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100% Home Milled Sour Sourdough with 200% hydration starter

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

100% Home Milled Sour Sourdough with 200% hydration starter

In a previous post I asked about the best time to score a wheat loaf, and the responses eventually got around to issues to promote sour flavor.  Doc suggested I use a 200% hydration starter, and I am starting a new post to list the results.

 

So my prior recipe was 450 grams flour ( 100% home milled winter white wheat, no sifting) , 360 water,  9 grams of starter ( 75 % hydration, refreshed 3 times 8 hours apart, and kept at 82F ) 9 grams of salt,  BF 8 hours at 82F, preshape, shape, then FP at 45 F for 10 to 12 hours.

Based on his suggestion, I reworked it as follows.

Starter  270 grams   ( 180 water 90 Flour )    fermented at 82  for 10 to 12 hours  ( Since it turned out to be an especially hot day, it was actually at 84 to 86 most of the day -  when I got back to it,  it looked more like soup, no bubbles. )

Final Dough

All Starter

360 Flour

184 Water.

 9 grams salt.

Mixed starter, flour and water, and autolysed.   I prefer to autolyse without starter, but didn't think that would work since so much of the water was in the starter.  Used warm water to get the DDT to 82.

After 1 hour autolyse, added salt, then  mixed for 4 minutes in the DLX at its highest speed.  Dough came out very stringy, and much stickier than my normal loaf. Did a few stretch and folds, then put it in the proofer for one hour.  When it came out of the proofer, it looked like it had increased in volume close to 30%.  I put it in the regular fridge ( not a bar fridge as we had discussed) because I did not want it to overproof. 

After 1 hour, it had increased quite a bit in volume, though of course, it had been in autolyse for an hour as well, and then some stretch and folds, so all together it may have been around 80 to 82 for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

The next morning it was more than doubled in volume

It actually still had some strength, so i did a stretch and fold as a preshape, then shaped, then into a banneton and into the fridge.

11 hours later, i took it out, gave it 20 minutes at room temp, then put in a combo cooker at 450 for 16 minutes, then lid off for another 15 minutes.

I did develop some ears, which is an indication to me it was not overproofed

 

It just came out of the oven,  and i normally wait to day to see how the flavors settle, but so far, it tastes good.

 

Second batch has been started.  This time I did better on the fermenting of the starter, it looked the photos i see here, lots of bubbles.  Did the initial kneading, and it is still very sticky,  I am wondering if the long fermenting of the starter is causing an issue.  Just starting the 1 hour 82 F BF, and then it will go into the fridge for the rest of the BF.  Thanks to Doc for all his help so far.  Barry. 

 

cfraenkel's picture
cfraenkel

I just got a mill and was wondering about 100% milled flour, you have inspired me.  I have some starter on the counter right now "waking up" and will try upping the hydration as I build the levain.  Thanks for the tutorial!

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Thanks, actually still working on the formula and process.  I reduced the levian a little for the third try, and will see how that progresses.  While many suggest sifting and bolting,  I am trying to see what i can get with just straight out of the mill.  

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Your "no bubbles" comment reminded me of why I developed the weight loss technique to judge levain maturity. With your 90g of added flour, I would expect it to have lost ~2g (maybe 3 if it was really active and hot) during fermentation which should be observable with a scale that has a 1g resolution.  It would be useful to know just how far it went (and because you are fermenting 100% whole wheat there are other things going on that will accelerate the growth by some amount).  There is certainly no concern about over-fermenting the levain since you would actually benefit a little if the yeast activity was suppressed a bit and the LAB produced some extra acid.  How much seed starter went into your levain?

When I suggested a 1:00-1:15 BF, my thought was that you would immediately pre-shape and final shape the loaf then go into a cold proof.  But it appears that you ran the BF for a lot longer before shaping and then further extended the fermentation with a cold proof. I would expect it to have still been pretty sticky so to get a nice loaf (as you did) required some excellent dough handling skill so congratulations on that.

I suspect that you would benefit from an even shorter BF, with 1:15 at 82°F followed by an hour in the refrigerator, a couple of stretch and folds, then another hour in the refrigerator, principally to fully chill the dough.  Then shape it and return it to the bar refrigerator for your cold proof.  Shaping it cold should be much easier, and at 80% hydration you need all the help you can get. 

