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adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing it

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  • adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing it

    Sorry, guys. I'm sure you're tired of me. I made sourdough yesterday- I eventually got 4 nice loaves, but I had to do some really awful things to them to get them to rise.

    I started out badly- I miscalculated how much to feed my baby to begin with, so I think I sort of starved it. So, when I mixed up my doughs, it wasn't as active as it should have been. I let it sit for several hours, and didn't get any rise- which should have been my first clue, I'm sure. I put the bowls in the fridge overnight, hoping for more spring in the morning.

    Well, next morning (yesterday), nothing after several more hours on the counter. So I stuck my hands in to see what it felt like- not sticky, but it was sort of like that nasty kid's toy "slime". It sort of melted through my fingers. Not good. So, at that point I probably should have thrown the mess away and started again, but hey, I'm pigheaded. So, I thought, well, it can't get any worse, so I added some more flour and water and added a bit of IDY, and kneaded it . I got a little bit of rise then, but it was still a bit on the slimy side, so I kneaded again.

    It rose. Still felt weird, but it rose. So I shaped it and let it rise again- and baked it (inside, I'd given up on wfoing in the spitting snow and 30 mph gusts). I used my pizza stone underneath and quarry tiles above, which I've found gives me much better inside results if I'm forced to do it inside. I got really nice spring and good color- and it looks ok inside. Sort of a peculiar mix of small holes and large ones, but flavor's not bad, although the bagettes have a slight bitterness at the end- I think it's from the really long rise (or non-rise, really).

    So, a lesson in how not to feed one's starter, I guess. I also think it may still be that my starter isn't strong enough on it's own to raise bread, since it's only two weeks old. I took what I had left and quadrupled it- it was nice and bubbly this morning, though, so maybe that's not it..
    Elizabeth

    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/e...html#post41545

  • #2
    Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

    Hi Elizabeth,

    One of the amazing qualities of 'sourdough' is the wide range of circumstances that will still produce 'bread'.

    We keep our house pretty cool, so I will plan on long bits of time in between mixing / kneading / forming activities with the bread. And the results are pretty consistent - bread that we enjoy... It is commonly 30 hours from when I pull the starter from the fridge, till the bread pops out of the oven. And I have been known to forget about the project at any phase along the way, and have to change the timing of the activities... extending the full process.

    Reinhart says these long ferments improve flavor...

    I figure the only real answer is with more practice! An exercised starter is a strong starter...

    Did you have any pictures of these loaves?

    JED

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

      Originally posted by egalecki View Post
      Sorry, guys. I'm sure you're tired of me.

      Not at all! I love a good sourdough story anytime... and good for you for not giving up on it. I'll bet it still tasted a lot better than store bought stuff.
      "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)

      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/p...pics-2610.html
      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f9/p...nues-2991.html

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

        Here are some pictures. I got them before the vultures (home for Thanksgiving) got it all!

        I keep our house pretty cool too- 65-68 during the day, so I guess I'll have to learn to time it for longer rising! Well, that and feed it properly first.
        Attached Files
        Elizabeth

        http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/e...html#post41545

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

          Originally posted by egalecki View Post
          Here are some pictures. I got them before the vultures (home for Thanksgiving) got it all!

          I keep our house pretty cool too- 65-68 during the day, so I guess I'll have to learn to time it for longer rising! Well, that and feed it properly first.
          elizabeth
          If your baking schedule has not been regular I would suggest feeding the starter pretty consistently and instead of discarding it, bake with the other half(spike it with IDY if you think it needs it)...it will both strengthen your starter and give you more experience with timing the bake...I think it is probably not strong enough after only two weeks...I was "spiking" the sourdoughs I made in the first month while I was building the starter
          Keep up the good work...just keep learning along the way!
          Best
          Dutch
          "Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. " Charles Mingus
          "Build at least two brick ovens...one to make all the mistakes on and the other to be just like you dreamed of!" Dutch

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

            Here's today's effort. I forgot to score the loaves, so I have blimpy looking small loaves, but the round ones split themselves nicely. This is the best oven spring yet- I'm very pleased with them. I could hear them crackling when I brought them in! You can see the pattern on the front round loaf from the cloth I lined the bowl with. It was one of those waffle-weave towels!

            I spiked the doughs with just a little IDY, taking dutchoven's advice. The dough still rose quite slowly yesterday, but it did double after 6 hours. I put it in the fridge overnight in the bulk rise (where it continued to rise!) and formed it this morning. It rose much more quickly this morning than it did last night. Is there a reason for that? I managed to get the oven and the bread ready together this time!

            I made the small loaves for when it's just the two of us and we don't need a big loaf. I'm going to try freezing them. They're a bit ugly, but I bet they taste fine, and that's what matters.
            Attached Files
            Elizabeth

            http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/e...html#post41545

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

              Wow, they look good!

              Be sure to tell us how good they taste - and I'd like to see what they look like inside, too
              "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)

              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/p...pics-2610.html
              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f9/p...nues-2991.html

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

                Hi Elizabeth,
                I'm about to venture into unknown territory on Sunday with my new leaven only 9 days old.
                I have been following the recommendations in "The Bread Builders" book. It seems to be working as expected generating quite large bubble on the surface afteronly 8 to 10 hours.
                I plan on a few pizzas for lunch and let the oven cool then bake a range of breads (as in the book) the old French way.
                Will keep you posted. hopefully the results will be good to great rather than disappointing.
                This baking sure needs careful planning and timing. As the saying goes, 'there is no substitute for experience'!

