The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Making a starter more sour

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Making a starter more sour

All the SD recipes I see start with something like this;

"Take 10g of starter to start your levain, and feed the remaining starter and return to the fridge."

 Then I got this suggestion from DABrownman (altered slightly);

  • Assume your starter is 100% hydration
  • Take 12g of starter and feed with 6g flour and 6g water.
  • Ferment @ 92F for 4 hours, then feed with 24g flour and 24g water
  • Ferment @ 92F for 4 hours, then feed with 36g flour and 36g water
  • Ferment @ 92F for 4 hours, then retard in fridge @ 36F for 12 hours.

Ok, this definitely made my SD more sour, and added wonderful complexity to the flavor. As for the original starter, DA, like the others, simply suggested to feed it equal parts flour and water and return it to the fridge. He suggests that after 4 weeks my starter will be creating some wonderfully sour breads.

But I ask...why return anything to the fridge right away?

I reserved 10g of my original starter, as everyone suggests, while the new 144g is being developed, but when it achieved doubling before the retard in the fridge, I reserved 20g of it as my "new" starter. It has had some wonderful fermenting done to it, producing far more LAB than yeast, elements that make it sour.

Next time I use it, I will repeat this, and the 20g "new" starter that is produced that time should be even more sour, and even more complex...and so on.

Is this what is meant when people take a small piece of dough and reserve it for their next batch? Just seems to me that most people are doing it wrong. Now believe me, I have no experience that allows me to make such a bold statement, but what am I missing?

Russ

 

MarkS's picture
MarkS

I am new to sourdough, but my understanding is that the refrigeration is just to retard the starter while not being used. I could be wrong, but I don't think it has to be retarded if used regularly or fed constantly. If not refrigerated, the yeast will quickly exhaust its food supply, so very regular feeding will be required.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

All I'm saying is that the starter you put back into the fridge for the next batch, be from a starter you did the 16 hour fermentation on. Others take starter, divide it (some to keep, some to turn into a loaf), and then feed the starter to be kept and either put it back straight away, or let it sit a little while at room temperature (RT). But given that the 16 hour fermentation builds up so much flavor, why not put a piece of that back in the fridge for your next loaf?

Russ

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

should be at 66% hydration and not at 100% hydration.  A starter has between 10 and 100 times more LAB than yeast in it.  The one with the more LAB will produce bread with more sour. The temperature that yeast like best for reproduction is 82 F and the best for LAB is 92F.

If you do your bread work at room temperatures 68-72 F,  LAB and yeast reproduce at roughly the same rate although the LAB are reproducing slightly faster.  Dough with a lot of yeast rises faster than one with a little amount of yeast.  If your starter has little yeast and a lot of LAB then the bread will rise slower allowing the huge amount of LAB a longer time to produce acid making the bread more sour.

It just so happens that LAB out produce yeast 3 to 1 when the temperature is 36 F and 13 to 1 when the temperature is 92 F.   If you keep your starter at 92 F it will eat you out of house and home in no time but at 36 F you don't even have to feed it for a month but over that time, even though LAB  and yeast reproduction much slower than at room temperature, the population of LAB is increasing 3 times faster than the yeast.

If you build a levain from this at 92 F the small amount of starter that has much more LAB than yeast will start reproducing LAB 13 times faster than yeast.  Now if you refrigerate this levain at 36 F it too will reproduce LAB 3 times faster than yeast.  Once you make dough by developing the gluten and fermenting it,  you want to do this at 92F so the LAB will be reproducing 13 times faster than yeast again.

Then you retard the dough at 36 F then LAB are reproducing 3 times faster than the yeast again.   By using fresh milled whole rye flour for the starter, using it after 4 weeks in the fridge, build the levain at 92 F, refrigerate it for 24 hours and then build the dough at 92 F and retard it for 18 hours - this is how I make very sour bread.  I just restrict the yeast and promote the LAB as much as possible

If you don't like sour and prefer the taste of SFSD like Tartine or Forkish then do everything at room temperature, refresh often by throwing half the levain away and use white flour.   It sure a lot easier, cheaper and faster to make SD bread this way but it won't be very sour. 

GregS's picture
GregS

What prompts the recommendation for 60% hydration starter (vs.100%) in DABrownman's reply? Does it enhance the performance or sourness of the starter?

GregS

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

love wet and don't like the dry but wet is relative. I havenlt found any science on how various  hydration levels affect reproduction rates of LaAB east but would sure like to find some.  From experience 66% is still pretty liquid for these beasts (bagels at 52% hydration still have very viable and active cultures in them)  but does slow things down.  So, when stored for 4 weeks without any maintenance at 36 F the LAB and yeast don't run out of food.  When they run out of food they stop reproducing well.

Here is Ganzle's Data on LAB to Yeast reproductive rates

 LAB  
TempSF 1SF 2YeastLAB / Y
     360.0190.0160.0053.787
     460.0470.0430.0212.222
     610.1440.1500.1141.265
     640.1870.1980.1631.145
     680.2390.2590.2251.064
     720.3010.3320.2951.021
     750.3740.4160.3651.024
     790.4530.5080.4141.094
     820.5350.5980.4171.284
     860.6090.6720.3461.760
     900.6580.7060.2023.255
     930.6570.6710.05013.127
Muskie's picture
Muskie

from 2006, here. Two interesting points from that discussion;

"Subsequently, many bakers took that study to mean that L.sf and C.milleri were SF. sourdough, or even further, that all natural fermentations included L.sf and C. milleri. This just isn't true, and a misunderstanding of the precise nature of the original study. I've sent 5 samples of sourdough and naturally fermented leaven cultures for analysis and none have contained L.sf and C.milleri, and as these were consecutive tests I would question the papers initial statement that "in sourdoughs with a tradition of continuous propagation, Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis....[and] Candida milleri.....are the predominant microorganisms""

and

"On a more practical note, I have visited hundreds of bakeries around the world making great naturally fermented bread in varying conditions, on icy mountain tops in the Italian alps, or hot kitchens in Kuwait, and in most they simply used their room temperature "as is" and varied the method according to what produced the best result to their taste. The trick is to understand the environment you have at your disposal and to squeeze the best use and result out of it."

<sarcasm>Sigh, if only someone had made sourdough bread for a long time and could put these arguments to rest...</sarcasm> ;-]

Muskie's picture
Muskie

For the sake of assumptions, we start with a 100% hydration starter that is 1:1 LAB versus yeast. Other assumptions...

  • LAB/yeast @ RT = 1:1
  • LAB/yeast @ 36F = 3:1
  • LAB/yeast @ 92F = 13:1

reserve some starter, feed, let sit out for 24 hours, then back in the fridge

  • taken out of fridge to start a new levain - LAB:yeast = 1:1
  • Fed, left at RT for 24 hours - LAB:yeast 24:24
  • Put back in fridge for 7 days - LAB:yeast 12,096:4,032, or 3:1

ferment your starter over 16 hours, then put back in the fridge for a week

  • taken out of fridge - LAB/yeast = 1:1
  • Fed and kept @ 92F for 4 hours - LAB/yeast = 52:4, or 13:1
  • Fed and kept @ 92F for 4 hours - LAB/yeast = 2,704:16, or 169:1
  • Fed and kept @ 92F for 4 hours - LAB/yeast = 140,608:64, or 2,197:1
  • Put back in fridge for 7 days - LAB/yeast = 70,866,432:10752, or 6,591:1

So I clearly have a way higher LAB/yeast ratio after 16 hours @ 92F. So put that back in the fridge for your next batch, not some of the stuff you started with.

If you did it the first way, after 4 weeks the LAB/yeast ratio of your starter will be 177,957:1

But, if you do it the second way, the LAB/yeast ratio of your starter will be 1,887,144,894,920,960:1

Russ

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Don't you hate it when you find a fundamental flaw in your calculations...;-[ Doh! The above is very wrong. My bad.

Russ

golgi70's picture
golgi70

I'm gonna follow with some of my experience with starter maintenance and levains.  None is to suggest the above isn't viable or my way is better.  Just figure I'll add my experience with the such. 

I've played with starter storage at a few levels.  

3 feeds a day every 8 hours (at a job. one was rye, one white, one wheat).  The 100% white starter was 100% hydration and had buttery notes with a touch of twang but certainly a sweet starter.