You may eventually want to cut down the bran content a little, and just running the flour through a medium sieve should remove enough of the larger bran flakes to improve handling.

Since you have increased the fraction of pre-fermented flour, there is more yeast in your dough at the start of BF so you can get by with less time before shaping. Acid comes from both the levain and a long cold proof at a temperature that favors the LAB over the yeast, so as we discussed before you are looking for the sweet spot of cold proofing temperature/time that gets you what you want without over proofing.

I suspect you would judge the flavor to improve if you were to bake a little hotter and perhaps a little longer to develop a darker/thicker crust. Maybe 480°F if your oven will go there and another 5 min with the lid off.

You could also go all the way to 2% salt (10.8g) which would slow down the yeast a little (but not slow down the LAB as much), and adding a little extra salt to a high acidity loaf gets you a better balance between salt and acid (which you can see in Hamelman's formulas as well).

I think you are making good progress.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Doc,  sorry, I was so interested to try the higher hydration starter, I forgot to measure the weight.  I will make another levian tonight and measure tomorrow.

 

Your "no bubbles" comment reminded me of why I developed the weight loss technique to judge levain maturity.  

The next two tries looked like there was activity when I came back to check ,  my guess is that the first try went to full maturity and then some.  One issue is the proofer is DIY wine cooler with a heating pad and a controller - though I usually set it to only heat or chill, and if I get a hot day, it will go over the set temp

I suspect that you would benefit from an even shorter BF, with 1:15 at 82°F followed by an hour in the refrigerator, a couple of stretch and folds, then another hour in the refrigerator, principally to fully chill the dough.  Then shape it and return it to the bar refrigerator for your cold proof.  Shaping it cold should be much easier, and at 80% hydration you need all the help you can get. 

Thanks,  I am trying to fit things into a work schedule.  So if I understand you, knead the dough, 1 hour to 1:15 BF at 82F then into the fridge for an hour,  S & F while in the fridge, then another hour in the fridge, then shape without a preshape, then FP.

My concern is that there is no way I can  fit that all into the morning before I leave for work -  mix, autolyse, knead, then 2 hours in fridge, then shaping is probably close to 3 hours -   and if I try, I can maybe fit that into an evening, but that would put a bit of pressure on baking in the morning-  I have a used Cadco, but it is 120 volts, so it takes a bit of time to heat up, and having to take the top off the combo means I have to be there may be there, and that interruption may be tough to fit into the morning schedule.  How do you feel about a 24 FP in the fridge?   While I originally started the cold fermentation for flavor,  by cold fermenting for BF and FP, I could set it up to do the measuring, mixing, autolyse, and kneading one night ,  do a preshape and final shape before going to work in the morning, then baking in the evening. 

I suspect you would judge the flavor to improve if you were to bake a little hotter and perhaps a little longer to develop a darker/thicker crust. Maybe 480°F if your oven will go there and another 5 min with the lid off.

Got your post before loaf 3 went into the oven, so I did up the temp a bit, and left it in a little longer, and didn't drop the temp as much when the cover came off.  I was at home all day today, so I was able to check on the final proof throughout the day, I think I put it in just a bit early, but much better than loaves 1 and 2 ,  It held its shape and did not flatten out, and got some pretty nice ears.  It didn't increase much in volume though.  

 

increase to 2% salt (10.8g) which would slow down the yeast a little (but not slow down the LAB as much), and adding a little extra salt to a high acidity loaf gets you a better balance between salt and acid (which you can see in Hamelman's formulas as well).

Thanks again for you help, I will try that with loaf number 4, the levian starts tonight.    My refresh ratio is a little off because I will only be doing 1 refresh,  but I went with 22 starter, 180 water, and 90 flour.   a 2% loss would be between 5 and 6 grams, so I will check for that tomorrow, and will up the salt to 2%.  

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I like the appearance of your most recent loaf - a little darker and with a thicker crust. And the oven spring while not remarkable is still enough to make some pretty ears.  When you are baking with 100% whole wheat, you will not have the same results as with a white flour or mostly white flour.  Don't beat yourself up for what mother nature is doing to/for you.

