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sourdough success

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wannabbaker's picture
wannabbaker

sourdough success

What has happened here? 

I followed the recipe for a sourdough loaf from River Cottage after seeing it referred to on a Fresh Loaf forum. I used my own sourdough starter. River Cottage said to keep the dough as wet as possible to improve the bread. So both loaves below used the same recipe, the loaf on the right was moister and didn't keep its shape when it came out of my makeshift proving basket, while the loaf on the right was firmer and came out of the basket beautifully. What has gone on here? Why does the structure/crumb(?) look so much different? 

I'm trying to learn and so am keen to understand what is going on. :) 

Thanks
wannabbaker :) 

Grenage's picture
Grenage

The recipes might have been the same, but I'll wager that gluten development was not.  I'm guessing that the firmer loaf was given a more thorough kneading, although it looks like it might be slightly under-proofed.

wannabbaker's picture
wannabbaker

Hi Grenage

Yes I think you are right about the kneading as the firmer loaf was easier to handle and I'm sure was better kneaded, but was slower to rise the second time. Is the more open structure of the moist loaf a result of better proofing?

Grenage's picture
Grenage

I think they were both under-proofed, but that the more open crumb near the top of the loaf is down to insefficient development.  It can't trap the gas quite as well, and you get larger pockets near the top - in my limited experience.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

of which loaf is right or left;  the one on the left looks like too little dough for the size of the proofing basket.  It also looks over-proofed and/or too little dough development for such a wet dough.

Looking at the crust, the bottom of the flatter left one has a pale bottom indicating not enough heat under the loaf.  This might explain part of the reason it remained flat.  After making adjustments for day/night light, two loaves still look as if they were made with different flours so I'm not convinced the recipe was the same.  The crumb on the right looks like the flour absorbed more of the water in the recipe and was a firmer dough acting like a lower hydration dough.  

I'd go as far as to say that if the recipe hydration and flours were identical, then the left loaf was a sourdough and the right raised with commercial yeast, the left loaf needing the stretches and folds to correct the dough softening that occurs with sourdough fermentation.  

Grenage's picture
Grenage

 It also looks over-proofed


Hi, Mini.

I thought that the raised sides (especially in the left loaf) were an indicator of under-proofing; is that not the case?  I assumed that the breadth differences were down to the under-developed loaf spreading in the oven, and the colouring due to artificial lighting vs daylight.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

not sure which raised sides we're talking about here.   To me, the lower sides are raised beautifully on the right loaf and just a tiny bit on the left loaf.  It is part of oven spring and I welcome it.  Makes for a pleasant shape.   The paleness of the left loaf should not be overlooked nor should the lopsided distribution of gas pockets in the crumb.  The heat affected the top and sides of this loaf first setting the crust, if it had been under-proofed, it would have split a side somewhere; not the case.  This dough tells me that it is too wet for a proofing basket, with a little more flour on top, we might call it ciabatta.  If it was folded and the bubbles redistributed instead of being baked (the dough is "frozen" at what looks like the end of a bulk rise) it would have a different crumb.  Also if the baking surface was hotter, it would look different. 

Look at the bubbles in the center bottom of the loaf... on both loaves.  The one on the right has a flow direction that starts near the bottom and flows upward and outward to the top center of the loaf.  The left one has lazy "no action" bubbles almost horizontal to the baking surface.   All the action is just under the top crust.  Salt left out? (another thought)   If the left loaf would have been scored (clearly a mistake to do so) it would have deflated badly, leaving me to conclude that as a boule, it was over-proofed.   As a ciabatta, maybe not so.

Grenage's picture
Grenage

Thank you for the clarification.  One of my first loaves had fairly raised sides (similar to the right loaf here), and a couple of people mentioned that it was a sign of under-proofing; I've been trying to limit that every since.  Good to hear that I can probably not worry about it any more.  I see what you mean about the lack of splitting, that also makes sense.

That's what I love about this site, it's really helps with spotting where things went wrong.

wannabbaker's picture
wannabbaker

Hi minioven

Yes the the loaf on the left was wet (almost ciabatta like). I had a makeshift proofing basket (a glass bowl with a cloth towel that had flour on in), when the dough came out it didn't hold any shape and stuck a bit to the cloth towel and had some of the dry flour on it too. The loaves are the same with the exception of the hydration levels, so I was fascinated to see the difference myself.

If the right (firmer) loaf is proofed less, what would I expect to see. I'm going to try this loaf again this weekend and see if I can get it.
Thanks

Wannabbaker :) 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Now why would you want to go and do that?  

Mess up a good loaf just to learn?  :)  (I can do that!)

Ok, well...  So the recipes were not the same... the hydrations were different!  A ha!

I predict that if you proof the right loaf less, like an hour less, it will split open during the bake due to rapid expansion of inside steam and too tight a surface to contain it.  The heat will set the outside crust but the trapped uncooked dough inside the loaf will find a way to expand when it gets hot, cracking open the scores further or breaking out in the weakest spot.   I would suggest using the same scoring pattern so you can compare them easier.  

Get ready for a loaf to give birth!  Lol!