The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from the Oregon woods

JeffP's picture
JeffP

Hello from the Oregon woods

HI, everyone,

I'm really enjoying browsing around on this site!  Been baking, off and on, for about 50 years.  A bit more frequently now that I'm retired from my day job :)  I'm known for my Irish Soda breads (and variations thereon), various rye breads, honey-egg bread, and a few others.  My current experiment (having its first rise as I type) is an orange/cardamom/fennel/anise rye that I'm attempting to convert from a standard loaf-pan version to boule in a dutch oven.  If this works I'll post pics (maybe even if it doesn't, and the results are amusing ;) ).

Cheers,

JcP

JeffP's picture
JeffP

Ok - here's my experiment.  I worked well :)

Next experiment will be to convert this traditional raised bread to a slow/cool raise.  Any suggestions welcomed!

Angelica Nelson's picture
Angelica Nelson

Welcome!  Interesting flavors you mentioned for rye.  What does the conversion to slow/cool rise mean?  Will you switch to instant yeast or same yeast, just slower?

JeffP's picture
JeffP

Hi, Angelica, thanks.  The recipe that I started with was this one:  https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/139542/danish-spiced-rye-bread-sigtebrod/    but I've tweaked it a little bit -- mainly using honey instead of molasses, and a can of condensed (non-sweetened) milk plus enough water to make 2 cups total, rather than a cup of milk and one of water... and, lately, bake in dutch ovens rather than pans.  Oh, and I use zest of whole medium orange as opposed to one measly tablespoon.  ;)    Gotten rave reviews on this, so far.  It looks like the next reply to my original message may have the answers I was seeking... Cheers,  JcP

wonner's picture
wonner

Starting with a 100% hydration starter, I replace yeast with replace 20% active starter, and reduce the water and flour in the recipe accordingly.

Mix flour, water, starter, and do a 30-60 minute autolyze before adding salt. Replace kneading with hourly stretch-and-folds for 2-3 hours until the dough has developed a good strength.

Shape and expect 2-3 hour proof before baking.

HTH

JeffP's picture
JeffP

Thanks, Wonner (?)  This is the kind of advice I was hoping to find!  So... should I be able to search recipes on this board to find instructions for the 100% hydration starter? 

Cheers,

JcP

wonner's picture
wonner

!00% hydration starter is nothing more than any starter that is 1/2 flour and 1/2 water by weight.

So take a few tablespoons of any starter and mix in 100 g flour and 100 g water and you have it. Or any equal amount of flour and water by weight that you need for your recipe.

Then plan to have that new starter nice and active right when you want to start mixing. Perhaps 6-8 hours.

HTH

JeffP's picture
JeffP

Thanks for the information!  I'll give it a shot!

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Jeff, Have you baked with sourdough leaven/levain/starter before, or just used commercial yeast?

 

JeffP's picture
JeffP

Hi, idaveindy,

Once, many many years ago, someone gave me a jar of starter.  I baked one loaf with it before it died an ugly, neglected, sad death in my refrigerator.  Now that I'm retired I might have time & energy to try again.  I have experimented with slow-rise versions, poolish, etc, but only a few times.  Good results, though.

JcP

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

A sourdough starter to be exact.  You can acquire one or make one.  I've started quite a few of them and I have had success with several ways of making them. 

 A few tips on starting your own from flour & water:  Chose one method and follow the directions of that starter without changing to another midway.  

  • Start out with water, boil some if using tap and let it sit 24 hours covered with cloth. It's precautionary, one way to avoid chlorine in the water which can slow down bacteria already present in the flour.  
  • Start out warm, about 90°F the first 24 hours to encourage the bacterial changes that have to follow a chain of sequences until the mixture becomes more acidic.  
  • Start out small. A few spoonfuls of flour and enough water to make a paste or batter is enough.  No need for cups of flour, it is wasteful.  Any method can be reduced to a smaller % of flour and water.  You can start out trying several methods at the same time but be sure to keep notes on them. Racing two methods for example can make it more interesting.  
  • After the initial bacterial burst of activity from warmth, drop the temps down to between 75°F and 78°F to slow down the bacterial growth somewhat and encourage yeast growth. Unless otherwise instructed.  Be sure to take notes.  Dropping temp below 75° can add days if not weeks to the process of getting a viable starter strong enough to raise bread.  Once colonies of starter yeast are established they can tolerate and grow at lower temps but when starting up, they need some warmth.  Temperature is often overlooked in most starter recipes.  Generally for your location at this time of year, the sourdough  starter will take about a week to make.  It will test your patience.  :)
  • Start a notebook with date, type and name of flour, water source, location (address) all the details you can think of plus temperatures, aromas, color changes, texture or consistency, and if you make a few photos be sure to label them.  
  • Get a nice jar or container you can see thru. Glass or plastic, relatively straight sided, with a wide mouth for easy stirring or removal of starter.  Everyone has a preference and I've found cup and pint size deli containers to work just fine with their not completely sealing lids.  Otherwise a bit of plastic wrap and a loose rubber band work just fine. Oh, and label the container so it survives the clean up crew.  No need to change or clean the container for the next week or two (depending on how things progress) but it is wise to keep at least 4x the starter volume in headspace just in case of rapid expansion.  If the jar location sits over something valuable like stereo or computer equipment (to keep warm) put the starter jar inside an appropriate bowl or container "just in case" it goes over.  It may not :) but one can dream!

