The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

how to increase acetic in a dough?

sallam's picture
sallam

how to increase acetic in a dough?

I've read that it is mainly acetic acid that causes the final dough to have a tangy flavor. The problem is that acetic acid seems to have a negative effect on wild yeast bacteria. For a short time its fine, but in long time if would slow the yeast..

Debra Wink says here that:

Bacteria contribute acids which flavor dough, but also play a big part in gluten structure and rheology. In the short term acid tightens gluten, contributing to dough strength, but in the long term, it accelerates proteolysis, contributing to its breakdown. And it adds sourness that is not welcome in all breads. You'll find yeast/lift at one end of the starter spectrum and bacteria/sourness at the other. You can't maximize both at the same time; one comes at the expense of the other.

So, does any one have an experience in increasing acetic acid while still maintaining enough yeast power in the final dough? what is the best technique to achieve that?

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

Dan Wing on p.68 of The Breadbuilders discusses this.

His general recommendation (lacking a number of specifics): make a stiff sponge (50% hydration) using 30% of the total water, 3 days before final mix - set out at room temp (he doesn't mention how much starter to add, so I'd be careful here...perhaps start with 20% of the weight of your sponge flour in added starter, and set out for 24hrs...then try 36, 48, etc.). 

8hrs or so before final mix, mix your 100% hydration levain, using 20% of the total water. Use both the levain and the sponge in your final mix, along with the remaining 50% of the total water.  The levain should bring sufficient yeast, and the sponge will bring lots of acid.

At the upper limits of acidity, where the acid starts to contribute to the breakdown of gluten, shaping (and the hold of free-form shaped loaves) will get more difficult, and he recommends a pan.  I'd again experiment with your sponge ripeness (via time and amount of starter added) to dial in balance of flavor profile and structural characteristics you want.

I would think that extended cold bulk or cold proof might exacerbate some of the problems of maintaining good structure of a highly acidic dough over time, so playing with those variables would make sense as well.

Good luck...

sallam's picture
sallam

That's an interesting approach, many thanks.

Does he mention if we should retard the final dough after mixing, or keep in RT?

You're right about extended retarding, because when I retard for 3 days, I get almost no rise, but if I retard for only 24 hours, I get a good rise, but no tangy flavor. I'll try the sponge+levain method as you suggested. Funny, minutes before I read your post I have just finished mixing a sponge using traditional buttermilk instead of water, 2:3 (BM:Flour).

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

as I said, the instructions lack many specifics...it is always nice to have solid recommendations up front, but experimentation (including failures) is a big part of becoming a better baker...so test away...

doughooker's picture
doughooker

I've had a lot of experience with manipulating the sourness of bread. You can make anything more sour by adding vinegar (acetic acid).

San Francisco sourdough has been well studied. The sourness came from a blend of lactic acid and acetic acid. See Table II here:

http://www.aaccnet.org/publications/cc/backissues/1978/Documents/chem55_461.pdf

Any more, I don't bother with starters and long proofing times. My blog describes how I make sour bread now. After many, many test bakes I got it to taste extremely close to the old sourdoughs of yesteryear, so much so that you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between my bread and a loaf of Larraburu or Parisian. It is not authentic in process but is certainly authentic in flavor.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/49375/san-franciscostyle-sour-bread