The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Super Sour Sourdough? Any tips?

bakingbad's picture
bakingbad

Super Sour Sourdough? Any tips?

Hello you crazy bakers! Hope you're all having marvellous baking days. 

Here in Australia this koala's sourdough adventures are still in full force. I feel I have finally cracked the basic sourdough and have a schedule that is working and giving pretty sweet results. After a year of trial and error, and an expanding waistline, my loaves are pretty good. Ears and everything!

So now here's the thing. 

I would like to make a super sour cheek squeezing sourdough........ Anyone have any top tips for me? Is there a simple trick or is more maths and science?

Any shared knowledge and banter greatly received. 

Thanks from me, not so baking bad theses days!

Katy.

 

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Katy,  congrats on your success so far. I have been on a similar quest for many months, though using 100% home milled whole wheat,  and have not found a secret.

  I have tried storing the starter and bulk ferment at higher temps to try to encourage more sour,  https://brodandtaylor.com/make-sourdough-more-sour/   

I also tried lowering the hydration of the starter ( to 70% ) to encourage more sour

I also tried very low innoculation rates ( 20 grams of starter to 500 grams of flour ) for a long bulk fermentation.

So far, my results have been hit and miss.  If you find the secret, let me know. 

 

bakingbad's picture
bakingbad

Hey Barry! Thank you so much for the reply. I spent most of yesterday reading various blogs and insta posts on the quest for sour. They all mention the difference in cold bulking and lower. hydration as a way fo encouraging more Acetic stuff. 

So Im going to give that a go first. I did get one super sour and chewy bread but I had massively over proofed it and it didn't spring and  I didn't get a decent crumb or crust .........but it was very tasty. Still, the Holy Trinity of Crumb Crust and Sour remains evasive. I'll keep you in the loop if I get there!

Thanks for the advice, I'm going to try your longer fermation too, though here with warmer temps it's a little more tricky. 

All the very best from Sunny Aus! 

Katy.

bakingbad's picture
bakingbad

PS. Barry thanks for the link too. I'll have a good read through and try my hand at their suggestions. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

What a great and zany picture! That one deserves framing :-D

The most super sour bread that I’ve baked has always been a result of over fermentation. The bread lacks height and is not airy, but is it sour. Generally for me, this type of bread is the result of mistake, but to tell the truth, the taste is outstanding. Just let your dough ferment for much longer than usual.

There are 2 distinctive types of sour flavors. Basically, acetic acids (sharp vinegar flavor) is produced using cold temperatures (retardation). And lactic acid flavor (smooth sour like yogurt) is developed using warm temperatures.

For a sharp sour, bulk ferment your dough in the frig for 72 hours or more.

For a smooth sour, BF at room temp (78-82F) for 20 hours or more. (I like this one best, by far...)

You’ll have to experiment with temps and time. And different flours will handle the extended fermentations better than others.

Converting your starter to whole rye @100% or more hydration will sour your bread more. Use very small amounts of starter for long fermentations. I use 2% prefermented flour. So, for a 1000g flour you’d use 20g flour (2%) and 20g water for a 100% levain.

A final consideration - since the dough will begin to degrade from over fermentation, it is a good idea to reduce the hydration to a percentage that is lower than normal. 63-65% is a good starting point. The dough may feel a little dry when initially mixing, but after the over ferment is will be extremely extensible. In extreme cases you may have to shape it like ciabatta.

If anyone knows a way to make super sour bread that will rise light and airy, please let me know...

Now, if you try this, and it works - you’ll owe us another eccentric, bizarre, weird, peculiar, odd, quirky, avant-garde, unconventional, off-center, strange, outlandish, ridiculous, ludicrous picture! <LOL>

Danny

bakingbad's picture
bakingbad

Hey Danny. Thanks so much for your reply and the sharing of your experiments and knowledge. How great is this forum! I love it. Its exciting to get up here and find a few replies from you and Barry and hear about your experiments and results. So thanks so much.

Yes! I too had a loaf which was the perfect flavour for me in the sour department. But like you I had over proofed it, it was flat and had no strength, I nearly didn't bake it. But though it didn't spring, and it didn't get a crusty top, it was the best flavour so far. The texture too was more chewy and satisfying for it.

