The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Potpourri - starters, bannetons, kneading technique and using Anskarum mixer

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

Potpourri - starters, bannetons, kneading technique and using Anskarum mixer

ONE: About 2 months ago I started a wild yeast starter. It's done everything it's supposed to do, but it never grew/rose. The rubber band marking the starting point is mocking me.

I did make ONE loaf a couple of weeks ago, but that recipe called for a cheat 1/4 or 1/2 tsp. of yeast added to it. I have done the float test and it floats, but no growth. It bubbles, (so it's foamy), and there's no mold and it smells right, but why doesn't every GROW?

I took it out of the fridge last night and fed it. I fed it again this morning - some organic rye last night and some whole wheat this morning just to see if it will DO something. 

TWO: I've watched several videos for making sourdoughs (and other bread) and everyone seems to mix by hand to keep the air in the dough. How many of you do that? Does it really make a difference? I have the Anskarum mixer, so I think it mimics hand motion very well especially since I always mixe on a low speed.

THREE: Folding and transferring the dough to bannetons. So, also in several videos, it talks about how it's important to be gentle with the dough, but then I see the dough just being dumped into a pot after rising in a banneton and then somewhat roughly slashed before placing it in the oven. Yet, their bread looks fabulous - even the whole grain loaves (50/50).

FOUR: Size of banneton - does it matter? I have been making the HUGE country loaf. It's so big, I can't use a dutch oven. How do smaller loaves affect oven spring? Is it better? And how do you know if you've sized it right (older books are less clear on what size banneton to use)? Is there some rule of thumb?

FIVE: For anyone who has an older DLX  Assistent Mixer (any of the older versions of Anskarum that had fewer watts) how long do you knead for bread? is it different if it is whole grain? I watched a video from some expert the other day and they knead it at a higher speed than I do, but probably for a shorter time. 

I'm sure I have more questions, but I've been holding this for a while and since I discovered moldy bread in my bread box this morning and I have to start anew, I thought I would ask before I delve in. 

gerryp123's picture
gerryp123

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Question FOUR is a one I've often considered.  I do a lot of D-O baking and use a round 5 qt Lodge, a round 6 qt Costco enamel-clad, and a 6.5 qt aluminum oval of unknown origin.

I try to keep the size of the dough close to, but just  shy of the edges of the pot.  I think this allows the steam within the pot to more completely envelop the loaf.  If I correlate this to the weight of the dough for each pot my "rule of thumb" is 900g max for the Lodge, 1100g max for the Costco and 1200g max for the oval.  My results are generally pretty good -- nice spring; good thick crust.

Just did some baking today using my flea-market oval.  Baked a sourdough seeded rye and pushed the size a bit to 1300g of dough.  Result was fantastic -- 3 lb bread measured 11"x7"x 4".  Just touched the sides of the pot.  Cooling down as I write this.  Can't wait to cut it open.

jey13's picture
jey13

#1) I'm not starter expert, but yours looks a little thin. Thicker starter (levain) is better for bread making. Maybe you should up the amount of flour you're feeding it? What are your feeding it? What ratios and what kind of flour? Rye is good for getting it to bubble up and climb the sides of the jar. 

#4) Your bread should be a snug fit in its banneton. Mine are actually too small for the bannetons I use. You want them to fill but not overflow the basket so (1) they don't spread out, and (2) so that you can see that they've proofed/puffed up (which they won't if you refrigerate overnight, but will if you leave them out on the counter before or after the refrigeration). 

Smaller loaves should not affect oven spring—after all, people make rolls and such with this dough, and even such small loaves have "oven spring." Are you sure your recipe isn't for two loaves? Maybe cut it in half? 

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

I feed it 1/4 cup flour and quarter cup water (spring) every day when it's not in the fridge.

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

I can help with 5,  but only a little.  I have the Magic Mill version of the Ank, it is 450 watts.  The amount of time depends on a bunch of things.  Lately, I have been doing a 1 hour autolyse, with 100% home milled winter white wheat, and find that it is done in 3 to 4 minutes.  I am looking for a ball of dough with a smooth surface.  I then let it rest about 15 to 20 min, and do a stretch and fold to see how it reacts.  If it still has plenty of strength, that means I could have gone a little shorter in the DLX, if it is very weak, I could have gone a little longer.  For other recipes, like Jasons Ciabatta, using whole wheat, it was more like 12 minutes.   

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

Thanks so much. I need to do more of the resting. It would definitely help me, but I get impatient!

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

It is too watery and I can't explain it. So, this evening, I fed it just whole wheat four and that seemed about right. Makes me wonder if once I forgot to add the flour? Or doubled the water? 

We shall see. 

gerryp123's picture
gerryp123

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Question FOUR is a one I've often considered.  I do a lot of D-O baking and use a round 5 qt Lodge, a round 6 qt Costco enamel-clad, and a 6.5 qt aluminum oval of unknown origin.

I try to keep the size of the dough close to, but just  shy of the edges of the pot.  I think this allows the steam within the pot to more completely envelop the loaf.  If I correlate this to the weight of the dough for each pot my "rule of thumb" is 900g max for the Lodge, 1100g max for the Costco and 1200g max for the oval.  My results are generally pretty good -- nice spring; good thick crust.

Just did some baking today using my flea-market oval.  Baked a sourdough seeded rye and pushed the size a bit to 1300g of dough.  Result was fantastic -- 3 lb bread measured 11"x7"x 4".  Just touched the sides of the pot.  Cooling down as I write this.  Can't wait to cut it open.

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

That is basically what I used last night for another baking stint. They were the right size. Of course, it was a new recipe, so it's hard to tell if it turned out differently from what I have been doing, but it worked well.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

if you feed 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup water, it will be way over 100% hydration.  Closer to....200% but that doesn't mean it can't lift bread dough, you just need to use more of it when making dough and less water in the formula.  Wet and thin starters don't rise much. The gasses rise thru the mixture and break on the surface without ever pushing up the dough. 

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

Yes, that is what someone was saying last night on another thread, but that is the formula I got somewhere. I was just sent another starter formula and I will start using that one. Debra Wink?  Thanks all! I will get this!

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

And now it is rising! I put way more flour to make it pastier like a thick batter versus what I had which was a loose liquidy batter. I'll take photos in a bit.

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

This is since 9:30am this morning, so 2.5 hours.