The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My first loaves (pics)

somegeek's picture
somegeek

My first loaves (pics)

Here are my first loaves from my starter...

Pretty tasty!  They don't have a real strong sourdough flavor.  Would I let my starter sit at room temp longer after feeding before making my dough to get a more sour flavor? What factors of a recipe/preparation contribute to larger crumb in a loaf?

Hans

Richelle's picture
Richelle

I think you mean a crumb with more air pockets... you could try a somewhat whetter dough and do a few Stretch & Folds either when you set it out to ferment or after you have retarted it and let it come to room temperature before baking.

It works with me!

Good luck!

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Will note to try this next time!

I did note that this basic recipe didn't call for any greasy/oily ingredients.  How would adding a few Tbsp of butter affect the quality of the bread structure?

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hans,

First, your bread looks good! Lovely crust color. 

I recall reading in Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread: A Baker's Book..." (one of this bread-baker's bibles) that butter or oil coats the gluten, and rather than enhancing the gluten structure works against it.

In answering your question about opening up the crumb, of course I don't know a lot about how you formed your loaves. Generally speaking there are a few rules of thumb to follow in creating an airy crumb.

I agree with the earlier response that wetter is generally better for lightening the crumb. And don't forget an autolyse period: you get the gluten formation 'cheaper' because you don't have to knead so much to get strength in the dough. Over-kneading causes oxidation, which breaks down the dough. Hamelman, in his Sourdough recipes, emphasizes the autolyse (up to an hour I think!) and kneads less than you would think, folding the dough during bulk fermentation to build strength, promoting a good rise.

Finally, I observe you baked your bread in loaf pans, which are often used to make sandwich loaves, which traditionally have a tighter crumb. Proofing in a banneton or similar basket, or forming boules free-form may help open up the crumb. After all, a loaf in a pan has less room to expand.

Hope this helps!

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Thanks for the kind words.

I will save the butter for the time of consumption then. :)

My method per the recipe I followed was to combine ingredients, knead for 5 minutes, let dough rest at room temp for 30 minutes, divide and shape in loaf pans, let panned dough rest for 12 hours at room temp, place into a 450ºF oven w/ pan of water for steam, after five minutes, remove pan of water and reduce temp to 400º until loaves reached 204ºF internal.

I have a salad spinner I can use for a boule rise and a pizza stone I can bake it on. Makes sense regarding the pan restricting expansion.

Gonna pick up The Bread Bible today at Borders. They have a coupon for $10 off $20+ book today. Imagine the book will answer some questions as well.

Thanks for all the info / explanations.

Will report back here with the results of my next bake.

Hans

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hans,

Regarding the butter question, what Mike Avery says may be valid. It's certainly a fact that expert bakers disagree, on everything from mixing times to baking temperatures and everything else in between. I just wanted to pass on what I recalled reading from a master baker whose book has helped me enormously. And I'm glad you are getting it. I think you will learn a lot from it. And finally, I use butter in lots of breads I bake. It softens the crumb and provides great flavor. But in my experience adding butter doesn't make for an airier or more open crumb.

From your in depth description I would say you have combined bulk fermentation and proofing into one long fermentation. Long fermentation is important to develop flavor, in sourdough or commercially-yeasted bread. But you also need to develop the gluten. (Full disclaimer: the next thing I say may be controversial!) Hamelman writes that no yeasted bread dough should ferment for more than 1.5 hours without folding. The folding helps build strength, and also degasses the dough, removing some of the carbon dioxide, which JH says can impede the yeast in their feeding. Folding also redistributes food to those insatiable yeast.

The autolyse I mentioned in my previous reply helps build the gluten as well. In addition it starts the enzymatic process of breaking out sugar from the starch in the flour. Using an autolyse you just mix the ingredients (pre-yeast in commercially leavened bread) until the flour is hydrated, i.e. into the proverbial shaggy mass. Let it sit. After 20 minutes or more (add your yeast and) mix or knead your dough to build the gluten.

