February 21, 2021 - 1:48pm
Sourdough in a bread machine; or…
… is that heresy?
I have a Zojirushi BB-PAC20 bread machine.
What kind of results could I expect with that machine to machine bake sourdough, with a really healthy starter, please?
If so, how do I adapt recipes - particularly those by volume - to take account of the extra liquid and flour in the starter… can I just assume I'm substituting 50% of each (flour, water) and deduct the amount I use from a recipe?
Or am I only ever going to get decent results worthy of a starter by manual steps? If so, that's fine :-)
Is it heresy to try; to add yeast etc?
Secondly, is there anything to be gained by vacuum-sealing my flours between baking, please?
Any advice gratefully received :-)
for sourdough in a Zoji are floating around the net:
Lots of bakers add yeast to their sourdough. I'm seeking a particular combination of flavor, density, height, and convenience. I'm willing to use any available tool to achieve what I want.
I shall be pragmatics :-)
Any views on vacuum-sealing flours, please?
I haven't done it. Mine seems fine in OXO containers.
The problem with asking multiple questions in a single post (or email) is typically only one gets answered.
Thanks, Gary! Probably overkill on my part :-)
Not between weekly bakes, but... If you buy AP or bread flour (refined white flour only, not T70 and up) in 50 pound bags, it may help preserve / extend freshness to seal 40 pounds of it in 5 pound bags, and then open and use as needed.
The bulk flour cost savings (if you can buy a 50 pound bag at a local restaurant supplier) might more than pay for the plastic sealable bags.
Thanks, @idaveindy. I don't bake in that quantity. So I probably need to keep things simple.
At Gary's suggestion, I've just bought a set of OXO (supposedly) airtight 5 lb bags.
Your help appreciated :-)
Are you trying to preserve it or keep the bugs out? For bugs I freeze my flour for 2 days in a ziploc to kill off any eggs, then let it defrost on a towel (in said ziploc). After a day I transfer it to a container that has a rubber seal. If I don't transfer it because my other container is full then I just keep it in the ziploc until I need it.
For preserving, you might be better off looking into buying the wheat berries and using mylar bags coupled with O2 absorbers.
I now have about 20 OXO (supposedly) airtight 5 lb canisters. Each labelled, and with a spreadsheet to identify the contents.
It's in the coolest place in our house (in Southern California, where it is just about to get unbearably hot); also out of almost any light.
I recently threw away and replaced any flour from 2020.
Never seen any bugs.
Can they be seen?
Likely - when almost always bought from KAF and BRM?
Sure, Mark, you can knead, ferment and bake sourdough breads in you bread machine. Sure, you can add as little as 5% of all flour in the recipe with your starter, or as much as 100%. In other words, you can simply add salt to your ripe starter and bake it into bread.
You can bake pure sourdough, purely yeasted, or combination of the two in the same loaf. No problem
Anything is possible. Bread machine is simply a combination of three devices: mixer, proofing cabinet and oven. Your model is programmable, so you can watch how much time you need to knead your dough and how much time it will take to rise and to bake and make your own program and bake hands off in the future.
The only problem with bread machines and sourdough or yeast for that matter is that all sourdough starters are different and all yeasts are different. You cannot use someone else's recipe for a sourdough bread in your machine with your starter, because it rises differently. Different sourdough starters rise with amazingly different speeds depending on what kind of yeast lives inside the starter. The difference is 15-fold.
Researchers took samples of the sourdough starters from 500 bakers and bakeries from all over the world and shown us the differences in leavening power between them; see it with your own eyes. All these sourdough starters bake perfect loaves, but some starters are slow and other are super-fast.
source: The diversity and function of sourdough starter microbiomes
So yes, you can bake any bread in your bread machine, you will just have to figure out first how long each step will take with your particular sourdough starter and your specific brand and kind of yeast (compressed, instant, dry active, osmotolerant, fast-rising, etc.)
Vacuum sealing is good. It slows down aging of flour due to oxydation, contact with air. Normally, you would combine vacuum sealing with refrigeration of vacuum sealed bags.
