The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Could This Be Why?

doughooker's picture
doughooker

Could This Be Why?

I was reviewing my sourdough documentation, specifically U.S. patent #US3826850A. The patent document describes the traditional San Francisco sourdough process. Excerpts below:

"The traditional method for making sourdough bread, otherwise 'known as San Francisco Sourdough Bread, is time consuming, cumbersome and impractical for most commercial bakeries."

Yeah, tell me about it.

"1. Maintaining a continuous starter sponge comprised of two parts (40%) previous sponge, two parts (40%) flour and one part (20%) water by rebuilding every eight hours or three times a day"

"Three sponge transfers a day and long proof times are necessary in order to obtain proper acid development and leavening."

Aha! This could explain why, after making all the right moves, my sourdough never turns out as deliciously sour as the old-school breads of yore. Keep in mind that these big sourdough factories in San Francisco and Oakland were turning out thousands of loaves per day, baking 24/7. They used a stiff starter which was refreshed every eight hours.

Baking 24/7, they likely used up the sponge as quickly as they made it.

I don't bake 24/7 so my starter sits in the fridge for days on end until I need it to bake. Therein lies the difference! The strong San Francisco sour was due in large part to the thrice-daily refreshment of the starter sponge. This may explain why my home-made sourdough never has the sourness I desire.

The only way I've found to achieve the old-school sour is to way overproof the dough, and of course this results in an unsatisfactory loaf.

 

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Hi Dough hooker  i think you have just about provided your own solution instead of over proofing your final dough try overproofing your Sour dough culture build, Quite easy to do really take a small amount of your culture and give it the treatment , feed it instead of 3 times a day once or even missing a day here and there, take notes though so you know how you got there, make sure you still maintain your original culture too just in case you want to revert back to it. The other way might be to reserve a bit of dough from  one bake and incorporate it in the next keeping it under and in flour might also be worth trying too. Good luck in your quest Kind regards Derek 

doughooker's picture
doughooker

I tried something similar when I first started baking sourdough. I used a liquid starter kept in the fridge until bake day. I then inoculated a quantity of flour and water with the storage starter, then proofed the starter for 8 hours. The results were OK but not great. I suppose I could have proofed it even longer, say 16 - 24 hours but that's an awful lot of time.

I tried making a stiff starter but over the long haul it turned hard and gummy in the refrigerator.

I made the USDA recipe and it was wonderfully sour the first time I made it but never since. Maybe my kitchen has a jinx on it? Now I'm working on rehabilitating that recipe.

https://patents.google.com/patent/US3826850A/en

doughooker's picture
doughooker

This might be of interest to our sourdough bakers:

https://aem.asm.org/content/aem/21/3/456.full.pdf