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about to try my first sourdough bread, but confused...

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christinepi's picture
christinepi

about to try my first sourdough bread, but confused...

I'm a total sourdough beginner. I just made my starter according to gaaarp's directions (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10251/starting-starter-sourdough-101-tutorial) and it turned out beautifully. I stuck it in the fridge this morning. (It actually lost  a bit of volume since--is that normal? It was huge and bubbly) I would like to use it (today is Tuesday) on Thursday evening to start a no knead sourdough with KA AP and WWW (ratio undetermined).

Sooo... what do I do? Could somebody kindly walk me through the steps? I tried to figure this out online but there's too much info out there and I can't find answers to all the questions I have.

--I assume I need to feed it before then? It currently weighs 276 grams. When between today and Thursday evening and how much flour/water do I feed it? 

--Let's say I take it out Wednesday to feed it. I assume I'd take out, say, 50% because I won't need all that starter once it's doubled. So I'll take out 50% (138g), and then add flour and water in equal amounts. Then I let it sit out at room temperature, and let's say it doubled by Thursday morning--do I stick it ALL back in the fridge, or stir it and take out my required amount of starter, leave IT on the counter, and stick the rest in the fridge? Or do I put the measured out amount back in the fridge, too, because it would expand too much until I'm ready to use it? And do I then take it out closer to baking time to have it come back to room temperature? That's where I really need help.

--I've noticed the 1:1:1 ratio rule. Doesn't that mean instead of doubling the amount I triple it? I'm sure there's something I'm not getting.

--Let's say the recipe (I don't have one right now) asks for 1/4 cup starter. Do I stir the starter until it's been de-bubbled and then fill a 1/4 cup?

--Should the starter always be at room temperature when ready to mix the dough?

--Or, to make this simple for now, maybe the starter is plenty ready to go for Thursday and I should just leave it be? Let's say I intend to make the dough at 7pm Thursday evening. How long before should I let the required amount of starter sit out to get to room temperature?

It would be great if someone had a basic sourdough recipe for me to tackle. I'm so excited!!

 

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

There's a lot of information "out there" b/c there's no "right" way.

I use 1:1:1 (s/w/f) ratio to feed my starter daily. It gives a firm starter. Others prefer to maintain a liquid starter and use different ratios. I use 60g each s/w/f.

I never put my starter in the fridge. It's ok to put it in there, but if you're feeding regularly you don't need to.

Feeding daily means it's always "ready to go" when I decide to bake. Use it when it's good and active and hasn't "fallen".

It's good to have the starter as active as possible before baking, this typically means it's not in the fridge... it's not a temperature consideration but related to its activity.

Always measure by weight not volume, so you shouldn't use a formula that calls for 1/4C of starter.

There are many, many sourdough recipes on this site, I'm currently using this one substituting ww for rye.

hth

Les

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

rye starter stored in the fridge right after building it back up.   So when i take 10 g of it, say a week later, to make a loaf of bread it roughly has 6 g of flour and 4 g of water.  I do a a 3 build process by feeding the 10g of seed 10g of flour and 10 g of water making 30 g total.  2 hours later i feed it 20 g each of flour and water without throwing anything away making 70 g total .  3 hours later, without throwing anything away, I feed it 40 g each flour and water to make 150 g total levain.  When this doubles after the 3rd feeding - in about 4 hours it is ready to go and plenty enough to raise a 1,000 g total flour and water loaf of SD.

You want to use somewhere between 10-20% of the total flour and water weight  as levain so a 1,000 g loaf would use 100-200 g of levain.  the more you use the faster things will ferment and proof.  If you are not retarding you can use up to 30% levain and get a loaf that proofs fast but still has some Sd tang to it.

An easy SD bread that really works well is the 1-2-3 SD where 1 is the levain amount in this case 150 g the water is 2 times that or 300 g and the flour is 3 times the levain or 450 g  Making a loaf of bread that is 900 g.   The total flour is 525 g and the water is 375 g making for a hydration of 71.4% adn the levain is 16% of the total - just perfect for slap and folds or stretch and folds to develop the gluten.

christinepi's picture
christinepi

Let's assume I'll use the starter on Thursday at 7pm without feeding it again. When would I pull the starter out of the fridge to come to room temperature, and would I also need to add time to make it come to life in addition to coming to room temperature? I'm on BABY steps here. Two hours prior? 3? 4?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in that regard.  

As your starter is raring to go from now until Thursday, I would not warm it up to room temp but use as is adding warm (not hot) water to it get a nice warm dough temperature.  

Then feed what is left for next week only with overall smaller amounts.  The day or evening before you want to bake, take out some of the starter and make the starter bigger so it is nice a bubbly on Thursday morning.  If it gets bubbly sooner, just pop it back into the fridge.  It is good there for a few days for a recipe or feed it in a few days to keep longer.  

christinepi's picture
christinepi

Thanks, mini oven, that really helps. As for the "smaller amounts": do you mean a different ratio other than 1:1:1?

I love sunflower and flax seeds in my bread, being from Germany, and am wondering whether they can be added w/o adjusting anything. I've baked non-sourdough breads successfully before with 2/3 cup seeds thrown in; I can't imagine it would be any different with sourdough, since it's not really a leavening question, but thought I'd ask.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

chuck seeds in till I get the dough to look right for pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, but flax seeds I always grind into a coarse meal.   They  are so tough skinned that they will go right through your system without being digested otherwise and all the great things about flax seeds are - flushed down the toilet instead.  You still see them since they are chunky and they really put even more brown speckles in the crumb that way.  No need to adjust anything for the seeds.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but just use smaller amounts each starter, water and flour.    20g/20g/20g  can soon be 60g/60g/60g (or 180g) and fed again to 540g starter.  All with the same 1:1:1 ratio.  Warmth helps or just sitting out overnight.  Or as you will soon find out, a little sourdough starter can inoculate a lot of starter either in little jumps with 1:1 ratios or bigger 1:5 ratios it is all a matter of taste and time, and temperature.

Your Q about 1:1:1 being doubling ... water is not food.  Flour is food, but the water is needed.  So it is actually tripled (before it even starts to rise, yea I know)  starter culture is fed equal to (or more than) the weight of the original starter plus water, for transport.  Let the starter then feed and produce gas to full potential, it should smell yeasty and be bubbly and increase in volume before being fed more flour.  

I throw seeds in my breads like a mad person!  Love them!  They do absorb a little bit of moisture, some more than others.  I usually add water into the recipe to make up for flax absorption, the same weight.  50g of flax gets 50g of extra water.  I don't for sunflower, hemp, sesame or poppy seeds.  Chia seeds get 4x the water.  Crushed grains get the same as the dough hydration ---> 100g oat flakes get 70g of additional water for a 70% hydration dough.  These are not rules just guidelines.  There is usually a little tweaking involved.  

If seeds are in the dough, it's a nice flavour plus to toast them first.  On the outside on the bread ( I love to roll my dough in seeds, butter and dust my pans with seeds) they can be raw as the baking toasts them.