The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Questions about a TFL recipe...?

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

Questions about a TFL recipe...?

Hi folks,

I'm fairly new to baking anything, particularly with wild yeast starters.

I've baked 4 times in the last month and a half, using a home made wild yeast starter. I've had fairly dry dough, so have been kneading, and find that the crumb of the recipe I've used is really tight, no large bubbles at all in the finished loaves. Hugely discouraging and very unappealing.

I'm looking to try something else, and have a couple of questions about this recipe on TFL: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/handbook/san-francisco-style-sourdough.

The author doesn't discuss dough development. I note that the formula calls for 72% water; does this indicate that the dough is a wet one, i.e. high hydration, requiring slap/stretch and fold techniques to work it? If not, I worry that I'll end up with the same tight crumb as my first recipe, due to the necessity of kneading which as I understand it, is going to pretty much destroy the bubbles in the dough.

Thanks in advance!

DDoutel

 

hreik's picture
hreik

It's a wet one and will require stretch and folds.  High Hydration doughs can be hard to work with.  IF you are getting 'sticking' try not to over-flour, but rather (counter-intuitively) keep your palms and hands wet.

Good luck

hester

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

Thank you very much for the reply, Hester! Much appreciated!

DDoutel

 

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

My baking improved a lot when, in combination with reading this site obsessively, I bought Hamelman's Bread.  It covers the entire process, has really good, extensive explanations, and the dough hydrations are generally 70-75%.  Once I got better, a few months in, I started adding hydration.  Note, many people do longer fermentation and more stretch and folds than his recipes call for.  And like any other cooking, the recipe was not written by you in your kitchen, so it's only a guide.

It takes a while to get good at this.  When you consider the number of steps involved, it's no surprise.

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

I will! thank you for the suggestion!

 

hreik's picture
hreik

Filomatic.  This site and Hamelman together taught me just about everything I know about baking bread, esp. sd breads.

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Once you're in the zone with Hamelman recipes, if you want to go back to feeling incompetent, try Tartine.  I really love what he does, but it remains a challenge.  Hamelman fits my lifestyle, chiefly because the levain is made overnight, as opposed to using a 3-4 hour "young levain."

hreik's picture
hreik

Tartine et al are above my pay grade.  lol.  Too much and also for me and my life-style Hamelman fits.

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

But I'm not obsessed with baking (yet)! Right now, all I really want to do is bake simple, tasty sourdough bread once a week or so. You know, something with a nice, crunchy crust and a readily discernable sourdough tang...! :)

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

...the tighter the crumb. If you chose a method of kneading, like a pinch and fold, then it is fine to tighten the dough up with the first knead but with each subsequent knead don't work the dough beyond its resistance. Each time you'll feel it needs less stretch and fold than the previous. Don't fight the dough. You'll know the dough is ready when it is billowy and the texture goes through a subtle change. Get to know the feel of the dough at each stage.

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

Why would I want to knead it again??

Thanks in advance!

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

But a 'kneading' technique for want of a better term. Sort of like a stretch and fold but you leave the dough in the bowl, take a portion from the side, pull up and over into the middle. Go round the dough till you feel it resisting. Then rest. Let the dough relax and then do the same again. Spreading it out through the bulk ferment like stretch and folds. Just an example of a kneading technique, rather like a stretch and fold, to explain about not deflating the dough each time for a more airy crumb. The same could be said with any technique you use. The more you deflate the tighter the crumb. 

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

How would I proof a boule without a banneton? lightly coat a tea towel with, say, corn meal, then wrap it and put it in a bowl?

Thanks, folks! SOOO glad I joined this site!

 

BXMurphy's picture
BXMurphy

Hi, DDoutel!

I've been noticing that a lot of experienced bakers on TFL just march down to the local thrift shop, Goodwill, or Salvation Army and pick up used wicker baskets for fifty cents or so. It blows my mind and makes those nice patterns on the surface!

Murph

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

Smashing idea! I'll do that! Thank you, Murph!

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

http://www.breadwerx.com/how-to-mix-wet-dough/

The technique is used here. Sorry if I confused you when I used the wrong term 'knead'. It is a form of it but not the way it's usually understood. 