1 feed a day daily at 10AM followed by 3-6 hours at RT(varying based on RT/season) then in the retarder til the following mornings feeding (so 18-21 hours retard daily).  This is a white starter with 5% rye added.  This starter is as lively as the above when it's peaked yet has a much more assertive note of sourness. 

2 feeds a day at 12 hours (varying inoculation based on RT/seasonal).    This is a mixed grain sour (78% white, 20%wheat, and 2% rye) held at 80% hydration and has a combined affect of both of the above.  Very lively combined with some buttery notes along with a medium dose of sour.  

 

In my experience starters that don't get retarded ever (well maybe when your on vacation but not during the regular course of the year) have the best characteristics and can be built off of to attain any of the above profiles and all the variations in between.  So I suppose the mother dough should be maintained at room temp (with 2 to 3 feedings daily) and other flavor profiles should be built from this.  

The most sour levain I've made is a 100% whole wheat (@ 100 % hydration) built off of the room temp seed stock.(well that's not including some rye sours but I'm pretty much only thinking of a white/wheat starter)   In just 12 hours it has a huge burst of sour.  If you wanted to further this the levain can be retarded for 24 hours before proceeeding with the dough or the inoculation of the starter can be decreased and time to ripen increased accordingly.  You could also decrease the hydration of the levain as another way to boost the sour even further.  So for me it's keep mom happy and warm and regulated and manipulate the bread via the preferments and final dough manipulation.  

Just my .02 but i know the variations on the theme are endless.  

Lovely topic

Josh

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Josh, thanks for the info.

What if I were to suggest to you to take your mother, feed it every 4 hours (3 times) keeping it @ 92F this whole time (so 16 hours), then take a small piece of to make your new mother and bake with the remainder?

Russ

golgi70's picture
golgi70

im not sure i follow.

 

Muskie's picture
Muskie

you take some of your mother, and turn that into a loaf.

I'm asking, what if you turned your mother into a loaf, and just before combining it with the bulk dough (flour/water, whatever), and after fermenting it for 16 hours, you took some of that and made it your new mother. It would now have a greater LAB:yeast ratio than the original mother did, right?

golgi70's picture
golgi70

It would have the characteristics of sour formula you mention.  I prefer a balanced culture to perpetuate towards what final product I seek. 

But yes that would make a more sour "mother dough"

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

ever had was also a Whole Wheat Desem starter that I forgot about and pulled it out of the back of the fridge after a month or maybe even a little more.  I took the lid off, took a smell, almost choked as it nearly knocked me to my knees.  It made the most sour bread ever - just great.  I folded it onto my rye starter some time ago now.

I've never been able to get sour out of a counter top, room temperature starter of any kind.  As time goes on it has weaker sour after each build and eventually the sour just goes away to a faint hint.  It is much worse and faster to happen with white flour starters.

I'm not sure if lower hydration makes for more sour but know that a 100% hydration starter would require feeding once a week if kept in the fridge and we know that isn't going to happen - too much work :-)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

into a pure LAB animal.  :)

Muskie's picture
Muskie

but seriously, is that possible, could you make it so yeast wouldn't reproduce and the bread would never rise because the LABs are too plentiful?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

CO2 and ethanol too under the right circumstances.  Some reseach says that the LAB may contribute up to 50% of the CO2 in SD bread - under the right conditions.  I have tried to make a LAB animal but haven't come close yet.   It's like trying to make Wonder Bread - just can't  get close no matter how hard we try.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

turns wheat flour into cheese but can't raise the loaf much, for that I add instant yeast.  Want a sample?

It happened when I tried to convert some rye to a wheat starter.  The LABs seem to take all the food and the yeast are just not there even with large flour feedings.  It seems to be balanced as it protects itself from invasion and I keep it tucked into the fridge.  

I guess when they were first fed wheat (and no rye) they rebelled against not having rye food, couldn't adapt or reproduce fast enough and their chain position got taken over by opportunistic bacteria.

The other theory is that the yeast are still there, for some reason, they just aren't making lots of gas... burpless bugs.  After all, fermentation is going on.  Can fermentation take place without yeast?  

Anyway... the LAB animal has great flavour and after I think the dough smells good enough, I fold in yeast.  That speeds rising along nicely.  I once waited to see how long it would take to peak at room temp.  The dough fell apart first.  Could possibly be better with bread flour (with more acid buffering) instead of AP but it is fun messing with it.   And it is a reminder that many things are possible.   I tried working with it to increase yeast but it would wear me out and I figure I'd have to go back to adding rye.  Too easy!     ...Maybe I will go feed it some rye and see what it does.

I have a rye starter that behaves and I have this "LAB animal."    :)  

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

with your 7 day (that we made 8 days because we forgot about it on top of the fridge) brown bag and ball in the flour technique we will have to try to create a "LAB Animal" too. :-)

andychrist's picture
andychrist

a "salt-rising" starter there, Mini.  I used to do that with milk/yoghourt, some years ago.  Bread tasted very cheesy and extremely sour but the rise was slow and difficult. Would always bake up okay with the addition of commercial yeast but to me that rather defeats the purpose of keeping a starter...

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

you wouldn't mind that com. yeast was added later.  Bread made with commercial yeast is also good and if you use only a little get the benefits of long fermentations as well.  Because the first fermentation can be lengthy, I tend to speed it along with a normal yeast addition of about 2%.  Makes my life easier.  But Gingi prefers to use a long yeast ferment as well using just a tiny amount of added yeast.   Makes wonderful bread when combined with added yeast.  I would almost prefer to start a new starter than to ditch or seriously mess up this one.  Cut off my commercial yeast supply and I would be forced into it.  I would seriously consider taking this back to Austria.  I can skip using malt in my kaiser rolls with this starter.  I recently made a white wheat loaf without it, a 3 day stint in the fridge (soaker) and then added yeast.  Doesn't compare.

If the purpose of keeping the starter is to improve bread flavour, it certainly does that.  I also have other starters that raise the dough on their own.  I'm rather sensitive to carbohydrates, getting a "rush" with the spike in blood sugar.  Not so with this starter, or the others, so I can't help but wonder if the bacteria involved do compete with the wild gas burping yeast for food and change the dough's starches/sugars.  

Are bacteria changing the starch molecules on their own?  Which may lead one to believe that there is not a symbiosis going on in this starter between bacteria and yeast (the yeast variety that should be raising bread dough.)  That would limit the way I go about strengthening helpful yeast numbers.  Perhaps this is an occasion were adding commercial yeast to the culture would improve it?  Perhaps making room for a wild yeast to take its place.  Now how to test that might be an interesting experiment.  Any ideas?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Been working with it for several days now, actually longer if you count the refrigerated deep sleep since Dec 16th.  Now two months later, it smells beery and strong of alcohol and a little bit separated but not dark, only lightly discoloured.  Time for another shot at it.  

So I removed 20g alcohol smelly starter and inoculated 80g each water& flour.  (1:4:4 ) It was acting just like always, turning cheesy and not rising so ... two hours into the fermenting, I made it sour with 1Tbs lemon juice and within 45 minutes it started smelling yeasty. Wow.  

I had to wait 18 hrs for it to peak which turned out to be double the volume.  What an improvement!  Rise!  So today I fed 20g of this starter a 1:1:1 feeding plus (tips from the boyz) 0.6 g (2%) salt with 5g of the water as fresh lemon juice to make it sour.  Dropping that ph to encourage the proper yeast and bacteria.   

A discard of 150g went into a 123 loaf (with a Tbs of lemon juice) just to see what would happen.  (I can always add yeast)  I figure I'll keep an eye on my little starter and if it takes longer than 8 hours to peak, add yeast to the bread dough I'm working on at the same time.  Well at 4 hrs I got my first stretch and fold and an hour later the second, then I decided to chill it, retard and play with it tomorrow.  

Test took 8 hours to double.  And I am feeding it at again but without the lemon juice and adding 2% salt for an overnight rise.  

andychrist's picture
andychrist

how you can modify the starter so dramatically with those techniques, Mini.  BTW, have you ever tried proofing a levain from the stinky starter at 130F? Because that is how the salt-rising bread works, apparantly those perhaps non-symbiotic LABs do produce enough CO2 at that temperature to get a rise, however so slowly.