On a related subject, and to get another important baker-author into the discussion, Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice has some really interesting thoughts on an overnight retarded autolyse. He calls the resulting bread Pain a l'Ancienne, I think. Reinhart mixes the yeast in at the beginning and uses ice water to keep the yeast from acting until he removes the dough from the fridge the next day. The source for this is a Parisian baker named Gosselin who, interestingly, doesn't add the yeast until the next morning when he makes award-winning baguettes out of the dough. Now that's what I call an autolyse!

Finally, I would suggest separating the bulk fermentation from the proofing stage. The proof or last rise needs only be long enough to raise the dough for baking. With sourdough the proofing stage tends to be longer, but even that depends on how fast your proofing dough rises. You want to get the proofed dough into the oven before it has reached its peak, so you will get the final lift of oven spring.

Enjoy your new book!

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Added water to my mixing bowl, whisked in the starter and then added the flour to form a shredded mess and let sit for 30 minutes at room temp. Next, I added butter and salt and kneaded for roughly seven minutes. Formed my dough ball and placed into a dusted salad spinner basket. Basket was sprayed with PAM to help the flour adhere to the basket for the dough ball to rest against(read that tip on here). Placed the basket in the salad spinner bowl and covered top with cellophane to mostly seal and placed on counter to sit at room temp for 15 hours. Next, placed a pizza stone w/ pan of water in the oven and turned on oven to 450ºF. Removed boule from basket and placed on cornmeal dusted peel, sprayed with mist to moisten. Sat for 20 minutes at room temp while oven preheated. The boule still stuck a little to the basket and the areas where the flour coated basket contacted the dough didn't appear to have dry flour stuck to the dough when removed. The PAM and flour did allow the dough to release by it's own weight without tearing however so I think that did it's intended job(placed my hand on top of the boule and turned over the basket for it to drop out). After the 20 minutes, I misted the boule surface again and then slid the boule onto the pizza stone and baked for 27 minutes. I forgot to reduce temps to 400ºF after five minutes but the finished product still looks edible I think. :)

Told my wife we have to wait a few hours for the loaf to cool before slicing... she doesn't like that... 'specially getting close to lunch time.  I quoted Alton Brown... 'Your patience will be rewarded.'

Was expecting more oven rise but I think this did pretty well. Did increase the moisture a little but I need more I think. Looking forward to seeing how the crumb and air pockets look as well as to see if 15 hours at room temp increased the sour sourdough flavor.

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Tastes more sour than my previous loafs. Crumb and bubbles are looking better I think. Sandwiches for lunch!

Bit of a rough cut... have a proper bread knife on my wish list.

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Your crumb looks nice. Enjoy!

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hans,

I have to say that salad spinner pattern is a pretty one. One question I have is: are you using an instant read thermometer to figure out when to end the baking? On a bread like this I like the temperature around 205 F (96 C). Your crust looks like a little more time would deepen it nicely.

How did it taste?

Regarding the 15 hour fermentation/proof, see my previous reply. (Fold to build gluten strength.) Another way you can approach manipulating time to get a tangy taste is to bulk ferment the dough between 3 and 4 hours at room temperature, shape and let the final rise take place in the refrigerator, overnight. The colder temperature slows down the yeast activity relative to the bacteria, which helps promote that delicious sour taste. The baking stage then is preceded by 3 or 4 hours of letting the dough come back up to temperature (during which time it may rise some more).

You may want to check the blog of the barmy baker, who has an instructive sequence of entries on making some beautiful sourdough loaves:

http://thebarmybaker.blogspot.com/2007/08/sourdough-bread-at-last.html

Soundman (David)

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Funny you should ask...on my previous bakes I did use a thermometer but on this one I just pulled it when the crust looked golden brown.  The taste is good!  Crispy / chewy crust and lighter bread.  Made great sandwiches.  I did sense the sugar flavor but will leave butter out of my next loaf.  Thanks for the info regarding the yeast / bacteria activity.  Will follow this fermentation method on my next loaf.

Soundman's picture
Soundman

I wish I could have tasted it! Bread is so good fresh out of the oven (after cooling down, of course, of course... if you can wait).

I'm unfortunately lost without my instant read thermometer. If I went by color, and I used to, I would never let the bread bake long enough. And the more I experiment with temperature, of the ingredients, and of the dough during mixing and fermentation especially, the more important I find it to be.

