Hello from Michigan! and maybe some advice please?
Hi everyone! Since we've been stuck at home I've wanted to make some sourdough but I'm running into issues and it's a bit frustrating lol.
The first two times I baked I had sourdough that had good oven spring, good taste, but the texture was gummy. Been reading, and reading, and reading more about it and thought maybe it was baking too high of a temp and too fast on the outside and the inside wasn't done. So this morning I dropped the temp and baked longer with lid (in the dutch oven) and then dropped temp and baked longer without lid. Texture wasn't gummy like it has been but it's still really dense and heavy. Crust doesn't seem real...."crusty" also. This a first for the big air bubbles as they haven't been like this. Dough is 80% KA bread flour and 20% BRM whole wheat with 75% hydration. Is this still a fermentation issue? An hour long autolyse, 5 sets of stretch and folds with an hour rest inbetween, sat for about 30 minutes before it went into the fridge for almost 13 hours at 37F.
Any ideas? Thanks!
That crumb is a dead giveaway. This is what the loaves of all sourdough newbies look like! Your starter is still developing.
How new is your starter? How long does it take to double?
I think your process *would* work with an active starter.
My starter is good ( at least I thought it was?) I've had the starter going since April 1st - 50g of bread flour, 50g of whole wheat flour, and 100g of water. I've fed it every day, usually within 12-24 hours.
Also, let me ask, what exactly is a "levain"? Is it the same as starter? Or is this something that needs to be done day of making dough? I was under the impression that a levain was made up the day you make the dough and only used a portion of mature starter.
Oh man, let's not get into the "starter vs levain" thing, we'll be here all day!
Yes, that is a common usage of "levain". People often use it to mean an offshoot of their starter that they build up to leaven the dough.
How active is your starter? How long does it take to double? I keep mine in the fridge, but when I take it out to build the levain, it can double in like 4 hours if it's warm.
Lol, I wondered about that from what I read about one vs. the other
The starter is pretty active, like I said I've fed it every day and it hasn't seen the fridge just yet (tonight will be the first night actually) It doubles quite fast, within 4 hours at least. It has for the most part been either on the counter or the window sill in the kitchen.
Huh, well that is really confounding to me. Because that crumb has all the signs of underfermentation to me.
If your starter is active enough to be double in 4 hours, I would expect 5 hours of bulk at room temperature (is that accurate?) to be fine – or certainly enough not to get this result.
Would you mind sharing your whole formula?
40g bread flour
40g whole wheat flour
40g of "mature" starter
80g of water
440g bread flour -80%
110g whole wheat flour - 20%
13g of salt - 2.4%
360g water - 65.5%
and then the levain, which I used 200g of it when it doubled
Could it be the salt going in too soon? Salt shouldn't go in until after the levain correct? I think I waited about 15 minutes before adding the salt.
Now we are getting somewhere!
Ok, this is far more levain than I expected for that amount of dough. I would try halving that (100g levain) and giving it another shot.
What does your dough look like at the end of bulk? I wonder if it's just completely overproofed by the time it's in the oven..
I doubt it has anything to do with the salt. You're using slightly more salt than I would, but not by much. I recently have been adding the salt to the dough after the levain (waiting 30 min), but I didn't used to do that, and I don't think it would make this amount of difference.
One more thing – there are differing opinions on this, but I like my dough to rest for the latter portion of the bulk.
Meaning, I try to do the strengthening portion of the bulk (S&F, coil fold, etc) during roughly the first 2/3s or so of the bulk time.
~ I don't think this alone would produce the result you're seeing ~
The dough looks good, or at least I thought it did lol. After 5 stretch and folds I did the good ol' "windowpane test" and it stretches nice and thin, it sure does seem like the gluten should be where it's at and the dough seems to start to hold a decent shape.
I will try less of the levain though and then maybe more time on the counter before it goes in the fridge
Thanks for your help!
I don't think the problem is your gluten development. (Now) I think you're overfermenting the dough – so if anything, more counter time *could* be counter-productive.
Again, points of view can really differ on this, but I often hear of shooting for around 50-60% volume increase in bulk. If your dough is growing significantly more than this in bulk, that could be a sign of overfermenting.
(If you can take pictures at different points in the process, that would help a lot in diagnosis for next time)