The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Sourdough too cooked

cyber's picture
cyber

Sourdough too cooked

My sourdough is slightly too cooked.

Should I reduce time or temperature please?

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

Why do you think it is too cooked? What kind of flour did you use? What temperature? How long? How big was the loaf of bread? How was it shaped?

cyber's picture
cyber

@rondayvous
T
he crust is brown and hard

Waitrose wholemeal seeded

190C

1h30

350g flour

bread pan

Benito's picture
Benito

1 hour 30 mins at that temperature is likely too long for a pan bread.  At that temperature I would expect a typical sized loaf around 700-900 g of dough to take 50 mins or even less to fully bake.

Benny

cyber's picture
cyber

Thank you Benny. I'll reduce the time. But when it's not cooked enough the crumb is sticky because my flour is malted

Benito's picture
Benito

When I bake my 100% whole wheat Hokkaido milk bread as a pan loaf, it only takes 50 mins to fully bake the crumb.  This bread also uses a tangzhong so is relatively high hydration as a result and I've never had it underbaked.  At 50 mins I take it out of the pan and give it another 5-10 mins to harden the crust.

Make sure you don't slice it until it has fully cooled, the crumb needs to "cure" and if you slice it warm it will be sticky.

cyber's picture
cyber

I had to google tangzhong.

My sourdough is 90% hydration.

I always slice when it's cold but still if it's undercooked it's sticky.

I'll reduce the time by 10 min increment.

What di you mean by: 'At 50 mins I take it out of the an and give it another 5-10 mins to harden the crust.'? 'give it another 5-10 mins to harden the crust' where? Outside the oven when it's cooling or back in the oven?

AlanG's picture
AlanG

As has been stated, your baking time is too long.  Use an instant thermometer to measure the internal temperature the bread to get the right time.  It should be about 93C (205F).  When I bake sourdough sandwich bread (I use 1/2 t of instant yeast to help the rise), it only takes 35 minutes at the temperature you are using. This bread is less dense than the normal sourdough that I bake.

cyber's picture
cyber

@AlanG

93C Oh dear. When I take my loaf out of the oven I measure the temperature and it is between 101.3C and 101.8C.

What do you mean by instant thermometer? 

I guess I should remove the bread from the oven periodically to measure the temperature?

I'll try 93C next time but when the crumb is not cooked enough it's sticky because my flour is malted

troglodyte's picture
troglodyte

An instant thermometer is one that reads in a few seconds or less. The good ones give a temperature reading in one second with a better than 1 degree F (0.5 C) accuracy. I would consider it an essential kitchen tool that every kitchen should have. I can safely say that it is the single most useful kitchen gadget that we own. 

Honestly, Thermopen is the only brand to consider. This is one item where I would not cheap out or try to save money. Sad to tell you this, but it was on sale for 25% off only three weeks ago:

https://www.thermoworks.com/thermapen-one/

If you are on a tight budget, here is the model I use. It was the top-of-the-line when I bought it way too many years ago to remember. I reads in 2-3 seconds, with similar accuracy of the "Thermopen One" model. It is currently on sale for $59 (reg: $83):

https://www.thermoworks.com/classic-thermapen/

Important Note: Be sure to buy from an authorized source. See:
https://blog.thermoworks.com/thermometer/new-warning-thermoworks-website-2/

 

clevins's picture
clevins

Yes, it reads slightly slower but at 1/4 to 1/3 the price, it works well and you can keep a couple on hand. 

cyber's picture
cyber

205F=96C

93C=199F

 

cyber's picture
cyber

@troglodyte & @ clevins

Thank you both. I have one I bought a few years ago on eBay for £3.49 and that works very well. I didn't know it was called instant thermoneter because on eBay it was: Digital Catering Meat BBQ Household Baby Formula Food Thermometer Detector Probe :-)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The sourdough is 90% hydration.  Sounds to me it is too high.  Try a reduction so it can bake through faster.

cyber's picture
cyber

@ Mini Oven

I thought the higher the hydration, the better?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

But even then there are exceptions.  Lol

A lot depends on the type of flour and the recipe.  More info needed. :)

Malted flour.... how malted?  

