Now my starter is active and happily leavening bread I would like to use an existing yeasted recipe. How much starter should I use i.e what percentage is the starter in the overall formula?
Share your formula and desired time table/ taste profile and someone should be able to help.
But in short 10-20% Pre Fermented Flour is a common range
A maximum of 30% levain is a general rule of thumb.
More starter = quicker results
Less starter = slower results
However results can be manipulated by changing the temperature. It all depends on what you are wanting in your final bread and how you can make it fit into your daily schedule. When I first started with sourdough I followed the following simple formula...
Flour : 100%
Hydration : 66%
Salt : 2%
Starter : 10%
So for example:
Flour : 500g
Water : 321.5g (round up or down)
Salt : 10g
Active Starter : 50g (100% hydration)
This will give you a 66% hydration dough taking the 100% hydration starter into account.
I am a little bit confused: does starter mean culture or the built up levain? If it means culture, I will have to add the flour I use to build up my levain to the flour I am using in the final dough, right?
Six and two threes.
All you're doing is "infecting" the dough with culture i.e. the yeasts and good bacteria.
You have the "starter" which you keep going and this will always be from which you build your levain (what you put inside your dough).
Now there are a few ways which you can do this and everyone has their own preferred method.
1. Feed your starter. Allow it to bubble and rise for the correct amount of time. Take from the starter however much you need to put in your dough. Making sure you have some left over for the next bake.
The downside to this is you might put the whole lot in by mistake and lose all your starter. Or it might fail due to getting some dirt inside. You might drop it all on the floor etc.
2. Take a little from your starter and build enough to go into your recipe. This is called a pre-ferment. Many prefer this because it enables you to keep smaller amounts at anyone time. All you do is take a little off and build that into your levain. Remembering to refresh your original starter when it runs low. It involves more steps but you avoid the problems above.
Starter is interchangeable and is used differently depending on your method. When you build a pre-ferment all you are doing, really, is building more starter but in larger quantities.
When you add X percent starter to an existing recipe, does the starter replace any/all of the yeast (active dry, etc) called for? And, do you simply end up with more mass (amount of starter) than the original recipe would otherwise produce? thankx
you need to subtract the flour and water in the starter from the total flour and water in the recipe. Otherwise you will have more dough than you should and your salt ratio will be out.
So 100% hydration starter is equal parts of you mother starter/seed, flour and water eg. mother starter 10 g + 10 g water + 10g flour or written as 1:1:1 so it can be scaled to however much you require.
Does this make sense?
sorry, no I still dont get it. I dont know what 100% hydration means or how/where it is applicable. Sounds like kinda just doing yet another 1:1:1 feeding at time of mixing recipe, (10 g starter + 10g water + 10 flour) but I dont understand why that would be necessary (wouldn't it just be adding yet more mass, and starter wouldn't need to be fed again as your making the bread).
I'm trying to figure out how to use a ripe starter in (any) recipe. I haven't been feeding my various starters 1:1:1unless I know I'm using it the next day. Do I just presume that the starter is equal parts flour and water regardless, and subtract that volume from recipe? (And do away with yeast?) And how much starter to use, generally? Saw elsewhere that people use anywhere between 10 -40% starter. Does that mean subtracting, say 25% equal parts water and flour from the recipe (that would otherwise call for small amount of dry active or other yeast)?
I've been shooting from the hip, and had good results so far, but its definitely luck and I want to figure out how to get consistent results.
Thank you for your help and patience!
My first few tries:
into the recipe it becomes the levain :)
Thank you for this. Would you indulge a totally newbie a bit further? What do you mean by 100% hydration starter? I've had a very hard time finding info on how to use (not-sourdough) starter once you have it going. So just use a percentage (10- 40% seems to be the range) of active starter, based on the total of flour? How does how wet or dry or airy the starter is influence the outcome?
On a different subject (while I'm at it): I understand, generally, that kneading strengthens gluten. Is there a rule of thumb for optimal kneading, some point at which the whole thing collapses, and generally does the more you knead mean the higher the rise?
you don’t want to over knead the dough, are you using a mixer or kneading by hand? I hand knead using the slap and fold technique and you can see the dough come together (although it will sometimes come apart before coming together again) - I do approx 150 - 200 slap and folds, also called french folds. Rubauld is another method - the search function will find it. with good gluten development you should get a good rise provided your dough is not over proofed. hope that helps. Others may give you more help too.
Thanks for that. Sour dough is a challenge that will occupy me for while I think.
