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

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

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.