Just thought I would start a blog, so I can stop highjacking bluezebra's with all of my sourdough questions. Hopefully I will soon be posting some photos of my own sourdough loaves!
Must see photos of bread made with that lively starter you have there. Post ASAP...,
I made the dough around 9 AM and ended up shaping the loaves at around 1:45. The dough didn't quite double, but I don't want to be baking at midnight. That's the only thing about naturally-leavened bread...maybe there is a workaround for this so I can bake earlier in the day. I guess I could start my dough in the evening and retard the loaves overnight in the fridge? At any rate, right now I have two small boules in homemade bannetons (bowls with oiled, floured dishtowels in them). I think I will be able to bake them in about another hour, hour and a half. Can't wait! I want to try one of those spiral slashes like BROTKUNST did with his TL Country French.
I'll be sure to post as soon as I can--hope it's a winner and not a loser. =)
I can't wait to hear how you're doing with the bread!
Hey BZ, it went well enough! I chickened out on trying a spiral slash. My slashing skills are horRENdous. Truly bad. I have one of those Matfer lames, and it is so hard to get a good slash. This particular dough just dragged along with the blade. It's so relaxed, I guess. But I now have two nice, small loaves (and have eaten about half of one already, oink!)
Here's the prettier loaf. I just did two parentheses when I slashed it, like this: ( )
I had to go over the slashes a few times to get them to look deep enough, and they still didn't bloom like the gorgeous professionally-made loaves do. Oh well.
Here you can see the pound sign one, which failed miserably.
UGH! But, hey, it looks nice inside, and it sure does taste good!
The crumb structure is decent enough. I used this formula from Floyd, which I haven't figured the hydration on, but it seems to be kind of like French bread. It's very crusty, chewy and moist on the inside. I used Sel de Guerande, a gray sea salt from France. I cut down to 2 tsp because 1 TBSP seemed a little heavy on the salt. The flavor is just ever so slightly tangy, which is how I like it. I'm not into overly assertive bread...unless it has bacon in it!!!
All in all, not a bad result for a new starter, and a sourdough baker who might as well be new, too. (I did some sourdough a few years ago, but whatever I did or learned back then has been forgotten.)
As for our friend Stanley, I fed him this morning at 11 AM with a 1:4:4 ratio, per Bill's suggestion. Left it on the counter and it doubled in 6 hours (at around 78 degrees--whoo, it's hot in my kitchen!). So I think he's safe to start refrigerating between bakes.
And, that's all for now! Time to cook dinner for the fam.
All in all, not a bad result for a new starter, and a sourdough baker who might as well be new, too.
Not bad?? Those are pretty darn terrific looking loaves! And nothing at all wrong with that scoring.
Thank you, susanfnp! I appreciate your feedback! I can't wait to try it again. Practice makes perfect, they say!
Don't be so hard on yourself. You did great. Amazing for a new starter!
Susan from San Diego
Your bread is beautiful and I bet it tasted of accomplishment and pride!!! You did a great job on it. I'm so glad you've had such success with your starter!!! Have a piece for me and pat Stanley for me!
Gorgeous crumb and loaves, Katie, you nailed it! I second Squid's tip about the water, I keep a small measuring cup of water with my lame sitting in it when I'm ready to slash and it drags a lot less. Although your slashes look fine! It's hard to get a deep slash or "ear" when the dough is really high hydration.
Katie, that looks like a very lovely loaf of bread you made with your new starter. I think your slashes look great.
I read somewhere on this great site that it's best to dip the lame in water before making each slash. I found that it made a big difference in my slashing b/c my lame didn't drag. Although I'm still not a great slasher. Practice makes perfect, I guess, since I'm still pretty new to this stuff too.
Of course, if you knew this already, my apologies.
Thanks, Squid! I sense you're still stinging from the SDG drama. But don't apologize for sharing your tips and ideas! I had heard of the dipping in water trick, and I remembered it right before I did the second loaf. I actually had a near-disaster when I knocked the cup of water over and it spilled onto my loaf/semolina/parchment-covered peel. Yikes! But I just poured it off and forged ahead (hey, it's just more steam in the oven, right?). It did help somewhat to dip the lame in water. I think I might use my santoku knife the next time I do any slashing, see if it's any sharper.
I appreciate your advice, and please feel free to share more tips with me anytime!!!
Congratulations! Your breads look great . I too have hard time with slashing. You did really well.
LOL, Katie. I edited my post about 3 times, worried that I would say something wrong. But thanks for your kind words. I really appreciate it.
