The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Experiment - Any thoughts?

paul0130's picture
paul0130

Experiment - Any thoughts?

Been working on my sourdough for a while now, and I'm making some pretty darn good loaves. But a friend of mine recently brought me a loaf of Boudin's from San Fran and it seems my "San Francisco style" sourdough is no where near as sour as it should be. Everything else was pretty spot on as far as the look, consistency, flavor (except sour).

So here's what I was thinking about doing. I generally start with a cup of starter, two cups water, and four cups flour (all by volume of course). Leave this on the counter for a couple of hours, transfer to the fridge overnight, and then back out on counter for a couple of hours to warm up. Then I add enough flour for a 62% hydration and salt, knead, proof a couple of hours, shape two boules, another hour and a half rise, then in the 450 degree oven 25-30 minutes.

To increase the level of sour, I've left the 1 cup of starter on the counter for the past three days without feeding. It is ripe boy! I'm going to use this for the sponge. Good idea? Bad idea? I'm sure after three days all the gluten will be broken down, but I'm guessing the rest of the flour in the recipe will support. Not sure how this is going to work, but just curious if anyone else has done similar. Thanks!

 

pmccool's picture
pmccool

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1040/lesson-squeeze-more-sour-your-sourdough

There are other discussions on how to achieve more sourness (use the Search tool) but this should get you closer to your goal. 

Let me offer a gentle challenge to your notion that a sourdough bread “should” be really, really sour.  Sourdough breads with milder flavors are still sourdoughs.  The name refers to the natural leaven that is used, not to the ultimate flavor of the bread.  Make your bread with a flavor that is as sour or as subtle as you enjoy.  

Paul

paul0130's picture
paul0130

Thanks Paul! That was a great article, and I'll definitely try experimenting with hydration levels and using rye in my starter as well. I should have mentioned I did a lot of Google searching and read similar tips for dialing up the soar. But since I'm pressed on time this week, I just decided to take some starter and leave it out for a few days to see if that helped. Funny that number 3 on JMonkey's list mentions leaving starter out for a few days doesn't help. Wish I read that first :)

You are correct on my use of the word "should" when it comes to sourness. What I should have said was that after trying Boudin's it inspired me to make my bread more sour. That said, Boudin's is like eating salt and vinegar chips it is that sour. I don't think I need to get it that sour, but probably somewhere in between. I even signed up for an Udemy class on making a very sour sourdough. This turned out to be a no-knead overnight ferment with controlled temperature environment which now has me inspired to build my own proofing box. The result was a pretty good sourdough, but still not the sour I was looking for. It did make incredible sourdough toast on the other hand!

I'll be taking the sponge out the fridge here shortly, and will bake this afternoon. I'll let y'all know how it turns out. Thanks!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Paul, was the Udemy course you took Sanfrancisco Sourdough by Teresa Greenway?

I searched for the perfect sour for years. When I found Teresa’s course (and mastered the bread) my search was over. The method is not easy to get right, but (IMO) it is worth the effort. You will need a proofer to dial this in, though.

Sour flavor is subjective and there are numerous sour flavor profiles. I favor the mild, smooth sour produced by catering to the Lactic acids.

Good luck!

Danny

paul0130's picture
paul0130

Yes! The course was called "Bake San Francisco Style Sour Sourdough Bread". Not taking anything away from Ms. Greenway because I'm sure she is 1000 times the baker I am, I guess I was expecting something else. I actually tried using my oven with the light on as the proofer, and then varied how wide open I left the oven using a thermometer and a cork to keep the oven cracked to get to 74 degrees. I think I still managed to over-proof it (oven was probably close to 80 the next day) so my next challenge is to build a box for around $20 :) How hard can it be right? I'm definitely going back to that recipe at a later date because it was a very good bread, but for now I'm going to start tweaking my starter and see how that goes with my go-to recipe. Curious, do you use a dutch oven for that recipe? And are you using all white flour, or mixing it up at all?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I bake the SFSD using a combo cooker and also a stone with a cover. I sometimes use a covered Pullman pan. The cooking method doesn’t have a great affect on the sour flavor, though. 

It is vital to control the temperature during fermentation. 2 degrees will have a very noticeable affect on the outcome. I use a Brod & Taylor proofer. 

Because of the extended fermentation time I have only succeeded using white flour. Whole grain makes the ferment too active. By far, my best bakes for this method have come from using Morbread Flour. 

Teresa’s SFSD and Hammelman’s Five-Grain Levain are my two all-time favorite breads! I seldom bake anything else...

Dan

paul0130's picture
paul0130

So what's the final verdict? No difference! Can't see how leaving a cup of starter our for 3 days didn't result in more sour, but it really didn't. Now, my wife actually liked the last one I made better, which was the Mrs. Greenway recipe. So I may just shift gears and start working on that proofing box. It's a work in progress. Thanks all!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Paul, what are your plans for the proofing box? Let us s take a look, we may have some suggestions.

If you can afford it, the Brod and Taylor is an excellent unit.

Danny

Oh, it is my belief that a sweet (non-sour) starter can make a very sour bread. I think the long warm fermentation time encourages the grow of LAB during the bulk ferment and even more during the final proof.