The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

new loaves

warmouth's picture
warmouth

new loaves

ok guys  the weekend is comming up and and i'm  almost out of bread so i need to make more ,hehe   so i need some info on my starter,  i took it out of the fridg and i had about a half a cup so  i threw half out and feed it 1/2 cup flour and water  does that sound close to right ,  and i keep that  going till i make my sponge right? i will make the sponge in a day or two

                                                                                          thanks

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I think that's pretty close.  You might have jumped the gun a little.  I bet it'll work just great.  If the starter is bubbly now you should put it somewhere cool so it doesn't get all excited and eat everything before you're ready to bake it.  Maybe feed it a little more, too (not TOO much - you don't need 1/2 a gallon :-)  I'm new to sourdough myself, I'm just learning too.  Maybe someone more knowledgeable will chime in.  Here's what I think:  watch your starter, notice how long it takes for it to become bubbly and well risen after you've taken it out of the 'fridge and added the flour to it.  Make a note of how long that was.  That's going to be important information for you in the future.  You want your starter to be at the height of its frenzy when you use it in your dough.  The whole process is pretty forgiving.  If your starter is "past it's prime" it will probably still rise your bread but it will take longer.  That's a guess.

So, best case scenario, you take out your starter and feed up enough for your recipe (maybe a little more if you're going to put some back in the 'fridge).  You wait until it's at the maximum of it's feeding frenzy, with bubbles and rising, but not having fallen again.  That's what you use in your dough.  Keep track and learn about your starter and how it works.

Good luck and post photos!

:-Paul 

warmouth's picture
warmouth

ok  i  i'm wanting about 2-3 cups of starter  so i can make 2-3 loaves  so my plan was to feed it 1/2 cups yesterday and today that gives me 2 and 1/2 cups now and tomorrow while i won't be at work i'll make a sponge  by adding 1 cup of flour and almost 1 cup water and  see when it acheives its maximum rise and at that time i need to mark the amount of time it took to get to max right ? then next time ,use the sponge as it gets to max  right before it starts to drop  correct ?

any ways that is my plan 

 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hey Amigo,

Do you have a recipe?  I'm all for free form, but I see that I have so much to learn and people have been baking bread for a LONG time.  I'm baking someone's recipe today.  Probably whatever you do will give you some kind of a loaf, but, my idea at this point, is to follow a couple of recipes and see what the flavours are like.  I got some good results myself with the baking, with what it looks like, but just winging it is wasting a lot of time that I could be using to perfect recipes to my liking, when I started at a higher level?  You know?  Like we don't need to reinvent the wheel, but we can tweak the hell out of our ride. 

Anyway, it sounds like what you're doing will work, to me.  Don't forget the salt.  I did that recently and it was very bland.  Now I measure out the salt and have it on the counter in a little bowl to remind me to put it in.  If it's still in the bowl, I didn't put it in.

What is the difference to you between your "starter" and your "sponge"?  I want to be sure we're using the same words to mean the same thing.  Talk to me.  Tell me your whole plan.  I think what you're doing will work, but I'm insterested in the whole picture.  How much flour, etc.

:-Paul

warmouth's picture
warmouth

 my starter is still in the jar till i need my sponge ...then i pour the starter in the bowl i mix the dough in and then i give it a double amount of food  = 1 cup flour and water and  let it form a sponge  basically the sponge is the starter that has been force fed double the normal and let ferment overnight then add the other stuff to make the dough  but from what you told me in your last post i need to use it when it gets eating good and doubles in volume correct ?  and if so that is good cause after  todays feeding ( 1/2 cup flour and water )  it hit its top in about 3 hrs then fell so i won't have to wait so long this time   and yes i have  a couple recipes i'm tring they are basic  flour, salt, sugar ,and oil .with out scales  its kinda free stile as u said lol but the basics are the same  i like more sugar than the recipe calls for though  and if they are picture worthy then i'll post some hehe  

