The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

San Francisco Sourdough from "Crust & Crumb"

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

San Francisco Sourdough from "Crust & Crumb"

SF SD with WW from C&C


SF SD with WW from C&C

SF SD with WW from C&C - crumb

SF SD with WW from C&C - crumb

Having been raised on San Francisco Sourdough, if for no other reason, I prefer sourdough bread that is ... well ... sour.

 Peter Reinhart's formula from "Crust & Crumb" was the bread with which he won the James Beard prize, and it is my favorite SF-style sourdough. There are two overnight cold fermentations - One with the chef, which is a very dry levain, and the other of the formed and partially risen loaves.

 I have been adding some rye flour most times I bake this. This particular time, I left out the rye but used KA Organic Whole Wheat flour entirely for the levain. Then I used a mix of 1/3 high-gluten and 2/3 bread flour for the dough.

 There are two 690 gm boules retarding in my refrigerator, but I wanted to bake one loaf without the cold retarding, just to compare. I made this loaf into a batard, as you can see.  I baked it at 475F with steam for about 7 minutes, then at 425F with convection for another 25 minutes. I think it could have come out a couple of minutes sooner.

 The crust is still crisp and crunchy. The crumb is quite chewy from the high-gluten flour. (I think I'll use less next time.) It has a lovely taste. I like what the whole wheat does to the flavor. I'll use more next time I bake this bread. The sourness is less than usual, probably because i skipped the overnight cold retardation. You know, I like it either way. This is just good bread!

 

David

Comments

ehanner's picture
ehanner

What got my attention is the nice color and shape of the batard. I've been trying to find a formula for a good sour SD loaf that I can bake into 1.5 Lb loaves. Honestly I don't really get a very sour taste with my usual methods. I'm not a fan of retarding after shaping due to the space in the fridge so I have been using a smaller inoculation and longer fermenting times.

Is the crumb as open as you were hoping for?

Eric 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Eric. 

If you like sour sourdough, the Crust&Crumb formula is the best I've found. I think the key is the firm starter build that gets retarded overnight.  

I can't help make room in your refrigerator, but, if it's any comfort, the boules which I retarded overnight and baked last evening were only a little more sour than the batard pictured above. 

Reinhart says you can keep the firm starter refrigerated for up to 3 days. I haven't kept it more than 1 day before using for a long time, but I bet keeping it two days might increase the lactic acid a bit.  

I recall a very firm rye starter I once refrigerated for 3 days before using. The resulting bread really made you pucker up! 

The crumb of the batard could have been a bit more open, but this style bread is less hydrated than some. My wife actually prefers the texture of this bread to those with more open crumbs. This particular specimen would have pleased me more had it been more open. I didn't compensate adequately for the whole wheat flour I used by adding more water. Next time, I will!

David

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

David,

Your bread is beautiful as usual. I'm amazed at all the baking you do and such a variety. Great job. When you mentioned keeping a starter for up to three days I thought I'd mention what I've been doing with older starter.

 

I did a couple of experiments with Pierre Nury's Rye (which has a very small amount of rye). I made the recipe with a refreshed (the day before) sourdough starter to make the levain and I made the recipe with sourdough that was refreshed four or five days before. The bread made with the five day old sourdough in the levain was delicious with a mild sour and slight tang that we love. It's just delicious. We don't like too much sour at all. The other bread was good but no where as tasty as the old SD starter bread.

 

This morning I finished another batch of this bread. I doubled the recipe to make 4 loaves. I used a five day old sourdough starter to make the levain that then sat out for 12 hours. Then I made the final dough and after 2 stretch and folds I let the bread sit out 2 hours then divided the dough in two. I put both in the fridge (well a cold room) as the recipe called for but took one of the doughs back to the kitchen after about 3 hours and let it warm up about an hour and a half and divided it in two and baked them. The other dough I let sit in the cold overnight as called for in the recipe and baked them this morning. I wanted to see if there would be any difference in taste if they were retarded or not. I found no difference, both are delicious. For me the flavor comes from an older unrefreshed sourdough starter used to make the levain. To me some recipes with a very long fermentation and an overnight retarding sometimes makes bread too sour, an almost spoiled kind of taste. Just me. What do you think? 

 

So, for me, to get great sour flavor that we like I use an unrefreshed sourdough for the levain and I don't think it matters if it's retarded overnight or not. The flavor is already in the dough. I have no trouble with the dough rising, in fact this morning the second batch of dough from the cold room was more than double. The bread has plenty of holes and is so good. I mix by hand. By the way, have you tried Pierre Nury's Rye yet? I don't know why he calls it rye, it just has a tiny bit in there. But it is good. Thanks to zolablue I found a favorite.

 

Again, great bread. Thanks for all your posts.                                                                     weavershouse

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, weavershouse. 

Thanks for the kind words. I do enjoy exploring the world of sourdough breads. There are so many more intriguing types I have yet to make! 

And thanks for sharing your experience with the Nury Light Rye. I've made this bread just a couple of times, but I will definitely make it again. It's one of my favorites. As you say, it doesn't actually have much rye, and it calls for light rye at that, but it's enough to enhance the bread's flavor, I think. 

I hope some other's also respond to your experiment. My first thought is that a starter that has been in the refrigerator for 5 days without being fed is different from a levain that has been cold retarded for 5 days only in semantics. So, it is consistent with what one would expect in being very sour. 

I think Reinhart in BBA talks about the influence of both hydration and temperature on the balance of yeast growth, lactic acid production and acetic acid production. I can never remember the whole analysis, but I do recall that acetic acid production is promoted by a firmer levain and colder temperature. 

On the other hand, if I remember correctly, using a smaller proportion of starter in your dough is also supposed to result in increased sourness in the bread. I need to search my notes. I bet other, more experienced, sourdough bakers could lay it out for us. Soudolady? Mike Avery?  

What's the hydration of your starter? 

David

Richard L Walker's picture
Richard L Walker

[the bread with which he won the James Beard prize]

I have to giggle here. James Beard disliked baking with sourdough with a passion. Any time he included a recipe in a cookbook it was usually with a disclaimer. Having a sourdough bread win a prize named after him is a hoot.

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hmmm ... I wonder. Did James Beard ever say he disliked EATING sourdough bread?

David

Richard L Walker's picture
Richard L Walker

I'm fairly certain he tasted sourdough breads that he liked. His main complaint was due to the unpredictability of the process / results. He made sourdough bread quite a few times with different results in different regions ... or sometimes different results just around the corner. His recommendation to improve the predictability of the results was to use yeast with the sourdough ... but ... he also realized that sourdough was immensely popular and prefaced a recipe with, "But for those who like a challenge, here it is; ..."

His book "Beard on Bread" dedicated 2 pages to salt-rising bread and 3 pages to sourdough.

Given the advances in recent year bread-making I would expect the book to be totally different if written today. He was a neat guy.

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Richard, 

Did you know Beard? If so, share some stories ... Start a new topic. I'm sure lots of folks would be interested. 

David

Richard L Walker's picture
Richard L Walker

No - no.  I bought his book.  I would have enjoyed meeting him, but never did.

holds99's picture
holds99

David,

Your loaf, outside and in, is as nice as I've seen.  I really like the crust color and the ear.  It looks like you scored it once, end to end, down the center, with the blade at an angle to get your "ear", true?  Anyway, you definitely have the "touch" and did an outstanding job there. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I scored the batard just as you described. 

The nice color is partly from the little bit of diastatic malt in the dough. The boules I retarded overnight have an even nicer color - more reddish. They look just like the photos of this bread in "Crust & Crumb."  

David