Yesterday afternoon I goosed a levain I'd built from my highly pungent (yet very active) apple/beet/grapefruit/whey starter with a recently brewed cherry/raisin YW concoction, in preparation for a small batch of bagels with which I wanted to test out my new-to-me Reco Bagel Baker. Now, although bagel dough has to be fairly stiff and so is generally not considered a great medium for SD, these YW enriched bagel rounds rose like the dickens, despite a good draft from having my windows open (cranking the Presto worked up quite a sweat.) Really blew up well in the boiling water bath too, though I have no idea whether that has anything to do with a peak of respiration from either the yeast or LAB, or is just a result of the already present little air pockets in the risen dough rounds suddenly warming. [Not so] funny thing was that despite the levain having been fairly sour, the finished bagels tasted kinda bland to me. Will follow your example Mini and raise the percent of salt next time, now that I know the cultures are vigorous.

Thanks for keeping us updated on your great work!!!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

didn't turn out well, maybe it was working with the salt to raise acid even further.  This morning after the starter had sat 12 hrs, it barely rose 1/3.  It wasn't the overnight temps in the kitchen or was it?  I will put the lemon back in but lower the amount and wait for it to reach maximum resperation.  Want to wean this puppy!  

I don't want to jinx another starter in progress, a similar situation that just doubled overnight (yeah!) w/o salt and w/o added acid.

Winter seems to be a delicate time for starters.  They are all just a little bit different.  Always better to underfeed than overfeed. 

No, haven't tried the salt bread technique yet.  I'm betting it is gas expansion as the dough is filled with teeny tiny bubbles, my yeastless starter as well, and the heat expands them.  Isn't soda also used?  or am I confusing salt bread with soda bread?  So far, I haven't seen a crumb shot of salt bread that appeals to me.

In my reading I came across a micro-bio study,  2% salt encourages yeast, 4% salt in the dough tends to stop bacterial growth or slow it down so drastically that yeast has a chance to grow without any food competition.  Yeast can tolerate up to 8% salt in dough.  I can't help but think salt reacts with acids in an ongoing capacity (like yeast growth) increasing acid strength in the dough as more acid is produced from the yeast.  Acid doesn't seem to slow sd yeast but it would change the taste profile.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

What effect do you believe restricting Levain content has? I've seen suggestions anywhere from 10% to 20%. Can't the entire loaf be seen as Levain? So why restrict that which is fermented?

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Wouldn't it be fun to turn all of this science and speculation into a computer game? I seem to remember something like SimLife many years ago, where it was possible to make some combination of slug and alligator the sentient species...;-]

Ok, time to take a bit of a break from thinking about beasties and proving my proofing...;-]

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Most of what is written here is nonsense. Not however personal experiences of course..

It really bugs me how that data of temps is quoted like it's scripture. Two points:

1. As someone quite rightly said above that these figures refer to particular strains of C.milleri and l.sanfranciscensis. How do you know that your starter even has these yeast and bacteria, you don't and no sourdough starter is ever that pure, ie. contain just one yeast strain and one LAB. It's so far from reality it's unreal!

2. Now even if you happened to have just those yeast and bacteria, that data regarding temps is not real world because it's out of context and doesn't account for any other factors like pH. I mention pH because it's such a strong growth limiting factor for l.sanfranciscensis whereas C. milleri is unaffected by pH.

I would suggest that there is no such thing as a sour starter. There is only sour bread... 

There are generally accepted ways of boosting sour and technically what makes bread sour is a high level of total acid. Focus on that and success is sure.

Michael

Muskie's picture
Muskie

With lengthy fermentation times (16 hours), and long retards (12 hours), and timing this to happen when I'm awake, I can't come up with a proposed schedule that isn't 48 hours long. I want to try a lot of very small bakes (say where each attempt is like 1/2lb). Currently, I don't see how quantity has anything to do with the time it takes to achieve flavor.

Do you disagree? If you do, can you point me to a link that might offer suggested differences in process that would result in different flavors?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

no experience in it?  I say not so fast Michael.  You have more experience than anyone I know building a SD starter with white flour over many days and refreshments at room temperatures that favor yeast - driving all the sour out of it order to make your famous panettone.  I make panettone at Christmas and it takes forever to get rid of the all that non sour waste in building the white levain for panettone.  There is no sour component to it at all when I get done with it -comparatively. 

My whole wheat and whole rye starters and levains are way more sour and so are the breads and I know for sue because i take my white waste from making panettone and make flour, water, salt and levain breads with it - hardly any sour at all in any of them.  Forkish and Tartine bread are very similiar in starter adn levain builds and also are not very sour - butnthey are designes to bge that wasy just like your panettone.

While SF LAB are the slight majority in SD cultured tested because of some of their unique abilities to live it in symbiosis with yeast, the yeast most found in SD cultures is C. humilis or Saccharomyces exiguus and their reproductive rates at various temperatures isn't at all much different than C.milleri.  Most yeast act the same at various temperatures because like humans who may be white or black and every shade in between they are still human with nearly identical DNA.  We all slow down when cold and speed up when warm.

None of us know what is in our starter from a LAB and yeast standpoint, some LAB beesties tolerate ph better than others but generally a ph from 3.8 to 4.5 is considered OK for Type I Sourdoughs like the ones we all have but some might want to keep theirs above 4 though. Most LAB and Yeast in type 1 sourdough cultures behave similarly to Gazle's research data too.  Typer 2 SD starters like a lower ph but we don't have then around at home much.

There is no question that, with a ph between 3.8 an 4.5 - the usual range for SD type 1 starters, temperatures of 36 F and 92 F favor LAB over yeast in starter, levain and dough - all 3.  Yeast are more tolerant to low ph but yeast are not unaffected by ph as you state but they aren't as easily affected by the normal ph in SD cultures either.  SD cultures can have 10 to 100 times more LABS than yeast in them and we know how to get to the high end of that range just like we know how to get to the low end - it isn't unknown how to to do it or fate and it certainly isn't nonsense - you do it all the time., .

There are sour starters and levains just as there are sour breads - no question or doubt about it.   Why scientific data bugs you is something only you can answer,  It is just data that has to be tested and verified.  No one has said anything about it being scripture - just that is what it is.  That testing  is what I have done over the last 2 years.  Yep, Ganzle's data is correct and my starters, levain and bread experiments prove it over and over again.  Others may have different results with theirs but not much different.

A more sour starter makes for a more sour levain which makes for a more sour bread - very straight forward and all can be easily manipulated.  You can manipulate starters, levains and dough to get what ever amount of sour you wish.   You do it all the time for your panettone.  So even your experiments prove Ganzel's data to be correct.  i wish some others would give it a go on the sour side and they are.

 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

You have more experience than anyone I know building a SD starter with white flour over many days and refreshments at room temperatures that favor yeast - driving all the sour out of it order to make your famous panettone

Well firstly, thank you for that vote of confidence. Let me be clear my sourdough starter is fed 1:1 (starter:flour) at below 50% hydration every 24 hours at 18C. Such a long maturation time with this large inoculum is actually maxing out LAB growth to point where it stops or is barely growing at pH 3.7. Panettone is well studied and is mentioned time and time again in scientific journals. In one such paper the numbers of LAB and yeast are charted throughout the process and LAB always outnumber yeast by well over 100:1 before enriching ingredients come into the mix. 100:1 and not something like 10:1 as you might expect.

There is no question that, with a ph between 3.8 an 4.5 - the usual range for SD type 1 starters, temperatures of 36 F and 92 F favor LAB over yeast in starter, levain and dough - all 3.  Yeast are more tolerant to low ph but yeast are not unaffected by ph as you state but they aren't as easily affected by the normal ph in SD cultures either

To quote "The initial pH of the sourdough fermentation ranges from 4.5 to 5.5, depending on the size of the inoculum. Sourdoughs are acidified to a pH of 3.5 to 3.7. " - The optimal growth of l.sanfrnciscencis is pH 5.5. Its growth slows above and below that pH.

To quote again "Growth of C. milleri is not affected by the pH in the range tested, i.e., 3.5 to 7."

