particular, being able to do it in a bowl and then folding on a cutting board makes a lot of difference, since the mess and the effort of kneading traditionally would be annoying if the boat is in any kind of weather.

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Bill, I guess I keep forgetting just how wet this dough is.  No wonder you don't form in the normal boule method.  It sounds much like shaping the Della Fattoria Rustic Roasted Garlic boules except with a much higher hydration here.  Ah, I love a good challenge.  Some things came up tonight so I'm not sure now I'll get to it for an extra day but I can't stop thinking about this bread.  It looks so good and your description makes it sound wonderful. I really appreciate the good info (as always) you gave here and I think I can get started.  I'll report back.  (Btw, be sure and check out my post on "clear flour" as I found some good info in the BBA book.)

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Zolablue,

I look forward to great photography, huge oven spring, super duper handling - no pressure...

Yes, I do know very well that "things come up" and all the baking goes by the wayside. Let me know how it turns out. I think you'll like this. It's your kind of challenge - handling is key and a bit challenging on this one.

On the "clear flour", yes I read what you said. I'll be very curious how it works to use 100% of that flour in the bread.

Meanwhile, I mentioned using it in both this recipe and in any recipes that call for high extraction flour - just as a component though - maybe about 10% of the total flour. This is only based on reading about what it is after your questions. I think including the "first clear flour" as 10% of a miche along with something like 30-50% WW and 3-5% wheat germ could be good. I'm going to order some from KA and see what it's like.

Best of luck pursuing the pagnotta. It was fun for me and has disappeared rapidly, which is the key measure of bread success with my family.

Bill

bluezebra's picture
bluezebra

Have a great weekend!

ehanner's picture
ehanner

The kids ran off with the moon.

Bill, I made this today and thought I would experiment with my easy peel since the dough is hard to move. The first loaf was perfect and loaded and off into the oven with ease. I noticed there was a small area of sticky dough remaining on the loading belt. The bread was perfect looking and my son who was about to leave for a late class grabbed it with a smile. The next loaf, the dough stuck to the belt and most of it came off in a glob. Grrr, I never should have tried this on such a sticky dough!

The third loaf I thought I would use the easy peel to move the dough to parchment. Easy on and then glued to the belt. I had a fleeting thought that maybe I could save it but it was just too ugly. So, I turned it into a pizza by stretching and spreading as much as I could. Hastily put together some simple toppings and declared victory.

Anyone have a clue how to clean up this mess? I suppose it will fare well in the wash machine.

 Eric

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Eric,

I don't think I've run across an "easy peel". It sounds interesting. I can imagine what it must be like. The dough is wet, and it did worry me once or twice. I transferred the dough to a peel with a piece of parchment paper floured with some corn meal using two dough scrapers. I just put the floured scrapers underneath the loaves on each side and lifted the loaves confidently - no hesitation - right onto the parchment and then into the oven on the parchment paper with no delay. They even stick to parchment paper if you leave them for very long.

As far as cleaning, you got me. I've occasionally washed my couche cloths if they start to smell rancid with a tiny amount of detergent and a lot of water and drip-dry them, but they usually don't have dough stuck to them like that. It sounds like a serious mess. Best of luck recovering.

Bill

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Bill,

I should have said Super Peel. It's a great tool for placing pizza and cakes and all kinds of things on a hot surface and then retrieving them later. This was totally my fault and I love the peel. I shouldn't have tried to use it on this formula of 90% hydration dough. Having posted so many images of nice breads, I feel compelled to laugh at my mess and share with you all. When things go bad, the wheels really come off.

Above are the remnants of my boule turned pizza and the bottom of the other boule and the other image is a top shot of an escapee. My wife says it looks like a body part. There you have it, humble pie!

Eric

PS: By the way, the bread was delicious! There is a depth of flavor that I strive for in French type dough, an after taste of nutty full flavor that this bread has. Mess or not, it is great.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Eric,

I'm glad it at least tasted right. I agree that the flavor with the one step long slow rise is very good. I'm still getting some of my hidden freezer stash out once in a while. I'll have to check out the super peel. It sounds like a useful tool. Good luck getting it back in operation after "gumming up the works".