so... Stand out some water in a pitcher right away and start looking for a sourdough starter or recipe.  We even have members that might share a starter with you, be sure to get maintenance instructions with the sample.

JeffP's picture
JeffP

Thanks so much!  I'll have to give this a try... probably not until after the holidays as my baking schedule is pretty full... ;)

I have well water, treated with UV light, no chlorine, so I don't think I'll need to de-gas it.

Years ago I used to make salt rising bread, also using air volunteer microorganisms, but, I think more bacteria than yeast.

Thanks again,

Cheers,

JcP

MarieAnn's picture
MarieAnn

Mini, you covered everything one needs to know to create a starter.  I wish I'd had all this info, spelled out so well, when I began my starters two months ago. 
 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Jeff,  Mini Oven gave a good method for creating a starter by pulling the micro-organisms out of the air.

 You can also buy commercial preparations from several suppliers on Amazon.  I purchased a very tasty and "tangy" dehydrated sourdough culture from "Cultures for Health" via Amazon.  I got their Whole Wheat (desem) Sourdough starter and used it for over a year before  I accidentally killed it off by freezing it too long.

A "culture" is basically a "pre"-starter, with the _dormant_ organisms in 1/2 teaspoon or so of a dried water/flour mixture.  You then  "activate" this 1/2 teaspoon of culture with daily additions of a small amount of water and flour.

My Cultures for Health starter froze/died-off while I was testing out a "free" (actually for a $1 donation) starter I obtained from a group that distributes what they call the "1847 Oregon Trail Starter":   www.carlsfriends.net

Using a dehydrated starter/culture is a bit simpler and quicker than the "pulling it out of the air" method.  Though the latter is  totally suitable, and somewhat preferable, to do-it-yourself "I-made-this" types, and creates a truely "local to you" starter.

Here is the Cultures For Health San Francisco style sourdough culture for mostly white flour breads, it has the specific strains/species of lactic acid bacteria and wild yeast that is "typical" of the bakeries in San Francisco:

www.amazon.com/Cultures-Health-Francisco-Sourdough-Pancakes/dp/B00YVE3076?tag=froglallabout-20

Here's the Cultures for Health Whole Wheat Sourdough culture that I first used:

www.amazon.com/Sourdough-Cultures-Health-Homemade-digestible/dp/B00YYGIIWS?tag=froglallabout-20

Each of the above is $10.99 at amazon, free shipping with orders over $25, or with Prime.

The starter culture from www.carlsfriends.net was only $1 donation, plus sending them a self-addressed-stamped-envelope.  (I would send a padded envelope, so that the chunks of dried starter don't cut through the envelope due to rough handling at the Post Office.)  IMO, the culture from them was easier and quicker to get going than the one from Amazon, and had 1 tsp instead of 1/2 so you have a second chance if the first try at reactivation did not work.  

The one from www.carlsfriends.net does not have the soury "tang" that I liked about the one from Cultures for Health.

JeffP's picture
JeffP

Thanks so much!  I will definitely be looking into the resources you've so kindly provided :)

The sourdough starter I was given back in 1975 or so claimed to be descended from the Alaska gold rush days... but who knows... ;)

Cheers,

JcP

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I firmly believe the organisms are in the flour and not in the air in my kitchen.  They just need a little selective encouragement.  I don't like having my name simply mixed up with "it's in the air" belief in the same sentence.

 Dave is just trying to limit your fun playing mad scientist in the kitchen.  A lot can be learned from wild yeast.  And you might have better luck than he did.  :).   If you want a quick starting fast SD starter look up raw sauerkraut starter.  Talk about a jump start!  This is the time of year for raw sauerkraut and it keeps a long time in the fridge until after the holidays.  It's the juice you want to mix with flour.  Scroll down to the more recent posts (2018) at the bottom using raw sauerkraut instead of canned.  

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/40407/making-sourdough-starter-sauerkraut-juice#comment-402485 

Glad you've got great water.  That makes things much more convenient.  I'm getting my holiday baking together too.  Gotta cut out sugar so the list is short. :)