However, for the bread machine only freshly bough flour works. Not older than 6-8 months after milling. The more your flour ages, vacuum sealed or not, the less predictable would be the results of baking in the bread machine. They talk about it in your bread machine instruction booklet, see p.49. with illustrations. Flour being too old results in loaves that rise and then fall, not rise enough, or come out too short and heavy.
Mariana - thanks so much for your wonderfully comprehensive and helpful reply; I really appreciate it!
Particularly illuminating is your first paragraph, which I read as a really clear description of how the starter 'influences' the rest of the loaf: it doesn't. The starter is not like yeast, but is an integral component in the loaf. Yes?
A 15-fold difference in the extent to which the rise happens is quite startling. I need to be more hands-on than perhaps I expected, don't I? I have previously 'designed' my own cycles with the Zojirushi. That may be the way to go.
Thanks for the video and link. A lot to review, take in, and make my own document of notes to use in the future :-)
What you kindly say about aging flour is instructive. It makes me think that I have in fact been letting my flour sit for too long. I shall either have to bake more bread and/or buy flour more often. What a burden :-)
Thanks again for taking the time and trouble to extend this help, Mariana!
Mark, I saw the sourdough loaf that you baked inside Zojirushi Virtuoso and it looks fabulous. You are on the right path. You have a great starter, an excellent bread machine, and solid breadmaking skills and understanding of dough. You will do great, I am sure.
Obviously, the starter influences the rest of the loaf, otherwise we wouldn't call it a starter or won't use it at all. The difference it makes depends on what you want from your starter. It can simply flavor the rest of the loaf by acidity that it brings with itself, or it can start fermentation in the rest of the loaf, because the starter contains both yeast and bacteria.
The yeast in your starter will be responsible for alcoholic fermentation and the bacteria will be responsible for lactic acid and acetic acid fermentation. Altogether, you will get a tall and fragrant loaf thanks to your starter.
You can use a very young (recently fed) starter or a very ripe starter, a small amount of starter or a lot of it, and the results will be different.
Anyways, it is not that important to discuss right now. Most important thing is to bake bread. Bread machine bakes bread that is very special, super tasty and fragrant, and it makes amazing preferments and all kinds of excellent lean or enriched dough. Also, with the help of the bread machine, like Zo, you can develop a variety of starters as well, because it mixes flour with water and it sustains even warm temperature for a long time, up to 12 hours at a time. I prepare most of my starters inside Zojirushi.
So you choice of exploring sourdough baked with the help of the bread machine or using some program from start to finish is good and very promising. Sourdough in a bread machine or with the help of a bread machine is simply one of the the best.
Thanks to the help I have received here I believe I have a really healthy (bubbly and fragrant) starter. I plan to nurture it carefully… feed at least once a week :-)
Thank you for drawing my attention to the three process of alcoholic, lactic and acetic acid fermentations; I now plan to read up on that in greater details. I am ashamed to say (!) that I already have bread books all over the floor - including sourdough ones :-)
I guess I should also try the Zo's starter cycles. Although I have enjoyed caring for my own, that would be something else to experiment with.
The very best to you too, Mariana!
@Mark, I have experimented with surdough in my ancient Panasonic machine.
Sometimes I see evidence of incomplete mixing in the finished loaf. I think it doesn't cope so well with sticky starter/pre-ferment. Lightly mixing the ingredients in the breadmaker bowl before setting it off seems to help.
For simple recipes you do what you would have done to make your sourdough loaf, but for the final mix bung the ingredients in the breadmaker, select a programme and see how it goes. But see above, if your recipe involves sponges or autolyses that are likely to have developed some structure themselves, there may be mixing problems. Wetter pre-ferments/sponges are probably better from a mixing perspective.
I generally stick a bit of yeast in to help the rise, but results are OK without it.
Of course your Zorushi machine may be better at it than my Panasonic.
ETA I also tried using the delayed start function and adding starter that wasn't ready, so obviously then you wouldn't want to pre-mix, which is where I found out about the mixing issues. But also, getting the timing right with variable overnight temperatures was difficult, so I haven't pursued that. The aim was an almost one-shot sourdough loaf.