It's funny, I enjoy the whole bread-making process, but I seem to freeze when it comes to slashing. I'm just using a razor blade on a Starbuck's stir stick. Do you use a lame? What's a santoku knife? I must go google.
Hey Squid, I saw the stir-stick/razor blade idea around here before, maybe it was Floyd's. Seems like a good idea to me! I have one of those lames from King Arthur. I wonder if it might be too dull, though (although how can soft bread dough possible dull a blade???). A santoku knife (which you know already, if you googled it) is a chef's knife that is totally straight along the cutting edge. Mine has a hollow ground edge, with the little depressions along it. Here's a photo. I used it today to slash some potato rosemary boules, and it worked fairly well, and I did wet it.
Katie in SC
After saying I was going to google, I got sidetracked with that "work" thing. Ugh! So thanks for the photo. That knife looks pretty sharp.
Yeah, I'm also pretty sure it was Floyd who suggested that makeshift lame. I had to go to Starbucks and raid their counter.... without buying coffee. Ah well, I'm sure they didn't miss them. LOL
Very nice. Love to see that brand new sourdough starter work so beautifully. Nice bread. When you get a chance, it would be interesting to know how long the rise took on this bread, given the starter was rising quickly before that.
Also, I'm glad to hear it's doubling in 6 hours from a 1:4:4 feeding. That seems very reasonable. You may want to try keeping some of it at room temperature and refreshing it repeatedly for a while. It should help stabilize and strengthen the starter.
Hi Bill! That bread is all thanks to you and the others who held my hand while watching the starter grow! (And can you stand the anticipation for bluezebra's first loaves? I can't.)
I took the starter out of the fridge this morning and did another 1:4:4 feeding. Should I do that every 6 hours, after it doubles (keeping it room temp)? Or every 12 hours at room temp? And how long do you think it takes to establish the routine before it can go into the fridge for longer storage periods?
The sourdough almost doubled in 5 hours during the bulk fermentation, then almost doubled in 3 hours after final shaping. It had decent oven spring, too, but nothing spectacular.
We already finished one loaf, I'm afraid to say. It's really tasty!
I don't know for sure, but I would say you should let it double, and then wait several hours for it to ripen well before feeding it again. It might rise by triple or even quadruple if you don't stir it down. Then, it should stop rising and dip in the middle and begin to fall. When it does that, it's a good time to feed it, whenever that happens, but you have a lot of flexibility measured in hours around that time for when to feed. You can adjust your feeding ratio so that it is peaking at the times it is convenient for you to feed it, once you get the feel for it. You can even change the ratios at certain times of day in anticipation of the next convenient feeding time. For example, you could feed it 1:2:2 because you know you want to feed it next in about 7 hours, then feed it 1:4:4 because you know it's going to be 12 hours until then next feeding, and so on.
With a 1:4:4 feeding, you should be able to feed it every 12 hours. It sounds like yours will double well before that, maybe in 6 hours, but that schedule should work. With mine it seems to work well to feed it 1:9:10 every 12 hours. It doubles in about 8 hours, and reaches a plateau at about quadruple around the 12 hour point if I don't stir it down. However, yours will be different, and you have to find the right feeding ratio for yours. There's no really right answer to it.
Also, you can feed it more often at lower feeding ratios. That keeps the starter at a chronically lower pH, which theoretically should change the balance in the culture to having less lactobacillus and more yeast, but I haven't gotten very far into testing the difference it makes to the bread between a long slow high ratio feeding routine and short fast low ratio feeding routine.
I've only just recently started maintaining one with the high ratio. What I am planning to do eventually is maintain a firm starter in a Glezer style, i.e. 1:3:5 feedings every 12-24 hours (60% hydration firm starter) and also maintain a 1:2:2 every 6-10 hours (100% hydration starter) and make some breads side by side to hopefully tell the difference. Who knows, it may be months before I get that done, though.
You can refrigerate it any time you won't be around to feed it. I usually refrigerate mine right after it doubles, so it can ripen further over days in the refrigerator. Some people feed and only wait an hour or a few hours, well before it has doubled, to refrigerate.
When you take it out of the refrigerator, especially if it has been days or weeks, you then need to feed it at room temperature repeatedly, usually at least a couple of times to get it back to the same vigor it had before you refrigerated it. That means you should be refreshing the starter at least a day before you want to build a levain or a dough with it.
I now have scrambled eggs for brains, though. (Or maybe they were like that already...) I'm going to print this and keep it with your maintenance instructions for your 100% hydration starters--I printed that about a second after I found TFL. I hope that I will get a feel for it, as you say, because I want to try about a gazillion different things with my starter.
Thank you again for all of your help!