In an attempt to mirror your process I started a levain this morning (28: 56: 56) and ran it at 85°F (because that is the temperature of the cupboard where I ferment levain) for about 7 hrs and (at which point it looked ready and had lost 1g) then let it sit on the counter at ~80° for another 3 hrs by which time it had lost a total of 3g so it was past its peak activity but certainly usable. I built the dough (135g levain, 463g water, 702g high gluten white, 15.4g salt) {note: this corresponds to 8.9% pre-fermented flour and 69% hydration} with a 20 min autolyse and a 6:30 mix time in my version of your DLX and observed that at 4:00 min it was not close to being fully developed.  In fact the dough didn't pull off the side of the bowl until 6:00 and I am using a high gluten white flour so I suspect that your dough is quite a bit under developed. A 1:15 BF, divide/pre-shape, rest 10 min, final shape and into my version of a proofing basket, seam side down, covered top and bottom with shower caps and into the retarder set to 50°F (which generally should make for 46.5°F average temperature overnight).  The dough temperature at that point was 85°F, but my retarder has a high speed circulating fan that will cool everything off in a hurry (it is a commercial under-counter bar refrigerator with a home-made PID digital control loop).  This meant that the dough was retarding 2 hr after I started the batch, so you should be able to get your cycle time down to less than 3 hrs in the evening, or perhaps compress it differently and get it done in the AM.  I would look at reducing your autolyse  to 10 min (or zero) and perhaps use a water bath to chill the dough (put it in a plastic bag, double tie the end, and drop it into a pan of ice water for 10 min, then take it out and do a couple of folds [call it pre-shaping] and put it back for another 10 min).  You will be surprised how fast the bulk temp can come down.  Then shape and put it in your proofing container and then into the refrigerator.  I do a 20 min autolyse more out of habit than anything else, it is just part of the routine.  With some work you can compress your cycle to make it work with your schedule.

I think I have convinced myself that Hamelman's 42°F proof is too cold for my culture, even for a 16 hr retard, so tonight I am running a little warmer (I waited 20 hrs yesterday for two loaves at 42.5° and still had to take it up to 60°F for a couple of hours to get them ready to bake, so the dough will take a 24hr cold proof if you have to go there).  So far as I can tell, autolyse is mostly an old wives tale and doesn't do much for you.  I think it started as a way for the baker to reduce the amount of manual labor it took to knead a lot of dough since gluten formation happens naturally with time even without any externally applied shear force (that is why no-knead bread works). So with a machine to mix it, you can do a short autolyse but it will be mostly to get all of the flour fully wet before you start the mix cycle. 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

So I did put a new levian in the proofer set at 82F last night,  fed 1 : 4 ( Water ) : 2 ( flour ).  I checked it about 8 hours later, and it had lost about 1 gram ( I reread your post and realized you were measuring 2% from the added flour, so that would be around 2 grams ,  not the 6 I listed above)  I put it back in the proofer, and turned up the heat, when I checked back a few hours later it looked like this

To be, that looks overdone, though I have not played with 200% levian before.   

I followed your advice as to a short warm BF, with a few Stretch and Folds, while it was in  the fridge, then shape and into the banneton.  My timing is way off because I got up later than a work day, so it had to take it out of the fridge, and will do a few hours at room temp, then put it in the oven.   thanks for your help.  my wife loves the taste. 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

A 200% levain has a lot of excess water, but it is there to dilute the acid produced by the LAB.  And one result is that the levain is not viscous enough to bubble, which is why you have no way to judge levain maturity except to check the weight and use CO2 loss (a proxy for sugar consumption by yeast and LAB) as the metric. 

It sounds like your starter may be a little weak, but hard to judge without more precise controlled experimentation.  What is your normal maintenance feeding practice? 

A levain build that is only 1:4:2 is hard to accelerate since you are already wet and you need at least twice as much flour (by weight) as your starter to get the pH above 5 in the post-mix stage.  If you want to build your starter strength, you might consider Mini Oven's guidance of using 5:10:15 cycles and running it warm until it is jumping out of the jar (feeding when it begins to fall or waiting for the 2% of weight loss relative to added flour).  The typical problem of using weight loss for starter maintenance is that most people don't have a scale that will accurately measure the weight loss.  You sort of need a 100g scale capacity with 10mg resolution and mix in light weight polypropylene cups, but that would allow you to do 10:20:30 gram iterations then switch back to 5:15:15 or 5;15:20 when things stabilize.