@greyspoke, thanks for that!
Yes - premixing sounds like a great idea (or delaying).
Presumably, it wouldn't hurt to leave the lightly-mixed ingredients for a longer rest (the Zojirushi has a maximum of 30 minutes) in the slightly warm, either, would it?
You have given me much to think about, and experiment with: very grateful!
@Mark I think your Zojirushi may be more sophisticated. My Panasonic has a few fixed programmes, all of which are for a complete mix and bake apart from "bake only", with fixed timing (probably selecting small, medium or large affects the time and light or dark affects the baking temperature). You can't dial in the different phases separately. So all I can do is delay the start of the programme, which would mean everything is left at room temperature until the programme kicks in, that delay can be up to 13 hrs until the end of the programme. With instant yeast, the long delays work fine as you can keep the yeast dry by putting it in the bottom of the bowl, adding the dry ingredients then the liquid. I was experimenting with putting in the bulk flour etc., adding a just-refreshed starter on top (to ferment during the delay), setting a delay time and programme and letting the machine get on with it, but the results weren't great. I will have another go when summer comes and overnight temperatures in the kitchen are warmer. If you have more settings available there is a lot more to play with there.
You may be right. With my Zojirushi I can set up to three custom cycles. Even these do have minima and maxima which it's not possible to override.
I do note, though, that practically all the recipes I have read say to use one of the Zojurushi's built-in cycles. So far that's been very successful. I feel as though I'm learning a lot :-)
Thanks again to GaryBishop, greyspoke, idaveindy and mariana for your help!
I’ve been making real progress with hand made loafing!
My first attempt at the bottom of this thread.
Your support and encouragement very much appreciated :-)
Your loaf looks great.
Yes that looks good Mark, nice looking crust. But the main thing - does it taste good!
Possibly the best loaf of any kind I have ever made.
Although the bottom was a touch burnt and the crust overcrutsy, I know why: Lodge.
I should be getting my Challenger this week. Then shall also try baking for perhaps a few minutes (5, 6?) less.
It had no fat, yet was doughy and moist. The flavors were superb. I was really lucky. Or I am really benefitting from all the help of the good people here. Or both :-)
I just got a Zojirushi BB-CEC20 and have the first sourdough effort in progress.My question is: How long should the baking time be for a dark crust, 1.5 lb. loaf? At least a starting point. I figured out setting the custom cycles, so I used the dough cycle to make the dough, put it in a bowl and let it rise, then proofed overnight in the refrigerator. Then I took the paddles out and put the dough back in, set it to rise for an hour. I'll check at the end of that time and see if it's long enough. All the other cycles are off, except the bake time. At this point, I don't know what to expect for time at the machine temperature. I am accustomed to using an oven and starting off at 500 degrees, then turning it down to 350. I can still do that for sourdough, but would like to see how much this machine can simplify the process.
May I suggest either just using the Zojirushi to mix the dough; or use one of its default cycles - ideally 'Basic'?
Then do as you are doing for bulk fermentation, proofing and pre-shaping. But I do believe you'd be better off baking in a full oven.
If you want to return it to the machine for actual baking, their default seems to be 55 to 60 minutes. So for a dark crust, I'd try 60 minutes.
Though I'd be surprised if you got much more spring in the Zojirushi.
Good luck - and please do tell us how you got one!
Thanks, Mark. I certainly don't expect the same outcome as baking in the oven in cast iron, my preference. Mostly I wanted to experiment with the machine and see what I can expect from it. I think sometimes I'd go for easy and quick, but always prefer the better method. That said, the first batch turned out quite good in flavor. Not much to speak of for top crust, but the texture of the bread was quite serviceable for sandwiches, etc. Since then I made a Kalamata Olive bread that turned out quite good, but again not a crust that I'd strive to produce. And I have a basic half white/half wheat bread cooking in it now for a breakfast bread.