Take a look through the whole site and go through the recipe videos so you see how it's done.

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

I'll study this; many thanks, Lechem!

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

Lechem, that's absolutely brilliant; I will definitely be using that technique, since the slap and fold I used this time was a total pain in the tush. Thank you for this!

 

Maverick's picture
Maverick

I checked out the video, and while the in-bowl stretch and folds is well demonstrated, I couldn't believe he was still doing them at the 6 hour mark. That is a very long bulk fermentation. I would think that it was ready for pre-shaping at half that time. Of course, he doesn't say anything about the amount of starter or yeast he is using.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

It is 75g starter @ 85% hydration

325g bread flour

22g whole wheat

22g whole spelt

22g whole rye

Which puts the starter at around 20%.

He does have other videos on the site where his starter % does vary from 10-20% and he does explain to also go by feel and not the clock. The video is a guide and there are many variables from different starters to temperature.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

overall for 9.3% pre-fermented flour about what I use in the AZ summer when the kitchen s 86 F and I don't anywhere near 6 hours either - half that at the most.  But in the winter, 6 hours with this small preferment isn't out of line when the kitchen is 64 F.  Amazing how much difference temperature makes.

Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

Keep it simple.  Spend a few minutes learning the Baker's %.  Your formula (recipe) is based on the flour  of 100%.

For example I like a loaf using 500 g flour (450g all purpose and 50g rye for flavour).  I want to have 70% hydration so 70% of the four weight of 500 g is 350 g.  And I want a quicker same day bread so I'll use 25% starter Or 125 g. Salt is normally 2% so 500 x 2% is 10 g and you have your basic formula.  

The total weight of this loaf would be the sum of the above or as follows:

flour @ 100%.  500 g

water @ 70%.   350 g

starter @ 25%.  125 g

salt @ 2%.          10 g

That would make a large loaf 985 g.  

The formula doesn't change no matter what weight of loaf you want.   Everything is a % of the flour weight. Once you know that formula -  Baker's Percentage - you can make all the adjustment you want to hydration Or starter or flour.  Salt is usually around 2% but some people do use less with excellent results.  

As for developing, stretch and fold is common to avoid breaking down air bubbles. Take a look on YouTube at Chad Robertsons Master Class.  He handles his dough very little and gets big holes - not good for jam lovers :(. Tartine is a higher hydration but the technique works well at a lower hydration too..  Development is all about getting used to the dough feel you need to produce the end product you want. 

Have fun with it.  The more you bake the more experience you get.  

Happy baking!

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

Good stuff, and something I've been explicitly looking for. I actually found something similar here on TFL: Baker's Math.

You folks are terrific; very helpful and welcoming! 

Best always to you all!

DDoutel

 

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

Jane, does this work for starters too, when figuring out the amount to feed to build to a specific amount for a recipe, and when determining the hydration of the starter, i.e. the amount of water needed for a specific hydration?

Thanks in advance!

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

If a recipe gives a starter build then follow that. If not then as long as you end up with a mature bubbly starter to go into your recipe built to the correct hydration and flour then you have freedom of expression.

The only rules i'll always follow is that the starter build is a good feed (i.e. 1:1:1 or more) and it is fully mature.

If you're making up your own recipe then by all means experiment with the amount and hydration according to what you like. A lower hydration makes a more tangy starter (acetic acid) and is also good for weaker gluten flours. A higher hydration encourages a different taste (lactic acid). Building at warmer temperatures will encourage more of a yeast growth. See what you prefer.

EDIT: Warmer = more yeasts?? Think I need to check up on that one.

Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

Starter or leaven or culture or whatever name you use  is even  simpler - only flour and water. 

But yes if I am understanding your question the water again is a percentage of the flour. I generally work with "starter at 100%".  The old starter or "seed" that I build my leaven or refresh my existing starter with  I really don't put in to the equation. It is not usually a significant amount.  It's only enough to get the process going.  