 

There are sour starters and levains just as there are sour breads - no question or doubt about it.   Why scientific data bugs you is something only you can answer

Scientific data doesn't bug me! The ganzle data regarding growth at different temperatures is indeed treated like scripture in that you use it a basis to draw conclusions disregarding all other factors. And this is what I have a problem with. Take for example a unrealistic situation where a starter is very acidic at all times varying between a pH of 3.7 and 4.1 . Well according to the ganzle paper from which all this data comes it will tell you that l.sanfranciscensis will barely grow at all. Can you not see the fundamentally significant point of what I'm saying here. You cannot hang off only one piece of data and ignore all others. It's an act of ignorance or naivety and nothing in between! I have no problem with the figures but you must remember they were not recorded in the real world environment of a sourdough starter but in a petri dish where the yeast and bacteria were isolated and other factors like pH were manually controlled.

Sour is a perception of taste only. And this is my point. The only place people are concerned with the degree of sourness whether that be maximum or minimum, is in the end product itself, the bread! My sourdough is a powerhouse of not just yeast but LAB too! I struggle to make non-sour lean bread with it. I've said before that San Francisco sourdough French bread known for its sourness has a lot in common with the sourdough that makes panettone. Debra wink has also said this I believe. The sourdough for panettone is refreshed in a certain way with the aim of reducing acidity but keeping pH low at 4.1. Much of what makes a panettone non sour is the stressful conditions of high enrichment in the dough which yeast can handle far, far better. From a technical standpoint what makes bread sour is the quantity of acids in the dough. When you say a "sour starter" what you really mean is a starter that is in a state where LAB are strongly favoured over the yeast. But how can you know this, you can't it's just speculation on your part. A sourdough starter that has a lot of yeast push could easily be used to make sour bread. Just prolong the bulk fermentation, simple. To conclude it's more about how you build your bread dough from the mother starter that determines sourness more than anything else.


Michael

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

to promote yeast over LAB just as I am using it to promote LAB over yeast.  White flour,  low hydration (50%), Low ph (4.1 ), and 65 F with long times (24 hours) between feedings all promote yeast reproduction over LAB making for less sour.

I do the opposite, Whole grain wheat and rye flour, 100% hydration feedings with increasing amounts of flour and water each time done at 4 hours to keep the acid in check at 5 or above at all times and using 36 F and 92 F for temperatures.  All of these these things promote LAB over yeast reproduction

So, it isn't that I ignore acid or hydration, in fact just the opposite, I know low acid is detrimental to LAB reproduction rats and do frequent feedings with increasing feedings to make sure it is kept in check and not an issue.  Same with hydration, 100% all the way, because low hydration is detrimental to LAB reproduction rates and i know by keeping the hydration at 100% I don't have to worry about it.  Do it is obvious I do not ignore all other factors besides time and temperature/  I just take them out of the equation so I don't have to deal with them - on purpose

The only place people are concerned with the degree of sourness whether that be maximum or minimum, is in the end product itself, the bread!

Well, people who eat bread may only care if their bread is sour but the way bakers make sour bread is to care about how sour the starter, levain and dough is - the more LAB in all of them the more sour the bread will be.  it is just as easy to promote LAB and restrict yeast in all of them just as it is to promote yeast and restrict LAB.   

My point is that  it is just as easy to promote LAB and restrict yeast in all of them just as it is to promote yeast and restrict LAB.   Where we disagree completely is that I say the most important and critical issue is to to get as many LAB and as few yeast in a starter possible, if you want to make really sour bread   The more LAB you can develop in the starter at the very beginning before building the levain and then continuing to build on that inoculation throughout the levain build, dough development, fermentation and proofing will give you a much more sour bread than SFSD (Tartine, Forkish etc) or French SD which i consider mildly sour. 

I think the reason SFSD and French style SD are so popular is that that are are mildly sour and that most folks don't like really sour bread. 

Sour is a perception of taste only. And this is my point.........When you say a "sour starter" what you really mean is a starter that is in a state where LAB are strongly favoured over the yeast. But how can you know this, you can't it's just speculation on your part

You answered your own question.  One way to know how sour your starter, levain and dough is to taste it.  It is easy enough to perceive how sour something is by tasting it - works really well in fact.  I encourage people to do these tastings too just like I encourage people to make bread using slap and folds so that they can get the feel of various dough, hydration and how whole grains, autolyse etc can effect the feel. 

The other way is to use litmus paper,  I don't remember who on TFL about a year and a half ago, it might have been you, said they tested their starter, or levain or dough using it.  So I got some, quite a bit actually,  and this is the reason I changed the hydration of my stored refrigerated starter from 100% to 80% to the current 66%.  At higher hydration levels the starter would get too acidic too quickly for 4 weeks of cold storage - too much reproduction going on.  Not knowing for sure, I also wanted to make sure the food supply for the culture wasn't getting too low.  I also reduced the stored amount of starter to 100g from 150 g later on and changed the 3 rd stage built of the starter before refrigerating it by only adding flour for the 3rd stage  and letting that rise 25% before refrigerating it.

I don't test my starter for acid at 4 weeks anymore because it always came in at around 4.5 or so.    One thing for sure is that the bread that results form the 4 week retarded starter is sourer than the one one at the first week even though both levain and dough are developed and fermented at 92 F and the dough and levain retarded at 36 F.

A sourdough starter that has a lot of yeast push could easily be used to make sour bread. Just prolong the bulk fermentation, simple

And how do you prolong the bulk fermentation?  One way would be to add salt to the dough to slow down the yeast but salt effects LAB more than yeast and would be detrimental to making acid and sour.  Another way would be to take the hydration way down but we can't be eating bagels when we want a sour bread.  The real way we do it is to retard the dough at a low temperature so that the yeast slow down and the LAB can outproduce them 3 to 1 so that when we get more LAB, sour and acid.

I've said before that San Francisco sourdough French bread known for its sourness has a lot in common with the sourdough that makes panettone. Debra wink has also said this I believe. 

They have some things in common: white flour, throwing away lots of levain and room temperatures - even though SFSD levain is usually built at 8 F  higher temperatures than your panettone.  But panettone levain has half the hydration and half the feedings so the SFSD levain ends up being more favorable to LAB being a less acidic, slightly higher temperature and hydrated environment which results in more sour than the panettone levain as the yeast and LAB reproduce at roughly the same rate in the SFSD.   On the other hand, the panettone levain, as you state, results in the LAB being restricted to the point of  zero due to low ph environment of the in levain - so it results in a less sour.  Still, even though the SFSF levain is ,ore sour, SFSD is only mildly sour. 

We agree completely that it is more important how the levain and dough is handled when it comes to sour.  Nothing like having 92 F while building levain and developing dough when it comes to really kicking up the sour - but it works the same way for building starters too.

 You cannot hang off only one piece of data and ignore all others.  It's an act of ignorance or naivety and nothing in between!

It must be pretty obvious to you now that I do not ignore any piece of Ganzle's research and do not hang my hat on one.  i take them all into account and designed my process accordingly and by design.  I am not ignorant or naive but everything in between.  I can only conclude that your assumption otherwise was in error.... and so should you.

No harm - no foul and

Happy baking Michael.

Happy baking  

mwilson's picture
mwilson

24 hours at 18C with a 1:1 inoculum is not promoting yeast over LAB. It's promoting both. And it doesn't start out at pH4.1 like you're suggesting. Once fed the pH is about 5 and ends at about 3.8.

In the context of this data if l.sanfranciscensis doesn't grow neither does the yeast c.humilis. There is a limit to how much one can promote yeast growth over LAB in this relationship.

The Panettone process needs LAB for the acid they produce. And the acid is there to provide strength to the dough, counteracting the softening caused by the high level of enrichment. Acidity is essential.

You make many assumptions and stray from the facts. This is what I have a problem with.

I never said you couldn't produce sour bread, clearly what you do works for you. Your understanding of it and interpretation of the facts is another matter. What works for you may not work for others and at no point when claiming the ratio of reproduction rates at different temperatures did you state that there other factor are at play which will effect the growth rate of these organisms. Rate of growth varies throughout the fermentation.

In addition to this you speak of and draw conclusions for all species of LAB with data from just two strains of l.sanfranciscensis.