Bill

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Hi Bill,

We all enjoyed the bottomless loaf so much that I started another batch this morning. This time I added a little white WW and 25g of wheat germ. Your recipe calls for an interesting combination of flours that seem to ferment well into a full after taste.

Today I promise I will use the parchment to proof on and bake. BTW I found that I could get a nice surface tension and a slash-able loaf by placing the dough, rough side down and rotating and pushing hands together a few times. That's a bad description but the result is a nice boule shape with good tension. When I am finished shaping I let it sit on the counter for a few minutes covered and then re-do the shaping one time and place the dough on the baking surface (parchment) by hand or with scrapers.

Are you still out?

Eric

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Eric,

I'm back from my trip. It's nice to be in the kitchen drinking a little coffee, baking some bread, and so on. I'm trying to do my usual raisin focaccia in a one-step process derived from the SD-guy recipes for pagnotta/ciabatta with olive oil and raisins added to the dough. I'm also trying to make a plain old 100% WW sourdough sandwich loaf in a pan, as I've seen done by JMonkey and others. I'm trying to improve my handling techniques with the WW flour, as I can't seem to get quite the nice rises and crumb with 100% WW that I see here on the site.

I like adding a little rye, Golden Buffalo, WW, wheat germ, etc., trying to get just a little bit of nutty flavor and rustic quality to the straight white bread. I think it's a nice touch. I also am about to try flavoring with some organic malt syrup, which I saw suggested in an SD-guy recipe (probably not the case somehow, since I have a curse about misquoting anything related to SD-guy).

Can you describe more what you mean about forming the boule. I was definitely getting the hang of the "upside down" boule forming technique by my third pagnotta. However, any further insight would be great. The problem I had with the "rough side down" approach, which I did try at first w/the olive pagnotta, was that I was alternating between two bad outcomes: 1) incorporating too much flour from the surface as I pushed the edges under, or 2) using less surface dusting flour and having the loaves just stick unmercifully to the surface (aaarrrrghhh).

Bill

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Hi Bill, It is a fine line between to much flour and sticky bottoms. The last time I did this I used flour on the sides of my hands and a very small amount on the counter. I'm still about half way to frustrated with this slack dough and I don't have a good feel for it yet. For now I am going out of my way to create tension and placing the free form boule on parchment. It seems to be a gassy dough and I am popping bubbles just before baking. Like you, I slashed the first one and got wary it is so fragile. I didn't really see much of a differance in the spring slashed or not.

I toss 1/2C of water in and set the timer for 23 minutes at 425F. 15 minutes later I spin it for even browning and maybe set a probe on the first loaf to get the time right. They are beautiful and tasty!

I thought you and SDG might like to know, I gifted one of the second batch to my wife's parents who are in their 80's. It was still warm when they got it. My father in law is a block from Panera Breads which produces some very nice bread and so he knows what he is talking about. Never mind he's a tough Italian Marine with an opinion. He called me today and told me that was the best bread he had ever eaten. "So soft and buttery with a great taste, you don't even need butter". I tend to agree. It's a pain to make but it is so delicious I guess I'll have to master the process.

I think the Buffalo Gold is an important aspect of the flavor. The combination of flours works very well together I think. I agree it might be interesting to try a little malt syrup or maybe I'll try dry diastatic malt powder first.

Anyway the bread is a hit around here and my hat is off to you for the great post and documentation. You continue document these great breads like you are a food editor.

Eric

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Bill,

My last batch of SD Pagnotta was just halfway into the 23 minutes I usually bake them for when I decided to look at the temp. I was using 425 F on a pre heated stone due to prior pizza cooking. I stuck a probe in at about 17 minutes where I usually spin the loaf 180 degrees and to my surprise there was a jet of steam blowing out the side where the probe was. The reading was already above 205 f and it was a pale brownish color. I decided to leave it in for a minute longer and check temp again with another probe. Upon removing the loaf it was very soft like white bread and almost no crust. Nearly impossible to cut being so soft, the interior was cooked but very soft crumb. My wife actually liked the flavor and softness. The remaining two loaves I cooked at the usual 23 minutes which produced a darker brown crust and firmer structure like I normally expect.

