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Sourdough was quite doughy

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Maha Jawed's picture
Maha Jawed

Sourdough was quite doughy

Hi Guys, 

I'm new on this blog, infact fairly new at baking bread. The past three weeks have all been about bread. Have tried my hands at baguettes, ciabatta, sandwich bread white and whole wheat. All with varying results. Some were great, others not so much. 

My biggest challenge, and rightly so, has been baking Sourdough. I've been following Richard Bertinets recipe from him book Crust. Followed everything to a tee but had some unsatisfying results by the finished product. 

My Starter:

50g spelt flour- 150g strong white flour- 20g honey- 150g warm water.

I combined everything very well and let it sit for around 48 hours. After which the skin darkened a bit and had lots of bubbles. Everything was going according to the recipe/pictures. I then fed the starter with

30g spelt- 280g strong flour- 150g warm water

Left it for 24 hours after which it smelled sweet and lightly fermented. Again, all was going according to plan. I then used around 200g of starter and added:

400g strong white flour, 200g warm water

Mixed it well and left it for around 15 hours. After which, to slow the fermentation, i transfered the starter to the fridge for around 48 hours. Now Richard says by this point the starter would've expanded a bit. Mine didn't expand too much, in fact i felt the top was quite hard and it didn't have too many bubbles on top. But when i moved the skin around i felt the starter below had many small holes and was quite sticky. I thought it may need more time to ferment so i left it in the fridge for another 12 hours. It still looked the same. I didn't have a great feeling about it but i went ahead anyway. 

A day before baking, the recipe asked to use around 400g of the starter mixed with 700g of strong white flour- 650g warm water- 20g salt- 90g of spelt flour. I mixed all the ingredients except the salt, transfered it to my counter and started kneading the dough (the lift and slap method) for about ten minutes after which i added salt and kneaded it for another 5-6 minutes by which time the dough was quite smooth. I lightly floured the work surface, turned the dough into a ball and left it to rest for an hour. Now the book says to then flour the work surface again and let it reast for another hour before cutting it and putting it in the proving basket, but somehow i managed to miss this step. And after letting the dough rest in the bowl for an hour i proceeded to cut/shape and put in the proving basket for around 20 hours. 

The next day the book/dvd said that the dough would double in size and feel very soft from the inside with a hardish skin on the outside. I felt my dough was definitely sof on the inside with a skin outside but it didn't expand too much. I decided to bake it anyway to see what the result was so i took the dough out of the proving basket transfered it to a thin board (i use as a wood peel) made slashes and baked it in my oven which had been preheating for 1:35 minutes with a terracota tile. I sprayed the oven with water generously and then put the bread in and sprayed a lil more. (just like bertinet does) Cooked at 250 for 5 minutes then put the temp down to 220 for 20 minutes. The bread had risen considerably and looked fantastic but at the end of the 20 minutes i noticed the top was nicely brown but the bottom wasnt, in fact it was quite white. I lowered the temp to 200 and cooked for another 15 minutes. Even then the bottom didnt have much color so i took it out cos the top was getting very dark and put in loaf #2. Followed the same procedure with loaf two, which had the same issue with the bottom. So after the whole cooking time i turned the bread upside down. It definitely got the color i was looking for. 

So now i had 2 loaves on me both looked pretty good from the top and when i tasted it, felt the crust was excellent and the dough had the most amazing tang. the only problem was it felt doughy and quite heavy. So my flatmate and i ended up eating the crusts with butter which seriously tasted excellent and realized the insides werent very nice. 

I'm attaching pictures for you guys to see. Would love feedback on where i went wrong and how i could fix it. I have over 400g of started dried and put in jars in my fridge. Would really want to understand everything before using all of it. 

Would really appreciate some guidance. 

Maha. 

Loaf #1

Loaf #1 Cut up 

Loaf #2 

cranbo's picture
cranbo

You did get pretty good browning, which means fermentation was nearly successful. I'm wondering if your starter may be slightly too young. Many starters take at least 10 days at room temp with regular feedings to reach high degrees of activity. Some regular feedings at room temp would be useful, maybe 5 more days?

The 2nd photo shows what looks like big holes/pockets in the middle of the crumb, can you clarify? Was it fully cooked in the middle, or gummy? If you have an instant-read thermometer, it should read at least 88C in the center of the bread. Some breads aren't fully cooked until they hit arond to 100C, especially heartier country breads like sourdoughs. You may have to play with your oven temps to dial in the bake times so that you get the inside fully baked and not brown the outside too much. 

Looks like a nice bake overall!

 

Maha Jawed's picture
Maha Jawed

Hey, 

Thanks for the feedback. I think you're right about the feeding time. I just followed the recipe and felt it looked exactly what the book said it would look like. In fact it was all quite okay till i slowed down the fermentation by sticking it in the refridgerator. I think for attempt #2 i'll keep feeding the starter at room temperature for a week since what i have right now was dried up after 4 days of feeding at room temp. 

The crumb was definitely gummy and i forgot my thermometer at my aunts place so couldnt tell what the inside temp was. I also feel like this terracotta tile isnt getting hot enough. Earlier last week i baked baguettes in my other oven with a baking sheet and realized the bottom was getting nicely colored while the same thing baked in my bigger oven on a tile and had no color till much later. What do you suggest? I preheat the oven for over 2 hours or just stick to baking sheets? 

Thanks much!

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Yes, when baking on tiles I recommend preheating at 250-260C for between 60-90 minutes. 

You should also try the bake in a cast-iron dutch oven or any other large oven-proof pot. You don't have to preheat the pot, contrary to what others say, you get virtually the same texture and it's much safer to handle. Bake at 250C for 20 minutes covered and 20-25min uncovered. 

Definitely get that thermometer to check the internal temps, that's the only way to really guarantee that it's fully baked. 

Sounds like you're on the right track. 

Maha Jawed's picture
Maha Jawed

Hey, 

Thanks for the feedback. I think you're right about the feeding time. I just followed the recipe and felt it looked exactly what the book said it would look like. In fact it was all quite okay till i slowed down the fermentation by sticking it in the refridgerator. I think for attempt #2 i'll keep feeding the starter at room temperature for a week since what i have right now was dried up after 4 days of feeding at room temp. 

The crumb was definitely gummy and i forgot my thermometer at my aunts place so couldnt tell what the inside temp was. I also feel like this terracotta tile isnt getting hot enough. Earlier last week i baked baguettes in my other oven with a baking sheet and realized the bottom was getting nicely colored while the same thing baked in my bigger oven on a tile and had no color till much later. What do you suggest? I preheat the oven for over 2 hours or just stick to baking sheets? 

Thanks much!

 

Farmpride's picture
Farmpride

from what i see...your photos,  just turn down the oven a bit if your to doughy,... i like 365 F.  sorry but 260 C. is 500 F. which i way to high any day. want gummy, bake at 500F.

 

albert

farmpride.com