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Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

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holds99's picture
holds99

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Using Mike Avery's refreshment method (every 8 hours), after a 2 day refreshment I placed my starter in my jar (slightly less than half filled) clamped on the lid (with rubber gasket) to seal it and placed it in the refrigerator.  Next day I had a very active starter.  So, instead of tossing 2/3 and refreshing it again before storing it back in the fridge, I decided to hold out the 2/3 "discard" and make some whole wheat sourdough bread.  Incidentally, this is a 10 year old Nancy Silverton starter.  I'm not suggesting that Ms. Silverton's starter is better than other starters but it's what I made when I first started my sourdough journey and, as is evident, it still works quite well.  I'm Just thankful that I checked it when I did.  This is the same "bad boy" starter that lifted the lid off my dutch oven a while back during the baking of  a 3 pound boule.  

 Refreshed Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Starter and Container: Refreshed Sourdough Starter

Anyway, I made a couple of whole wheat boules, mixed by hand.  I did two "stretch and folds" during a 2 hour bulk frementation, then placed the container of dough in the fridge for a 14 hour retardation.  The following day I took the dough out of the fridge (it had risen during retardation, which is unusual), divided it, shaped it, placed the 2 shaped boules into 2 heavily floured (half rice flour mixed with half KA AP) linen lined bannetons and let it do it's final fermentation for about three and a half hours at room temp, as it was still cold from being in the fridge.  Then turned the boules onto parchment lined pans, scored them, placed them in the oven and baked them at 450 deg for about 40 minutes, using a heavy dose of stream at the onset of the baking cycle---and turning them half way through the baking cycle.   

 Whole Wheat Sourdough Boules

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

They may have slightly overproofed because they dropped a bit after scoring, but overall I was pleased with the results. They tasted very good, had a good crust and very nice, rather complex, flavor and good texture.

 Whole Wheat Sourdough No. 2

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Comments

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

Hi, Howard,

This is what my husband is afraid of -- reaching in the fridge and finding the starter that expanded too far. I hope you had a plate under it.

Seriously, do you "rework" the starter every so often, taking it down to almost nothing, then building it back up through a series of intensive rebuilds, or do you follow more or less the same rebuilding routine, month in and month out, according to use, of course? And how often, on average, do you think you use it in a month?

I have been tempted into doing the "rebuild from almost nothing" routine a time or two and don't think it has improved the flavor of my starter at all. It may have made a livelier starter, but also a blander one. I am looking for REAL sour, and I think I have lost it with my current iteration, due to the rebuilding.

Mary

holds99's picture
holds99

Mary,

I used to just let it sit until I was ready to use it then do my refresh/build and I ended up losing my starter during a long span between feedings.  Luckily I had dried a batch of starter and had some extra in the freezer.  Amazing, but it still worked after being frozen for 10 years (thank you Nancy Silverton, if you're out there)

Anyway, not too long ago I started using Mike Avery's method for starter refresh and build taken from one of his very helpful posts (thanks Mike, if  you're out there) and it works great for me.  As I recall Mike says to do this at least every couple of weeks, which I do regularly.

Here's the way it goes.

MIKE AVERY’S Sourdough Starter - Refresh/Build

In order not to waste a lot of flour I like to feed up my starters over 2 or 3 days so I have a nice consistent starter each time I bake.  I like to feed my starter twice a day.  I like to double the amount of starter with each feeding.  I sort of copies, pasted and slightly edited Mike's instructions so I could keep them under a magnet on my refrigerator.

Produces 2 cups of starter

What I'd suggest is start with less starter.  Let's plan on saving 1/2 cup of starter for the next bake and plan on using 2 cups of starter in the bake.  It's easier to do this by weight than by volume.... but we'll do it by volume. 

Day 1 - Evening

1.   First Feeding – 9:00 p.m.: Start with a tablespoon of starter from the fridge and add 1/4 cup of water and 3/8 cup of flour.