I'm thinking that the high hydration is causing this dough to create steam that is trapped inside to cause this situation. I suppose that all breads do essentially the same thing on a smaller scale and I just never knew about or saw evidence of it.

Have you ever run into this behavior? I haven't seen you mention that temps should be ignored but I'm wondering.

Eric

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Eric,

Yes, I have run into what you're describing. You poke the bread and it actually shoots steam out like an espresso machine steamer. I've found that crust color works better than internal temperature for these high hydration breads.

Bil

Susan's picture
Susan

Eric, I find that hefting lean bread when I think it should be done tells me a lot. If it feels like an empty shell, it's done. If there is too much weight, it stays in the oven.

Susan

Susan's picture
Susan

And I love how it turned out. Thanks, Bill, for your version of the recipe! It's a keeper.

Susan from San Diego

Susan's picture
Susan

for your version of SD-G's Il Fornaio Pagnotta. It's my husband's hands-down favorite of all the breads I've made, and is our new Daily Bread.

Susan from San Diego

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Susan,

It turns out that my wife and kids all feel this is a great bread. It's so simple, too. I'm glad it works for you and yours.

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

This is my second attempt.  I am so happy I tried it again as I first made it substituting first clear flour and didn't love it.  It was a whole different animal though as I feel myself saying whenever I use that flour.  I'm really having second thoughts about it altogether.

Anyway, this bread was FABULOUS!  I can't stress that enough.  It was fun to make and bake.  I love working with high hydration dough.  This didn't seem difficult at all and really came together quite well.

I'm not really sure if the crumb was as open as it is supposed to be.  But it was so delicious and my husband said right away, "oh, this is SO light," and I agreed.  It was the perfect blend of flours so I have to commend you on this one.  I will make it over and over. 

One thing that happened this time, as well as the first time I baked this (and now I cannot blame the first clear flour I used then) is the crust, while nice and crisp on top you can see by the photo the bottoms just didn't really brown at all and were thinner than I'm used to.  Not sure why that is but even so this is sooooooo good.

One other very interesting note is that this bread tasted quite a bit more sour to us than my other breads.  I don't know why it should have but again such a great flavor.  I used my regular firm starter.  Btw, incredible toast with this bread, too. I loved this recipe, Bill, so thanks a bunch.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Zolablue,

I'm glad you tried it again with better results. I do like this bread, too. I very much like the appearance of your crust and would be interested in any more details you could supply on how you handled the shaping and proofing to get them to look as they do. Mine look a little more like my typical ciabatta breads, with some streaked flour. I've tried spraying them with a little oil, just dusting them and covering with a bowl and so on. Also, how long did your fermentation and final proof run? I know you have a faster starter, but it would still be interesting to know how that went.

I did have a recent version of this bread tasting a little more sour, and I did make it by building a levain from my new Glezer firm starter. However, that recipe started with a very small amount of starter and may have fermented too long. I think that had more to do with the slightly more sour flavor.

In this case the levain is only contributing 12% of the flour, so even letting it get very ripe shouldn't have a very big effect on flavor. Maybe it's just a matter of making the fermentations a little shorter to reduce the sour flavor. Do you have a sense of whether you were on the long or short side on the length of the bulk fermentation and final proof?

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Bill, I made a mistake. I didn't use my original firm starter rather I used my converted Glezer starter (CGS - firm to liquid) so that is another reason I found it interesting the flavor was a bit more sour.  I gotta stess though that it was in no way too sour or overpowering but really delicious.  I'm wondering if the lightness in this crumb allows the flavor of that to come through more.   But, no, because you did mention your Pagnotta was more sour when you used the one you converted to firm so that is exactly backwards from what I did. 

Btw, how do you pronounce Pagnotta?  I'm going to go buy the Il Fornaio book now to see what other goodies are in there.

Let me go check my notes and come back and report.  I think I kept a record of how long it took me.  Off the top of my head I think it was roughly the same time it took you even with a really fast liquid starter.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Zolablue,

I would also stress that the one that came out a little sour where I built the recipe starter from a little bit of Glezer firm starter (converted from my 100% hydration starter) was also delicious, just a little more sour than I've had in most of the other recipes I've made.