Keep on baking!

Soundman (David)

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Increased hydration slightly. Had to add some flour when kneading as the dough was so moist it was not manageable.

Durations:
20 minute autolyse at room temp
7 minute knead
3 hours at room temp
Folded twice and formed into ball and placed in salad spinner
11 hours in fridge
3 hours room temp
Into oven and pizza stone for 27 minutes at 450ºF

Resulted in a much higher rising loaf. Left it til it browned more than previous loaf. 205ºF internal temp when pulled.

Did get some stretchmarks from the rise and a cracked bottom.

What does one need to do to prevent the stretchmarks and the bottom crack?

Hans

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Cut it open and the crumb and air pockets look good I think... 

Crust is good and chewy.  Inside is softer... though the increase in sourness from rising in the refrigerator I was expecting is not there.  My prior loaf was more sour which fermented at room temps.

Thoughts?

Hans 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Again, that's beautiful bread. Nice airy crumb, irregular holes. I would be very proud of that loaf of sourdough if I baked it.

As to the diminished sour taste, that could result from several things to my limited knowledge. I am surprised that 11 hours retarding didn't build more tang, but I think the way I would experiment next is to lengthen the bulk fermentation at room temperature somewhat. How about 4 or 5 hours before putting it into the fridge? How about longer retardation as well, say up to 16 hours? Of course one's schedule doesn't always allow these shifts.

Another factor, of course, is the starter itself. Depending on the frequency with which you refresh it, and the amount of flour and water in the refreshment, you can increase or decrease the acidity. More frequent feedings, while building the starter's ability to leaven, also tend to heighten the yeast at the expense of the bacteria (less acidity). Feedings which merely double the amount of starter (after discarding some) will create more acidity than feedings which triple or quadruple the starter, because the ratio of starter to new flour is higher.

Keep up the great work!

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Thanks for the kind words and info.  Going to let the starter rise longer before the next loaf and also give the dough a few more hours at room temp before going into the fridge.

My wife put together some sandwiches for lunch... here's the crumb shot:

Everything about this loaf was great cept the missing sour notes.  Enjoying this trial and error / tweaking of the recipe to get closer to the results I want. 

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Wow, great work Hans. Gotta agree with Soundman, on all points he offered. A few more thoughts. If you start using a couche inside your salad spinner you will no longer need a spray, which I think is beneficial, at least to me.  As far as the cracking goes Wild Yeast has pretty much covered that perfectly, you need to score your bread before it goes into the oven. That'll give you higher lift and more attractive finish.
Lastly, as far as sourness, the refrigerator is cold, around 30F, so all the reactions that happen within your dough slow down significantly, as opposed to when the dough is on the counter where the temperature is around 75F - 80F. So the sourness will develop more slowly.

Rudy 

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Thanks, Rudy!

This time I let the dough stay at room temp(78ºF in my oven) from start to oven finish(roughly 15 hours at this temp). The result was a more sour flavor... the level of the sourness in the flavor was pretty spot on!

The dough did stick to the basket and the dough fell quite a bit when I removed it from the basket and didn't quite retain it's shape and resulted in a flatter loaf. Minus that, the results were great!

Appreciate folk's input - has helped quite a bit.

Hans

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

If you go back and re-read Soundman's suggestions, you'll notice that he posted that you really cannot bake your bread after a long fermentation, as it will be overproofed and result in negative oven spring, as you have experienced. Once you finish fermenting your dough, you need to fold it over, let it proof for 1 - 2 hours depending on either how big the loaf is or what the recipe calls for, and then put that into the oven.

Good Luck, and great work.

Rudy 

somegeek's picture
somegeek

So try 5 hours fermentation at room temp, retard 15 hours in fridge, fold and then 2 hour proof at room temp?

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

That sounds good. The final proofing should not exceed 2 hours I would say. Of course a lot depends on how large your loaf is and now hot the room you are proofing the dough in is. Basically what you are trying to do is catch your dough at being risen to about 80% - 85% of its maximum rise. So before the final fold take a note how high the dough had climbed up and when it gets within 80% - 85% there it's slash and oven time.