If you are asking in the last sentence how I got the machine.....Facebook Marketplace. Found a used one with free shipping at a very decent price. This one works much better than the cheap old $15 breadmaker I picked up at the local thrift shop. I turned it around and sold it almost immediately. Mostly I like to use them for the dough function because I don't have a good counter space.
Well done, cgriffin - no wonder you're pleased.
The more I look into the world of sourdough, the more convinced I become of (at least these) three things:
Your wish sometimes to make a 'quick loaf' completely understand.
My spellchecker apologizes for turning 'on' into 'one' in that last sentence; I apologize for not spotting it.
Thanks for letting us know how you get on!
Ive been experimenting with the Breville custom loaf to make an all-in-one sourdough sandwich loaf...
the settings i use (still making minor alterations but its pretty close)
I add water, starter, flour and sugar and do a 2 min pre mix to autolyze.. I add salt on top then use a custom setting i programed..
Pre heat at 77f for 25 mins
Knead 1: 5 mins
Knead 2: 20 mins
Rise temp 88f
Rise 1: 1hr:40min
Slap down: 10 seconds
Rise 2: 1hr:40mins
Slapdown 5 seconds
Rise 3: 1hr:40min
Bake at max temp for 1 hour
I mill 50% of my flour and feed the extra bran to my starter for the next loaf so it moves fast and is very active.
I also use 25% inoculation to bring more flavour and speed into the process... the entire cycle is set to be total 7 hours and makes a wonderfully flavoured loaf...
Thanks, Napollo; you seem to have got it close. If you can make all those adjustments, you're obviously onto something. Good luck!
Looks moist and grainy :-) !
I think the freshly milled grain and using a high starter inoculation go a long way with making sourdough in the bread maker...
my current recipe which is still being slightly refined is
200g fresh milled flour
250g bread flour
10-20 g salt
10-20 g sugar
10-20 g oil
10g vital wheat
200 g of inclusions of choice
Yes, that's a lot of starter, isn't it; I see what you mean :-)
Making up for the machine's quicker action.
Puts a lot of weight on the leaven's quality.
But you're certainly proving (no pun: demonstrating) that it can be done, Napollo, aren't you!
Has your starter been fed and fermented in the usual way?
When I mill the grain for my bread I sift off a bunch of the flakes and after taking some starter out to use in the bread I feed the flakes to my starter.. I usually mill some rye as well to feed it, sometimes a little extra bread flour to make up the difference if I need a bit more for the next loaf..
I usually start a loaf in the morning and feed my starter at the same time, I just let the starter sit on the counter and since it's been in the low 60s it's usually ready by the next morning.
the last few days the temps have been rising so I've been finding when my loaf I started in the morning is finished the 7-hour bread maker cycle I can discard some starter and make crackers and feed it again... hopefully to be fully activated by morning.
I was using 250g of starter but I increased it to 300g because it gives my flour and water a total weight of 1000g
Do you by any chance have a good cracker recipe for such a discard, please?
(I am a long way off from milling my own - at least for the moment. Full of admiration for how you're doing it.)
I just spread the discard on parchment paper and add some salt and pepper and bake at 350.. the milled grain has so much flavour it doesn't need much else...
the milled grain is definitely a major factor in the fermentation speed... when I did side by side tests the milled grain fermented so much faster with so much more activity it was crazy.. it also led me to some interesting understandings about our bodies..
the starter is an external digestive system and our stomachs are an internal digestive system, it made me realize that our bodies; like the starter are designed to break down the milled grain and not sterilized flour. When doing so with fresh-milled it happens at a much more rapid rate which in the end is less work on the digestive tract.
Overtime you can train the body or the starter to digest the sterile flour but I have a feeling it would perform better on fresh milled, humans or starters ahahah
How thin should that starter be spread?
350° for, what, say 10 minutes?
Since our guts need the fermentation, what you say about digestion really fits in, doesn't it.
i spread it out so its as thin as 2 nickels and bake for 15-20 but all ovens are a bit different.. halfway through I cut it with a pizza cutter and toss it back in till its nicely browned
Got it. Thanks. Will give it try :-)
* 250-300g water depending on whats going in the dough