The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sept 22: 60% WG 1-2-3 loaves: durum starter vs oat starter

IceDemeter's picture
IceDemeter

Sept 22: 60% WG 1-2-3 loaves: durum starter vs oat starter

There were a few things going on here this week, so I figured on keeping my bake pretty simple and straight-forward.  The only “extra” that was in the plan was to build up a bunch of both my rye and durum starters and get them spread out and dried to store as back-up, and to give to some family members who asked for some.

 With the drying in mind, I pulled out 10g each of the rye and durum starters, and started building them up over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday, then refrigerated Wednesday night.  My planned bake would only use the durum starter, since I was planning on a simple 1-2-3 with 40% AP / 20% durum / 20% kamut / 20% oats:

 

INGREDIENT

AMOUNT (g)

FLOUR TOTAL (g)

% WATER

WATER (g)

BAKER'S %

LEVAIN

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Milled Durum

75

75

 

 

14.15

Water

60

 

 

60.00

11.32

DOUGH

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Milled Durum

30

30

 

 

5.66

Fresh Milled Kamut

105

105

 

 

19.81

Fresh Milled Whole Oats

105

105

 

 

 

Salt

9

 

 

 

1.70

All Purpose Flour

210

210

 

 

39.62

White Diastatic Rye Malt

5

5

 

 

 

Water

315

 

 

315.00

59.43

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Dough Weight

914

 

 

 

172.45

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Flour

 

530

 

 

100.00

Total Water (Hydration)

 

 

 

375.00

70.75

 

Plan was to get the dough mixed at some point on Thursday, bulk ferment in the fridge overnight, and then get it shaped and proofed and baked on Friday morning before heading off to an appointment early Friday afternoon.

 This is exactly what happened!  Well, except that…  the chat on the fora about my oat starter made me realize that I hadn’t ever used it by itself to raise a loaf – and had never done a direct comparison with it.  My planned bake seemed like the perfect opportunity to do this, so I made a last-second decision on Thursday morning to build up an oat levain from my oat starter, and put together a second loaf like this:

 

INGREDIENT

AMOUNT (g)

FLOUR TOTAL (g)

% WATER

WATER (g)

BAKER'S %

LEVAIN

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Milled Whole Oats

75

75

 

 

14.15

Water

60

 

 

60.00

11.32

DOUGH

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Milled Durum

105

105

 

 

19.81

Fresh Milled Kamut

105

105

 

 

19.81

Fresh Milled Whole Oats

30

30

 

 

 

Salt

9

 

 

 

1.70

All Purpose Flour

210

210

 

 

39.62

White Diastatic Rye Malt

5

5

 

 

 

Water

315

 

 

315.00

59.43

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Dough Weight

914

 

 

 

172.45

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Flour

 

530

 

 

100.00

Total Water (Hydration)

 

 

 

375.00

70.75

 

I started with 25g of the 80% hydrated oat starter at 7:45 a.m., mixed it up with more oats and water, and it looked like this:

 

4 hours later, it looked like this:

 

I added in more oats and water as a second stage of the build at 11:45 a.m., and it looked like this at the start, and then after 4 hours at 3:45 p.m.:

 

Now, I should have had the basic sense to let the levain mature at this point, but I already had the durum loaf mixed and fermenting, so figured that I might as well see what this totally immature oat levain could do (talk about asking a toddler to do an adult’s job!).  While it wouldn't rise past this point, the large cracks and holes (not really bubbles) would continue to expand if I left it to mature for another 4 to 8 hours, and the aroma would change as the yeast and LAB multiplied.  Instead, I mixed the dough, let it ferment at room temps for 3 hours with 4 sets of Stretch-and-Fold on the 30 minute marks, and then tucked it in to the fridge beside the durum levain dough to ferment overnight.

 In between working with the dough, I also got the fully built-up and active rye and durum starters spread out in thin layers on parchment paper, and tucked safely away in a draft-free room to dry over the next few days.

 When I checked the dough at 6:00 a.m. Friday, the durum dough was perfectly fermented, but there was very little growth on the oat dough.  The outside and bottom showed the development of a lot of bubbles, though, so I figured that it was using the levain too early that was the issue (not enough wee-yeasties bred yet), and that all it needed was a bit more time at warmer temperatures to catch up.