But try reducing the hydration. 

cyber's picture
cyber

@ Mini Oven

I use this flour:

https://www.waitrose.com/ecom/products/waitrose-seeded-wholemeal-bread-flour/759403-762494-762495

How malted? I don't know. I read 'barley malt flour' in the ingredients:

INGREDIENTS: wholemeal wheat flour, millet seeds, poppy seeds, cracked wheat, oats, brown linseed, golden linseed, barley malt flour, wheat gluten.

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

So I doubt your issue is the malt. I regularly add malted wheat flour to my breads without gummy crumb. If this were a rye bread I would make my dough more acidic, but since it is a whole wheat dough I'd reduce the hydration down 10%. I'd also lower my baking temperature down to 350/360. At those temperatures I'd let the color of the crust determine when I took it out of the over. Look for the color to look like it is too dark, then leave it in another 5 minutes before removing to cool. I've had breads  come out where the outer crust had almost burnt, but the crumb was fantastic at those lower temperatures.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and the malt, as stated already, doesn't sound like a problem.  It may speed up fermentation. So will a rye starter. The flour contains a lot of seeds so the real weight of flour (small particles that get bonded into the dough matrix) will be slightly less.  I could sure use the recipe or ingredient list about now. Did I miss it in a comment?

.

cyber's picture
cyber

@ rondayvous

How can you make a dough more acidic, please? I'm asking because my starter is dark rye and I use about 150g of starter for 350g of flour i.e. over 40%.

Yes, it's already in my notes to lower the baking temperature from 190C to 180C (350F).

To look for the colour I'd need to take the bread out of the oven, because I bake it covered. But anyway I'll do that because I am going to take the inside of the bread temperature  :-)

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

I use Whey from the Yogurt I make. If you don't make yogurt you can buy a large container of regular yogurt and strain the whey with a large coffee filter, or a fine mesh filter. You will wind up with greek yogurt and whey.

If you don't want to bother with either of the above you can just substitute yogurt or sour buttermilk for your liquid in your recipe. That and a good sour starter should solve any acidity issues. 

In addition, any time you go over 25% rye in a recipe, I would not knead the dough. I would simply mix it a minute or so after it forms a ball. Place that ball in a container large enough for the dough to double (I spray olive oil in the container) and refrigerate overnight up to 3 days.

When you are ready to bake, remove from the fridge, bring it back up to proofing temperature. When it doubles shape, proof for an hour and bake.

Unless you have a sticky dough, rye is most likely not your issue.

clevins's picture
clevins

That 40% of your bread is dark rye is kind of important here. Also, why are you using 40% of the dough as starter??

cyber's picture
cyber

@rondayvous 

I make yoghurt so I have whey but I have trouble making the difference between sour and acidic. I googled them and still I am not convinced I understand the difference properly.

I never knead the dough. I fold it 8 times every half hour for 1.5 hour, which makes 4x8. Then I proof it 1h either on my window sill in the sun or in my oven using the proof settings (or at 40C). Then I bake. The crumb is sticky when I slice it (cold) and sticks to the knife and I thought that it was because of the malt

alcophile's picture
alcophile

The way I would describe the difference between "sour" and "acidic" is that sour is a sensory perception and acidic is a characteristic that can be quantitatively measured. We tend to describe acidic foods or liquids as being sour. But even sour is subjective: sometimes the word "tart" is also used. And different acids will produce different sensory perceptions. Acetic acid (vinegar) and citric acid (citrus fruit juice) are described as sharp sours but lactic acid in yogurt or sourdough bread is sometimes referred to as a smooth sour or tartness.

If you are interested in measuring the pH acidity of your starter or dough you can purchase some inexpensive pH paper (like this one). Smear some of the starter or dough onto the paper or mix it with a little distilled water to get a good idea of the pH.

Another measure of acidity in breads is total titratable acidity (TTA).   As the name implies, the TTA will tell you how much total acid is present, not just free hydrogen ions (getting technical here!). This is a subtle difference from pH because flour acts as a buffer for the acids present. This means that TTA can continue to increase without a noticeable change in pH. Here is where the flavor of the bread can become more sour. This measurement is more involved to do so you will see pH values more often.