For example if I want a loaf that requires 125g of 100% hydration leaven ( such as above) I'd probably use about 15-20 g of seed starter and add 75 g of flour and an equal amount of water (or 100% of the flour weight) and let that sit until its at the point I want it for my bake. Then I'd use the 125 g from that leaven build for my bread and I would refresh the leftover for next time.   Depending on timing and when I want to  start mixing I might build the leaven in a couple of stages.   To offer another example if I wanted my starter st 80% i would then use 100 g of flour to 80 g water. (One hundred is just an arbitrary number because it's easy to see the relationship in the numbers.) You can use any amount in the proportion you need at the % you want.   And if I didn't want leftover I would be more precise in how much I build. 

I hope that I understood your question.  The whole thing is really simple once you get it and the possibilities for your final loaf are limited only by what's in your pantry.  If you google Baker's % you will find plenty of explanations.  I think King Arthur flour might offer a good one.  

jo

 

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

Jo, you understood my question precisely. Your response was exactly what I was looking for.

Thank you all for all the help in getting going! I'll be putting a loaf on the stone in about 30 minutes; hopefully, I haven't made enough mistakes to screw it up!

Best always,

DDoutel

Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

Even if it doesn't meet your expectation initially it will still be better than most loaves you'd buy :). And the next one will be better yet.  

While you're starting out it helps to jot down brief notes.  

jo

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

(double post) 

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

Lechem, I understand about the hydration of the starter dictating the acetic/lactic acid content, but didn't know about the warmer temp build encouraging more yeast growth, but I guess that stands to reason.

Thank you!

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

is true. I think I might've gotten a bit mixed up with warmer and yeasts. You'd better check up on that one.

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

I want to thank you all again for all the excellent advice and tips given me above; I baked what I would consider the best loaf of bread I've done so far, today. Airy and tender with a very nice crumb, a lovely crust and nice, slightly tangy sourdough flavor. I will not forget any of the lessons I've learned in this thread!

Thank you all again!

DDoutel

 

hreik's picture
hreik

Of crumb and crust.  :-)

hester

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

It's already eaten!!  We made kilbasi and cabbage sandwiches, and the wife took the rest to work! I'm sorry now that I didn't take pictures!

hreik's picture
hreik

Please, we LOVE pics. lol.  :-)

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

Hester, you beat me to it :)

Leslie

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

folds for white bread.  Less and it is too stiff.  Used 71% hydration for the slap and folds for the pizza dough. tonight.  Slap and folds are way more fun that stretch and folds and if you are doing a really wet 78% white bread you can find dried dough on the ceiling months later.  It is hard to see it if it white bread:-)

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

I hear that about the dough on the ceiling (and walls)...! I think next bake, I'm leaning toward the technique (Rebaud?) posted by Lechem above on the breadwerks site. The cleanup with slap and stretch is kind of a drag!

Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

You may well have just picked up a hobby that will occupy your thoughts and your time in a way you never considered.

The posters here are the greatest - many of whom have been here for years. When I started out a few years back I was pestering dabrownman and dmsnyder with questions.  Both have very different baking styles. 

There is always someone willing to share knowledge and the benefit of their experience -    never mind the goodwill that is bountiful. 

Best of baking to all. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

From strength to strength. Now you're hooked and there's no cure. Looking forward to more bakes + photos!

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

Jane, Lechem, the good-natured kindness and generosity of the folks I've met in this thread warms my heart. I'm a software engineer by profession, with nearly 40 years into that endeavor. As such, the joy of learning, the thrill of creation and the sharing of knowledge are the things that have driven me. I wanted to try something "simple" for a change of pace, and since I love good bread, baking seemed a pleasant enough diversion. Little did I know I'd become so absorbed with it, or that it could be so much fun!

Jane, you're right; the folks on this site are a veritable treasure, and Lechem, you're right too; I'm hooked. I baked this loaf on a baking stone, something I'd never have dreamed I wanted or needed, and my copy of Bread just arrived!

Best always to all of you!

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

when you are vigorously slapping and 80% white bread and dough is flying everywhere, you care less and have no intention of cleaning it up:-)

DDoutel's picture
DDoutel

...and cackling maniacally, as it hits you in the face??!! :-D It's ALIVE!!!