the recipe im going to follow tomorrow is as follows

2 cups sponge

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

2 Tbl oil

 then add 1 cup flour and stir and add 1/2 cup till i get a workable dough then the kneading and the folds and rises' 

 i will adjust the amounts acording to the amount of sponge i use cause i'm useing 3 cups sponge  simple math 3 c = sponge, 3 t = salt , 3/4 t = sugar, 2 T = oil i'm going to follow this one all the way no free form and see what happens

it seems to me that 1 cup sounge will = 1 loaf from the other bread i made last weekend but that might not be accurate this time i'll see  

Pablo's picture
Pablo

How are you going to bake it?

Although you are following a recipe, it's a little vague about adding flour until you get a workable dough.  What's "workable"? - in the old hippie days it meant to pound the flour in until it wouldn't take any more.  That's not a recipe for a light and lovely loaf.  Couple of bits of advice:

1.  Note how much flour you use - measure it out in 1/2 cups and keep track of exactly how much you add to make your dough from the sponge.  Then if it turns out that you want it drier or wetter the next time, you'll know what to do.

2.  Keep adding flour and water to your starter in the 'fridge in the same ratio always.  If you currently add 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 cup water, then always do the same.  Personally, I feed my starters on Sunday.  I now have four of them going.  They sit in the 'fridge until I need (knead, ha ha) them.  The point is, if you are keeping track of how much flour you add to your sponge in order to form a dough, then you have to have a baseline "wetness" which is your starter.  If you keep adding different ratios of flour and water to the starter, then you won't know where you are when you go to make the sponge and the dough and you're trying to figure out how much flour to add.  Measure!!!!  and make notes.

3.  Keep your dough a teeny bit wetter than you're comfortable with.  Use a spatula to scrape it up off the countertop if you need to when you're doing your folds if you don't have a counter scraper or one of those nifty plastic bowl scrapers.  Watch the video of Mark of Back Home Bakery and his folding technique.  Watch lots of videos - they're GREAT for picking up tips and seeing what a "workable" dough looks like.  I'm making one of Mark's recipes right now and when I do the stretch and folds I have to scrape some of the dough up off the counter.  The counter is not floured.  The dough changes dramaatically when it is stretched and folded.

4.  Have fun.  <-I think you've got that one covered, Commando.

:-Paul

 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I think you got it.  

One more bit of advice:  Especially since you're going somewhat commando on these loaves, write down what you do.  Get a little notebook and write down the steps that you're following.  I find it really helpful.

:-Paul

warmouth's picture
warmouth

commando i like the way that sounds commando warmouth

warmouth's picture
warmouth

 yep ,  i'm  on it ,been watching the vids and yesterday i got my scales and started keeping records , and you hit the nail on the head . . i have tried diffrent things last time i did the pack the dough in till no more would fit thing , this time i  only use enough to knead the dough  .

now what my question is ,after you make the recipe and put the dough on the counter how much flour should you work in , during  the kneading

 the bread i got this time didn't break open but it ended up a little flat but not bad and i got to score it ,,, ( ha score 1 for me lol ) 

 what i'm looking for  is a nice  high rise loaf where it rises up as much as out to the sides  that is where i'm thinking a dryer dough will rise more uniform and a wetter dough will spread out more . but in the videos they look to have a wetter dough and their's rises the way i'm wanting mine to.  and the folds are they doing them after the first rise or before the first rise.

             thanks for you help you seem to  know what you are talking about  O.<

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Good morning Commando Warmouth,

Glad to hear you're up and baking.  Me too.  I'm doing baguettes today.  I'm HOPING I'll get that amazing oven pop I got last time.

Good questions.  You are definitely on your way to mind-blowing sourdough loaves that will knock your socks off.

I'm covered with dough and flour at the moment myself.

I'm not sure if you've already baked your loaves and you're wondering about next time, or if you're in the middle of baking now.

