The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Help me refrain from slicing my first sourdough loaf!

brec's picture
brec

Help me refrain from slicing my first sourdough loaf!

It's coming out of the oven in about 15 minutes from the time I'm typing this sentence -- unless the crust isn't dark enough, or the interior temperature not high enough.

Tell me why it's so harmful to a loaf of bread to slice it before it has (almost?) thoroughly cooled. How does the interior of one side of the bread know that the other side has been injured? What are the ill effects of impatience?

Please hurry!

 

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

When you take it out of the oven it's still baking. The flavour also continues to improve. Even more so a day or two later but at least wait until it's cooled. 

brec's picture
brec

OK, I didn't think of that and it's a good motivator.

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

Please share. 

brec's picture
brec

1st sourdough -- exterior 

You can't see the interior yet because IT'S STILL BAKING!

I'm not optimistic. As implied by the shape, it was so soupy before it went into the oven that I couldn't score it properly.

P.S. After 30 minutes the interior temperature is 160F.

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

Looking good from where I'm sitting. Risen well, held its shape, nice colour and some some natural scoring opening up. I can almost smell it. 

Of course I know, from experience, that photographs don't always tell the full story but that's what I see. 

Too soupy can mean gluten underdeveloped and/or ferment timing issues. But it's a learning curve. Next stop is crumb shot and taste report once cooled. 

Looking forward! 

brec's picture
brec

Tastes fine! I believe the crumb is what Trevor J. Wilson calls "Fool's Crumb."

I should mention that this is a 100% whole wheat bread. It's from a recipe on youtube by "Elly's Everyday" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd_r69WauPk).  Elly takes a few unconventional approaches, including an overnight refrigerated autolyse, and postponement of S&Fs until after the bulk fermentation. Here is my transcription of the recipe:

450g whole wheat flour

405g water

Mix.

Cover with plate, autolyse (in fridge overnight)

130g whole wheat starter

9g (1.3 tsp) salt

Knead both into dough until dough gets wet & sticky (could use stand mixer).

Place in bowl, cover with plate, for 12 hours;

or, if watching, until doubles and visibly (through glass) bubbly under surface.

Stretch-and-folds: 4x 15-min. between [would be 20 min. if 1st and 4th an hour apart].

Shape: one additional stretch-and-fold in bowl; then a few gentle "tightenings" on dry work surface.

Place on parchment paper and then into banetton-shaped bowl; flatten parchment creases away from dough.

Proof (in improvised cup-of-hot-water proofing oven in video): check every half hour (for 2 hrs. in video).

Preheat oven to 230C/450F.

(Scoring: skipped in this video.)

Place dough on parchment paper into baking casserole (or dutch oven, cloche); spray with water, flatten parchment creases away from dough.

Bake for 25 min. with lid, then 20 without.

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

Not a fools crumb. I think it's a bit over fermented and that's why it was very sloppy. You're right about it being an unconventional recipe. That is a lot of starter for a 12 hour ferment. Excellent bake for this recipe though. 

I do think when you're ready next that you should try a different recipe. Do you particukapar want 100% whole wheat? 

brec's picture
brec

I'm not averse to consuming refined flour on occasion, but I do prefer whole grains for what I eat regularly. I'm thinking of trying this one next:

https://breadtopia.com/how-to-get-an-open-crumb-with-whole-grain-sourdough-bread/

I notice that the last line of the recipe harks back to our topic: "Let cool for several hours before cutting." Gee, I guess we're dependent on microwave ovens for warm bread.

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

Another one to consider would be this one from breadwerx.

Trevor has excellent recipes. Very well explained with accompanying videos. 

However I will advise one change...

Don't do the long overnight autolyse. Just mix the flour and water minus the salt. After one hour add the salt and starter and combine. Fold and squeeze the dough till fully incorporated. Then carry on as normal. 

brec's picture
brec

Abe, I assume your advised change is with respect to Elly's procedure rather than to Trevor's.

Why do you prefer one hour (room temperature) to refrigerated overnight? Elly, and joe_n (in this thread) think cold overnight adds significant benefit.

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

Some find it works and others find it's overkill and their dough misbehaves. A true autolyse is without the starter and salt. Trevor explains he adds the salt to ward off unwanted fermentation. He also says, if I remember correctly, this procedure is done out of convenience. For the flour used a shorter true autolyse will more than suffice. You'll get the advantage of not adding in the salt and your dough should behave better. TBH I think it's no less convenient to autolyse the dough for about an hour the day of baking the dough and making it a true autolyse. That's just my personal opinion.

brec's picture
brec

Elly's refrigerated overnight autolyse is without starter and salt. According to her video, her motivations are...

(1) Fits well with her schedule (i.e., convenience);

(2) Fully hydrates the bran;

(3) Enzyme activity converts some starches into sugars for better flavor.

She's quite humble: "This recipe is just a guide and a general process that does seem to work for a lot of people, though others get varying results."