I've had trouble figuring out when to stop the fermentation and proof on these higher hydration breads. I think it's possible that I've consistently overfermented the ones I've done so far, and maybe the most sour one also was the most overfermented.

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I had the dough mixed up by 9:00 am and I was done baking at 7:00 pm.  I baked each loaf separately.  I did roughly as follows:  3 folds taking it to approximately 10:30 am; continue bulk until around 1:00 pm (4 hours total) then form loaves.  I placed them on semolina sprinkled parchment paper.  I allowed them to proof for about another 3 hours and then baked each at about 30 - 35 minutes.  By 7:00 pm all the loaves were out of the oven. 

I think it is very hard to tell when a loaf has doubled especially when it is sitting right-side-up on the counter.  I used my hand by holding it over the top and trying to judge how much it had expanded.  I'm not so adept at that part.  :o)

To form, I put the dough onto what would become the top and gathered the edges as you do.  But I do something else maybe, not sure.  Once I have grabbed the sides and pinched together and grabbed the opposite sides, while gathering the corners and pinch all of those together I then grab a bit more just near the bottom perimeter and gather that again, if that makes sense.  It creates a bit more tension.  Then I just turned it over with my hands (and I have very small hands but it works if you go quickly) onto the seminola dusted parchment and let it ferment. 

Did that help or did that make any sense?  I want to make this again using my Hamelman starter just to compare the flavor.  But it has been sluggish so please tell me again, how long it should take to double at a 1:4:4 feeding?  Is that the correct feeding to get it pumped up?  Do you think I should know this by now!!!

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Zolablue,

Thanks for that rundown. My fermentation times for this dough would have been more like 5.5 hours and 3 hours, but you have a faster starter, as we know. So, I think that's reasonable. I still think I may have gone too far on my last batch, so it helps to know you aren't letting them ferment much differently from what I'm doing. I think I'll have to try shortening mine a bit.

So, am I right that once you form the loaves, you do nothing else to the crust? For some reason, when I form the loaves and turn them over, some of the flour from the bed they are sitting on stays on the "top" of the loaves, and it gives them that flour streak look of ciabatta that has been dusted while being formed. However, I like the look of yours, so I'm wondering if you have any idea how to get away from that. Is it simply that the semolina doesn't stick as much? I may have some semolina, and I definitely have some rice flour.

I also think I know what you mean about the shaping. I do something similar. Actually, I think I overdid it recently, and the result was a slightly less open crumb. However, it got rid of the crust separation. One of these days, I'll figure out how to eliminate the crust separation while still having a more open crumb.

On the starter, yes 1:4:4 works well for me on a 12 hour cycle. I've been doing 1:9:10, but it may be pushing it with a 12 hour cycle. Also, I really do mine at a 90% hydration rather than 100%. I just prefer to work with the slightly thicker paste, and it rises for longer, so I can monitor the rise from one time to the next more accurately. I was trying 1:9:10 with the same thought of trying to let it ferment longer at a higher pH, which is at least part of the idea behind the Glezer starter. It certainly brought my 100% hydration starter back to health. It now rises essentially right in line with the Glezer firm starter, in the tests where you race each starter against its converted equivalent of the other starter. However, like Andrew was, I'm still getting about a 3.5x rise out of mine in 8 hours, not the "gold standard" of 4x. I'm hoping one of these days mine will perk up as I saw Andrew's did.

Oh, and the 1:4:4 feeding rises in about 6 hours at room temperature. That's using the same starter as above, that would rise by 3.5x in 8 hours at room temperature if converted to a Glezer firm starter.

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I didn't use any semolina on top of the loaves - only underneath on the parchment and only because I was so afraid of the texture because with the first clear flour it just makes this dough SO wet and SO rubbery - hard to describe.  Those loaves were super soft on the bottom after baking (I have pics of those also if you want to see them but I'm sure you can picture).

I forgot - sorry, my mind lately - lots going on.  :o)  I did spray the tops with water so maybe that is the difference.  Or I just didn't let much excess flour get onto the tops.  They weren't really super floury.