I'll keep an eye on the board, if you need answers right now, otherwise I've got to concentrate on my own little project that looks pretty good right now.  I'll have lots to say.  This is very fun, hearing about what you're doing and telling you the stuff I've learned in the last 3 or 4 weeks.

 :-Paul

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I think I know what you want, it's what most of us want.  It's called "oven spring".  When you put the flattish loaves into the oven you want them to spring up and have nice airy holes inside.  That's called an "open crumb".  You don't get that with dry dough.  You get that with wet dough.  Handling the wet dough takes a lot of technique.  That's the art of bread baking.  Measuring your ingredients and watching your temperatures and that sort of thing is the science.  The art and science of bread baking.  That's one of the things that captures the imagination of most of the folks here.  You take measured amounts flour, water and salt (science) and you apply technique (art) and you get something more, something fantastic, you get bread.

From reading your note here's what I would recommend:  

Get a counter scraper.  They're only about $6, you might be able to find it in the kitchen wares isle of your grocery store.  It is indispensible.  It's that metal thing that you see on most of the videos.  The little bowl scrapers are great, too, and only about $2 a piece, but they're harder to find.  I had to order mine online.  If you live in a town that big enough to have a kitchen supply store you can probably find them there.  These are two essential tools for handling wetter doughs.  

>now what my question is ,after you make the recipe and put the dough on the counter how much flour should you work in , during  the kneading<

In general, I'd say the answer to that question is "as little as possible, hopefully none".  You don't need to knead much, really.  You want to use time and that stretch and fold technique.  Here's an experiment for you:  Next time you're going to make bread do this:

I think you first create a "sponge" and then you add flour to that?  If so, take your sponge and add the measured amount of flour to it that you need to make your dough - what you would normally knead in (maybe a little less - you know the amount because you've been keeping records)   Roughly mix it all together, trying to make sure that all the flour has gotten moistened.  Then leave it on the counter with a damp towel over it.

After 1/2 an hour scrape it out on the counter (using your groovy plastic bowl scraper) and stretch the whole thing out.  Watch Mike Avery's videos on SourdoughHome and Mark on Back Home Bakery.  They both do it a little differently, Mike is more gentle.  Do what feels right to you, some people only fold it once at this point, some people do multiple folds.  This is some of that "art" we were talking about.  Anyway, you so some stretch and folds.  Your dough will already feel amazingly different than it did when you dumped it out on the counter.  It's one of the coolest things ever.  Do that evey half hour for two or three times, putting it back in the bowl and covering it between foldings.  After the last time let it "rest" for 30 minutes back in the bowl and then preshape and shape.

When you let the dough "rest" it stops fighting you.  I just had a really cool experience this morning while shaping my baguettes.  I discovered another piece of the puzzle for myself.  It always seemed kind of stupid to me "rest the dough 5 minutes" but now it makes sense and its another powerful tool in working with dough.

OK, so you've got your dough in your bowl all stretched and folded (you didn't really "knead" did you?) and rested.  Now you're going to "preshape".  Preshape means dividing the dough into however many pieces of the right size you're going to make into loaves.  Say 3 (or, if it's all going into one loaf, then you don't need to preshape).  If you do preshape, then do that (cut the pieces off - use a knife if you don't have a counter scraper - just don't tear it with your hands) and then let the dough rest another 5 mintues right on the counter.

If you're looking to do these wet doughs, you need a form for them to rise in.  As you observed, they tend to flatten out.  Not all at once, but if you just leave the blob on the counter for a couple of hours it would start to look like a thick pancake.  So you want something for it to rise within - like a form for concrete - if they just poured concrete on the side of the road it wouldn't make a very nice sidewalk, but they use forms.