I am glad the flavor is agreeable to the one who matters. That should facilitate further progress.

cfraenkel's picture
cfraenkel

Sort of, my levain was not 200% (too scary for a first pass at this)

I started with 360g of fresh milled hard white.  I added 180g of warm water which wasn't enough so slowly added water until I could at least get all the flour wet.  This ended up being 205g of water.  Autolyse for one hour. I actually stuck my meat thermometer in the autolyse and smooshed it around until I got it to 28c (it's cold here so I thought I better check to make sure I wasn't cooking the wheat...I like warm water)

I have a lovely NMNF Rye starter that I was building up for a bake which is now at 100% hydration, and nice and bubbly, so I decided to go with 270g of starter (originally this was going to be a basic 3-2-1 loaf so I'm trying to stick with that as a test) After the one hour autolyse, in went the starter and 9g of salt. I moved the dough to my Kitchen Aide and mixed it on low speed for 10 minutes. It took a full 5 minutes for the dough to come together, so I'm glad I didn't try to do this by hand.

I put the dough back into it's bucket for a bulk ferment, it's cold here today so I put it in the oven with the light on.  I have no plans to go anywhere for most of the day so I can watch it. It doubled in about 2 1/2 hours, so removed it did 20 min bench rest, and then shaped and put in a banneton. 2 hours later it was fully (maybe over?) proofed. It deflated a bit as I put it in the Dutch oven. Baked at 425 for 25 minutes lid on, and 25 minutes lid off.

Didn't get much oven spring (expected), no ears. a little denser than I like, but great flavour.

 

 

 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

68% hydration, 27% prefermented flour.  Probably not fully developed with only 10 min on a "low speed" which I interpret as ~2 and probably with the dough hook rather than the paddle? Timing sounds right for that formulation.  But a loaf made with freshly milled flour will not be the same as a loaf made with flour that has aged for a while.  I didn't see any added ascorbic acid or malted barley flour so you are missing some of the benefits that come with almost any commercial bread flour.

And I suspect you would also be happy with a higher bake temperature (maybe 470°F) and don't drop the temperature when you take the top off (your photo is not high enough resolution to measure crust thickness but the color is what I would expect for 425°F).

How was the acidity?  Your NMNF starter is designed to have high LAB and relatively low yeast population density, but it is hard to judge without knowing more about the exact timing and temperatures involved.

 

cfraenkel's picture
cfraenkel

Next time I will try upping the mix time, yes, I did use the dough hook and when I tried a windowpane test it was, I'd say medium?  I could stretch parts of the dough to get a good pane, but then it would break.  I wasn't sure I should mix more, was afraid to break what I had going.

My oven is highly variable in temperature, so 425 was the "average" I'd say.  I had it set to 450 but it is really poor at maintaining temperature.  I find if I go much higher I end up with burnt bottoms on my bread, even with an extra baking pan below the DO to dissipate heat a bit.

I'm not sure how to tell you about acidity.  The taste is fairly sour (we like it that way) but that was from the starter for sure. I did 10g NMNF 20/20, then 50/50 then 75/75 and a 4th shot of about 60/60 because I was going out and it was peaking.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Gluten formation depends on a lot of things, and the bran in your home-milled flour will make it impossible to get the same window pane results that you would get with a white bread flour, but at some point you should try to over mix a batch just to see where the limit is.  I think you will discover that for a 500g batch size it is more like 30 or 40 minutes at speed 2 on a small KA mixer with the dough hook and a 68% hydration dough. You could probably use the paddle at speed 3 but without watching it I can't tell you when you have to switch over to the hook.  Above 75% hydration, the paddle is all I would use and maybe even at speed 4.  The small KA mixers actually cool themselves better at higher speeds and there is an efficiency vs speed factor that also has to be considered.  Just try to get a good window pane everywhere (wet your hands before you do it and you will get a better feel of whether it is the bran that is cutting the gluten or if it is just weak).  It could be your flour too.