Looking at the pictures of your loaf it appears to be somewhere around a pound of flour, or roughly 4 cups. For that size your final fermentation will be closer to 1.5 hours rather than 2. Remember 2 hours is pretty much the maximum for those enormous 3 pound loaves. :O :)

Last note. After you take your dough out of the fridge you have to let it come to room temperature which will take a couple of hours.

Rudy 

somegeek's picture
somegeek

I did a final proofing this am and I think I need more time at room temp before and after the fridge. My results above with three hours fermentation and three hours proofing resulted in a very nice loaf albiet with minimal sour notes. Tonight's loaf will see:

5 hours fermentation(hopefully two additional hours will increase sour notes)

8 hours in the fridge(retardation?)

3 hours proof(also known as final fermentation?)

I proofed a boule today for roughly two hours and it was not enough for the dough to come up to temp and start rising again which resulted... well scroll down to see Quasimodo the boule.

I ordered the Bread Baker's Apprentice(in lieu of The Bread Bible) and it should be here tomorrow. Imagine it will answer some questions. :-)

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hans,

I'm with Rudy: a single 15-hour fermentation = one long overproofing. Just as folding during bulk fermentation redistributes food to the yeast and removes some of the CO2, so does the shaping and proofing stage. After 15 hours, the yeast have pretty much consumed all the food in their vicinity, and they're getting tired and hungry, like little kids on a long car ride. So shaping the loaves for the proof feeds 'em and makes 'em happy! (Yeast, according to one writer, tend to clump up and don't move much in bread dough.)

Generally speaking, though not in every case, the proof stage is about raising the dough to bake it, not building flavor. Catching the dough at the right point in its final rise is crucial to making a great loaf, so there's less room for playing for time here. Though of course retarding in the refrigerator does just that, and drastically. That brings me to another issue.

I.e. back to sourness. Most refrigerators have crude temperature controls. For the purpose of building sour flavor during the retarded proof, try setting your fridge at the least cold temperature it offers. (Of course when you're not retarding dough you may want to return to the colder temperature.) Also, refrigerators have hot and cold spots, with significant temperature differences. My fridge is coldest at the back on the top shelf. I retard dough and keep my sourdough starter on the bottom shelf toward the front, after turning the temperature to the least cold setting. I think you can also extend the time the dough is retarding, in order to build a more sour flavor.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, you may want to experiment with the way you feed your starter. (You haven't detailed your feeding regimen, so I may be off here.) You could try making your dough with a starter that you have simply doubled in volume at the last couple of feedings before mixing the dough. The size of the refreshment, relative to the amount of starter you're feeding, is a way to vary the acidity, or sourness, of the starter. Of course you need to know when the last feeding has peaked to get sufficient leavening power.

Keep experimenting!

Soundman (David)

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Thanks again for the info!

I've been pulling my starter from the fridge, feeding it 1/2C water and a generous 3/4C AP flour(yeilds a thick starter) and then leaving at room temp for five hours to double and then pulling 1/2C starter to add to the following:

Water    1.25C + 2 Tbps
Bread Flour    3C

Autolyse for 20-30 minutes

Add:
Sugar    1 tsp
Salt    1 tsp
Butter    1/2Tbsp

knead(a little flour is added while kneading to get the dough to the right consistency) and move on to fermentation/proofing...

I've read that some folks just combine the water and flour for the autolyse stage and then add the remaining contents before kneading.

I am pondering pulling and feeding my starter to sit at room temp to max it's rise before pulling 1/2C to make my dough.  Seems it needs roughly 10 hours to come up to temp and max it's rise which is roughly 250%(least this is where the rise mark was this morning when I fed it and left it out overnight).

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hans,

That looks amazingly good. Wow did you get it to rise better. Now I want to see the crumb. And taste it. Please send a hunk to Connecticut, for quality control of course.

The crack on the bottom indicates to me that the bread really expanded, which is a good thing. It's of course the seam that we're looking at that came apart a bit. I don't know what you did to seal it, but I use the side of my hand and press into the dough, supported by the worktable beneath to seal the seam the best I can.

