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  #11  
Old 12-03-2008, 07:45 AM
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Default 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...
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  #12  
Old 12-03-2008, 07:46 AM
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Default 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?
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  #13  
Old 12-04-2008, 03:12 AM
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Default Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

Quote:
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.
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  #14  
Old 12-04-2008, 06:32 PM
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Default Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

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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
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  #15  
Old 12-05-2008, 10:01 AM
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Default 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.
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  #16  
Old 12-05-2008, 10:13 AM
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Default Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

Today's effort:

I put it in the fridge last night already shaped. I think I may prefer doing it in the batch, and shaping in the morning, though. Partly because then I don't have to rearrange the refrigerator! There's a lot of dh's beer in there. Also, I didn't like the skin I got on the loaves- I sprayed them with oil and covered them, but they still skinned up.

I am pleased with the color I got (well, everywhere on top, that is!) and the oven spring. I don't know if you can see it, but the, um, "overcaramelised" loaf has a distinct imprint from the oven floor- and evidently only ONE brick was nuclear hot. I don't understand this at all. I do have a little too much color on a couple of the other loaves, but they're not bad at all.

I don't know what they look like inside yet.

I've been making a sort of no-knead recipe with a lot of starter. I think I like it better than the one I do in the mixer, but then, I like my bread a bit on the holey side. The mixer kneaded recipe turns out a more even crumb.

Still working on oven management. I think I didn't allow enough time after swabbing the floor for it to even out. Maybe someone at home will surprise me with an IR thermometer for Christmas and I won't have to guess! T'would be nice. I might be able to identify the nuclear brick, too.

The question of the day is: how do you decide how to load the oven? I'm still not able to do what I would think is an efficient job of it. Maybe I need to practice with my finished loaves and the peel in the cooled off oven? I don't seem to be able to get them aimed right! I never have trouble jerking pizza off the peel in the right spot, but loaves are another matter.
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  #17  
Old 12-05-2008, 10:32 AM
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Default Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

Elizabeth,

My jeans are getting tight, how 'bout yours? Nothing like a high carb diet.

Karen
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  #18  
Old 12-05-2008, 02:01 PM
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Default Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

Here is my contribution for the day. Elizabeth, your bread has great color (the high carbon part aside). I really like the orange-ish carmelization.

Eat bread and run every day. :-) I run to eat.

Two little updates from me. I haven't bought bread for weeks, and I just got my first Brotform. The wicker banneton that gives the great finish on your loaves. We'll see how that goes.

James
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  #19  
Old 12-05-2008, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

Nice loaf, James!

My jeans are still ok- but I'm using the elliptical, riding 3+ times a week and cleaning 3 stalls 5+ times a week. I recommend manual labor in the jeans-loosening department!

I will never give up bread for my jean size- so I just work harder. I work to eat too!
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:21 PM
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Default Re: adventures in sourdough or how to nearly kill your bread without actually doing i

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Originally Posted by Pannabecker View Post
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.
I am definitely not a pro, but I know that a wetter dough makes it easier for your bread to develop those nice holes that we all like so much. It's a little more difficult to develop the gluten structure you need with a really wet dough, but I can say that for me, learning to make and work with wetter doughs has been a big step forward.

My Pizza Bianca formula is 90% hydration (OK, it's batter), but the holes are incredible and the crumb is moist and it has real structure.

I know it changes everything, but think about using a scale and baking by weight. I even weigh the flour and water every time I feed my starter.

Enjoy!
James
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