I hope this wasn't too technical. I would be happy to answer any more questions you have on this topic.

cyber's picture
cyber

@alcophile 

Thank you for this interesting post. I had never heard of total titratable acidity and googled it.

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

Yogurt is more acidic when it is sour than when it is fresh and sweet. I like acidic ( sour ) greek yogurt, so my whey is very acidic. Hence I suggested using "sour" yogurt to get your whey for making bread instead of water.

I've never bothered to get an exact PH reading for my dough. Sour whey is very close to ideal, and adding a sour starter and time gets you where you need to be to prevent a gummy rye crumb.

At 20% rye, it might not be as big an issue. I find when there is enough rye in the bread to make the dough sticky instead of elastic, acidity helps.

cyber's picture
cyber

@rondayvous 

My dough is more like soupy than sticky, especially in the summer, when I ferment in the sun, because of the high hydration. It's the crumb that is sticky.

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous

If your dough is so wet that you can't tell whether it is elastic or sticky then you have too much water in your dough.

cyber's picture
cyber

@rondayvous 

I know but I read online that high hydration was the secret for an airy crumb and my crumb is airy enough. I'm afraid that if I reduce the hydration it will become more dense

rondayvous's picture
rondayvous
cyber's picture
cyber

@rondayvous 

Thank you for this interesting link (although I disagree with most of the temperatures he suggests) :-)

alcophile's picture
alcophile

The suggested temperatures are in the typical range I have seen in recipes for a lean sourdough bake. Do you find them to be too hot for your bake?

cyber's picture
cyber

@alcophile 

Exactly. I bake at 190C and I think it's too high. My sourdough is overcooked. I am planning on reducing temperature to 180C and time from 1h30 to ? (I'll stop cooking when the inside of the bread reaches 95C).

alcophile's picture
alcophile

Even 90 minutes at 190 °C would be a long time for a typical whole wheat bread. If your crust becomes too brown you could always try placing a foil tent over the top of the loaf during the bake.

Another suggestion is to find a recipe that uses this or similar flour for a comparison of hydration and baking conditions.

cyber's picture
cyber

@alcophile 

I only leave the loaf uncovered while I heat the oven from 0 to 190C, with the loaf in, i.e. about 10 minutes. Then I cover it with foil for the rest of the bake.

cyber's picture
cyber

@clevins 

I never tried to use less starter because I am afraid it wouldn't raise as well.

I just realised that I miscalculated the proportion of starter in my dough because I compared the weight of the starter, which contains 50% water with the weight of the dry flour.

Actually the proportion of starter in my dough is only 21%, not 40%

cyber's picture
cyber

@ Mini Oven 

I created a rye starter because I read everywhere online that there were the best starters.

I had initially made a starter with this seeded flour and after a while it grew a mould and I was told it was perhaps because of the seeds and I was advised to make a starter with rye flour.

When I calculate the hydration I take into account the proportion of seeds.

I just realised that I miscalculated the proportion of starter in my dough because I compared the weight of the starter, which contains 50% water with the weight of the dry flour.

Recipe:

Total 3h30 (or 6h30 in 1 day) baking included.

350g wholewheat seeded flour, 260g filtered water -> 75% hydration

Actually 90% hydration because 17.5% seeds

Make a sponge by mixing 150g starter with 110g warm filtered water and 175g flour

At the same time 

Autolyse 175g flour with 150g filtered water

Overnight or for 2h30

Add salt.

Bulk ferment 1h30 while performing 4 series of 8 S&F every 30 minutes.

Proof 1h using oven proof settings or at 40C

Bake until 95C @ 180C.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Now for the fun questions.  How did the sponge feel as you stirred it?  Compare the initial stirring with after the flour and seeds had fully hydrated. How would you compare it to your experience with normal sourdough? Was there much yeast activity?

Give your impressions of the autolyse.  Did it feel like a dough? (This is a logical place to reduce hydration  or hold back some of the water until the dough is made, adding as needed.)

clevins's picture
clevins

But maybe I'm missing some things so a few questions: 

Why are you making a sponge? I'd consider just autolysing all of the flour and water you have in that step with the 175g flour and 150g water. More importantly, I'm with Minioven and would hold back some water. 