That's a beautiful loaf. So let's see the crumb!

Soundman (David)

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

A few comments about the bread first.  It looks very nice.  The crumb structure is entirely appropriate for a sandwich bread.  If it gets larger, the mayo, mustard, or even the preserves would fall through and make a mess.  It could have been baked a bit longer, I like a darker crust.

 

A more sour taste is best achieved byusing a fresh starter and a longer rise.  When you add starter to a bread you are not adding flavor the way you would if you added cinnamon or olives.  You are adding living creatures who will develop the flavor.  Adding a more sour starter means you are adding an imparied starter that will be less able to raise the loaf.  And the sour flavor will be diluted when you mix the dough.  I like to feed my starter, wait until it reaches its peak and then use it at some point between then and when it just starts to recede.

 

Now then.... about the butter.  I am reminded of having been at Camp Bread.  Yeast was being discussed.  Two world class bakers spoke.  One said that he never used dried yeast, it was manifestly inferior to fresh yeast.  Another said he saw no difference between fresh and instant dry yeast.  They were both the same organism, worked the same, and confered the same taste on the bread.  Who are us mortals to believe?

 

Jeff seems to have said butter weakens the gluten structure.  But Emily Beuhler in "Bread Science" says just the opposite.  However, she points out that solid fats stregthen the crumb structure, which liqiuid ones do not.  More interestingly, she points out that if you mekt the solid fat, it doesn't strengthen the crumb structure.  So, you might try adding solid butter to your bread and see what happens.

 

Mike

 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

The bottom split due to too much expansion across the crack line.  The stress can be relieved by providing relief slashes around the edge (vertical slashes in a radial pattern). 

I was thinking that Feuilletage dough (puff pastry) incorporates butter but can use a number of other substitute substitute fats that include goose fat, lard, margarine and oil. Sounds like an experiment is in order. Artisan Pastry Sourdough Bread? or "A Bridge too Far"...,

Wild-Yeast

Richelle's picture
Richelle

made with goose fat, lard or margarine is worthy of an interesting experiment I think. I don't see oil as a replacement for butter however, as it doesn't firm up when cooled. When I imagine a feuilletage dough with oil I somehow cannot come up with an image of a nice flaky croissant. But, WY, if you want to take the plunge, literally, I would love to read about the experience :-)

As I have lots of lard in my pantry from last winter's 'matanza' I might do an experiment with that... but my kitchen in the summer in the south of spain is not the ideal place/time for that... I'll put it on my 'to do' list and will post about it when I've done it, okay?

Richelle

somegeek's picture
somegeek

The learning process continues... yesterday I pulled the starter from the fridge to feed it and sit at room temp for 7 hours or so to come up to temp and rise 200%. Knocked down and pulled 1/2C to assemble dough. Dough fermented at room temp for two hours and then went into the fridge. 10 hours later(this AM) I pulled the dough from the fridge, folded a few times, formed a doughball and placed on my peel to proof for two hours at room temp and then placed into a 450ºF oven. After 25 minutes things were ugly. Had a blow-out. Outside layer set up and was at 125ºF and the middle was 75ºF. Took about 45 minutes to reach 200ºF internal. Zero sour notes though the crust was crispy/flaky. Will get cut up and placed in our container of dried bread for bread crumbs.

Will have to proof longer(four hours total?) and maybe throw in a few more hours of fermentation for five hours of fermentation on my next bake.

Question - would an increase in the amount of starter in my recipe(and equal decrease in water/flour) help increase the sour flavor?

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

No expert here, but I have found that a smaller amount of starter brings more pronounced flavour because you will encounter a slower, longer rise. I also agree with Maryinhammondsport..flavour increases with age.

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

Before you make crumbs out of it, let it "mature" on the counter for 24 hours, then taste. My sourdough picks up a lot of flavor in the first 24 hours after baking.

That said, how old is your starter? It might just need to age a while.