Ive reduced the hydration in my starter and added some rye to the feed and I plan on making some dough once that peaks later today, so Ill try with the long slow fridge fermentation first and see if I can encourage those Acetic Acids, the vingegary ones, which I really like. I'll keep you posted on my efforts and results.

I have struggled to get decent flour where I live, but I've managed to track down a whole foods shop and will be trying their flours which are organic and not so mass produced. Im hoping it might make some difference. 

Temperature here can fluctuate wildly which has given me some un expected surprises both good and bad. 

Im not so good and the scientific approach and maths has always been my Achilles heel. So I usually go more with a look and feel approach, which I why, when it's good, I'm not too sure what the difference was! 

I'll give your longer room temp approach a go and see if I like the smooth sour you mention. 

The other thing I thought I might try is adding other things to the Bulk, like pickled Jalapeños to see if I could introduce the sour another way. 

I've got my first batch of added ingredients dough on a retardation it's  sun-dried tomato and rosemary. So Im hoping that's going to be a triumph.

Cibatta and Foccacia  are next on the list!

Thanks for the info. Hope you're having some tasty experiments too.

Katy.

 

David R's picture
David R

Maybe using a relatively large and extra-long pre-ferment, to mix into your main dough which you then don't over-ferment? I'm guessing if your pre-ferment is harshly overdone but it isn't intended as the complete dough, it may work out to your advantage.

bakingbad's picture
bakingbad

Hello David. Thanks for the reply. Could you please explain what you mean by a preferment? Is that the same as a levain?

Currently, I prepare a levain until its fully tripled in size catching it on the rise.  When ready I then add that to an autolyse and bulk for 3 hours.  I knock it back and leave for another 3 hours, then I split the dough and pre shape into two, then shape and leave in baskets covered in the fridge for at least 12 -14 hours. Then I get the oven and my dutch oven super hot and pop the cold dough into the pot, slash and bake.

My loaves are looking good. Good Crumb, nice crust and good rise, but the flavour is just a tad Meh?

Thanks for the suggestion, Ill try it if I can understand what you mean. Katy.

David R's picture
David R

Levain and pre-ferment may mean different things to someone - but they shouldn't. 🙂

What I meant was "Try over-fermenting your levain but then proceeding normally after that".

bakingbad's picture
bakingbad

Goytcha. Thanks 

phaz's picture
phaz

I've always gotten extra sour by using a slightly under fed starter, and an overnight bulk at around 40-45F. You could also get a lighter loaf by using a little ady after the cold storage. Something like mix 70% of your recipe as a sponge, into cool storage overnight, next day mix the other 30% with a little ady, proof if and bake it.

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Hi  Kat from Perth, i have found that extra sour was more often the result of un intentional  abuse ie starter that has got a bit old,  not taken at its peak,or missed a feed or two the only disadvantage  with that is the dough can then be less predictable , not a problem if you are not working to a timetable. Another way to introduce more sour worth trying is to  make a dough and allow it to overferment   and to then use that by incorporating some of that into subsequent doughs  a la pate fermente here is a link to an old thread that im sure you will find interesting especially comments made by an old TFL man no longer with us Eric " ehanner " and of course our good friend Norm " nbicomputers" Kind regards  Derek http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6429/039old-dough039-vs-pate-fermente

bakingbad's picture
bakingbad

Hello Derek.  Thanks for the reply. Much appreciated.

a la pate ferment sounds very fancy. Im definitely going to look at the link and have a look at Erics stuff. So thanks for pointing me in that direction. I like the idea of keeping a bit back for a few days and adding it. Im sure it will produce some different results.

So, Derek, are you in Perth??? I'm in Mid NSW. 

Thanks again, all the best. Katy.

David R's picture
David R

Pâte fermentée does sound awfully fancy - it means "Throw in some of the old dough from last time". 😁

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Thats correct Katy good old WA, just south of Fremantle to be exact.

 

bakingbad's picture
bakingbad

Hey Phaz. So Ive been experimenting with some longer bulking etc and this morning I've just popped a slightly more sour loaf out of the oven. 