I'm not familiar with seeded flour. Are you saying that the seeds come premixed with the flour or are you adding seeds to the flour in this step?

Forgive me if I missed this, but how is the crumb structure? I know it's moist, but is it otherwise tight, about right? etc?

You could seeds as hydration - is this because they're soaked in water and you add the seeds plus the soaking water? 

A 2.5 hour autolyse is ok but I'd consider shortening that to about an hour. I would not autolyse overnight. 

The bulk time seems short (and is there a typo? You can't do 4 S&F 30 minutes apart in 1h30m - 4 * 30 minutes is 2 hours).


cyber's picture
cyber

@clevins 

I make a sponge because it helps the starter mixed with flour and water to expand, before I mix the sponge with the rest of the autolyse.

Yes, the seeds come premixed with the flour.

The crumb is very nice, quite airy, not tight.

I autolyse overnight because it shortens the time the day I bake. I didn't see much difference between 2h30 and overnight, except that perhaps the mix gets a bit more soupy but I don't care because I S&F with a spatula (dough scraper), not with my hands, since it is a bit liquid, due to the high hydration

I do 8 S&F every half hour for 1h30. That makes 8 S&F 4 times i.e. for instance

8 at 9

8 at 9:30

8 at 10

8 at 10:30

that's 4 times 8

clevins's picture
clevins

You're at 90%. Drop that to 80%. 

clevins's picture
clevins

Er... apparently my browser really feels you should drop the hydration.. :) 

cyber's picture
cyber

@ Mini Oven 

Sponge and autolyse make the flour more elastic and liquid, even more in summer, when it is hot.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and I think you should pretty much keep everything the same (190°C) and cut back on the hydration until it feels like a dough and less like a batter. Sourdoughs feel wetter as they ferment.  You will want to bake to an inside temp for wheat which is slightly higher than rye. The easiest way is just to bake covered for 50 minutes and then when checking on it, tip the bread out of the pan. If the loaf won't tip out, its not done yet.  If you tap on the loaf, it should have a hollow sound. 

If the bottom crust has been pale, move it down to the bottom shelf to bake.

How's the rye starter doing?

cyber's picture
cyber

@ Mini Oven 

After communicating online, I decided to try lowering the temperature to 180C, bake for 1h and test the inside temperature until it reaches 95C.

Your advice to tip the bread out of the pan is interesting.

The bottom crust is never pale. I use a mini 3 in 1 oven so I don't have much space to place the pan. I raise it 4cm on a grill.

The starter is very strong and healthy, full of air bubbles. I created it at the end of 2018 so it's 3.5yo

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Hi friend!  :)

I think you'll be fine with the higher temp.  200°C should be about right if you lower the hydration.  Most recipes get tweaked a little bit because "your results may vary."  "Soupy" does not sound good to me. Where does the recipe come from? As a last resort chuck in a nice handful of rolled oats (or other rolled grain) into the goop to get dough. They are great sucker uppers (takes about 15 min) and do nice things to the crumb

Unless you pack in chocolate and a lot of sugar, then you might want to lower the temp to prevent burning the quicker browning crust. But you know your oven. Warning....only one change at a time. Either lower the temp or lower the hydration but not both so you can properly evaluate the difference.

Bye the way, one can increase acid by using bubbling mineral water.  Which I think is overdoing it. After a couple of bakes, a tangzhong would be fun.  -more details later-

"Mini Oven"  :)

 Tip:  Have you got one of those meat thermometers that stab into the meat? One of those wicked kitchen gadgets that you would never ever ever want to step on barefoot?  When you want to check the internal temp, stab the loaf and center the tip in the middle of the loaf. Then leave it in and shove the loaf back into the oven so you can read it while it bakes.  Leave it in. Remove after loaf is cool.  Wait for 96°C to be done for wheat.

cyber's picture
cyber

@ Mini  Oven 

'Where does the recipe come from?'
It's my creation after several try and miss

'As a last resort chuck in a nice handful of rolled oats'
That's interesting :-)

'Warning....only one change at a time. Either lower the temp or lower the hydration but not both so you can properly evaluate the difference.'
I'll start by lowering the temperature then

'tangzhong'
I googled it and found: https://www.theperfectloaf.com/guides/how-to-make-tangzhong/
This will be for later, perhaps...

