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Vermont Sourdough Texture or What is stiff?

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tbednarick's picture
tbednarick

Vermont Sourdough Texture or What is stiff?

Hi,

I've been reading this site for a couple of months and have learned a ton. Thanks everyone for sharing.

I have a question about Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough. I recently got a scale and this was my first attempt at following a recipe with percentages.

I only wanted to make one loaf, so I converted the home recipe to grams and halved it:

 

Starter Original Grams Half
Flour 4.8 oz 136 g 68 g
Water 6 oz 170 g 85 g
Starter 2T 2T 1 T

 

Dough Original Grams Half
Flour 1 lb 8 oz 680.4 g 340.2 g
Rye 3.2 oz 90.7 g 45.4 g
Water 14.8 oz 419.6 g 209.8 g
Salt .6 oz 17 g 8.5 g
Starter 10.8 oz 306.2 g 153.1 g

My question is...from the threads I read about this dough is that it should be fairly stiff and mine isn't. It's pretty gloppy. After autolyse (45 min) and mixing in the kitchen aid on speed 2 for 3 or 4 minutes, I could see the gluten strands and it did change texture and cleaned the sides of the bowl, but it never really stiffened up. I had to scrape it out of the bowl and after letting it bulk ferment for about an hour and a half, I had to scrape it out again for the folding. It was pretty sticky.

I used KA AP Organic flour and Hodgson Mill's Rye flour. I'm just trying learn how the bread should feel and if this is stiff...wow.

That said, this is my best loaf to date and I finally got some oven spring, I think due to slowing down while following all the steps. I was trying to rush the part from slashing to in the oven because I was afraid it would deflate. I guess as long as it's not over proofed, it will be fine.

dough

slashed

baked vermont sourdough

vermont sourdough crumb

 

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

I was set up to make the final dough for this recipe this morning for the first time, so I thought I would get it to the autolyse stage before I commented.

I wonder -- is there any possibility you forgot to add the salt after the autolyse? Adding it would stiffen the dough noticeably. That said, I would guess that at this point (just beginning the autolyse) my dough is right where I would expect it for 65% hydration. It's tacky, maybe even a little sticky. I think it's going to be fine with the soaking, addition of the salt, kneading and folding. A 65% hydration dough should look and feel like this now, in my experience.

Your dough and bread look great in your pictures. The scoring is wonderful and from the way it scored, I would say that the dough stiffness was right on. Looks as if it sprang beautifuly in the oven, too.

Im my opinion you should pay more attention to how the dough feels to you. I know, you are trying to get a benchmark for what a stiff dough is, and that's great. but remember, it's going feel stiff if the person reporting is used to 70% and above hydration and gloppy if they are used to hydration in the 50's.

I will comment again after I finish adding salt, kneading, fermenting and folding, but right now I would call this a typical 65% hydration dough -- neither wet or stiff, but medium.

Hope that give you a little bit of help. Take heart, your bread looks perfect. Hope mine turns out as well.

Mary

 

 

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

If you want a really stiff dough to compare with, try the bagel recipe on this site. It will give you an excellent feel for what to expect.

Mary

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

This is a simple test for dough consistency for a hearth loaf...

My (patent-pending) Press-and-Lift Dough Consistency Test is a good way to test the consistency of the final dough. Press the palm of your hand firmly on the dough then lift your hand until the dough pulls away from your palm and falls back on the board. The dough should initially stick to your hand, stretch up and then fall back, leaving a defined peak. If the peak is soft and undefined the dough is a little wet and you can knead in more flour in very small increments and test again. If the dough won't stick to your hand or doesn't stretch up very far before falling back, you've used too much flour and the dough is too dry. Go ahead and bake it anyway but use less flour next time.

colinwhipple's picture
colinwhipple

Your loaf looks very good to me.  The picture makes me want to go back and do that recipe again, to see if I can do as well as you did.

Colin

tbednarick's picture
tbednarick

Mary, I almost forgot the salt...I added it in at the very end of the the mixing.

Subfuscpersona, Thanks for the picutes. What hydration is the dough?

Colin, Thanks for the compliment. It was pretty tasty too.

This was a good learning experience for me. It's one of the best loaf's I've made to date. Many of my prior loafs were stiffer than this one and I've played kind of fast and loose with flour and water. I've also resisted calculating anything.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Total hydration is about 66%, which includes water in the starter / preferment plus the final dough.

There shouldn't be much dough residue on your hand after the "press and lift" test :)

pressAndLiftTest-residue

pressAndLiftTest-residue

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

You did a great job with this recipe. I haven't made this in a long time and now I'm tempted to make it again soon. It's a great bread.                                   weavershouse

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Agree with everyone that the loaf looks beautiful. You know this recipe has been quite inspirational to many people here. Janedo has an adaptation of it as well as as Susan. Both of which I experimented with. I'm thinking maybe we should do one of those group bakes for this recipe, what do you think Mary? And the rest of you guys/gals?

We can post pictures of as many steps as we have tolerance for :). At least those of us who have batteries in our cameras. Makes me wish I had a digital video camera, as it is much easier to show consistency in a video.

Rudy

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

 I made this some time ago and loved it. I'm going to make it again soon thanks to this thread. If you're going to do a group bake I'll add my post now. I enjoy watching these group bakes, I learn so much.

 

 http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/3504/vermont-sourdough                                                                                

 

weavershouse

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

Go for it.

I've never officially been in charge of anything, and don't want to be. You can do what little bit of coordination I did, that's for sure. As can anyone else. 

Weavershouse has a link to the recipe in the thread posted above, so as many folks as want to can join in. I'll also post it here, to bring it up to date. The link still works.

http://ostwestwind.twoday.net/stories/3707371/

Mary 

 

 

tbednarick's picture
tbednarick

I'd be interested in joining the group bake.  How/Where do I post?  The Vermont Sourdough thread weaverhouse posted?

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

A so-called "group bake" is nothing more than a group of people baking the same recipe during the same period and comparing notes and photos. It's not official at all. Anyone can start one and anyone can join in. There are no rules. Just do it!!!!!

You can start it yourself. All you have to do is start a new thread, inviting people to join you. Be enthusiastic and welcoming -- that's the key. You already have 2 people interested, Rudy and Weavershouse. I'm sure others will join in.

But do start a new thread; that seems to work best. I would suggest reposting the address for the recipe, so that people who don't have Hamelman's book can join in.The recipe url is in the post immediately above yours.

The only thing I tried to do, as initiator of the most recent one, was acknowledge all the comments and photos people sent in. Don't know if I hit 100%, but I tried, and that's all you can do.

Have fun. I am concentrating on my baguette-shaping skills at the moment, but I may join you later.

Mary

 

tbednarick's picture
tbednarick

Thanks for the tips.

Tonya 

gavinc's picture
gavinc

I make this VSD most weekends.  There dosen't seem to anything wrong with your dough.

 My method is to autolyse 30 mins, two folds at 50 min intervals, shape and final ferment 2 hours 30 mins.  Sometimes retard overnight and bake the next morning.

If you use the Hamelman's method to get the final dough temp to 24-25 C, you'll get perfect results everytime, and you don't have to guess the schedule.

Cheers,

Gavin.