Here, again, comes art.  You can use just about anything for a form.  Start looking around your house and thinking.  I like to make little loaves so i can play with scoring more.  I use cereal bowls.  Whatever you decide to use, you need to make it so the loaf will come out after it's proofed.  So, what I do, is I spray oil all around the bottom and sides of the bowl and then I scoop in some flour (w/w, white, whatever) and tilt the bowl around while tapping the sides to get it all evenly covered and dump out the excess.  You could also line the form with floured cloth - that works great 'cause when you dump it out, it comes out, then you can carefully removed any stuck parts.  I've got some cloth and a sewing machine, but I haven't make my little liners yet.  It's on the iist.

OK, say you were making 4 small loaves.  You have 4 cereal bowls prepared as above.  You have 4 blobs of dough on the counter that have rested for 5 minutes.  You need to develope some surface tension in the shapes as you put them in the bowls.  Here's what I do: (everyone does it differently, you'll develop your own style, but this will get you started and it's easy).  Get a LITTLE flour on your hands, just enough so the dough doesn't stick - have some flour around that you can easily dip your fingers into if it starts to stick in the middle of this process.  Take one hand and pick up your little ball of dough like one of those things with the claw that grabs stuffed toys and drops them in a chute - you know?  The idea is to pick the dough up using the upside of the dough and sort of keep gathering the dough on the top with both hands, it's like you're pulling the skin up from the bottom.  Hard to describe, easy to do. Remember, you're establishing surface tension on the underside of your little mini loaf, what.s the bottom now is going to become the top.  Now, move the dough over one of your prepared bowls and gently set the dough into it (without turning it over) and kind of pull up one last time and pinch all the folds and stuff together on the top there.

Do that with all 4 (or however many you have, going into what every shape containers, the principal is the same).  Now let them proof.  That's the final rest before they go in the oven.  I put a piece of 2 x 8 across the bathtub and fill the tub half way with hot water to get heat and moisture.  I have a small bathroom.  Cover your proofing loaves with a floured cloth in case they rise up too much you don't want them to stick to the cloth.

While they're rising, preheat your oven.  If you don't have a baking stone, use an upside down baking pan, like a cookie sheet or someghing.  Preheat to 50 degrees hotter than you want to bake your bread.  

You must have parchment paper.  Again, very cheap and available in rolls at your grocery store either in the baking isle or next to the wax paper and that sort of thing.

It's going to be awkward for you to get the parchment paper into the oven loaded with the loaves.  You'll have to get creative.  Maybe you can cut pieces of parchment paper that are the right size for only one loaf at a time.  You do want to get them all in at as close to the same time as you can.  If you want to invest, there's a baker's peel.  They are wonderful.  Basically it's a long handled giant spatula.  Like they use in pizza parlours.  Anyway, like I said you'll have to get creative.  Anyway what you want to do is:

turn the bowl upside down on the parchment.  You want to do it all in one motion and there'll probably be a bang when the bowl hits the counter.  If you just turn it and dump it slowly, it will change the shape of the loaf.  You want to handle things very carefully at this point.  I suppose dumping slowly would be another technique (more art) - whatever you like to do, it's really all OK.  There are all sorts of bread shapes, no one is "right" or "wrong", but if you have something in mind, it's fun to try to achieve it.

Now you have your 4 little loaves upside down on the parchment paper.  You've carefully lifed the bowls and you used enough flour and oil so that didn't stick much, they just sort of slowly fell out of the bowls and onto the parchment paper.  Or maybe some did stick and you had to GENTLY scrape off some of the stuck parts as best you could, being creative along the way.

Get a cup of water ready.  Ideally you would microwave it up to boiling first but I hardly ever remember to do that.

Do your scoring.  Use a double edged razor blade, they're thinner than the single edge ones.  Everyone has a different style.  Try some things and see how they go.  But best if you have something in mind.  From the moment you dump the loaves out of the bowls until you slide them in the oven, you want that time to be as small as reasonable.  You want to slash with authority and move on.  If the slash doesn't go well - too bad, the bread will still be great and you get to try again next time.  Feel free to slash the same line again or just once or what every.  You're trying to get 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep slashes.  It helps to use two fingers from one hand to very gently hold the dough on either side of the razor blade as you slash with the other.  Again watch videos, like Mark from Back Home Bakery.  For the beginning you should do something simple.  Are you into myths and spirits?  Way back in history they would slash a cross on the top of the bread to let the devil out.  You just draw one line from the bottom of one side over to the bottom of the other, rotate 90 degrees and do it again.  Voila!

