The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

dense sourdough bread

newbiebaker's picture
newbiebaker

dense sourdough bread

I have been playing around with my sourdough starter and trying to make some darn good and artisan style bread.  but i find my breads are lacking that nice big holey open crumb.  it has great flavor though and looks nice.  what i do is use a fairly thick starter (like very very thick pancake batter)  i ferment my starter with water and flour over night, i use a combination of whole wheat flour and bread flour.  this is usually about 12 hours or so.  then i mix in the rest of my flour, salt, sugar, and im ashamed to admit... but i also add some active dry yeast then mix it up and let it knead in the machine for a couple minutes, little as possible, and end up with a very wet and sticky dough, i let the whole mess rise for about 2 hours, then i punch it down, cut it in half and put it in my molds to bench proof. i let it proof for about an hour and then i put it into a 400F oven onto taracotta plate, slash it and bake it about 40 to 45 minutes or so, until they look brown.  is my method ok? should i do something different in my methods? or would a hotter oven give me more oven spring? also i forgot to mention that i have a pan of water in the oven to provide steam.  all your advice would be very appreciated and helpful. thankyou.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

just cut and shape gently.  Everything else sounds just fine. --Mini Oven

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

Here are a few more thoughts:

 

Try adding about 2% Whole (organic) Rye Flour to your starter. For 12 hours you may want to consider keeping the starter at a lower-than-room-temperature (60F) ... or use the starter earlier when it's about doubled.I've made excellent experience with the starter in a small cooler with a 1lb/500g blue ice pack. Consider different portions of  starters ... about 30-40% is a pretty good boost. Try to ferment the dough for 2-3 hrs and proof for about 2 hrs. The loaf should be less than double in size. You may want to ferment in a cooler environment to be able not to over-ferment in 2 hours (this depends on the % of starter you use as well). Your terra cotta plate may not have enough heat energy saved to supply an intense ovenspring which allows for an expansion of the trapped gas bubbles. A good, heavy baking stone (I use Fibrament) would supply enough energy throughout the baking of the loaves. Pre-heat the stone to 500F, steam and lower the temp to 450F when you start baking. Cover the loaf (e.g. with a turkey roaster cover). Bake for only 25-30 minutes (the second half in an uncovered, drying environment) 

 

I hope this helps ... for what it's worth

BROTKUNST

newbiebaker's picture
newbiebaker

thanks alot, im giving it another try, im trying longer fermenting and proofing times, and the hotter oven as well as more starter... barely had enough to make the sponge, in the end i think i got about 20% to 25% or so in starter and then a package of yeast, i also kneaded longer since in a book, it says real large irregular holes can come from too much kneading.  i hate to admit that i am cheating by adding dried yeast... but if it looks and tastes good, well, i am ok with that for now. ill let you know how it looks when i bake it