'meat thermometers that stab into the meat'
I have one but I doubt I can leave it in the oven while the bread cooks

 

clevins's picture
clevins

First is the 'higher hydration is better' one. That's not true. It can be good but crumb it isn't as simply as more water = better crumb. More impactful are how you ferment and how you handle the dough. Trevor Wilson's book Open Crumb Mastery is a very good overview of various crumb styles and the factors affecting them. https://trevorjaywilson.sellfy.store/p/open-crumb-mastery/ is where you can buy it if you're interested.

Second, you're making a DOUGH not a batter. If you get a mix that's 'soupy', you have too much water and frankly, it's a little frustrating to see you insist on doing everything except dropping this. 90% is simply too high for the bread you're making. 75 or 80 would likely be OK. 

Third, temperature. When I've done pan loaves they seem to come out best in the 375-400F range (190-195C) and take about 50-60 minutes. If your issue is that the crust is too brown and hard, you actually want a higher temp so that it cooks faster, rather than longer (within reason of course). You can also try baking in a pullman pan which will enclose the bread in a pan so less of it (none, if you use the top cover) is exposed to direct heat.

cyber's picture
cyber

@clevins 

Thank you for the link. Looks interesting.

My dough became soupy when I started autolysing overnight. When I used to autolyse for 2h30 it was not. So it looks like it's more a question of autolyse lenght than hydration.

Oh dear, you are puzzling me now. I used to bake at 200C and my bread was fine. Then it became too cooked so I reduced to 190C. Now I understand that I must cook for less time.

I always modify only one parameter at a time (and Mini Oven pointed that as well) so I am going to try 180C until the inside of the bread reaches 95C.

I may decrease the hydration afterwards to see but changing the hydration will necessitate a few calculations because I don't put the same amount of water in the sponge and in the autolyse because the sponge contains the starter and I want both my doughs to have roughly the same firmness. For 175g flour (-17.5% seeds) I put presently 110g water in the sponge and 150 in the autolyse. I could try 100 & 135 to get a 80% hydration.

clevins's picture
clevins

when you bake only 1x a week is that it can take weeks or months to get things where you want them. It's a good way to scientifically test things, but not necessarily the optimal way to get a good loaf ASAP.

In your shoes, I'd start off with a known good pan loaf recipe. https://www.theperfectloaf.com/the-best-honey-whole-wheat-bread-recipe/ for example. Also, note that the crumb in that pan loaf is about as open as you're going to get in a pan. You won't get lacy, Tartine-like structure in a pan loaf.

I'd do this - pull back the hydration to 80%. Autolyse for no more than ~2 hours. Keep your temp at 375F/190C. That's much more in the ballpark of most pan loaf recipes. Check the crust about 45 total minutes into the bake and don't be afraid to tent it with some foil if it's browning to quickly (i.e. the internal temp needs more but the crust is getting close to what you want. 

 

PS: If your oven is convection, DO drop the temp OR turn the convection feature off if you can.

cyber's picture
cyber

@clevins 

I don't bake once a week but once every other week.

ASAP: Patience is a virtue, one of the rares I possess

Your recipe:

White flour

Egg

Butter

Olive oil

Honey

😂😂😂

Thank you very much but not for me. My bread contains only wholemeal seeded flour, starter, water, salt.

I use a small 3 in 1 microwave grill and oven. No convection 

clevins's picture
clevins

and there are others. I make a lean dough (FSWY as well). That you only bake every other week is MORE of a reason to use a better recipe as changing on thing at a time will mean you take months to dial it in. 

But I'm done. You seem unwilling to take advice and I have better things to do 

cyber's picture
cyber

Dear clevins I think I hurt you and I understand when I reread my rude post written in haste this morning before starting to work. Please accept my apologies. You spent a lot of time trying to help me and you didn't deserve this treatment from me. I don't know what I can do to make up for this misstep.