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 03-02-2006, 03:02 AM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Default The virgin returns

Well - a virgin no more - but still seeking that sublime loaf of
sourdough.

Loaf number two came out of the oven a while ago. As promised, I kept
reasonably close track of measures and procedures. The good news -
the 'deflation' (separation of crust and bread) seems remedied (I
still suspect I left it to rise too long). The bad news - I seem to
have encountered new / more problems with consistency and size / shape.
The worst news - this one was not sour at all. Bland, bland, bland.

I am hereby seeking insomniac bread diagnosticians, who have nothing
better to do than offer their much appreciated advice.

Here's the procedure followed;
· Wednesday evening took the refrigerated culture out of the
refrigerator. (This is a 'wet' culture). Split in two - one part
was 'fed', and replaced in the refrigerator this morning after
activation; of the remainder, 1 cup starter was mixed with 1 cup flour.
Thoroughly mixed, and left overnight (12 hours) at a controlled 70 o
-71 o.
· The culture was vigorous and risen this morning, Punched down,
added another 1 cup flour and ½ cup water. Mixed vigorously, and
proofed in a proofing box at 80 o for 5 hours.
· Culture was now well risen and very active. Punched down, and
kneaded in 3 cups flour, 1 cup water, 1 ½ teaspoons salt. 1 more cup
flour was kneaded in on the board.
· In total; 1 cup "wet" culture, 6 cups flour, 2 cups water, 1 ½
teaspoons salt.
· After what I felt was a thorough kneading, an slightly oval loaf
was formed, and placed on a board. Placed in proofing box at 75 o for 3
½ hours. At which point, the loaf appeared a full twice original size
- although wider rather than higher (damnit).
· Loaf was baked in a pre-heated oven @ 375 o, on a baking stone, for
40 minutes.

Out of the oven, the loaf looked good - with a mosaic-like crust
pattern where it had separated rising. But it was obviously wider than
desired; was circular, and had not risen upwards enough.
After a short cooling, I indulged. The crust is too thick, and the
bread, while of good consistency, is a little more dense than I would
desire (not terrible; good consistency, just not 'light' and full
of large, irregular holes as I might wish). And the bread is brown -
somewhat darker than the flour itself. Worst of all - it is not sour
at all.

As mentioned in my post the other day, I started this culture from
SDI's "San Francisco Original". My first loaf was something of an
abomination in density and crust. But it was deliciously sour. This one
is not sour AT ALL. I now sympathize with those who have aired similar
concerns with this culture. But - because that first loaf was sour, I
know it can be.

For those who care about such things; all water is clean,
unflouridated, unchlorinated well water. All water was added in at 80
o. All flour in the recipe is unbleached, 'organic' flour. Don't
know more about it (will endeavor to know more about my flour in
future).

Any observations?


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Old 03-02-2006, 04:24 AM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Default The virgin returns


"Ric" wrote in message
ups.com...
Well - a virgin no more - but still seeking that sublime loaf of
sourdough.

I am hereby seeking insomniac bread diagnosticians, who have nothing
better to do than offer their much appreciated advice.

Here's the procedure followed;
· Wednesday evening took the refrigerated culture out of the
refrigerator. (This is a 'wet' culture). Split in two - one part.
was 'fed', and replaced in the refrigerator this morning after
activation; of the remainder, 1 cup starter was mixed with 1 cup flour.
Thoroughly mixed, and left overnight (12 hours) at a controlled 70 o

lower the amount of starter used to one our two tablespoons, adjust water to
1/2 c and 1c flour. increase proof temp to 80f.


· The culture was vigorous and risen this morning, Punched down,
added another 1 cup flour and ½ cup water. Mixed vigorously, and
proofed in a proofing box at 80 o for 5 hours.

ok

· Culture was now well risen and very active. Punched down, and
kneaded in 3 cups flour, 1 cup water, 1 ½ teaspoons salt. 1 more cup
flour was kneaded in on the board.
· In total; 1 cup "wet" culture, 6 cups flour, 2 cups water, 1 ½
teaspoons salt.

salt should be 1-2%, so for 6c flour the salt should be 7-14g or 3-5 tsp.
longer warm 80-90 ferments will give better sour. your current hydration
level is about 60%, which is about right, might try to lower to around 55%.
if so add 1/2c to above recommendations and you will have 57% hydration.


