The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Levain baguettes first bake from new starter

kendalm's picture
kendalm

Levain baguettes first bake from new starter

Heres the first bake from week old starter - results ehhhm, just ok. These seem fairly over proofed or the starter needs to mature more. Having been on a long commercial yeast kick its quite a change of pace using natural yeast whos timing and quantities I've gotten down to minutes. The first major adjustment is dealing with the long bulk and temperature sensitity. I usually cold retard over night and see about 1.5 time rise followed by a quick final. Here I let the dough rise at about 76f for 12+ hours and saw a good rise to near double size. Next is the final - nothing happens at 66f (my kitchen temp in the am) so had to move the proofing to a warmer spot at right around 75-76f and 2 hours later loaves look about right. Since I not confident enough yet to ise my favorite flour I opted to use KA AP which at 11.somthing % protein presents a lot more resistence than Im used to (at 9.4% T65) but despite that, shaping worked out alright. Slashing was a totally different experience, much easier due to the tougher surface. In the end this was a 69% hydration (down 3% from the norm) using a mix of ap and rye starter. Crumb...nothing to write home about - flavor - tangy tangy and more tang. I could get into this if I can mellow out this over abundance of tang and get some more spring here. Seems like it may take some time to nail the finer points and who know maybe a decent loaf can come of this but so far, I can eat it but really miss the flavor of the wheat which seems completely masked by lactic / acetic acid. Whats really been capturing my attention however are some of these multi-grain loaves with seeds and other goodies mixed in - as for a plain baguette made from sourdough its hard to beat the traditional version. Despite that, still excited to see where this starter goes from here :)

Comments

kendalm's picture
kendalm

So heres the loaf that turned out best.  First off a little lighter than the norm thanks to fogetting to adjust for both the levain and lowering of hydration.  I usually calculate each loave to 350g dough weight and in this case had 330-335g each resulting in final weight right on 250g as opposed to about 265-270g baked.  Loaves were therefore a bit thinner and lacked the spring I am used to. A small appearance of burst in the middle, straight up stretching in the foreground and sinking scores in the background which I interpret as an overproofed zone. Although I dont expect dough to feel the same as yeasted dough one thing that was veey obvious was during preshape and final shaping a lack of 'puff' in the dough.  Put it this way, the preshapes were considerably smaller and less lively feeling.  During the bake cycle I noticed the middle section of the visible loaf springing and bursting right on time but the ends not so energetic again leading me to believe the ends over proofed a bit (these areas where also slightly warmer based on where I placed the couch).  So all in all just trying to nail down times and temps.  What I am hoping is to continue to beef up this starter as it seems a tad weak and figure out the optimal final proof which as of now seems to be somewere between 1.5 to 2 hours.  I pushed this to 2.25 hours at 76f and saw what i usually see when i push a yeasted dough to 45-50 minutes - that is sinking zones.  Anymore time on a yeasted loaf (50+ minutes) and the loaf is shot.  Knowing that there are tons of sourdough gurus out there, just wondering if the above is a fair assesment ? 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

and vbloom on cue.  I mean that is what we pay extra for in time, money and quality.... the finest flour, not that baguettes were eve made with such, perfect temperature, cultured wee beasties instead of the common street walker variety, and water from the purest of and sweetest springs.  Still,  these are some kind of nice baggies for sure.

Well done and happy baking 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

tend to be particularly critical of our own work.  When I actually had a job in my former life this led to a dichotomy of feelings about that hyper self-criticality.  On the one hand it sometimes left just a tad disappointed in my work as I felt that I could have done this or that a little bit better.  However, it also fueled me to have something to reach for the next time, on the followup project, the carrot on the stick for me.

For a first time out of the gun, these look to be pretty darn nice, and superior to what an awful lot of other folks can achieve.  Levains are a different animal than commercial yeasts, and I suppose that the learning curve will be surmounted by you in short order.

i'm wondering if your feeding and build schedule are leading to a flavor off note for your palate. My levains are almost always mild, lending only the slightest hint of a sour note, but providing the oomph that the dough requires to get the bloom from the oven spring.

In any case, congratulations on giving it the old college try, and keep at it.  Another addition for your baking toolkit! 

kendalm's picture
kendalm

As in software developer - being a fellow geek I think there is something about baking and computing that compliment each other whether its the scientific aspect or the artistic or the combination of the two, it seems many software nerds turn to baking as a way to experience something visceral within the same framework of what we understand - ie logic and art combined in one discipline. Often times i spend countless hours debugging code and begin to anticipate the weekend whereby i can unwind in the kitchen.

As for this bake and the feeding, i think the starter was a bit weak just by virtue of the amount of feedings, its now quite active and bubbing up in a few days at 4c in the fridge. The last bake (just posted) felt much more alive and although it was a total rush job there were two things i noticed, a. Flavor much more subdued and b. A mkre predictable rise. It seems a few more test bakes should reveal a halfway decent proofing routine. The one thing that i sense as being a chalkenge for me however is the rubbery nature of the dough especially at shaping and scoring - its so much tougher and throws me for a loop and not sure what I am aiming for ... Again only time and repetition can tell !