 I pulled the durum levain dough out for pre-shape and bench rest, and put the tub with the oat levain dough in to the oven with the light on and the door propped open.  Sure enough, by the time I needed to start pre-heating the oven for the nicely proofing durum levain dough, the oat one was just about perfectly fermented --- billowy, light, beautifully domed, with tons of bubbles all over the outside.

 This led to an issue --- I had an unbreakable appointment early in the afternoon, so knew that there was no way that I could let that dough continue at room temperatures, or it would end up over-proofed for sure.  The solution was to pop it back in to the fridge, to be dealt with when I got home.  There was just enough time before I had to leave to get the durum levain dough in to the oven and baked.

 I got home around 3:00 p.m., pulled the oat levian dough out of the fridge, pre-shaped it and let it bench rest for an hour, then shaped it and let it proof on the counter for another 3 hours.  The extra fermentation time gave me a really bubbly dough to deal with, so I de-gassed it more firmly than I normally need to, and tried to seal the shaping even more than usual.  It was baked at 450 degrees covered for 25 minutes, and then uncovered for 25 minutes to an internal temp of 202 degrees.

 Once out of the oven, it joined the other loaf on the cooling rack for the night, waiting to be sliced up the next morning for sandwiches.

 The durum levain loaf came out like this:

 

The oat levain loaf came out like this:

 

The oat levain loaf suffered slightly in crumb from me not getting out as many of the larger fermentation bubbles as I would have liked, and both could have proofed slightly longer, but I was pretty happy with both the oat levain loaf (on the left) and the durum levain loaf (on the right):

 We had a taste-test when I first sliced the loaves, and agreed that we couldn’t really detect much difference in flavour, although there may be a bit less tang and more sweet in the oat levain dough (a hint, at most).  Not really a true comparison, since there were so many differences in the levain builds and timing, so I might just have to do a better job of planning it next time!

 Honestly, it never ceases to amaze me how forgiving sourdough baking is – and how adaptable bakes are when you remember that the fridge is your friend, and to always watch the dough and not the clock.  After a busy weekend in the back-country, these fun and yummy loaves are almost gone, and the starters are fully dried and crumbled and safely tucked away…

 Time to start thinking about what the next round should be – and hope that you all are baking happy!

Comments

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Thank you for this beautiful writeup and comparison. I eat oats often and have never thought of using them in a starter! That may be my new avenue of exploration. I am so glad I posted my question.Bread is so interesting!

I will be changing locations again, soon, and while SD is forgiving, I have learned that getting to know a different oven can be challenging. I baked in the same kitchen for 30 yrs and the same oven for 40. Like an old friend- I knew it  well. Now I bake in  2 different ovens with very different temperature swings and in kitchens that can range in very different temps. than I am used to. My bread and dough behave very differently.  I feel like a novice again sometimes! I don't know how MiniOven does it-she relocates often, it sounds like.

I also have to reduce the size of bakes-as in a single dough of about 600-800 g (max) so having a recipe like yours really will help me to scale it back.

Gorgeous golden loaves with Kamut and durum. I am surprised that the oat-raised loaf didn't actually taste a bit tangier with the extra fermentation time. Very little difference in the crumb pic.and it just reflects the difference in proofing. Great loft with durum and kamut! Probably great flavor,too!

Thank you! Regards!

 

 

IceDemeter's picture
IceDemeter

I really appreciated your interest in the oat starter, and totally enjoyed this little experiment that was the result of that! 

Seriously, I find the oat starter to be just as sturdy as my rye one, and it could definitely be used as the main leaven in a GF bake.  It is a bit tricky to get the feel for it (at least it was for me - the lack of "doubling" and "peak" was hard to get used to), but once you understand the aroma and texture changes, then it's just another happy little workhorse.  I've heard that some folks have a hard time getting it going to start with, but you could get around that by doing a yeast water start, fed with oats, and then maintained as an oat starter, and it still would be totally GF.  You already have oats around, and have a mill, so this might be an ideal GF starter for your collection!

It's funny how we get used to the idiosyncrasies of our own tools and environment!  Once we've taken the plunge of working in a different environment and using different tools, though, I think we really start to understand that our experience and knowledge of what a dough should feel and smell and act like is by far the most important factor in getting good results.  I'm sure you've already experienced that with having to work with some new and different ovens now --- where it might take a bake or two to get the "feel" for it, but after that you start to just know what tweaks you need to make to get back to your usual outcome.  I always look at the challenges of some new detail as being a good part of the fun of continuously learning how to bake!