Try some of the sourdough recipes on this site using your starter -- here is a suggestion:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1040

Mary

 

somegeek's picture
somegeek

My starter is about 3.5 weeks old.  Very interesting regarding the loaf developing flavors at room temp.  I will need to do this on our next loaf... resist hacking it up that is.  :-)

I will check out that link - thanks!

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Okay, I have nothing to add, but I just want to give a thanks to all those people that provided somegeek with advice.  As a sourdough beginner, the discussions here have been, to say the least, enlightening.  Honestly, some of the answers here could go into a sourdough FAQ...

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Hi Hans.

I noticed that in your post above you shaped your dough for final proofing immediately after removing it from the fridge. I don't think that's a good idea. The dough needs to come to room temperature before the shaping for final proofing. And as I mentioned in one of my posts above you need to give the dough a couple of hours out of the fridge to come to room temperature. Then shape for final proofing. Score and into the oven.

Rudy 

somegeek's picture
somegeek

I misunderstood that or it didn't register... :-S Went back and re-read your posts. Thanks for taking the time to write that up. I'm up to speed now I think.

My dough is now fermenting. This is my planned schedule for this bake...

Thoughts?

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

That table looks great. The logic in the table as well as the table itself. :) A couple of notes. I personally find that sugar is unnecessary in the sourdough bread. It is added to straight dough breads to give the yeast something to munch on as it proofs in the water. Since there is no such thing here, you don't need the sugar. However if you like the flavor, then all is well. Another note. Butter, and any other kind of fat will tend to shorten your dough. Which is why it is called shortening. Basically it prevents the gluten strands from becoming too long. This in turn has an affect on the bread chewiness (crust and crumb) and rise. On the chewiness side, the bread will be softer, because gluten strands are shorter. On the rise side of things, the bread will not be able to rise as high since the smaller network of gluten strands will not provide as large an umbrella for the escaping steam to lift up. However, again it's a matter of taste. Perhaps, you may want to consider making one loaf without one or both of these and see how you like the flavor and texture of it, when compared to the bread with them. Final note. 30 minutes at 450F may or may not be enough depending on the size of your loaf. Remember the longer the bread is in the oven the deeper the crust will form. However, looking at how beautiful your latter loaves have looked you appear to be getting a handle on the oven thing. Really awesome job.

Rudy 

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Thanks, Rudy. That's a rough 30 minutes. Is 205ºF the standard temp one should work towards with a sourdough loaf? I've been working towards that. My last loaf messed up the bake time since I didn't allow enough time to come up to room temp before baking.

Also - after I bring the dough out to come up to room temp, is it okay to degas the dough before the final proofing? I had some large air bubbles in my dough this morning that pushed towards the surface when I was forming before the proof. Thinking it's okay but figured I'd ask just in case.

I did note last night when I folded that the dough had more structure and was tighter when I folded it before going into the fridge.  Pretty cool.

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Good oven spring on this loaf and it hit 205ºF in roughly 30 minutes(negelected to note the exact time it went in)...

Bake was done according to the schedule above verbatim.

I certainly see now how the slashing allows for the loaf to rise/expand more.

Does this loaf look okay or are there other things I should try for a better looking loaf as a finished product as a bread newbie? What causes the blisters on the surface?

I'd like to wait 24 hours for the sour flavor to develop a bit... I can do that for about 2/3 loaf... I wanna try this in a few hours and check out the crumb. :-)

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

You've got it down now!! The blisters are very desirable here in the US, but I guess frowned upon across the pond. Let us know about the crumb and flavour. High five to you!

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hans,

For a geek who just started sourdough, that loaf looks beautiful. As Paddyscake said, we love that blistering. I can't remember whether the blistering is a result of caramelization, the 'Maillard reaction', or both, but it looks fantastic. Caramelization happens to sugars, Maillard to amino acids, and you have both in bread, so I'll go with 'both'.

On a sour note, again, maybe more time both out of the fridge and then again in the fridge. As several responders have noted, refrigerators are so cold that the process of fermentation slows down to a crawl. I believe Hamelman suggests up to 16 hours or more in a home refrigerator. Sour = more time.

Keep up the lovely work!