Regardless of temperature or hydration over time different LAB will continue to produce acid until all the substrates are consumed.

Most of what makes your bread "sour" could be attributed more to the use of rye than anything else. Rye generally has a low falling number compared to regular wheat ramping up the availability of substrates. Rye is also nutrient rich and carries a lot of l.plantarum. L.plantarum is very common and significant in sourdoughs and is a lot more acid tolerant than l.sanfranciscensis and will continue to produce acid by the time l.sanfranciscensis has stopped growing.

With very warm temps above 30C you're likely to be promoting other LAB strains, especially if its wet.

Just because a levain tastes sour, it doesn't necessarily translate that the bread will taste sour. It depends how it's used and what acids there are. Don't forget acetic acid is partially baked off. I've made extremely sour bread, almost inedible with a levain that was very mild in taste.

Sourness really is perception only and the only place it matters is in the end product.

Peace.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

24 hours at 18C with a 1:1 inoculum is not promoting yeast over LAB. It's promoting both.

At room temperatures LAB still outproduce yeast but, at those temperatures, it is the most beneficial for yeast at far as LAB to yeast ratio - nearly even at around one ratio.  It doesn't get better than that for yeast with 82 F being the best for yeast .  Temperatures higher lower favor LAB much more than yeast   So If you want a low LAB to yeast ratio - room temperatures are the way to go and you will end up proofing faster because there will be more yeast in the dough ans ans few of :LAB to make it sour - so you get a less sour mix - assuming that the ph is right, there is enough food and the hydration  is right 

The Panettone process needs LAB for the acid they produce. And the acid is there to provide strength to the dough, counteracting the softening caused by the high level of enrichment. Acidity is essential..

So do people make panettone all the time using commercial yeast where there is no acid present or LAB to make it?  Sure they do.  So the acid that the LAB make in SD panettone is really not essential is it - right?

You make many assumptions and stray from the facts. This is what I have a problem with. at no point when claiming the ratio of reproduction rates at different temperatures did you state that there other factor are at play which will effect the growth rate of these organisms.

What assumptions?  The only one I can think of is that we don't know what is in my starter as far as LAB and yeast goes but is one of several combinations ot Group C. Obligately heterofermentative LAB and the yeast that usually form a symbiotic relationship with them.  As luck would have it,  those wee beesites for LAB and yeast in type 1 SD that exist in 3.5 to 6 ph range in a SD symbiotic culture  also seem to have hav similar characteristics including ph tolerance, temperature tolerance, hydration tolerance etc.  I guess it goes with the SD culture territory.

All I did, answering a post here about hydration was bring the Ganzel temperature data up.  Those are cetainly factual and, as far as I know, no one has done his experiment and found something else contrary to his data.  I didn't bring up slat, ph, hydration or alchohol in the SD at all, even though I could have,  the newbies at hand might have gotten confused for no reason whatsoever.

There is no reason to bring them up since, in the real world of making SD bread, they have little or no effect for most bread baking,  If you feed your starter or levain every 4-12 hours like most bakers do the ph or running out of food is never a problem.   If you have a hydration between 52% bagels or 100%, hydration isn't a problem if you stay in that range as most bakers do.  if you don't add too much alcohol or salt  to your dough,  alcohol and salt are never a problem neither.  So if you have food the right ph, the right hydration  and right salt and alcohol then what you can use to really affect the  acid and sour of the bread is...you guessed it..... temperature - there is no question about it.   

And it doesn't start out at pH 4.1 like you're suggesting. Once fed the pH is about 5 and ends at about 3.8..

I never said that at all in this thread.  I said mine never got below 4  the way I tested with litmus paper 4 hours after feeding it.  The research I linked to showed that the 4 SD cultures they got started, in big German fermenters for a couple of days before the tests started,  started out at over 6 when fed and ended up at 3.5 the first day and even on the 10th day the culture started at  5 and ended at 4 - 4 hours after feeding,  Their cultures that were fed once in 24 hours like your panettone didn't get below 4 till 6 hours and down to 3.5 after 12 hours.  Still it is quite clear, the LAB were still living just fine at 3.5 ph - 24 hours after feeding.when tested.  Sure they were reproducing slower since the ph hardly changed from 12 to 24 hours rather than going lower.  It is like yeast love 82 F the best and is the temperature for them to reproduce - but  they do just fine a 60 or 65 F too - they just slow down.  Just like LAB do

 Regardless of temperature or hydration over time different LAB will continue to produce acid until all the substrates are consumed.

I know you can't believe that .  Its only true if the hydration doesn't go to low or the temperature doesn't go too low or high.  Show me a LAB that can reproduce at 1% hydration and 25 F or 195 F.  But in the normal range of bread making that would be true.   That is why at 36 F the LAB are still making acid and reproducing 3 times faster than yeast and at 90 F they are outproducing yeast by 3 to 1 even though yeast are reproducing at the same rate as they do at 66 F.  But all the other conditions have to be met too and the normal course of bread making makes them all stay in check and in harmony no worries with them at all.

Most of what makes your bread "sour" could be attributed more to the use of rye than anything else. Rye generally has a low falling number compared to regular wheat ramping up the availability of substrates. Rye is also nutrient rich and carries a lot of l.plantarum. L.plantarum is very common and significant in sourdoughs and is a lot more acid tolerant than l.sanfranciscensis and will continue to produce acid by the time l.sanfranciscensis has stopped growing.

Also the LAB l.plantarum is very common in other fermented foods and makes a great probiotic since it can live in the human gut.Cis commonly found in many fermented food products including sauerkraut, pickles, brined olives, Korean kimchi, Nigerian Ogi, sourdough and other fermented plant material, and also some cheeses, fermented sausages, and stockfishGroup C. Obligately heterofermentative LAB  like -  L. fermentum, l.plantarum and L. sanfranciscensis eventually take over SD cultures.

While rye does make a difference in sour because of extra enzymes, minerals,  my experiments show that it is temperature that really directs the sour all other factors being within standard baking parameters and why white flour can make a very sour bread too,

With very warm temps above 30C you're likely to be promoting other LAB strains, especially if its wet.

It is going to have to be much hotter (and longer time too) for that to ever happen or be a worry in my book,  To have an outsider LAB  take over an established well populated LAB in a healthy SD, in the starter or levain, would be extremely difficult.  My kitchen is easily 86 F in summer, so I don't have to use a heating pad.  Not once was there ever even a consideration that this could happen with any the levains and starters that are built for hours at 86 to 92 F each and every time for well over a year now.  Never ever had a problem with this happening,  It's like worrying about ph when you feed your starter and levain every 4 hours.  There is never enough time to ever get a low enough ph to worry about it..

Just because a levain tastes sour, it doesn't necessarily translate that the bread will taste sour. It depends how it's used and what acids there are. Don't forget acetic acid is partially baked off. I've made extremely sour bread, almost inedible with a levain that was very mild in taste.

Sourness really is perception only and the only place it matters is in the end product.

I will take my chances that when very sour tasting starter, levain and dough it will translate into a vary sour bread - it has every time.  The time to start thinking about sour bread is at the starter stage,  Sure you can make sour bread without doing so - it just wont be as sour as it could be.

I  like these kinds of discussions because I always learn something,   This time I learned scientists use 82 F in their fermenters to make SD cultures which is perfect for yeast but so so for LAB - they must have have a LAB bigotry problem:-).  But they did use about a 250% hydration too which should help the LAB more then the yeast.  I also have been told (with no scientific data to back it up) that LAB lag yeast in the beginning but it appears that yeast lag LAB in that the LAB are established at their max levels after 3 days but the yeast take more than twice as long to get their max levels.  Also, hydration over 100% during starter and levain builds my promote even more LAB before reducing the hydration for starter fridge storage of the starter  or dough hydration with the levain.

Its been fun and happy baking Michael

mwilson's picture
mwilson

In the world of micro-organisms, there is a whole diversity of living things all struggling for position, struggling to survive. In the case of acidified food stuffs lactic acid bacteria thrive and there is whole host of LAB species that can and do exist in the sourdough environment. Each species, each strain has an ideal set of conditions for best growth. During fermentation the environment is subject to change and with every feed the change is dramatic. There are dominating species, sub dominating species and species lurking in the background.

