The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Random Bakes with Natural Yeast

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Random Bakes with Natural Yeast

For a few weeks now I have been maintaining my typical Italian style sourdough, experimenting, trying to increase the pH level at it's maturity. I've managed to go from 4.1 - 4.6.
Depending on which schooling of Italian sourdough you follow, methods and guidelines vary slightly. But according to one source optimum pH at maturity is 4.5 but can vary between 4.3-4.8.

Lately I have taken to the method of keeping this sourdough in cold water over the tied in cloth method. But I still use both to keep the acidity under control.


Under pressure - Natural yeast wrapped and tied


Naturally leavened white bread

 

Panettone by Iginio Massari

 

Colomba Pasquale by Achille Zoia


 

Comments

isand66's picture
isand66

I admire your attention to detail and your experimental spirit!

And by the way, those breads look amazing so it must be worth it!

Regards,
Ian

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Cheers Ian.

I am by nature, meticulous.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Michael.

A few questions about your leaven.  What is the weight of the leaven that is tied up in that bundle and how long does it stay tied up?  Do you wrap it in plastic first before the cloth?  What differences do you find when you wrap it or when you treat is like a 'regular' leaven?  

Sorry for all of the questions.  I just find this process interesting because it is sooo different.

Nice looking loaves!  Your friends must love it when you bake :-)

Take Care,

Janet

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Hi Janet.

This leaven is fed always 1:1. I do this with 100g leaven, 100g flour, hydrating it currently at 46% and never more than 50%. So the weight of the dough wrapped up in the picture is about 240 grams. Yes I wrap it in cling film first then the cloth before tying.

This method traps moisture and gas which keeps the acidity under control for a max of 24 hours. If it were unwrapped the available sugars would be consumed in half the time and consequently become too acidic too quickly.

Regards,
Michael 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Thanks for the information Michael. Something to ponder when the experimental mood strikes.  The way I currently keep my leaven on the sweet side is with frequent feedings and I also use fruit yeast water as part of the liquid for each feed.  SOmeday I will have to compare the 2 methods and see what results....

Take Care,

Janet

JOHN01473's picture
JOHN01473

They are great looking bakes.
So whatever you are doing its working.
PH is an area i have not even thought of -
to me PH relates to the water used and the waste products of the yeast, would that be right?

what do you use to measure the PH?

John
The Baking Bear

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thank you John.

As with any sourdough, once fed and as subsequent fermentation begins, pH will gradually drop. The LAB produce acid as waste products which cause this. These acids favour dough strength (via gluten tightening) and contribute to aromas, softness (via released glycerin) and extended shelf life.

I use a digital pH pen (cheap and and easily available)

Cheers,
Michael 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

You've done some fine baking .  Wish my panettone has been 20% as nice as yours :-)  Will try again soon.

Happy Baking

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Cheers dabrownman. Can't wait to see the next attempt. Stay positive.

Regards,
Michael 

ananda's picture
ananda

They are all 3 lovely Michael

Best wishes

Andy

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thanks Andy.

linder's picture
linder

Michael,

All the breads look spectacular!  Love the columba especially.  The crumb on all the loaves is very light and airy!  Great baking-

I'll be interested in your reply to Janetcook about how you maintain your starter -very interesting, all tied up.

Linda

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thanks Linda.

Light and airy is how lke things...  The panettone I am especialy pleased with as it has the most open crumb of all - hard to do with these rich breads/cakes.. The colomba is so very, very light.

See reply to Janet above.

Cheers,
Michael 

lumos's picture
lumos

Wish that cut-off quarter of the panettone were in my stomach, now! 

Great Italian goodies as usual, Michael. You seem to be baking more I.Mssari-style panettone than other styles (or am I just imagining?). Do you think that's the nearst to the ultimate panettone you've been trying to perfect?

 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Indeed I do make Iginio Massari's panettone often. I try other formulas by various Italian pastry chefs from time to time. Massari's is very hard to beat. Going to try Renato Bosco's one next...

I favour heavily rich Panettone recipes.

Kind regards,
Michael

grind's picture
grind

Awesome bake.  That's it, I'm buying the book, expensive as it is.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Good!! It's a wonderful book.

Cheers