Soundman (David)

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Cut the loaf open about four hours after the bake. I like the texture and taste. Seemed the taste was a little more sour a few hours later after the moisture redistributed in the loaf.  Reminds me of when I rest stuff coming off the grill or outta the smoker.  Funny how basic baking concepts carry over to other foods.

Looking forward to carving this up for sandwiches. Think the air pockets are about the threshold for sandwiches(mayo and mustard).

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Perfect boule, Hans! You have made a totally classic American sourdough bread - crust and crumb.

Of course, now that you are comfortable with the "basics," you're naturally gonna want to play with variations.

I didn't see that you got an answer regarding the "blisters" under the surface of the crust. Those are from little CO2 bubbles that form during cold fermentation. As others have said, they are regarded as undesirable in France, but in the US we like them.


David

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Like others have suggested, I'd skip the sugar and butter.

 

Also, I'd work with the starter from the fridge a bit longer.  I think you might be using it too soon.   I usually use mine about 12 hours after its previous feeding.

 

Also, I don't care for retarding the dough in bulk.  It wastes too much time warming dough.

 

I also don't like retarding in a fridge.  Household fridges get too cold.  If you talk to commercial bakeries, they retard between 48 and 68F.  The idea is to slow fermentation, home refrigerator temps will all but stop it.  I'd suggest getting a brewers thermostat and a cheap refrigerator that you could dedicate to baking.  

As to rise time, Boudin in California does a single final rise of 18 hours at 68F.  And their bread is pretty decent.

I'd prefer to do the first rise, form loaves, let them sit at room temp for a while, then retard them.  When the loaves are ready, they can go straight to the oven.

 

Still, there are many paths to a great loaf, and you have some great loaves there.

Mike 

somegeek's picture
somegeek

That's interesting regarding the warmer retarding temperatures.  I will have to try something like that.  The one loaf I did that rose at 78ºF in my oven for 15 hours had the best sour flavor so far although it was a little warm as I had a negative rise when it came time to bake.  Room temp in our house is around 69-70 no average.  I will have to experiment with room temp retarding.  Can do my final proof in the oven at 78ºF.

Will try bringing the starter out sooner as well.

Trying to nail down the details with this recipe before trying other recipes so I can reproduce it accurately and consistently.  Keeping track of each bake on a spreadsheet.  Enjoying the trial and error.

Thanks for the replies.

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

Oh, I never wait to taste it -- as soon as it is cold, I have too check it out. I was just recommending that you not give up on a loaf in terms of flavor until it has had a chance to bring its flavors all together, which for me is the next day.

Mary 

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Wow Hans. That loaf is gorgeous, in fact I would say professional. Super awesome job. Very impressive

You clearly have the oven thing down, so there's nothing for me to say. :)

It is definitely OK to degas the dough before the final proofing. In fact it can be done several times if you'd like.

From your comments I'm beginning to feel like you really want that extra tang and sourness in your bread. To accomplish that. I'd like to suggest that you forgo the fridge all together and bulk ferment your down on the counter, for the same amount of time you would do it in the fridge. That should bring you closer to the flavor you appear to be looking for. If the bread comes out too sour just start cutting the fermentation time in 2 hour chunks, as you experiment from loaf to loaf.

Rudy

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

"It is definitely OK to degas the dough before the final proofing. In fact it can be done several times if you'd like."

Out of curiosity, any idea why Reinhart suggests minimizing degassing when doing the shaping prior to the final proof?  I always assumed that encouraged a more open crumb, but it'd be good to know if I don't have to be so gentle and careful. :)

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Hey fancypantalons good thing you chomed in here. Degas was a poor choice of words on my part. I was trying to quote Hans's sentence, but for some reason using the <blockquote> tag isn't working for me. Anyway, what I should have said was that it is OK  to fold the dough before the final proofing, instead of simply degas. If open crumb is your goal then you do indeed need to be careful and have a high percentage liquidity in your dough. If not then degassing is OK. A crumb that is too open is not always desirable, after all.