As I said in the relationship of c.milleri and l.sanfranciscensis there is only so much you can promote yeast. L.sanfranciscensis always outnumber in the region of 100:1 in a healthy sourdough starter. If you continually hinder c.milleri by going too much above 30C, there are other yeasts that will happily take over. When something loses dominance it opens the door for something else to take over. You may not even notice the change because what was once lurking may now have the chance to take off.

Panettone isn't Panettone unless it's made with lievito madre. Has always been that way as panettone comes from the days before the availability of commercial yeast. Recipe's for panettone leavened with commercial yeast do exist but would be best served using a pre-ferment to develop some acidity and surely wouldn't be enriched as much as the real article. Without the acidity, the dough would be a lot more slack and not rise anywhere near as high as it should. The end product wouldn't have the elongated crumb structure and bready, shred texture. It wouldn't have the same flavour or nutritional properties. Acidity is a crucial consideration for producing panettone. Italian master bakers know this well. Even commercially produced panettoni are leavened with natural yeast. And in this process everything is done at 30C. The first step involves fermentation for 24 hours!

"And it doesn't start out at pH 4.1 like you're suggesting. Once fed the pH is about 5 and ends at about 3.8.."

I never said that at all in this thread

You said

White flour,  low hydration (50%), Low ph (4.1 ), and 65 F with long times (24 hours) between feedings all promote yeast reproduction over LAB making for less sour.

How else could I interpret what you said?! What good would it be if you meant the pH at the end of fermentation if you're highlighting how low pH effects growth.

I will take my chances that when very sour tasting starter, levain and dough it will translate into a vary sour bread - it has every time

I don't deny it's a good chance to take but I am saying there are still considerations to be made and more importantly a sour bread can indeed be made from a levain that doesn't taste particularly sour.

I know you can't believe that .  Its only true if the hydration doesn't go to low or the temperature doesn't go too low or high.  Show me a LAB that can reproduce at 1% hydration and 25 F or 195 F.  But in the normal range of bread making that would be true.

You know that's what I meant. You say it yourself. To suggest otherwise is just a picky, for the sake of it, low blow.

A hard a fast rule of fermenting flour is, the warmer and wetter, the faster the production of acid, the quicker the pH drop. And the quicker the path to proteolysis - something you don't want if you enjoy some degree of lightness in your bread. Hydration just controls fermentation, yes lower hydration does help give yeast a leg up but only in the short run. The lievito madre that ferments for 24 hours is full of LAB. It only needs 4 hours to triple at room temperature. Like I said it's a powerhouse. Most people don't understand that although a wet starter generally has a higher bacterial load it will always be less acidic than a firm starter. Why? Although it works faster, producing mostly lactic acid, a wet starter is more diluted of food and exhausts food supply in a relatively short time.

All I did, answering a post here about hydration was bring the Ganzel temperature data up.  Those are cetainly factual and, as far as I know, no one has done his experiment and found something else contrary to his data.  I didn't bring up slat, ph, hydration or alchohol in the SD at all, even though I could have,  the newbies at hand might have gotten confused for no reason whatsoever.

All you needed to say is that this data wasn't recorded in a sourdough environment where other numerous environmental factors effect growth rate. And in my opinion someone that really understood that paper would have said such or at the very least hinted at it.

There is no reason to bring them up since, in the real world of making SD bread, they have little or no effect for most bread baking

In my opinion this is your naivety. I know you're not ignorant dabrownman. I would like to address my regret at using such strong words. I certainly didn't mean to attack you. I just happen to be a passionate person.

The only thing I ever had a problem with was your clear misrepresentation of the facts. What works for you, works for you...

Muskie's picture
Muskie

DA's suggestion to me, in another thread, to try fermenting my starter/levain at 92F definitely produced a significantly more sour flavor in my breads. I encourage everyone to at least give it a try, if you like sourness.

Michael, you have clearly demonstrated that many factors affect many aspects of sourdough.

I don't think anyone intentionally misrepresented anything along the way, and I don't believe either of you are suggesting that.

But neither of you are, as far as I can tell, attempting to prove or disprove any scientific theory, you're both making bread. You're both clearly happy with the bread you're making, and you both appear to be working towards making even better bread.

As the OP, I'd hate to think I was the cause of any argument that could cause disharmony. Perhaps its best to leave all this wonderful information as it is, inconclusive beyond each of your own results (as I think you said once Michael) so that others won't be mired in semantic discussion.

I've learned a lot from both of you, but the most important thing you've both taught me is that its my own attempts that I can trust, and learn from.

Thanks so much for this valuable education!

Russ

mwilson's picture
mwilson

I appreciate your input here.

Thanks Russ

Kneading One's picture
Kneading One

I have just learned about kefir milk and have started adding this to my sour dough bread. Kefir milk is a type of fermented milk using a bacteria that has a symbiotic relationship with yeast. It is a wonderful probiotic and has a rich and colorful history. Kefir grains look like a small head of cauliflower and you put this into fresh milk and put it out on the counter top to ferment from 24-48 hours. You simply stir or swirl the container to keep the grains from coagulating together at regular intervals. It has the consistency of buttermilk without the butter. The taste is very similar as well. It happens to enhance the sour flavor of sour dough bread to a wonderful degree. So of course, this may be considered cheating, but the results are worth it if you enjoy the extra sour flavoring in your sour dough bread. I most certainly enjoy this kefir milk addition to my bread. I simply add approximately 1 1/2 cups of fermented kefir milk to the flour plus any additional water needed. One day I will try all kefir milk to see how much  the sour flavor is increased. But thus far, it has been 1 1/2 cups of kefir milk added to 2+- cups of water. Kefir grains are fairly easy to come by. I purchased mine off of Ebay. There are a few websites devoted to the kefir grain community. I will provide a link to the kefir group that I belong to if anyone is interested in learning more about this probiotic that enhances the sour flavor of sour dough bread. In my humble opinion anyway.   

Kefir_making@yahoogroups.com

Richard

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Where the 60% SF and 40% CH came from on this same publisher, I ran across this bit of research on w kinds of wheat used to make SD starter with water and 2 kinds of spelt to do the same thing and the 3 stages all went through over 10 day  to establish a balanced SD culture containing LAB and Yeast and then using DNA testing to find out what microbes were present during the 3 stages  I thought you would, find it interesting

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1951026/

At any rate,  I couldn't find the research but it basically was done in the early 2000's if I remember correctly .  Basically it confirmed that LAB SF were found everywhere they looked no just in SF and the it was present in 60% of the SD cultures they tested and when found, 40% of the time CH was the yeast found with it.  But the sample numbers weren't huge and only USA based.    The paper above only had 4 different grains used as samples and LAB SF wasn't found in any of them.

This group has a lot of research papers on yeast and LAB but I get suspicious if it over 10 years old

Applied and Environmental Microbiology -The American Society of Microbiology

So, it depends on what paper your read, how many samples and where they come from.  But for sure, with so many different LAB and Yeast that can live together in a stable SD culture the only way to know what is in one from an LAB and yeast perspective - is to have it DNA tested.   With all the different stuff I feed my starter who knows what is in it!

I get Micheal's method too - makes complete sense to suppress LAB and increase yeast.  I just do the opposite to enhance LAB abs decrease yeast - the topic was how to increase sour right:-)

Happy Baking

suave's picture
suave

the topic was how to increase sour

The problem is, people use sourness and acidity as interchangeable terms when in reality they are two different things.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

acid means a lower ph.  I tried to think of examples where sour is tasted where there is';t an acid present.  I originally  came up with sour pickles fermented by LAB which aren't the same as Kosher Dills that are cured with vinegar.   Both are acidic though but the sour flavor comes from the fermenting process in the sour pickle and not from the acidic 'tang' of the vinegar cured pickle  But sour pickles are acidic with the acid coming from the fermenting process of LABS.  Sour pickles are just like sourdough bread in this regard.

In bread of course, a commercial yeast bread has no sour taste, just like YW breads  when compared to A SD bread that has a low PH and is sour and tangy because of the acid produced by LAB.  Is there sour without acid being present?  Maybe I'll have to check out naturally fermented soy sauces.  They taste salty wfter being fermented  but may be acidic too and the sour produced by fermentation is just masked by the salt - and we know salt over 4% can kill off LAB.