· Loaf was baked in a pre-heated oven @ 375 o, on a baking stone, for
40 minutes.

i always use steam (EXCEPT WHEN DOING DICKY'S RECIPE), water in metal pan on
bottom of oven, with temp closer to 400.


As mentioned in my post the other day, I started this culture from
SDI's "San Francisco Original".

more proof that it is not the culture, per se, that gives the sour, but the
technique. hope this helps, if not try something else and for god's sake,
if it works post it.

dan w




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Old 03-02-2006, 04:44 AM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Default The virgin returns

Here's my speculation... though bread forensics are not worth much if
you cannot attend the autopsy.

The sourness issue... I think you fermented the starter too long the
first time around. You were able to transfer a good acid load to dough
#1 since it was a new (and balanced) starter. But the starter returned
to storage was overly acidic and it could not propagate LB's in the
numbers you needed. This was compounded by using a large amount of this
starter for bread #2. A smaller amount would have been effectively
de-acidified by the larger volume of fresh water and flour.

The remedy is to keep 2-3 tablespoons of starter. The volume build-up
from a much smaller starter inoculation solves the acid issue will
actually make for more sour at the end. It's counter-intuitive, I know.

The crust... The flyaway crust you experienced in bread #1 was caused
by two things. An insufficient shaping technique that did not properly
deflate and align the dough's gluten and too long a period between
shaping and baking. You correctly identified half the issue. But
appropriate rounding and shaping are key for distributing gas and a
developing a tight outer skin. It's the skin tightness that keeps the
bread from slumping and spreading. Rounding and shaping are hard to do
correctly. It takes time to get the hang of it.

Remedy: get a book with pictures that shows the process. Look into
Peter Reinhart's books. They have more pictures and illustrations than
most.

The crumb... machine kneading does not make the best crumb. The gluten
is shorter and not as extensible. Others will swear by their
KitchenAids and Swedish what-chu-ma-call-ems... but not kneading is
best. Use the machine to mix the ingredients, then let the dough rest
in a cool place like a cellar or refrigerator for about 12 hours.
Longer is fine. Gluten forms with water and time. It's a hydration
process. Kneading or time both distribute water. Time is better. This
cold rest is called a retard. It is not a proof. You still must proof.
But you can skip all of the various punch downs. They serve no purpose
in sourdough. They are a relic of yeast bread instruction since yeast
breads get very gassy.

The taste... There is no thing as a "short" cooling. Tempting as it is,
the bread must cool to room temperature and should be at room
temperature for at least 3 or 4 hours. If you want warm bread, reheat
it. The really interesting flavors do not present themselves until the
bread is well rested after baking. This is another one that is counter
intuitive and very hard to practice, because warm bread smells so
wonderful, but it's true.

Perhaps someone else can do the oven temperature, time and stone g...

Good luck. Keep posting.

Will

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Old 03-02-2006, 06:26 AM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Default The virgin returns


"Will" wrote

Perhaps someone else can do the oven temperature, time and stone g...



From where I'm at right now (and I am getting pretty comfortable here),
the 375 degree bake I would raise to around 460 at least, preheated for a
good 45 minutes, and definately check that with an oven thermometer. I
didnt notice a really good oven spring (and it saved quite a few pancake
loaves) until I turned up the heat on those quarry tiles of mine. And even
at that heat, I still bake a full 45 minutes, I get a great crust color and
my bread is fully baked through every time, and in no way overdone. I know
there will be plenty of disagreement here, especially from the cold-oven
crowd, but I am pretty happy with it.

Ric, post some pics.

hutchndi


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Old 03-02-2006, 06:45 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
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Default The virgin returns

That is, flat out, the most helpful response imaginable. Much
appreciated. I get the point about acid load and why the first loaf was
sour and the second not. I'm keeping a cup or two of starter in the
fridge. will revert to the "jellybean" sized glob and start afresh each
time. And I DEFINITELY need to get some picture books - I'm lost on the
whole shaping / rounding thing. But I was considering the Kitchen Aid -
at least until I get the hang of all the other intricacies. Please
forgive me ;-)

Thanks so much - if and when I ever get a loaf that actually looks
edible, I'll post pics. I've even got some delicious 05 Marsanne that I
bottled a month ago just waiting for me to cook up some real sour berad
to accompany it!

Well, it's Friday - I think I'll start a new activation tonight and try
again tomorrow! thanks again



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