OK, somehow get those loaves, on their parchment paper, slid into the oven and onto the stone or upside down cookie sheet.

Throw the cup of water onto the bottom of the stove and close the oven door.  Wait 5 minutes and then turn your oven down to baking temperature.  Do not open the oven door anymore than you have to.  Do not open it to look.  After 15 minutes you can open the door and rotate the loaves to help keep the browning even.

Try all that and I think you'll be happy.  There's lots more, but that's a darn good start.

:-Paul

warmouth's picture
warmouth

 no further questions,  man that is a great explanation no room for any questions. i'll bake tomorrow and let you know what happens

                                                      thanks a bunch

 p.s. i had to take my scales back and get a better set cause the auto shut off  turned off after about 15 sec and lost what i had in the bowl, bummer . my new one auto shut off in 3 mins much better

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Cool!  Scales rock.

Be sure to note the correction I made to the note that I sent you.

One other thing, while you're proofing your loaves, I said to preheat the oven, what I meant was to preheat it about an hour before you bake.  So if you're proofing longer than an hour, just set a timer to remind yourself to go and preheat the oven.  An hour is plenty for sure, you can play around with that, too, but an hour is a good place to start.

Good luck!!!

:-Paul

josordoni's picture
josordoni

Way to go Paul, lovely description...

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks for the cudos, josordoni.  I can't believe how much I'm enjoying making bread and any chance to help someone else is a treat.

I just reread and I made a little error, I think.  I said:

"I think you first create a "sponge" and then you add flour to that?  If so, take your sponge and add the measured amount of flour to it that you need to make your dough - what you would normally knead in (maybe a little less - you know the amount because you've been keeping records)   Roughly mix it all together, trying to make sure that all the flour has gotten moistened.  Then leave it on the counter with a damp towel over it."

What I should have said was mix in the flour AND THE SALT, in other words, make your dough.  And then don't leave it on the counter, leave it covered in a bowl, like with the following stretch and folds.

I recently left the salt out of a batch and the result was not to my liking.

:-Paul

warmouth's picture
warmouth

 no room for questions i got ya   that is a very good wright up and i will use it a lot   and yep i have had the salt problem before also once you forget it you most likely won't forget  it again

warmouth's picture
warmouth

 i think i got eye strain from reading all that lol kidding

Pablo's picture
Pablo

%-)

 

:-Paul

warmouth's picture
warmouth

 i ment to tell you that i timed my starter till it peaked today and man it  went fast i think   2hrs and 35 mins from feed till it started to fall not sure if that is fast but i tought so ,  hungry little boogers 

  i think its time to think of a name for my yeast  culture lol  after all they are alive and i have been taking care of them for about a month now  kinda grown attached to them lol  

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Very cool that you're keeping track.  Now you know how to time things when you're dealing with your starter.

Names... I think about names all the time.  I think about naming my breads, once I have some breads to name.  I live on Three Mile Road, if I made a Rye Bread, I think "Three Mile Rye" sounds very cool.

I called my last baguettes "Los Chicos Malos" - that is: "The Bad Boys".  Although I had really good success today.  I'm about to write it up for the web site here.

