Sourdough (rec.food.sourdough) Discussing the hobby or craft of baking with sourdough. We are not just a recipe group, Our charter is to discuss the care, feeding, and breeding of yeasts and lactobacilli that make up sourdough cultures.

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Old 30-04-2009, 06:53 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Default Carl's Starter + Mike's San Franciso Starter Recipe, First Attempt

Pardon me for a rather long introductory e-mail, but I want to
sufficiently describe a recent sourdough attempt using Carl's starter
and Mike's san francisco sourdough recipe (http://
www.sourdoughhome.com/sfsd1.html).

I received Carl's starter about a week ago and began culturing/feeding
it. Yesterday, it was ready, bubbling away in a glass Ball jar with
about 2-3 cups of active starter in it, which I had been feeding 2-3
times a day.

First some notes on the starter:
1. I found that the starter would at least double in size, but it
would do so within 1-2 hours of feeding and then settle back down to a
much smaller size.
2. My starter is probably on the liquid side, like a wettish pancake
batter.

On to the recipe:

When deciding to make my first bread, I followed Mike's instructions
and started adding flour to an initial amount of water. Until I
reached a 1:1 flour/water ratio (by volume) I used the whisking
attachment, which was a trick I read about on a website to help
incorporate enough oxygen into the dough. It has worked well on my
usual simple loaf with white flour, olive oil, and flax seeds. After
that, I switched to the dough hook. (The technique I am describing is
discussed he http://www.breadcetera.com/?p=157)

I found that I needed to add about a cup EXTRA of flour to get
something anywhere near the consistency of dough rather than batter.
I kept it as sticky as possible in terms of hydration, and was able to
very carefully remove a kindof "gloppy" dough from the mixer and form
it into a round on a baking stone. The kneading process took about 20
minutes.

After about two hours, the dough looked like it had completed rising.
It was also a bit overly flat. I'd say maybe 3 inches tall and 12-14
inches in diameter. The top was also crusty and dry, which I didn't
particularly like.

I decided to lightly re-knead the dough (about 5 folds and quarter-
turns), cut in half, and place into two loaf pans. I also sprayed the
tops with oil and covered them with a cloth. After about 6 hours, I
had no appreciable rise.

I decided to wait it out another 16 hours and when I came back to it,
the loaves had doubled in size but were flat at the top and had dried
out like before. They smelled like good sourdough, though, so I
decided it was time to bake them and see what happened.

After 425F for 55 minutes, the loaves came out passable in flavor and
maybe a little bit crumbly for my taste. The flavor was excellent but
the texture, shape, and density of the loaf was off. There was a hole
at the top where presumably the collapse occured but the dry surface
retained some of its shape. It was still a bit moist and chewy
inside, which was a bit of a surprise. It might be slightly
undercooked because the middle is still a bit on the moist side. This
bread would make really good croutons, I think.

--

If you've read all of that, here are my questions. I've read the FAQ,
so some of them I have answers to, but am not so sure about:

Q: I think my yeast is too fast. Is there a way to slow it down,
while allowing the bacteria to grow for the nice sourness I am looking
for?
A: I think my starter has a ton of yeast in it and is super-active. I
think I should cut the yeast down to 1/8c or even less of starter.

Q: How can I keep my loaf from drying out during the extended rise?
A: Spray with oil? Cellophane maybe? Add some olive oil to the
recipe? Not sure on this one.

Q: How can I keep my dough from being a flat mess and keep its shape?
A: The only thing I can think here is I need to add more flour, which
is called the classic beginner's mistake. So I'm open to other
suggestions here. Also, maybe my kneading "technique" is off. I'd
like to use the machine for kneading, because I am really at a loss of
how to handle such a wet dough without adding a bunch of flour via my
hands and the kneading surface just to keep it manageable.

Thank you for your time!

Also, have people moved off Usenet onto somewhere else that I should
know about? rec.food.* seems to have finally been overcome a bit by
spammers. Sad. For a rather long time, it was a pretty good haven
fomr it, but they seem to have finally found us.