Day 2 - Morning

2.   Second Feeding – 9:00 a.m.: 12 hours later (more or less) add another 1/4 cup of water and 3/8 cup of flour.  This is close to doubling the size of the starter.

Day 2 - Evening

3.   Third Feeding – 9:00 p.m.: 12 hours later, add 1/2 cup of water and 3/4 cup of flour.

Day 3 - Morning

4.   Fourth Feeding – 9:00 a.m.: 12 hours later, add 1 cup of water and 1 1/2 cups of flour.  Now, take out 1/2 cup of the starter and put it into the fridge.  Starter lasts best if it is refrigerated as soon as it's fed.

Day 3 - Evening

5.   Fifth Feeding: 12 hours later, you should have around 2 cups of starter ready to use.  

6.   So, you're good to go.  The first feeding is a bit more than doubling the size of the starter - it's about 6 or 8 times.  This is to dilute the acidity in the starter from the fridge to give the starter a better chance to start up again.

Hope I got the days in order (morning/evening, etc.). Hope this helps. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

Pretty much what I have done, but either the starter has gone less sour or my tastebuds are not picking it up. It smells the same, but it just doesn't taste as good, somehow.

I think what I am going to do is run through the above, then build, from that, the 3/4-day "wharf bread" we were talking about a couple of months ago, and see if it is as I remember it. The taste probably comes from the retarding. At least I know, from your description, that I haven't "tamed" my starter too much. 

Mary 

holds99's picture
holds99

If my memory is correct, Mike Avery says that the refresh/build exercise will reduce the acidity, which may account for the loss of some of the sourness you mentioned.  I think it picks up some sourness during the retarding process in the refrigerator, along with additional flavor.  I have read that many of the French bakers prefer less sour taste, which they apparantly get from using the liquid levain.  Maybe if Jane is out there she could comment on that issue.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

I may make two loaves next time, and do one according to the regular 3-day schedule andd "push" the other one for sour by leaving it even longer at one stage or another. That way, if it flops (literally or figeratively) I will not be without any bread at all and only be out a few cups of flour. That's the only way I can see to test our hypothesis.

Or, I could arrange a trip to SF. Maybe that's what I should do. Haven't been back West since 2002; maybe it's time. Fat chance!

At any rate, Howard, thanks for the input. Always nice to get another point of view.

Mary 

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I'm back! I just hadn't found the time to catch up.

You're right about French sourdough, people here don't like sour, BUT strangely enough I bought two different sourdough bread and they were sour. Ick.

Now, here is the other problem. I made a couple sourdough breads with the overnight retardation in the fridge using a liquid starter and the result was MORE sour than when I use a pâte fermentée. So, that is the exact opposite of what you said. To get a nice complex, sourdough flavour without the sour taste, I always use a firm starter. Backwards! So, what do you or any one else think about that????

I had also read in the French bakers publication that liquid makes a more sour bread. Is it a 'across the ocean' thing? Strange. 

Nice bread Howard! I have a ton of whole wheat and better use it before it all goes rancid. Your does looks nice and light for a WW. Good job.

Jane 

holds99's picture
holds99

Jane

From the terrific photo in your post it looked like you had a wonderful time in Paris, got a personal tour of the bakery, consultation with "The Man" and tasted some wonder baguettes. 

Re: you question: "...what do you or anyone else think about that?"  I took a look at Mike Avery's Introduction to Sourdough baking and on page 23 he shows a chart and says: "In the chart below are three different recipes for this bread.  Which [one] you'll use depends on how strong a sourdough taste you want and how big a hurry your are in.  The recipes vary the amount of starter, water and flour used to change rise time. In each case, the amount of flour and water per loaf is the same, but some of the flour and water are added through the starter."

Anyway, the chart on page 23 has 4 columns; (1) ingredients, (2) Mild, 2 cups of starter, Rising time 2 hours.  3) Flavorful,  1 cup of starter, Rising time 7 hours.  (4) Very flavorful, 1/4 cup starter, Rising time 12-14 hours.  So, based on information in the chart it would seem, the longer the fermentation process the more sour and flavorful the bread will be.  At least that's what I deducing from the chart. 