There's this movie by the Coen Brothers, they did "Raising Arizona" and "Fargo" and some others.  Anyway, one of their early movies, before "Raising Arizona" was called "Blood Simple".  The idea is that some people, when exposed to blood or violence go "simple" - they make all sorts of mistakes because their brains just aren't working right, they've been knocked out of their normal existence by the blood.  I call my bread enterprise "Bread Simple" - it's a pun on "Blood Simple" and the idea is that I want to make bread that is so good that people taste it and go "simple" - they forget how to talk.  I had a bit of it today.  I baked this morning at 10 or so and took 2 baguettes to a friend for a present.  They were about 4 hours old.  Perfect.  He was blabbing on talking to me about this and that and while he was talking he took a bite of the baguette.  He got about two more words into his next sentence and suddenly he stopped and went "oh" and "ah" and just noticed what he was eating and stopped talking right in the middle of his sentence.  It was great.

I have no interest in ever selling bread, but I like to give it away and I like to mess around with creative stuff, like printing the name on the bag and things like that.  It's all fun to me.  Right now I'm working on sewing some denim bread bags.  We're going on a road trip and I figure to take a bunch of bread with us - road food.

So yeah, naming starters is right up there.  I have one that is named, actually, she's "Princess Tomato Yeastwater".  Currently the princess is dining in the 'fridge, getting fat and sassy for a loaf on Tuesday.

:-Paul

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hey Warmouth,

How'd the bake go?

I have a book recommendation.  It's not all full of fancy colour photos or complicated recipes.  It's about making bread.  If you understand this book, you'll know a lot.  She even has a photo with nine loaves of bread laid out in a grid.  One side of the gred is: under-proofed, correctly proofed, and over-proofed.  The other side is not scored, scored lightly, and scored deeply.  You can see the effects on the breads.  For instance, if you wanted to see how deep scoring would look on under-proofed bread - it's there.  And she explains what is happening and why.  It's a GREAT book!   It's got a nice, friendly tone, it's a paperback, I'll be taking it on my road trip with me, along with some starter, parchment paper and a counter scraper  to see if I can bake bread at my brother's house.

The book is called Bread Science by Emily Buehler.  I think it's the perfect book for you.  It's a perfect book for me.  It's reviewed on the Fresh Loaf as well.  You have to get it from her web site:

http://www.twobluebooks.com/order.php

PS  -  How'd the bake go?  Learn anything?

:-Paul

warmouth's picture
warmouth

 well ........... it took me a while to get back on because it wasn't to good  ,the look again.. but taste and texture, off the hook   i applied your advice and everything was great till i had the bright idea to bake it in a loaf pan, an allunimum loaf pan . i was wanting to make a large loaf of sourdough  sandwich bread and guess what  it stuck in the pan  oh ,, i got upset  so i took a spatula to try to unstick it and when i finally got it out .it seperated in half the top from the bottom :(  i though failure ,  but some good news after all  while removing the bottom of the loaf from the pan i popped a peice of the crust in my mouth and wow   it was awesome ,soft, moist and the  all around  result of what i wanted to acheive was dead on yay  so i got over my failure and i call it a success  thanks for your help 

 next time i need to figure out some way so it wont stick  any suggestions? 

maybe parchment paper or foil? what i did was just oil the pan

  

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Great to hear Warmouth.  I have your solution.  Parchment paper is your answer, without doubt.  You can cut a piece to fit the bottom of the pan, oil the sides, then when it comes out of the oven, loosen the sides with a knife and out it will pop, guaranteed.  Then remove the parchment paper from the bottom before you eat it :-) !   I'm so glad to hear that you like the taste and texture.  And you have notes so you can do it again.  woo hoo!

You could also line the whole pan with parchment paper if you wanted, or cut a piece that is the wide width of your pan and lay it in so it covers two sides and the bottom - that's probably the best solution.  A loaf pan does give you a good shape for sandwiches.  You can also make small round loaves, then once they're cool cut them like hamburger buns and use that for a man-size sandwich.

:-Paul

warmouth's picture
warmouth

 i wrote it all down in grams and parchment it is thanks man i'll take a pic next time 

 thanks again 

 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

You got it.  I'm really happy to help.  I look forward to the photo.

:-Paul