The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Follow up to my sourdough baking - still a novice

Miller's picture

Follow up to my sourdough baking - still a novice

This as a follow up that I'm addressing to all those persons who have helped me in the last few months and also to those who may have read my postings out of mere curiosity or for any other reason.

In my most recent attempt I achieved what I consider to be a big improvement in my baking efforts. This time I ensured that the starter build up and bulk fermentation took place in a controlled temperature environment. I devised a "proofing pot", no not a box, with a thermostat which kept the bulk fermentation at a nearly constant temperature. I also did a part of the proofing under controlled temperature. I posted a photo of the prototype proofing pot here if anyone is interested to see my Heath Robinson/Rube Goldberg contraption.

Bulk fermentation and proofing under a controlled temperature was a huge revelation to me. Firstly, my starter build tripled in size which is something that I had never achieved till then. Secondly, the dough which I put in the fridge overnight and covered so as not to dry out, filled the banneton and would have overflowed if I had not had it covered with a shower cap! In truth I could do with getting less rise during the overnight proofing stage. I'll have to do something about this, but I don't know exactly what. I should mention that the overnight proofing period was 14 hours long because I overslept... :)

Learning from my many mistakes which people here have been very patient to help me with and provided me with a number of ways to avoid them, I made what I would consider a decent sourdough with just the right sour undertones.

Thank you for your assistance so far.

albacore's picture

Time and time again I read on this forum of new bakers having problems with their starters, levains and doughs. It seems to me that an awful lot of these problems are down to lack of decent temperature control.

Well done to Miller for realising this and developing his (her?) proofing pot. I am lucky to have some constructional skills and have built a couple of proofing boxes giving me the ability to dial and maintain any temperature from ambient up to 35C.

I guess all I am saying to those new to baking is to try and build or at least improvise some kind of proofing box or, if you are flush enough but don't have the skills to make one, get yourself a Brod & Taylor.