So I am still trying to come up with something that tastes sour from natural fermentation but isn't also acidic?   

suave's picture
suave

You think about it the wrong opposite way - I was thinking about products that are a result of natural fermentation and are acidic, but do not taste partcularly sour.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

that are produced and fermented  with LAB and aren't sour? I can't thnk of any but did mention soy sauce but I thnk those are fermented with yeast only adn lots of salt,  Japaneese black bean, yellow Chinese fermented beans come to mind, red bean paste but are these yeast fermented with a bunch of sugar?  I'll give it some more thought.  A fun topoc all by itself.

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

Only acid tastes sour, BUT not all acids taste sour! so, while acidic doesn't always mean sour, sour will always require some acid.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

While several different approaches have been presented, my take away on how to make my SD more sour is to just try, try, and try again until it's as sour as I want it. Since I don't have test equipment or labs to send things off to, I've taken to keeping copious notes for each loaf I bake, and then record the taste, look, and feel results. I record every feeding ratio, time, hydration, etc...throughout the process. This has allowed me to ensure I don't make a loaf I didn't like, a second time.

My next goal is to produce ~100g loafs (should I say buns), so I'm not wasting so much flour.

Capn Dub's picture
Capn Dub

Chris, I absolutely agree with you: DA's method works--but I have a refinement.

This thread contains many assumptions, hypotheses, theories, and anecdotal evidence, but very little of it supported by any real testing, so I decided to take DA's idea and do a little simple research.  That led to a huge "Aha!" moment.  Here's what I found.

I took  my starter (100% hydration; AP flour) out of the the fridge when it was time to feed.  It had gobbled up all the food, and was quite inactive.  I fed it and took its temperature (digital thermometer; calibrated against ice water and boiling water; accurate within 0.5°F): 57°F.  Placed it in my Brod & Taylor proofer at 92°F.  Each hour for 4 hours checked the temp near the surface, near the bottom, near the sides, and in the middle.  It varied very little regardless of test location--only about 3°, but slowly rose to 77°, at which point the starter had risen to its maximum and began to fall.  It was at this moment the light came on and I had that "Aha".

I reasoned like this: If the starter began to fall, then the yeast must have used up most of its food, long before it reached 92°.  If I want the LAB growth to greatly outpace the yeast growth, I need to get the temperature of the mix to 92° without having to go through that temperature range which is optimum for the yeast, otherwise, the starter will be spent before it ever gets to the optimum for the LAB.  But how?  How do you get from cold to warm without having to go through the entire range in between?  Had an idea.

Repeated the experiment, but this time put the cold, spent starter in the proofer at 92°.  Put the flour in there, too.  Waited for both to reach full temp, then fed the flour to the starter using 92° water.  Bingo!  When the starter began to fall, it just reeked of acid.

Next came the big test: making a batch of bread.  I simply repeated the above method, bringing all the ingredients up to 92° before mixing.  Followed my usual procedures, but proofed at 92.  Checked the internal loaf temp every hour for 4 hours.  It started out at 78°--apparently evaporation cooled it while mixing the dough.  Nevertheless, it had reached 88° by the time it was ready to bake.  Result?  Nice sour.

Tried again.  This time I warmed the starter first, then took it out of the proofer and wrapped it in a towel to keep it warm.  Turned the temp up to 100° and continued warming the flour until it reached 100.  Here I deviated a little from my usual procedure.  Normally I make a slurry of the water and starter, and then add the slurry to the flour.  This time I mixed the flour and water first, waited until the the temp dropped to 92, then added the starter, which had cooled slightly to 88°.  The end result was that I had built a batch at 91° without having to pass through all those lower temperatures.    Put it back in the proofer at 92.

Now came the time for the proof of the pudding (bread?).  Baked it.  Slapped my hands a couple of times to keep them from cutting into a loaf before it was cooled.  Finally, got to taste it.  A winner!!!!  Bingo again!!!  It worked!!  Great sour!!!

Proved something else, too.  The Internet is a great source of misinformation.  How many times were we told "Don't believe everything you read"?  That applies to the Internet by two orders of magnitude--unless, of course, you are looking for unsupported claims, unproven theories, illconceived hypotheses, or simply pure speculation.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

that was about using the same starter and making two different but similar breads out of it here :

Lucy’s Take on Josh’s Version of  Pane Maggiore On Valentines Day -  2 Ways

I think it is fantastic that you came up with your method to make sour starter, levian and bread so quickly.  Well Done!

I got thinking about this well over a year ago when i read posts from txfarmer and her famous long retarded 36 hour baguettes and David Snyder's quest fo develop his SFSD breads and then trying make them more sour with long retards and hot final proofs (85F in his case).  All kinds of TFL'er have known that cold and hot promote LAB and sour. - so there is nothing new there.  What is new are the processes to actually mak it happen and yours is a new one.

Mine is similar except i don't have a proofer like you do and make due with a heating pad and I like to keep the flour and water that is to be autolysed on it at 88-92 F so that when they come together they are at temperature and then we keep the autolyse on the pad too  with the warming up levain that has bees retarded 24 hours  and being kept warm to finish it 3rd stage doubling in volume.  When the levain has doubled then it is mixed with the autolyse at perfect temperature at 88 to 92 F.  This dough is kept on the pad too for gluten development and fermenting.

If you wanted a really sour bread you would not retard it at 36 F for final proof like I do.  You would take advantage of the 92 F for exponential LAB growth and put the spurs to it  , vs the 3:1 at 36 F where even LAB and yeast growth is very very slow compared to what it is a 92 F.  The reason Lucy wants to retard the shaped bread for final proofing is we want to go to sleep. If you get your 10 g of starter out fo the fridge  to do a 12 hour 3 stage levian build at 92 F.   By the time this gets gone and you get the dough developed and fermented we are ready for bed.  If you kept on going the yeast is reproducing at the same rate as it does at 64 F, pretty slow compared to 82 F its best temperature, but it would be over proofed before 6 AM the next morning and you would be baking some kind of goo.  Take my word for it, If you stay up forhis bake, this method makes really sour bread that only a few can eat:-)

The sour really comes from the work done at  92 F and the cold is really used to regulate the process to allow you to get a normal night's sleep.   Yes it is true that  36 F promotes the reproductive rate of LAB over yeast 3 to 1 but it is very slow.  672 hours in the fridge at 36 F might make the same amount of LAB as 20 hours at 92 F using the chart.

The cold is really best for the starter storage so that it doesn't have to be maintained eating you put of house and home with tons of needless waste.  It is packed with LAB, since it was build in stages at 92 F where LAB are having an orgy and yeast reproduction is limited.  When the LAB are released from their cold starter prison, they are unleashed on the levain and dough as a full strength army hoard rather than a puny uprising like the yeast hitting the the same mix.

This gives me the sour bread i want to eat but might change the process over time just as we have the last year and a half. The great thing about science is that 97% of everything that scientists thought was true has been proven wrong by later scientists :-)  So the truth today will likely change as time go on and new methods will be developed for them.

As a final note, i had commented to David Snyder on one of his posts that i thought he was on to something with warm ferments, long cold proofs and hot final proofs when another Fresh Lofian chimed in (doc.Dough) who had taken Ganzel's data and done a fabulous spreadsheet that made predictions as to how long it would take for LAB and Yeast to double their populations at each temperature and also went on to predict the proofing times SD bread at each temperature.

Packing your starter, levain and bread with as few yeast and more LAB as you can was the goal but to get it to work with sleep time required a few changes - still the bread is pretty sour because the starter and Levain were packed with LAB and having a party while the yeast were held in chains.

Happy Baking   

 

Capn Dub's picture
Capn Dub

Proofing time was only about 3 hours--in fact, I almost overproofed, because I didn't expect it to be so fast.  It increased by about 75% in that time.

It would seem that while the yeast may not be as happy at 92° as at 82°, they must be happy enough, nevertheless.  The secret seems to be to maximize the LAB growth, while at the same time slowing the yeast so the LAB have sufficient time to make that good acid before the loaf is fully proofed.