Also, I wanted to mention that my first attempt, using the first clear, I got some separation at the very top also.  So that seems to be normal with this recipe.  That's why I took care to try to make a bit more tension the second time but I also think it contributed to less open crumb.

Well, hmmm, my Hamelman starter.  Bill, I just could not bare to toss him yet.  :o)  I've had it stored in my fridge for at least a week but have been refreshing it for the past couple days at 1:4:4.  It is not doubling until around 12 hours.  I was hoping to get it up to its original, unneglected strength in order to bake this bread again tomorrow.

What I'd like to do is make a batch with the Hamelman starter alongside a batch with my firm starter to compare.  I would not convert my firm to liquid to get the 240g.  I would make a guess as to how much to add and simply adjust the hydration to get it as wet as I know it should be.  That would really show me the differences (if any) in flavor from starters.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Zolablue,

The recipe uses 240g of 100% starter. If you want it to work very similarly with the firm starter, contribute the same amount of flour using the firm starter. So, in this case, the starter has 120g of flour. If you add another 60% to this i.e. .6*120, you will account for the water in the firm starter, so you should add 1.6*120g of firm starter, i.e. 192g of firm starter. Then, just add the remainder of the water to the dough, i.e. 240-192=48g of water that should be added to the dough to make up for the fact the firm starter contributes less water than the 100% hydration starter.

I think I understand your shaping and what you do with the crusts. I'll try to come closer to your version the next time.

12 hours to double a 1:4:4 feeding sounds like it would be a little too slow to work well, but as long you're doing the tests...

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Why can't I just use my normal amount of starter and not even worry about the exact percentages of flour and water as long as I mix it according to the way I did before?  I can't imagine using that large an amount of my firm starter - it would probably explode!  The most I've ever used is 80 grams and that was only as discarded starter to give more flavor with the exception of my "one-day ciabatta" bread where I did use it for rise.

I guess I really need to get my Hamelman batter starter to rise much faster before I use it but I'm impatient.  Maybe I will have to use it and just let it take its time.  I was hoping to get a good feeding done tonight so I could use both starters early tomorrow morning to start this dough but I have to go out of town unexpectedly tonight.  Not sure what I'm going to do now but I am bound to bake this bread again tomorrow!

Maybe I've forgotten and forgive me for not going back in this thread to reread but did you make your starter the night before and let it ferment all night?  That would change what I'd planned to do to experiment.  I'm probably killing you with these questions.

 

I wanted to add that I Googled "pagnotta" and it appears to simply be a generic name meaning "Italian loaf."  I believe it is pronounced pag-not-a - I assume.  Why could it not then be shaped any way one wishes and not necessarily upside down? 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Zolablue,

You certainly can use less starter. I was just matching it to the recipe's feeding ratio as it is stated. Remember when you did the test where you used your CGS starter converted to firm and your Glezer starter converted to 100% hydration, all with the same "flour multiple", and they all rose almost in perfect lock step? When I say to use 192g of your firm starter, that is like using the same amount of flour contribution as 240g of your CGS starter. Both should cause the dough to rise at the exact same rate, whatever that is, since it is the same flour multiple, just as in that experiment you did. You can use large or small amounts of your firm or CGS starter, but if you contribute the same amount of flour from either starter to any given recipe, the dough should rise in the same amount of time.

Also, remember that the percentage of starter has a logarithmic effect on rise time. For example, each doubling of the amount of starter should reduce the rise time by something like 1.5 hours for your starter (with mine it would be more like almost 2 hours per doubling). So, if you were to put in something like 48g of starter (1/4 of 192), you would expect it to take about 3 hours longer to rise by double compared to using 192g. In my case, this recipe should rise in about 4.5 hours if I had 192g of firm starter in it. However, yours would probably rise by double in more like 3 hours, given how much faster it goes.

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Bill, you know my brain is v-e-r-y slow compared to yours.  But if I can double bread dough containing 6 cups of flour with 75 grams of basically discarded and unfreshed (for two days) firm starter in 3 1/2 hours then I don't think I would need that much.  I would just like to test my starter using it as a substitute for commercial yeast instead of thinking about it as a levain I've mixed the night before.  I'm gonna try it and you can't stop me.  HEHEHEHE.  (sorry...the child in me.)

