The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Taking A Step Back

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Susan's picture
Susan

Taking A Step Back

I recently took a step back to 2006, and resurrected a starter I dried and tucked away in the pantry.

The starter I had been using put its feet up in the air and died. Every bit of flour I put in it was consumed almost immediately and it turned to glop. Doggedly, I kept feeding and using the starter, hoping for the miracle of a beautiful loaf again. Each time I was disgusted and embarrassed at what came out of the oven: bread that was almost flat, and totally lifeless.

So finally, I pulled out the 2006 starter and brought it back to life, and am happy to say that I'm back on track.

Here are the first loaves to come out of my oven since using the new/old starter. I feel happy and renewed. It's amazing how wonderful a little bread success can make me feel. Hurrah for sourdough!

Maybe next time I hit a starter bump I'll have enough sense to call a retreat instead of being so hardheaded.

 

 

Comments

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

That's the bread I want! My starter has been acting weird lately too. It's getting gloppy. I tried refreshing it like Mike Avery suggests and it does ok and sometimes pretty good but not what I had going for some time there. What is that? Unfortunately I don't have any dried starter in my pantry. Rats!

 

Maybe I'll start all over again.

 

Your bread is absolutely beautiful and I can almost taste it. Great photos.                              weavershouse

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Is this your favorite SD recipe and should I assume you baked it under something?           weavershouse

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Absolutely beautiful loaves, Susan! I have a couple of questions - these loaves seem to have more flour coating than other ones you have posted. Have you changed something there? Then for you and weavershouse, how did you create your starters? Was the dried one from the same recipe? I have suffered through the gloppy, sullen phases but so far, (knock on wood) all is well right now. I keep one from SourdoughLady's recipe and one from Breadwinners made with yogurt and always wonder about other people's "pets". A.

Susan's picture
Susan

Nah, Annie, same old flour with a little rice flour mixed in! Works like a charm. Sometimes I just throw more flour in the banneton than I really need.

My original starter was from Carl's Friends.

Susan from San Diego

InBread's picture
InBread

...it should be backed-up often. After several disastrous hard-drive crashes over the years I finally learned to at least back-up my business records every few days but I have to admit that until reading this it never occurred to me that my sourdough starter deserved the same treatment. The wild starter I have now originated in the central coast region of California and I have been using it, or at least feeding it, every two weeks for just over two years now. I haven't determined whether the starter is getting better, or I'm getting better, or maybe that the slower rise of sourdough is just more compatible with my lazy approach to bread making, but it constantly yields better results than I get with commercial yeast. I'd hate to lose it, I think I'll go smear some out to dry right now.

 Also, what is the cause of 'gloppy'? Is it due to some care-taking misfortune or is it one of those great unknowns?

 

Susan's picture
Susan

Back up those starters when you think they are going great! I wish I knew what caused it, but I'm completely at a loss. Probably my fault. I am trying something new, tho, after reading Antonis's thread. Rather than putting my starter on the refrigerator shelf, I store it in the butter/cheese area, which runs somewhat warmer. Maybe that will help in the long run.

Susan from San Diego

Susan's picture
Susan

Thanks, good to be "back in the sourdough saddle."

It's my usual 500g hi-gluten flour (I subbed 50g ww in these loaves and folded in an additional 1/8 cup dry steel-cut oats into each little loaf), 340g water (68%), 50g starter (1:3:4), and 10g salt. Mix, let it sit for 30 minutes, four or five French Folds, *30-min rest, S&F, repeat 2 or 3 times from *, let rise to double, divide and round up, rest a few minutes, shape, put in banneton and proof. Bake on parchment at 450F for 18 minutes, covered with an SS bowl, then about 10 minutes more, uncovered, until nicely browned.

Now that we know one can make a new starter in just a few days, get your rye out and create one. Or, if you want to get in touch with me directly, send a note to Floyd asking him to forward your email address to me. It's nice hearing from you.

Susan from San Diego

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Susan.

Those boules are beautiful!

When you say "hi-gluten flour," do you mean something like KAF Sir Lancelot (14.8% protein), or do you mean "bread flour?" (12% protein)


David

Susan's picture
Susan

I appreciate the compliment, and admire your breadmaking skills.

The flour is All Trumps, which General Mills lists as 14.2% protein.

Susan from San Diego

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I appreciate your kind comment. The admiration is mutual!

I've not used hi-gluten flour, except for bagels. I fear it would make for a tough crumb in sourdough bread, but it obviously works for you.

If you have any thoughts or, better yet, hints about working with hi-gluten as opposed to bread flour, I would be very interested. All I've read is that you have to knead it more to fully develop the gluten.


David

Susan's picture
Susan

David, I baked with KA bread flour when visiting in Raleigh, and was very pleased with the dough and the resulting loaves. I don't remember altering my usual recipe.

The sourdough crumb I like best is stretchy and chewy, and hi-gluten flour seems to provide that for me. Conquer your fear and give it a try. It may or may not be to your liking.

I think of fluffy, crumbly biscuits at one extreme (bleached Southern AP flour) and stretchy sourdough at the other extreme (unbleached hi-gluten flour). But, I suspect it's just me and what I'm used to.

Susan from San Diego

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Thanks for your answers.

I need to try your formula. Everyone who has tried it says they love it, and all the examples I've seen have been stunning.

Consider my fear conquered! I will order some high-gluten flour ASAP! The problem right now is we spent half the day re-arranging our walk-in pantry, mostly to make room for all the flour I already have. With flour prices going up and KAF offering fee shipping a couple months ago, I stocked up majorly.

Hmmm .... Whole Foods has Guisto's high-gluten flour, which is 13-13.5% protein. There's gotta be room for a pound or so in the pantry.


David

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

beautiful loaves. I love the glistening crumb!

Susan's picture
Susan

Too kind of you. I, also, love it when parts of the crumb are blown-glass thin and glisten. Don't know why, I just do.

Susan from San Diego

holds99's picture
holds99

You did an amazing job, picture perfect; scoring, crust and crumb.  Keep the backup starter under lock and key.  That 2006 vintage is worth its weight in gold.  :>).

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Susan's picture
Susan

It's only flour and water! But thank you kindly.

Susan from San Diego