--
Steve
Rhay dEot MsteOve aVt gEmaiCl dAot PcomS

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Old 03-05-2009, 08:18 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Default Carl's Starter + Mike's San Franciso Starter Recipe, FirstAttempt

After reading a bit and trying to figure out what went wrong, I think
the recipe that I was using might not be the best one for me to start
out with. Letting the bread rise for 12-16 hours isn't working for me
at all. The bread gets all messed up in that amount of time. So I am
going to try a poolish approach instead, and let the sour develop
beforehand, and then add more flour, make a loaf, let rise and pop in
the oven.. It seems a lot of recipes work this way, so I'm hopeful.

--
Steve
Rhay dEot MsteOve aVt gEmaiCl dAot PcomS

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Old 03-05-2009, 08:47 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Default Carl's Starter + Mike's San Franciso Starter Recipe, First Attempt

Yah Evets wrote:
After reading a bit and trying to figure out what went wrong, I think
the recipe that I was using might not be the best one for me to start
out with. Letting the bread rise for 12-16 hours isn't working for me
at all. The bread gets all messed up in that amount of time.


For the long rises and the wet dough I like to work with, I use a mold
to hold it's shape and I cover it to prevent it drying out. I have a
large salad bowl that fits over a loaf without touching it and a variety
of pyrex dishes for molds. If I worry about my cover touching, I grease
it and shake some cornmeal on it like I do for my mold, that allows it
to peel off without messing the loaf.

So I am
going to try a poolish approach instead, and let the sour develop
beforehand,


I only get heavy bread that way, decent enough, but I do like the fluffy
stuff.

Mike
Some bread photos: http://www.mikeromain.shutterfly.com
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Old 04-05-2009, 03:50 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Default Carl's Starter + Mike's San Franciso Starter Recipe, First Attempt

Yah Evets wrote:

Q: I think my yeast is too fast. Is there a way to slow it down,
while allowing the bacteria to grow for the nice sourness I am looking
for?
A: I think my starter has a ton of yeast in it and is super-active. I
think I should cut the yeast down to 1/8c or even less of starter.


Temperature and hydration come to mind. Lower temperature (which may be
easy or hard for you to obtain - the fridge is too cold) or more flour.
Doesn't Mike's site call for a 100% start - e.g. 1:1 by *weight* not
volume? Maybe that's where you're getting confused? 1:1 by volume works,
but it grows faster and gets to a lower pH sooner (with less total acid)
and it does make a difference in a recipe.

Q: How can I keep my loaf from drying out during the extended rise?
A: Spray with oil? Cellophane maybe? Add some olive oil to the
recipe? Not sure on this one.


A "greenhouse", as suggested by others. An inverted bowl or box will do
the trick, even in the hot desert (where I live).
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:47 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Default Carl's Starter + Mike's San Franciso Starter Recipe, FirstAttempt

On May 3, 3:18*pm, Yah Evets wrote:
After reading a bit and trying to figure out what went wrong, I think
the recipe that I was using might not be the best one for me to start
out with. *Letting the bread rise for 12-16 hours isn't working for me
at all. *The bread gets all messed up in that amount of time. *So I am
going to try a poolish approach instead, and let the sour develop
beforehand, and then add more flour, make a loaf, let rise and pop in
the oven.. *It seems a lot of recipes work this way, so I'm hopeful.


For my second attempt, I went with the Vermont Sourdough recipe in
Hamelman's book and followed the instructions pretty closely. Using a
levain method, I made up the starter-dough and let it sit for 12
hours. I then mixed that into the full recipe and put it in the
fridge for 16 hours after about 5 stretch and folds. (Hamelman
suggested 2.5 hours at room temp and two stretch and folds, so this
step was a little bit longer.). I then did another stretch and fold,
shaping, let rise for 2.5 hours, slashed and baked at 400F with
occasional spraying and steam 5 minutes past 200F on a preheated
stone.

The results look VERY promising.

Covering the dough worked very well. I used some Glad "Press and
Seal". The final proof for me is still a little tricky as I am
limited in what I have available to use as a covered area without
having handle the dough a bunch to get it on the cooking surface.
I'll have to come through this soon, I think, if I want to have more
control over my bread shape, etc.

A bread pic I took with my phone of the two loves fresh out of the
oven:

http://img145.imageshack.us/img145/2214/bread.jpg

I'll let you know how the holes look inside when I cut it open.

I've also started to thicken my starter to 1:1 by weight and look
forward to experimenting with that.

Thanks, everyone, for the feedback!

Steve


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