Im afraid, I don't know what an ady or sponge is? Would you be kind enough to enlighten me please. 

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. much appreciated. 

Katy.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

ADY means active dry yeast.

The sponge and dough method is a two-step bread making process: in the first step a sponge is made and allowed to ferment for a period of time, and in the second step the sponge is added to the final dough's ingredients, creating the total formula.

bakingbad's picture
bakingbad

 I guess I'm sounding like a numb nut! But Ah, I see.

So does the ADY then compromise the wild yeast? The sponge is the same as a pre ferment or levain. Okay gotcha, this is all sourdough lingo and I'm enjoying dropping into sentences when chatting to friends about my baking. Makes me feel all geeky and in the know.

Thanks Dan. That's super. I'll be posting some pictures here later of some of yesterday and todays experiments using the suggestions from everyone. 

 

Levaineer's picture
Levaineer

I always get more sour when I use whole grains in the levain instead of refined flour. If you want to do a deep dive into this, you could also try and make a concentrated lactic acid starter (CLAS). There is a YouTube channel called Rus Brot with videos on this. He also has a blog post here on the subject. I've never tried it, but I'm sure it would give you an intense sour!44

dmaclaren2's picture
dmaclaren2

Trying to send you a PM but not able to, can you check that SLAB post again.  Thanks

 

bakingbad's picture
bakingbad

HI there. Im not sure why you wouldn't be able to PM ???? Im pretty new to forums in general so maybe its a setting thing and Im not sure what you mean by the SLAB post? Thanks in any case I love how helpful everyone is. Super cool to be part of a baking crew. Katy.

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

The tang is not strong but it's certainly flavourful. So I don't think this is the route for intense sour. I personally like a good balance of sour and don't chase after - as sour as possible.

bakingbad's picture
bakingbad

Hi Abe, Maybe I just need to be more Zen and allow things to happen as they do! Ive been baking this morning with some interesting results and Ill pop a few pictures etc on here later. Thanks for the reply and help!!! Katy.

bakingbad's picture
bakingbad

Hey there Lavineer!, Thanks for the reply. Greatly appreciated. I will check into the CLAS Youtube post and have a go at that too. I just received my fermentation crock so I think I might be getting obsessed with that too. Thanks for the link to his blog on here too. Ill let you know about my results when I try it!

Cheers and happy baking. Katy

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Try using flour during long fermenting with high ash content.  This allows the acids to acumilate with less damage to the gluten matrix.  The higher fiber buffers the natural reaction of the yeast to slow down replication as acid accumulates and the fiber may slow the breaking down of the protein matrix. 

Also, if you get a very sour flat dough, try using it with a second fresh wheat dough with less sour and more power.  Lay the flattened sour dough on top of the flattened power dough and roll up to shape.  Think filled rolled dough, the more sour dough being the filling.  After a day or two after the bake, the sour notes will have permeated the whole loaf.  

Which brings me to another thought.  Are you eating the bread too early for your tastes?  As days go by, often a sour loaf bread will taste even more sour if there is enough moisture in the crumb.  Try tasting when it is older.  

Have you tried adding sour tasting loaf Altus to your main dough or pre-ferment?

What about the addition of sour tasting herbs or ingredients?

Mini

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

I also love sourness.  My bread was initially very pleasantly sour.  I believe this is due to having a good balance of microbes.  (I live near San Francisco, but I don't know if that matters.)  Once I started storing my starter in the fridge, I believe they got out of balance.  When I make bread, I do 2-4 mini-builds to make the levain.

In addition to whatever works in the above comments, I find that adding some proportion of rye to these mini-builds and the levain and final dough often result in more sourness.

Please let us know what you find in your experiments.

Phil

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Phil, you mentioned after refrigerating the starter got out of balance. Is it possible the starter took on an acetic (vinegar) flavor because of the cool temps? If your starter had been kept at room temp the lactic (smooth, yogurt-like) flavor would dominate. Dry + cool = acetic. Wet + warm = lactic. Sourdough, taken to it’s extreme will produce 2 different types of sour flavor. I don’t think most bakers cater to that...

Think sharp cheddar vs mild.

What do you think?

Dan

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Dan,

Yes, that’s my understanding. 

Phil