I was thinking I had it sussed - starter was active, my first two bake days went well so I started to think about converting a recipe. But today I made bread using the refrigerated starter for the 2nd time. Not sure why but it didnt go as well. 36 hours before I refreshed the starter and left it on the bench. Next morning, just a little activity. Refreshed it again and put in my proofing box at 21oC and it seemed to be ok but not spectacular. So I built the levain plus made a liquid one for 5grain SD (Hamelmann). This morning it looked good so I made my pain au levain again plus the 5 grain SD. Neither really proofed as well as my earlier efforts. The boules are smaller and crumb not quite as airy. Any ideas or is this the way it is?
Pain au levain
5 grain sourdough
I think I need to practice some more before I experiment with recipes.
and then show photos of perfectly good loaves of bread :)
I hope all my breads that "don't work out" turn out like that.
I wish *ANY* of my loaves turned out looking as good as these!
Yes, I was surprised when I cut them as I felt they weren't as good as I had hoped. Thank you - it gives me a bit more confidence as I find it exciting but quite scary with soo much still to learn.
but I base it on 3 things. What time of year it is and the resulting kitchen temperature, How mmuch time I have from mixing to baking and how long I'm going to retard the loaves.
I'm the winter I creep up to 20% since it is so cold and things slow down so much, I even go higher i20-30%, if I don't have much time and the retard will; be short.... 8-10 hours. In the summer when the kitchen is hot i will use less than 10% if the retard is long..... 16-24 hours. In the winter I might use 15-18% if I get out the heating pad to get the dough temperature up to 78F for the counter work and I have a long retard
So less time, cold temperature use more starter and levain. More time, higher temperature use less starter and levain.
I have a ridiculously wide range of amounts of sourdough starter I add based on the time of year, weather, and my schedule when making a dough. For a similar bread, I might add only seven grams of starter in the summer heat of 90 to 100 degree days, but 100 grams or more for winter days and nights. Of course, adjust the rest of the recipe to add the correct amounts of flour and water. The same goes for the decision of whether to have an overnight or daylong rise versus a rise of a few hours during the day. The adjustments for this are greatest during the summer and least during the mild weather of spring and autumn.
Unlike the previous, really better, responses to your initial post, however, I do this all by feel and a digital scale, though without figuring out the percentages. The use of percentages is probably a better guide.
by bakers percentage is what I normally use. e.g. for 800g of flour I'll add 320g of starter (this is wheat based stuff, Rye's different). 9 hours or so (overnight) bulk ferment (kitchens usually at about 20C) then 1-2 hours proving before baking.
Seems I'm using a lot more than others here, but that has worked for me for a good few years now.
Can you tell me what you mean by bulk ferment? Is that just time letting the-- in your case 40% -- starter mix with the recipe? And (sorry, I'm very new to this) what is proving? Is it same as proofing? Does that mean time to rest AFTER kneading?
One more question: you use a percentage starter based on flour... how does that effect the amount of water?
Bulk ferment is the stage between mixing the dough and shaping where the dough is left to do it's first proof. When it's fermented to whatever the optimal stage is for the recipe you're following then it's shaped and final proofed. During the bulk ferment the gluten is developed. In sourdough often the gluten is developed by way of stretch and folds instead of kneading. One incorporates however many sets needed for a strong enough dough and in-between each set it's left to rest. This is done during the bulk ferment.
Things change, life goes on and I no longer bake commercially. It was fun and I was happy to get and keep a 5* food hygiene rating for that time.
Also recipes and procedures change over time. That last post of mine was written 6 years or so back.
Bulk ferment is the first ferment. The longest. (in my bakery, anyway). Proving/proofing. Same thing just a different language. Or might as well be a different language. All sounds the same to me.
As an engineer/geek, I actually got fed-up with bakers percentages (and the omg, do you count the water in the starter or not?) and all the waffle surrounding sourdough - it's just slow, tangy yeast - and resorted to something a little simpler. My go-to recipe for a basic medium loaf ended up at 400g flour (usually 310 white, 80 wholemeal, 10 rye), 100g basic starter (ie. 50g flour 50g water, 'frisky'), 8g salt and about 240g water. I simply multiplied these for the number of loaves I was making. Often in batches of 12 or 15 as that's what fitted the Rofco B40. Mix, knead, dump in a tub and leave overnight. No stretch and folds. Turn out, scale (about 730g for a ~600g baked loaf), shape, leave 1.5-2 hours, bake. And that was that. Life was simple, the loaves good, holes in the crumb would hold butter and honey and people still complain today that no-one locally makes bread as good as mine, but for many many reasons I could not continue commercially.
See it all in action here:
Bake bread. Just do it. Sod the recipes and must/must not do's of others and bake bread that you like and enjoy.
thanks for the feedback everyone. It is awesome to get such help from you all. I need to go away and work out my recipe - I may check back to see if I am on the right track and hopefully there will be time before Christmas to try it out. As we are heading into summer, I guess I will be trying with around 10 % starter (give or take a bit) and seeing what happens. Leslie