                Neill
                Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

                The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know


                Neill’s Pompeiii #1
                http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/n...-1-a-2005.html
                Neill’s kitchen underway
                http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f35/...rway-4591.html

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

                  Ok, here's the inside of one of the round loaves. The holes are irregular, but the bread is nice and moist, and not at all sour, since I quadrupled my starter in the beginning.

                  I don't have the book you're using, Neill, so I don't know what your starter recipe is. If you're worried about sour, be sure you dilute the starter culture enough before you begin. Apparently the yeast will multiply faster than the bacteria (from whence the sour comes) and that will take the sour off.

                  My next batch will be just doubled to see how sour it is. But I'm still going to spike it a smidge. I don't think it's as active as it should be yet to make it on it's own. And I'd really rather not have to re-knead adding yeast, flour and water to it again! One can, however, achieve decent results that way if it's necessary...

                  BTW my husband thinks we're all engaged in what he terms "bread porn" with all these pictures of finished loaves! Figures. He likes flat bread wrapper thingys for his sandwiches...
                  Attached Files
                  Elizabeth

                  http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/e...html#post41545

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

                    I'm impressed with how round and full your loaves are. I bake sourdough all the time but I make mine so wet that I have to put it in loaf pans to keep it from spreading out all over the place. It rises wonderfully, tastes great and is nice and chewy but I'd like to make loaves that I can use as soup bowls and I'm afraid to add too much flour to firm it up thinking it may not be as chewy. I love the crusty outside I get with the wetter bread. Can any of you experts comment on this please? Karen

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

                      This is the first time I got such nice loaves. I am still getting it right by accident, I think. I let those loaves rise in a bowls lined with towels. When I turned them onto the peel, they were pretty flat- I'd say that they weren't more than a couple of inches high. I thought I was going to get the same "bread's ok, but didn't rise much"- but they really rose a lot in the oven. I got a new sprayer for the oven and was able to get a lot more steam generated without dripping, so I think that helped a lot.

                      I find the dough for sourdough to be much more sloppy than regular dough. It doesn't have the same feel. Not bad, just different. It wants to spread out, rather than puffing up, I guess. I end up handling it a little more- but I think that may be my own insecurity about the sourdough rather than necessity!

                      What I'd like is a little thicker, crunchier crust. I don't know if it's a temperature thing or a humidity thing, but I'm still playing with it. I'm going to start a new batch today with my new starter. We'll see. This time I'm going to let the oven go full bore for a longer period before I spread out the coals- I think maybe I"m not getting the upper oven as saturated as I should. It cooled off faster than I was expecting- even factoring in how freaking cold it is! So, I'm going to fire it hot longer and see what happens. I hope I don't incinerate anything again...
                      Elizabeth

                      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/e...html#post41545

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

                        Oh look, I'm a master builder! Wow. They let anyone do that, huh?
                        Elizabeth

                        http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/e...html#post41545

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

                          Originally posted by egalecki View Post
                          BTW my husband thinks we're all engaged in what he terms "bread porn" with all these pictures of finished loaves!

                          Hehe, I'll bet my husband will wish he had thought of that expression first.

                          That bread looks really yummy! I'd love to get holes that big. Oh yes, I've discovered why my bread didn't rise last time - turns out the house is only heated to about 17 C (62.2 F)... Looks like I'll have to go struggle with the thermostat.

                          Keep posting, master builder! I can't help much, but I love hearing about success and setbacks and the reasons surmised for either.
                          "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)

                          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/p...pics-2610.html
                          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f9/p...nues-2991.html

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

                            Originally posted by egalecki View Post
                            Oh look, I'm a master builder! Wow. They let anyone do that, huh?
                            Elizabeth
                            Congratulations on your 500th post!!! You are indeed a master builder and you are not JUST anyone.
                            Bread really does look good. Definitely you are on your way to even better bread. Just remember the variables as you learn and eventually they will become second nature...the dough will make a certain sound in the mixer, it will have a certain amount of tack when you are finished kneading, etc etc.

                            Frances
                            You could just look for a warmer spot somewhere in the house reather than fiddle with the thermostat...or you could factor in the difference in temp and give it more time...flavors will be the better for it I'm sure

                            Karen
                            If you want to stick with a very slack dough you could get yourself a nice cast iron dutchoven(pun not intended)or pot and do your bread in it...heck even a fairly deep cake pan 7 or 9 inches round would probably do the trick. Should have asked this earlier but what kind of hydration percentage are you working with...as little as a 3% change in water can make a difference in your ability to shape the loaf.
                            Best to all
                            Dutch
                            "Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. " Charles Mingus
                            "Build at least two brick ovens...one to make all the mistakes on and the other to be just like you dreamed of!" Dutch

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

                              Dutch,

                              You would be appalled to watch me bake bread. I have no idea what my hydration is. I start out with my usual sourdough recipe but then add flour recklessly without measuring a thing till it feels like I want it to. Also, sometimes my starter is wetter/drier. Lately I've been using my own ground wheat flour in addition to the bread flour and that has changed the feel of it completely. I grind it in a coffee grinder so it's not real fine. Makes for a nuttier bread. Yesterday I tried having my small loaves that I want to use for soup bowls rise in my round cereal bowls. I tipped them out when they had risen and then reformed them a little. They turned out great. I also made 2 loaves sundried tomato and garlic, 1 loaf pesto and garlic, 1 loaf raisin walnut and one loaf olive.

                              I would love to watch you pros do it. What are the benefits of a drier dough vs a wetter dough and vice versa? Thanks for your input.
                              Attached Files

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