For your oven, there are a couple of things you can try.  I am assuming that you have an electric oven without a convection fan and with only one heating element that is on the bottom of the oven. You are right to put a baking pan between the element and the DO, but you didn't say whether the DO is sitting on the pan or if it is a rack above (not touching is better than touching).  A shiny pan will work better than a dark one in any case.  A layer of aluminum foil clipped onto the bottom of the pan (shiny side down) would help a lot, and an insulating pad below the DO would add to the protection.  The easiest insulating pad to make is to take a sheet of foil and crumple it up into a ball and then sort of straighten it out so that the crinkles remain.  Then fold it twice (now it is four layers thick) with the shiny side out and place it on the rack with the DO resting on top of it.  If you have an IR thermometer you can check the effective temperature of the bottom of the DO just before you load the dough to know what the starting condition is.  The foil will do two things: act as a radiation shield so that heat does not get to the bottom of the DO (as much) during preheat; and reduce the reheating flux after you drop the dough in so that the bottom is cooled off by the dough and does not heat up as much as it currently does during the bake (the cause of your burnt bottom).   If this turns out to be too much protection (light bottom crust), you can back off as much as you need to.

cfraenkel's picture
cfraenkel

With a full time fan that runs, which doesn't help. I have the baking pan on the shelf below with foil shiny side out on the bottom, I'll try adding a crumpled foil insulator, thanks for the tip. 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

The only other thing I can think of is that the DO is positioned such that the convection fan puts the heat right on it, and that is not typical of convection ovens.  Usually the fan sucks air from the center of the oven and blows it back into the box at the edges.  If the fan does not reverse every so often, you may have flow from a preferred direction that is impacting the DO because of where it sits.  Maybe moving the racks up (or down) one step might change something but I can't predict what.  Maybe you can erect a little foil flag on a wire that allows you to tell which direction the air is flowing. You have done all the logical things.

One more idea - put the DO on a donut of crumpled foil that is set right on the baking pan.  The dead air space between the pan and the DO will still give you the radiation protection from the foil on the bottom of the pan, but would form a cavity under the DO where there is less convection as well as less radiation.  I don't know how much better this might be than just a few layers of crumpled foil. Multi-layer insulation (usually many layers of aluminized Mylar) is commonly used for spacecraft to keep them warm but in that case there is a vacuum between the layers so that there is no convection at all.

cfraenkel's picture
cfraenkel

It worked beautifully!

I used a Danni inspired loaf (fennel and raisin) and did a 100% Whole grain version.  Used 4 layers of foil under the DO - cooked it HOT at about 490 when it started and then fluctuated between 460-480 which took a lot of fiddling with the temperature. Cooked 25mins/25 mins and this loaf is gorgeous.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

It looks really great.

Did you have the DO on the foil on the baking sheet? 

Or was the baking sheet below the rack with foil and the DO?

 

cfraenkel's picture
cfraenkel

1. *new* foil under baking sheet on bottom rack

2. 4 layers of crumpled foil on top rack with DO placed on top of it

3.  Watched digital oven thermometer carefully and when the temp went over 480, opened the oven door for a bit.

Basically I have to babysit my oven, but it worked! Thanks for your help.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Doc,  I have not been posting for a while, but have still been playing with the procedure you suggested.

200 % starter  1:3:6   fermented at 82 F for 9 to 12 hours  ( depending on whether I refresh at night, or the next morning before  I go to work.  )  I get the 2% loss of weight of the added flour that you indicated.   Now that I have switched to 1 hour BF at 82 ( with DDT at 82F before going into BF)  then right into the fridge, for 1 hour, then shape, the FP in the fridge, I am getting a nice open crumb, and good flavor,  but it is not sour.  I am going to run another test today, but switching to the way I did it when i misread your suggestion -  1 hr BF at 82, then BF  for 8 hours in fridge, then preshape, then shape, then FP in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours. then bake.   My recollection was that produced a more sour loaf than the 2 hr BF  ( 1 at 82 1 in the fridge )

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I like the look of the more open crumb, but you have to be the judge of sour.

Keep us posted as you discover what works for you.

Are you still using 20% pre-fermented flour?  At some point you might want to play with that and try a batch at 30% to see what it does for you.  I went back to my data (102 batches where I measured TTA of the finished product) to see if I had a few points that were close to where you are operating, but while I found lots of sour bread, I found nothing above 15% whole wheat.  One result that came from that series was the demonstration that adding 2% fructose to the dough (not the levain) produces an independent and additive source of TTA.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Doc, yes,  20% prefermented flour.  Yes,  I know that 100% whole wheat is not that common, which is why it is so hard to determine how to proceed, most articles and posts on sour use very little whole wheat. 

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

This may bore you to death, but back in May of 2017 I put up a blog post with some analysis of what is going on in the oven:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/51793/heat-transfer-mechanisms-typical-homeoven-baking