I also read in one of his threads that when you start his refresh/build process (over a period of day or two, depending on the condition of your starter) initially he uses only a tablespoon of starter, 1/4 cup water, 3/4 cup flour, then 8 hours later (and for each successive iteration) discards 2/3 of the starter, refresh/builds with 1/2 cup water and 3/4 cup flour every 8 hours until it becomes really foamy and active.  As I recall, he said that the refresh/build greatly reduces the acidity, which I would presume comes back, in varying degrees, during bulk fermentation and 12-14 hours of retardation, then final fermentation.  So, based on my interpretation of this chart, if you use larger amounts of starter at the beginning, requiring less rising time and don't retard you're going to get less sour and less flavorful bread.  Conversely, if you use less starter and longer rising and retardation times you're going to get a more sour and flavorful bread. 

Anybody have any thoughts on this issue? 

Mike Avery, if you're out there please grade my paper.

Howard

proth5's picture
proth5

Lovely bread.

Just goes to show you how much these critters want to live and grow.  All we bakers need to do is give them half a chance.

Puts me in mind of Joel Salatin - who raises cows (among other things) and describes what he does as being a "grass farmer."  Yes, take care of the grass and the cows will thrive all on their own.

Or something like that...

holds99's picture
holds99

I think Joel Salatin is a philosopher.  I really like that.  Thanks for your kind words.    Enjoy your posts, which I find very interesting.  Hope all is well with you.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

proth5's picture
proth5

Thanks for your kind words.

I am working on a multi month levain experiment and other than the English muffin breakthrough have not much going on until that one is done.

Oh - unless I get something out of the tandoor other than flaming dough balls...

Pat

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

Fantastic looking bread. Your starter is looking incredibly vigorous. Good stuff!

FP

 

 

 

holds99's picture
holds99

Really appreciate your compliment re: the bread.  This starter is amazing...like the Incredible Hulk movie...OK, Everybody stand back we don't know how big this thing gets.  I'm thinking "Hulk" may need a new container...soon.  Wonder if Mosler Safe Co. makes sourdough containers :-)

Hang in there and keep posting. 

Howard

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

'Hulk' :-)

I'd start worrying if it turned green!

I've been cutting back on the amount of 'mother starters' / chefs I'm maintaining. Also, I've increased the hydration of both my rye and white starters (100% hydration white is so sticky - 125% is so much easier to clean!) As I hinted in my blog, I've been discovering a lot about sourdough recently and it's pretty much turned my thinking/approach to baking on it's head.  It's meant a lot of testing/tweaking/experimenting and consolidating the ideas in my head...we'll see how it turns out :)

FP 

 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

SYLVIAH

Hello,  I have fun with sourdough starters...my kitchen counter sometimes looks like a lab.  I have dried and revived some of my starters with great success.  So far I have only dried and stored them in my cupboard.  I would like to try freezing.  I'am wondering was your starter frozen from a dried batch or a frozen fresh batch...if yours was from a dried batch of starter do you know if you can freeze fresh starter successfully?  I am also wondering how long shelf life would be for  shelf dried and frozen dried...yours was dried frozen for 10yrs : )

I use the glass jars with the lock tops..but never latch them...I have great success with stackable plastic cups I got at Wal-mart with screw tops that can be left loose but very well closed to release gases..they are used for freezing jams in the canning sectionYour bread looks wonderful and so does your starter!

Thank you, Sylvia

holds99's picture
holds99

I actually made an extra batch of Nancy Silverton's starter and spread it thinly over aluminum foil and air dried it.  I presume one could also use a food dehydrator on very low temp.  After mine dried I broke it into small pieces (actually crushed it using a mortar and pestle) and stored it in a closed jar in the freezer.  It still works after all these years.

