The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

More sour. Sour-er.

Dave Cee's picture
Dave Cee

More sour. Sour-er.

I have been experimenting with larger preferments to increase the sour in my baked loaves. I am making dough this morning using a 1/3 preferment by weight, from starter (no yeast).

All other things being equal, what is the trade-off in the finished loaf when using such a large preferment? Gluten deterioration?

Just wondering. It definitely increased the sour, which I like.

Thanks and best wishes. Dave

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Ah,... the ol' more-sour less-sour discussion.

Here's my favorite summary of the topic: https://truesourdough.com/18-ways-to-make-sourdough-bread-more-or-less-sour/

Bookmark-able.

Bon appétit.

 

Dave Cee's picture
Dave Cee

Regarding steps #12 and #17: On the surface, these two steps seem somewhat contradictory but my knowledge wouldn't make a pimple on the rear end of a...but you know the rest.

I made my preferment beginning with 125g of mature (30-month-old) starter combined with three feedings over about 48 hours, at about 72°F. I used the finished preferment as about 33% of the dough, which I am bulk fermenting right now.

I ordinarily utilize many of the other recommendations in maintaining my starter and in the bulk fermentation and retardation processes.

 I'm just wondering if I am sabotaging dough strength by maximizing acid production...?

Thanks again and best wishes. Dave

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Dave, here’s my 2 cents worth.

Tiny percentages of Pre-fermented Flour makes the most sour dough. I know, it sounds contrary, but...

When you used a large percentage of levain, the dough quickly became over acidified. This degrades the gluten and turns the dough to slop. You are right, the bread will taste very sour, but it won’t bake up well because there is no strength in the gluten.

The small levain will allow the dough to ferment over a much longer time. Time is always a breads friend. This subject can get very deep. 

There are 2 extremes of sour flavor, lactic and acetic. All SD breads contain both, but generally favor one over the other. Lactic flavor - think yogurt. Acetic - vinegar. Not exactly yogurt and vinegar, but you can get the idea. Lactic favors warmth and acetic, cool.

To develop a bread with a very sour flavor the dough need to ferment for a long time. During the extended ferment the LAB continue to multiply and build acids.

It’s a technical process. My suggestion, if you want a smooth flavored (catering to lactic acid) is to take Teresa Greenway’s online course ($11) for San Francisco Sourdough. I took the course a few years ago and was so satisfied with the results, that I never ventured further attempting to improve the bread.
https://www.udemy.com/share/101ITYBUUadlhTQX4=/

HTH,
Danny

Dave Cee's picture
Dave Cee

I appreciate your comments and suggestions and will probably abandon my current course of experimentation. When reading through the archives last year I was amused by the subjectivity of each person's perception of "sour" flavor. I would describe my preference as the strong acetic acid type flavor.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my inquiry. I admire your passion for the craft! Best wishes. Dave

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Ferment cool for long periods of time, think 48-72 hours at 38F. Small percentage of levain, and strong flour to endure the long fermentation. Also you will find better success initially with lower hydrations, ~68%. Drier dough tolerates long and more abusive fermentation.

doughooker's picture
doughooker

How about adding a few drops of lactic acid liquid?

I've tried this with the USDA starterless recipe and am still experimenting. I have not tried it with a live culture.

I've also tried lactic acid powder. The brand on the market now has an odd flavor so I use the liquid.

https://www.amazon.com/Lactic-Acid-88-Home-Brew/dp/B000MBW7V2/ref=sr_1_1?crid=36LV1E1C9FNZF&dchild=1&keywords=lactic+acid+homebrew&qid=1594012805&s=industrial&sprefix=lactic+acid+home%2Cindustrial%2C207&sr=1-1

doughooker's picture
doughooker

The way the old S.F. bakeries did it was by using a stiff (50% hydration) starter which they refreshed every 8 hours. They were baking 24/7 so all of the starter was used to bake and they did not discard huge quantities.

It is possible that the starter/sponge was what we would consider "overproofed". From this they made dough and the bread turned out just fine.

It is not practical for me as a home baker to refresh a sponge on an 8-hour cycle and I do not bake enough to use up all of the starter.

I have made bread from overproofed dough and the sourness was wonderful but it was not an acceptable loaf due to overproofing.