I do hear ya on having to scale down the loaf sizes, as that is one of the biggest challenges for me.  I had been doing massive loaves (at least double this size), and really needed to start scaling them down.  I'm still playing with scaling recipes, but it's looking like the 450-550g flour range is going to be about right for us, as it gives me a baked final weight around 800g (depending on the hydration).  I find smaller than that just feels oddly wasteful to me --- that somehow the time and effort involved needs "more" of a result to feel justified (weird personal quirk, I know...), but this size seems to be about right to meet our usage, with just a wee bit to tuck away in to the freezer for non-bake weeks or when I'm feeding guests.

Thanks again for all of your great help and encouragement! 

Best regards, and keep baking happy!   Laurie

BGM's picture
BGM

Your posted "dough weight" is much less than the sum of the components weights. I don't understand.

IceDemeter's picture
IceDemeter

I'm sorry that my simple little spreadsheet is laid out somewhat confusingly!  I have separate columns to split out the "flour" from the "water" from anything else, since for me that makes it easier to understand the basics of the recipe at a glance.

The 914g dough weight is the correct sum of the components, since each full component weight is listed in the column above the dough weight total.  So, the recipe for the oat levain dough, for example, is made up of:

75g oats + 60g water (both in the levain) + 30g oats + 105g durum + 105g kamut + 5g white rye malt + 9g salt + 210g AP flour + 315g water = 914g total dough weight

Hopefully this makes it seem a bit more understandable!  Please let me know if I can explain it more clearly.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Arrggghhhh, I had finally settled on one wheat starter and one rye one, and now you've given me more things to try! I have a bag of durum atta flour that is actually very nice. It's 100% whole Canadian durum and quite fine (when I put 100 grams of it through my finest sifter I ended up with about half a tablespoon of fine bran) though probably not as fine as Italian durum flour. When you mill it yourself, how fine is the flour? I find that kamut has to be milled twice (it's like milling gravel!). I do like the flavour of both in my bread and often add some. I've got a batch of sweet potato buns with about 30% durum atta flour rising right now, actually.

And oats - who'd'a thunk? I did try a while back to make a GF starter out of all kinds of different flours, and failed utterly. I've thought of starting one using yeast water to kick start it; good idea! I probably won't use oats as my main GF customers can't do oats either (even 'clean' ones), but maybe buckwheat or sorghum. Hmmmm...

Both your bakes look lovely - what beautiful texture! Isn't it nice when you get that soft billowy dough after the bulk ferment? :)

So, is it winter in Calgary yet? We had a couple days of autumn-like weather but I think we're back to a mini-summer for the next couple of days. We've had some nice rain though; help a lot with the garden.

IceDemeter's picture
IceDemeter

Sorry, Wendy - didn't mean to encourage the addiction ;)

After you mentioning a while back about having issues with getting a GF starter going, I was actually shocked that this oat one just keeps on ticking.  It really was supposed to have died in my fridge some months ago, and just was "discard" that I was going to use in some scones --- but it tried to leap out of the bowl at me when I added some water for the recipe and smelled so darned yeastie that I couldn't help but snag some of it out, and feed it up to go back in to the fridge.  What can I say - I just couldn't let it go!

I don't know how buckwheat would do instead, but it's always worth a try.

Thanks for the kind words on the bakes - we really loved how they came out.  You are so right about the pure satisfaction of that aromatic, billowy dough at the end of the bulk ferment - and how it just feels so good in the hands.

We had snow mixed with rain at the end of last week, and are enjoying another bout of warmer weather now.  Forecast is for high teens all week, and then more rain this coming weekend.  While I'm not thrilled with the timing, we so badly need rain that we'll take it whenever we can get it.  The sloughs and most of the foothills creeks are totally dry, and the groundwater levels have tanked.  Unless we get a solid few weeks of rain and a lot of early snow, it is going to be a hard winter for everything. 

Hope you get a chance to get out and enjoy the last bits of summery weather - and manage to get something out of that poor dried out garden.

Looking forward to hearing about your buckwheat starter ;)

Best, Laurie