I wonder what would happen if I were to mix and proof at a bit higher temp--not high enough to kill the yeast, but high enough to discourage it?  According to the charts, this would slow the LAB, but would slow the yeast even more.  After an as yet undetermined period of time I could lower the temp and allow the yeast to really kick in.  As my students love to say, "just sayin'."    :)

Muskie's picture
Muskie

retard at 36F and you should get a 3:1 lab vs yeast growth...so it doesn't have to happen at high temperatures. At lower temperatures, you significantly slow growth of both lab and yeast, but as long as its 3:1 lab:yeast, you are still getting more lab. Plus, retarding in the fridge has the added benefit of autolysis, so you're building gluten strength and aligning the dough to help produce a better window pane.

I'm still new to all of this, but these practices have helped with my doughs significantly. I have one underway right now that is a 3 day build of 100% WW, I have very high hopes for not only great sour, but also excellent rise and oven spring. Tomorrow will be the reveal day...;-]

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

little ol me

Can anyone with a golden key help with this problem?   What do I have to do?  

ok, this must be in my copy...  will type and not paste my reply.  Meanwhile can someone clean this up?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I swatted the bugs with a pizza peel for ya.

Yuck!

Happy baking!

David

Capn Dub's picture
Capn Dub

"retard at 36F and you should get a 3:1 lab vs yeast growth...so it doesn't have to happen at high temperatures. At lower temperatures, you significantly slow growth of both lab and yeast, but as long as its 3:1 lab:yeast, you are still getting more lab."

The first part I agree with: 3:1, according to the published charts.  Note, however, that the OP's goal was to maximize sourness.  The route to that goal is to maximize the LAB population under the time constraint imposed by the rising of the bread.  More LAB means more acid generation in the restricted time.  At 92° the population ratio achieved is supposedly 100:1, as compared to the mere 3:1 at the low temperature.

Now, all this depends upon the correctness of the published charts and statistics from the researchers with the equipment and knowledge to demonstrate them.  However, all their work goes for nothing unless it produces the desired effect, I'm sure you will agree.  That it works I've proven by my previously described experiment.  Q.E.D.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

and there was no time constraint in my original question., I sought to maximize LAB by fermenting starter, rather than just using some and feeding and returning it to the fridge.

I don't care about the charts, I've tried it, and it works, so far. I haven't tried it for very long, hence the original question.

I like that you proved what others have told me. I'm not thrilled with what you think you have otherwise proven...;-] Nobody here, IMO, has postulated anything they didn't prove to themselves with actual baking...that you thought otherwise was, well, a misconception in your mind. But again, I'm glad you've proven it to yourself.

Russ

Capn Dub's picture
Capn Dub

Joke's on me.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

Letters lie flat in a text box, and its hard to make them sound like the though in your mind (my mind).

Dude, you did it, you proved a point I thought was true, and your posting of that only makes this thread more valuable. So thanks so much for that!! And not only that, but you introduced a great new thought, one I had never considered, so the next chance I get I am going to try your way, as it sounds so much more sensible than what I have been doing.

Again, thanks so much for that!

Capn Dub's picture
Capn Dub

Taken in the spirit it was meant.  You are right: text just doesn't carry as much meaning as face-to-face discussion.  Unfortunately, it's all we've got.

That said, I would like to clarify what I meant by "time constraint".  The constraint I speak of is imposed by the dough itself.  Our working time is limited to that period between mixing the dough and the time it is ready to bake.  When it is ready, it is ready, and we are out of time.

That period can vary from a few hours to several days, depending upon the particular method each of us is using, but, given a particular method, when the dough is ready we must bake.

The method I am trying to work out is derived from dabrownman's suggestion to use a high temp pre-ferment.  The problem, however, was that darn time constraint.  The dough was ready to bake before it ever got anywhere near 92° because the yeast became too active as the temperature was rising.  So, to further clarify, what I'm trying to work out is a way to skip that period of slowly increasing temp, and simply start at 92°.  I think doing so will keep the yeast more or less in the background until I'm ready for them to start doing their thing.

I'm pleased that you see some merit in these ideas, and if you try it please post your results here.  So far it seems to be doing for me what I predicted, but I think the method could stand some refinement.  I'll let you know of any changes that seem to help.

Muskie's picture
Muskie

He not only suggests fermentation at 92F, but also believes in retards at 36F. So put both in your arsenal, I have, and I feel like I am in control.

I've not tried your idea of warming everything  up. I have, however, tried doing ferments a@ 92F. I didn't concern myself about the loss of yeast growth, but I also never got the right surface tension on my dough before it went into the bake. Ergo, your idea made sense to me.

However, I don't know what strong dough feels like, I have too little experience. So I'm trying autolysis (retarding at 36F) as a way to compensate.

I have taken DA's suggestion to mean apply a period of 92F to increase sourness, not that it needs to be at that temperature before the bake. I could be wrong, but you seem to be thinking it has to be at that temperature up to bake.

I have a loaf ready to bake tomorrow that I planned to post about, 100% WW, so look forward to those results.

Capn Dub's picture
Capn Dub

DA has posted his method elsewhere and explained his reasoning, but I don't remember the thread.  It seemed clear to me that he is trying to take advantage of the fact that yeast reproduction peaks at 82° but then falls off sharply above that temperature, while LAB multiply fastest at 92°.  This would mean achieving an internal temperature of 92. 

So far what I've tried is autolyse until the dough begins to show a very slight puffiness with a stretch and fold every half hour, then into the fridge for 36 hours, then divide, shape, and let rise.  I've been jacking the temp up while it's rising, too, but not with the objective of adding to the sourness, rather simply to encourage the yeast.  I think I measured 77° when it had fully risen, but now I don't remember.  Doesn't really matter, because when the dough is ready for the oven, it's ready.  There's that time constraint again.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

 Doesn't really matter, because when the dough is ready for the oven, it's ready.  There's that time constraint again.

That is the whole premise to develop sour by promoting conditions for LAB and restricting them for yeast.  Yeast raise the bread and the longer this takes the more time you have to increase the LAB to yeast reproduction rate. 

I have to say we really don't think about the poor yeast very much and would never promote them unless we are short of proof time and need to speed them up at 84 F.  They live just fine and eventually do their thing between 36 F and 92 F no worries -so i don't :-)

Happy baking.   

Muskie's picture
Muskie

what is your final hydration target DA? I have been having problems due to overly hydrated dough, what should my target be for a batard or boule?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

not like the yeast hate the wet.

Hydration depends on the kind of bread you are making and what kind of flour.All the whole grains i use are freshly home milled and autolysed for at least 2- 4 hours.  I like to use the first set of slap and folds to determine the final hydration for me.  I do like a more hydrated dough so I might be a little wet for some.   100% whole grain rye is 100% hydration is panned and no kneading needed.  100% whole wheat is 100%  hydration too but with some VWG can be a boule, otherwise it is panned too.  i've done a 100% spelt at 100% hydration and 95% trying to match Michael Wilson's beauty but both should have been in a pan.

100% white bread with no whole grains is 72-78% hydration depending on the protein and how much AP and bread flour is in the with bread flour being more thirsty. Most of my breads are multigrains of 3-6 different grains with no more than 30% being whole rys or whole spelt.  40% whole grain bread would be 78-80% hydration and a 50% at 84-86% hydration like the two breads baked yesterday.

Above 50% whole grain breads it gets trickier and the slap and folds will be more important to know where to be, 60% - 75% wholegrain could be 88 to 96% depending on how much VWG goes in.  i really don't do any breads between 76% and 99% whole grain. Once the whole grains get to 60%, I like to do a minimum of a 4 hour autolyse to let that fresh milled flour soak up the water. 

Happy Baking

Capn Dub's picture
Capn Dub

It's as scientific as we can get here.  None of us has, I think, the knowlege or the the equipment to do deep research, so we mujst depend upon simple experiments and research of the literature, not all of which is dependable,  to find the "best practices".  Your ideas and reasoning seem to make sense to me--usually- , so that is what I am investigating right now--indeed, I have a batch in the retard stage right now that  uses some of your ideas.  My goal?  Make the best sourdough bread in the worldl, bar none.

Please keep experimenting and reporting.  Please see my previous conversations with Muskie for more elaboration.

Most respecfully,

Cap'n Dub