Ah, logarithmic.  :o)

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Zolablue,

Of course, I'm not stopping you. I'm just trying to give you the logic behind the choice of the amount of firm starter vs. liquid starter. It is based exactly off the experiment you did racing the CGS starter and the Glezer firm starter with the same flour multiples. Using your example above, what I'm saying is that if you can double 6 cups with 75g of firm starter, which has about 47g of flour in it, then you can also double 6 cups of dough with your equally strong CGS starter (because we did the experiment and it was equally strong) if you use 94g of CGS starter, which has 47g of flour in it also (and 47g of water).

I'm also saying that doubling the amount of starter is not a big change, because the culture grows by double in about 1.5 hours plus or minus, so if you double the amount of starter, you just cut the rise time by about a generation time. So, what I'm saying is that 150g of starter is not that different from 75g of starter. 300g of starter is only different from 75g of starter by 2 generation times of the culture, or maybe 3 hours difference in rise time or even less, with your fast starter.

Bill

bwraith's picture
bwraith

ZB,

Here is another try I did today. I see what you mean about the bottom, although I don't seem to have it as much. I used a preheated stone in this case. I put the temperature up to 450F intially, then dropped it to 425 after about 15 minutes. Total bake time was about 30 minutes. I still have too much flour on the crust, as you can see. I need to figure out what I'm doing wrong there. - Bill

Sourdough Pagnotta 2nd TrySourdough Pagnotta 2nd Try

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Your crumb is a bit more open than mine.  I also don't mind the flour and it really doesn't appear to be much to me from your photo.  Do you ever take a pastry brush and gently sweep off excess flour right before baking?  I do sometimes.

You bottom crust definately looks better than mine.  I still don't get what is happening there. 

I mixed up a couple levains last night; one with each starter; my firm and my batter.  For my firm I did 48:132:120 and for my Hamelman I did 50:100:100.  My firm starter (bascially CGS) quadrupled while my H starter doubled.  I haven't decided if I'm even going to mix up the dough now it is so late in the morning.  Do you think if I even attempted one batch with that Hamelman starter it would ever raise that dough?  This probably isn't the best time to try the taste comparison test.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Zolablue,

I brushed the loaves off with my fingers, but the pastry brush is a much better idea. I think that would be much more effective. I was trying to get both the crust and the crumb in one photo, but I missed the worst of the flour streaks, which were somewhat thick and unappealing in spots. Overall, though, it was much better crust. I baked it more, and sprayed a little water mist on them.

I had a stone and had heated the oven to about 500 before starting, then dropped it to 450F. Do you think that might have helped the bottoms? I could see turning them upside down near the end of the bake, but I guess that could cause problems with the top. I did the final proof on a fairly thick bed of about half semolina, half bread flour. I then transferred them to a peel with parchment paper dusted with corn meal. At that point, I slashed them, then misted them, and placed them in the oven.

I also have some problems with my lame sticking to this somewhat wetter dough. Do you have any tips on how to slash with this higher hydration dough?

As far as your Hamelman starter, it still sounds too sluggish. Both my firm and liquid starter (I've been trying 10:30:50 every 24 hours with the Glezer, and 1:9:10 every 24 hours with the 90% hydration starter - let's see if mine will speed up too, finally) will double a 5x flour multiple, 100% hydration paste, as in your test above, in about 4.5 hours at about 72F. It's still not as fast as your starter, but as with Andrew, it does make good bread but just takes a little longer.

When I feed my Glezer firm starter 10:30:50 it seems to get up to about 3.5x in about 7.5 hours, but it so far doesn't expand more than that. It stops and eventually flattens out and starts to fall around the 12 hour point. However, I'm trying an every 24 hour schedule now. I just started yesterday, so it may be quite a while before I can say much about how whether it does anything. I guess it can be done this way indefinitely, since I get good bread from either of the starters, on the same schedule I've experienced with my starter over the last few years.

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

This time I wanted to try forming into oval loaves rather than rounds just to test how it may affect the crumb or slashing.  Once again, this is really good bread.  Really good - I love it. 