Rudy 

somegeek's picture
somegeek

When I was forming for the final proof, I noticed some rather large bubbles forming and wanted to poke those so they wouldn't become bubbles when it cooked and end up burning(similar to big air bubbles in a pizza crust).  Good to know I can work the dough a bit when forming. :)

somegeek's picture
somegeek

I pulled my dough from the fridge and let it sit for two hours, punched it down to degas it and then formed it. I hadn't tried this before and wanted to see what it'd do.  I let the dough proof for two hours and then put it into the oven. I think I didn't let it proof long enough to compensate for the degassing I was not used to and it had a little blow out. It was not bad, but something I could have avoided if I let the loaf rise longer. Another lessong learned.!  I was a little paranoid that the dough wouldn't have enough oomph left in it to rise again to the proper height. Kinda pondering putting a dough ball on a suicide mission and seeing how far it will rise during it's proof before it stops rising(yeast crap out). :-D

The loaf I baked today stuck mostly to my documented schedule above and came out nice. I did forget to move it to my peel before proofing so it lost a little height but the end result is nice. Getting this dialed in.

I still need to experiment with the starter coming up to temp, rising past it's max to then fall and let it sour a little at room temp(12 hours?) to maybe incorporate a little more sour flavor into the dough.

Other thing I want to try(suggested by Mike Avery above) is retarding my dough at a higher temp vs my fridge. Stays around mid 50s in my garage at night.

Most of all I am trying to nail down a basic process that I have confidence in. I don't like the poor results, but at the same I do appreciate them since they are helping me figure out why I do what.  Getting there I think. :)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Hans.

One (major) suggestion regarding your "basic process:" From the time your dough has completed fermenting (with or without retardation) until you have it in the oven, if you want a nice open crumb and a loaf that will rise well during proofing and spring in the oven, you want to handle it gently enough to keep the bubbles intact. You do not want to "degas" it any more.

There may be exceptions for very slack doughs like for ciabatta that can form huge bubbles than need popping, but we're talking about most sourdough doughs.


David

somegeek's picture
somegeek

On my latest loaf, when I pulled it from the fridge after eight hours(overnight), I  gently transfered it straight to parchment paper on my peel, misted it with water and let it sit for four hours covered with saran wrap.  It rose larger than any boule I've done yet with the leavening it came out of the fridge with and no degasing.  Good stuff!  Made some great sandwiches.

In the quest for more sour flavor, tonight's boule will stay out on the counter overnight.  Going to get a couple stretches in tonight and then place it on parchment paper on the peel and then go into the oven overnight to sit to then be baked first thing in the morning.  Will be at room temp for roughly ten hours.  I tried this before but it spent sixteen hours at room temp and went past it's rise into a negative rise.  Flavor was great, just kinda flat.

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Unless I'm mistaken, room temperature proofing is exactly what you *don't* want if you're shooting for a sour flavour, as the yeast will act more quickly than the lactobacillus, starving them out.  As a result, you'll just end up with an overproofed dough.

The advice I've run across for achieving a stronger sour flavour is a longer cold retard, rather than a warm proof.  I'd also suggest a larger volume of fresh starter that's been fed using something like a 1:2:2 feeding ratio (larger ratios, such as 1:4:4, result in a less sour starter, and the difference can be very dramatic).

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Being summer time, the refrigerator(~38F ?) or room temperature (75ºF) is all I have for retarding/proofing.

I will try using a larger volume of starter fed with a 1:2:2 feeding ratio.

somegeek's picture
somegeek

I let my boule rise overnight at room temperature for my last half dozen loaves and it's worked well. This am though, I found my boule had torn a bit across the top middle during rising. Last night I made this boule around 8pm and did a stretch and fold on it around 10pm. What caused this tear?  I imagine if the dough were more pliable this would not have occurred.  Had a piece of glad wrap w/ pam spray on it draped over the boule per my normal process.  Also sprayed the boule with water before placing the celophane on it before setting in the oven to rise overnight.

Also - when I pulled my loaf from the oven this morning and placed it on the cooling rack, it made crackling sounds for a few minutes. What is that from?

Pretty happy with my results. Got into the swing of things with my starter and creating pretty consistent edible loaves. Also messing around with some different slashing patterns. Noticed the 3x3 grid of slashes allows the boule to expand nicely while baking nicely and looks great to boot.