You're right about leaving the lid loose.  Usually I do that but, thankfully, this time I didn't.  I also agree about the stackable Walmart plastic storage containers.  Just bought a collection of various sizes at Walmart and think I'll move "Hulk" to a new home in a larger plastic container with a screw lid.

Thanks for your tips.  Best of luck in your baking endeavors.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

SYLVIAH

Thank you, Howard for the tips...I have been using parchment paper for drying and now will try it with foil...and definately freeze up some starter..and still hope to be here to try it a decade from now and maybe even pass my own brew down to my grandaughter!!  I also use some other  much larger containers for my starter...I have just one refrigerator...it sure gets cramped with bread fixins..it's so warm now.

Sylvia in San Diego, CA

holds99's picture
holds99

Sylvia,

I think I used heavy duty aluminum foil because I didn't have parchement.  Parchment should work great, maybe better than aluminum foil.  If it works for you don't change a thing.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Did you use a recipe from a book or make the dough "freehand?"


David

holds99's picture
holds99

I did a freehand thing with whole wheat and no yeast in the dough, just the starter mixed into the dough, a couple of folds during bulk fermentation, retardation overnight in the fridge and then divided and shaped, final fermentation, score and bake with a big blast of steam.  I just couldn't bring myself to throw that beautiful starter away...like I need more bread in the freezer.  Gotta give it up for a while or give it away faster.  It really tastes very good.

About once a year I place an order for 25 pounds or so of stone ground whole wheat flour from Cable Mill, Great Smokey Mountain National Park, Tennessee.  I keep it in the freezer until I'm ready to use it.  It comes in a heavy white paper bag tied with heavy white string, like butcher's string.  Charlene and I visited the park a number of years ago and went to the mill where the flour is made and I bought a couple of 5 lb. bags.  Anyway, I really liked the flour so much I started ordering it by mail.  It used to be coursely ground but they have changed the milling process to make it finer.  I liked the old grind better, but it's still great flour.  Printed on the bag: "The grain in this bag was ground by 2 ton quartz buhrstones at the historic Old Mill In Pigeon Forge, TN.  The Old Mill was built in 1830 and is still powered exclusively by the picturesque waters of the Little Pigeon Forge River."  How's that for a story...and I'm sticking to it :-)  Seriously, it is really wonderful whole wheat flour.

Howard

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I'm still clinging to the bread books for recipes, some of which I have altered in minor ways.

I get great pleasure from having personal relationships with the farmers or other producers of foods and artifacts I buy. I think you baking with flour from a mill you have visited is way cool.


David

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Love your latest work. Very nice looking loaves, and you made the recipe up yourself, very brave. Your starter is wild and crazy. Thanks for putting Mike Avery's words together in one place. I made a copy for myself. My starter suddenly went gooey, like glue. I followed Mike's advice and my starter and I are happy again.

 

It sounds like you found a flour you like with the Tennesse mill. I've been buying some flour by bulk from Amish stores and it's v. good (mostly Wheat Montana unbleached, orgainic) but I'd like to find something local. 

 

Again, great job with your bread.                           weavershouse

holds99's picture
holds99

Glad to hear your starter is on the mend.  Can't let a good starter fail.  Mike's Avery's method is a real winner.  Glad you could use the post.   

Really apppreciate your kind words.  I like this flour Pidgeon Forge, Tenn whole wheat flour very much.  I've been using it for the past 5 or 6 years and it's great flour.  I read a lot about how good the Montana wheat flour is for baking.  You're lucky to be able to get it in bulk.  I bought a couple of 5 lb. bags of Gold Medal organic, unbleached AP and am going to give it a try.  It's a little more expensive than KA.  I'll post something after I bake with it and let you know how it compares to KA. 

Thanks again.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

mariajef's picture
mariajef

hi


can you tell me the & of ww flour used.  was it 100% or was it more of a miche 75/25 blend?


thanks,


maria