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

Bran will need more. However there is a belief that the advantages after a certain amount of time (whatever that may be) will be minimal. i.e. a bread flour autolyse of 30 min - 1 hour is ample and beyond that any added advantage becomes negligible in comparison to the first hour and the more wholegrain the more time it needs. It's finding that sweet spot for the flours being used. I only mentioned it because I recommended a recipe that uses a very long autolyse and if finding issues with handling then shortening this step might become an advantage. 

brec's picture
brec

OK! Thanks. I have decided that, for a while, I'm going to stick with 100% whole grain. Also, I'll be using home-milled flour. I think the extended cold autolyse will at worst do no harm, at least if I can handle the dough sufficiently well.

But I'm not limiting myself to this one procedure.

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

When out of the oven, as the bread temperature drops below150° F starch retrogradation takes place, meaning that the molecules shift as the water that was absorbed during the baking process is expelled and, eventually, evaporates. Starch retrogradation is what gives bread its texture.

The water continues to move outward, drying the bread and firming up the crumb. If you cut into the bread while it's still warm , before this has finished, you risk finding a doughy, sticky mass inside, because the molecules are still dense and water-logged. You then end up with squishy and gooey, rather than firm and airy slices. 

Portus's picture
Portus

I have noticed on the odd occasion I have weighed loaves just out of the oven and compared same to an hour or two later, a normal sized loaf can lose +5g in weight through the processes you describe.

brec's picture
brec

So, in some way, the interior of one end of the loaf is affected by a cut on the other? Cutting a small slice off one end will deleteriously affect the entire interior?

How about inserting and removing a thermometer probe, leaving a small hole?

colinm's picture
colinm

In my opinion there’s nothing wrong with enjoying  a slice before the loaf has cooled all the way to room temperature as long as you cut very carefully with a sharp serrated knife to avoid squashing the tender crumb. And then put the loaf on end, cut side down, to finish cooling without drying out. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

sneak a piece and put cut side down.  My kitchen elves do it all the time!   :)

(you just have to train them to do it)   HoHoHo

brec's picture
brec

Ah ha! I have permission...

joe_n's picture
joe_n

I got my first big improvement in a 100% ww from using Elly’s 8-12 hr cold autolyse. I use her recipe all the time now. Another big help was using a bread proofer on the period after kneading in the starter. The constant temp was very helpful as well. 

When there is time, I sift freshlyground flour and regrind the bran two times. It goes back in with the flour before the mix for the cold autolyse.

Be careful not to overferment. Even baking a very slightly underproofed dough has worked for me.

brec's picture
brec

Recipes often give a range of times for steps: 45-60 min., 1 1/2 - 2 hrs., 8-12 hrs. I'm not sure whether this is for convenience, implying that anywhere in the range should work, or whether the duration is important and the specific time is a matter of seasoned judgment in the circumstances. Maybe some are for convenience and others are calls for judgment.

Seasoned judgment is what I don't have as yet.

brec's picture
brec

    Thanks for your comments. As a frequent user of Elly's recipe, can you say anything about how your typical result compares with my initial one based on the pictures I posted?

    In her video Elly advises a cool place for the fermentation after kneading in the starter. At what temperature were you setting the proofer?

    "When there is time" -- this suggests you think regrinding the bran is not of high importance. What changes do you notice?

joe_n's picture
joe_n

Hi,

i do not get big holes like ELly or  you have.  My holes are smaller and uniformly distributed even at the bottom of the loaf. The airiness is still evident after a chunk from the freezer has been thawed, sliced and toasted.

I usually have add-ins since that is in demand here.It might account for the change in crumb.

Elly lets the dough stay in a cooler during the day to ferment and before the S/F.   I heard her say that if she were home, she would get it done sooner. So,  I set the proofer at 76-77F and after kneading in the starter,I  ferment it in the proofer. Use a poke test before going onto the S/F. The dough goes in and out of the proofer for the hour of 15 min S/F.

Then shape (or preshape, rest 15 min, shape) , lay onto parchment( I spray mine with PAM), and into a colander, bowl or banneton.  I cut slits along radial lines of parchment so that there is no crumpling of the paper around the dough.

This dough rises in the proofer until ready. (Poke test - go a little underfermented). I bake in a preheated Creuset pot sized just right for her size loaf ( about 515 Gr ww flour).  8.5 in diameter and 3.25 in height.

Sifting and grinding:There was a finer dough with regrinding the coarser particles but the density/volume of baked loaf was about the same.

My first year loaves were quite hard but now there is a nice chew and even an element of airiness with respect to 100% ww loaves.

 

(Once  I got the order wrong and did S/F every 45 min right after kneading in the starter. I was thinking of Trevor Wilson’s way. It turned out with the same oven spring.)

brec's picture
brec

Thanks for the details, which will be helpful when I try this one again soon. I'll avoid add-ins or other variations except possibly using  a baking stone, with watered lava rocks for steam, rather than a Dutch oven.