The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelman Pain au Levain with WW: newish starter/bread flour

JoshTheNeophyte's picture
JoshTheNeophyte

Hamelman Pain au Levain with WW: newish starter/bread flour

Hi All,

I am returning to baking sour-dough bread after a long hiatus (quarantine is the mother of invention).  I created a new starter 1 week ago and have baked 2 loaves with it (day 5,6 on the starter timeline).  The recipe calls for AP but I only have bread flour.  While they both have flaws:

  • not enough oven spring
  • a bit dense
  • fairly big holes,

the second loaf was better than the first.  

I made a couple of adjustments to the 2nd loaf: increased hydration slightly to compensate for higher protein bread Flour,  reduced mix/kneading time as i thought that the limited rise was a function of over-development.

The recipe has a 1 hour autolyse, a 2.5 hour bulk ferment with 2 folds, 2.5 hour proof.  It has a 67% hydration, 14% pre-fermented flour and ~25% of flour is WW or rye.

My questions:

1. how much of my problems with oven spring/density are a funciton of a new starter that is still developing "power"?

2. is the hydration the issue?  should i increase hydration more to compensate for protein.  i increased to 75% for today's bake

3. are the big holes a problem with de-gassing?  If so, at what point should i de-gass? during shaping or folding?  

4. what is the effect of the kneading time on the outcome? does a lot of kneading constrain the rise of the bread?

Thanks for any help provided.

 

Josh

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

-- Just now saw the photo.  Under-fermented.

-- Yes, your new starter can raise a loaf, but the strength and "balance" (lactic acid bacteria versus yeast) is going to change in these early stages.  It has neither "matured" nor has the balance been stabilized.  The time-table of when the maturing and balancing happens varies from individual to individual.  A good rule of thumb is at least 4 days after starter at least  doubles after a 1:1:1 feeding, and more likely 7 days, maybe two weeks over all.  So, if you mean 5/6 days since you first mixed flour and water, you still have a "baby" starter.  (WW and rye starters work up quicker than white flour, but still take time to balance out.)

--  It can work, but whatever tweaks/adjustments you do at this point will need to be re-tweaked in a few days cuz the starter hasn't matured, it's changing.

 

zachyahoo's picture
zachyahoo

Totally agree with everything idaveindy says here!

You need more time, amigo

JoshTheNeophyte's picture
JoshTheNeophyte

so what's the call -- can i extend the fermentation time or do i just need to give the starter a few more days?

JoshTheNeophyte's picture
JoshTheNeophyte

Starter seems to provide a bit more buoyancy.  Are those holes just a de-gassing problem?  This bake was done on starter day 9.

 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

That is definitely going in the right direction.  To answer your question, maybe a bit of both, proper folding at the time of preshape/shape, and a _little_ degassing;  but also the starter could use few more days.

How's the taste?

JoshTheNeophyte's picture
JoshTheNeophyte

it's a nice bread.  mild tang.  nice wheat flavor.