I gave 2 of the 3 loaves away so don't know how the crumb was in those.  The loaf we kept was pretty much the same as before with only slightly more open crumb but the top crust had no separation.  I also turned these on their tops (whoops) onto a floured couche to proof - again just to try something different.  Two had a bit more flour on the tops only because I forgot to spray them with water just before putting in the oven.  The one I sprayed was pretty much flour-free on top. 

But all loaves looked really beautiful, in fact, when I uncovered them to show my husband he just went "OOOOOOOOOOH, those are BEAUTIFUL."  I love that, too, although he sounded so surprised (hehe) but perhaps it was just adoration (chuckle). 

I can't say what makes those bottoms like they are.  I always preheat my oven to the highest temp and then turn down right after steaming.  These came out much better on the bottoms but I noticed this morning (since I baked them last evening) while the top crusts were still very crisp the bottoms were a bit softer although not as much as the first bake I did.  As for slashing tips, I only wish I was good enough to offer some.  I need a lot of help in that department and I would agree that higher hydration doughs are much harder to slash.

On another note, this bread was made with my firm starter (not the CGS I'd made) and it tasted really good and not too sour.  So obviously (?) that had more to do with the liquid starter (CGS I was keeping refreshed) and how ripe it was when I used it the last time.

As I watch my liquid Hamelman become so sluggish I wonder why in the world I would continue to hold onto it.  Is this what people are going through with their starters?  I would be frustrated too!

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi ZB,

I've thought about changing the shape, too. I might be able to do both loaves at once if I shaped them into ovals, which would be nice.

I still don't have a very good feel for exactly what causes the sour flavor to be stronger or less strong, but I doubt it has a lot to do with CGS starter vs. Glezer firm starter. If you maintain the CGS starter with a 1:4:4 routine every 12 hours or so, then it should behave fairly similarly to the firm starter, I would think. At least, in my case, I'm not noticing much difference between my firm and liquid starters. I've been maintaining my firm starter at 10:30:50 every 12-24 hours, and my liquid starter at either 1:9:10 every 24 hours or 1:4:4 every 12 hours. They both are quite healthy and make good bread, have nice aroma and resulting breads have good flavor. So, I'm very happy, except..., I'm still waiting and hoping for the pickup in speed in the Glezer firm starter that you and Andrew have experienced.

As far as the Hamelman starter or other liquid starters, I don't think most people experience the problem you're having. If you stick to a maintenance cycle that's viable, eventually whatever organisms are favored by that cycle will establish themselves and the starter will behave. As there are so many who do 125% hydration starters, I'm sure they work. Hamelman must have one that works well, right? So, I would just say it's a matter of sticking to a particular maintenance schedule and waiting for the starter to settle into a healthy rhythm. I saw in another thread that Susanfnp was feeding 1:5:5 every 12 hours, and her VT sourdough was awesome, and the rise times were right in line with a nice vigorous starter. So, there's another example of a good 100% hydration starter. I think that if you continue with 1:4:4, you would eventually get a starter similar to my CGS starter, which is maintained that way now. However, right now the starter is not really where it should be, obviously. The only way to solve it that I know of is to stick with the maintenance schedule and possibly add a little rye, as susanfnp mentioned she does if hers slows down at all. In fact, I'm thinking about tossing a little rye in my Glezer firm starter to see if that helps at all.

Bill

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I happily just tossed Hamelman.  The thing is when I first made it, May 9, it was going strong although not as much at his instructions to make it at 125% but once I fed at 1:1:1 it took off.   But I found it was such a pain to have to worry about keeping it fed so often and how much to feed and all the variables.  It just wasn't worth it. 

I love my firm starter, it is never a guessing game, it goes a long time between feedings even at room temp and raises bread wonderfully.  Plus it smells fantastic and my Hamelman starter never had that same aroma.  So I ditched the sucker and now I feel liberated!  At least I made one from scratch, learned how they are maintained properly and that I don't like them compared to firm in regards to maintaining one long term.  Also, thanks to you, I can easily convert my firm to liquid if a recipe calls for it and I don't have to keep it going.  I also found, by doing our experiments, that my firm starter is actually much more powerful (which is what Glezer says) so it was all worth it.