#21  
Old 09-06-2007, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: Playing with sourdough

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Originally Posted by Dutchoven View Post
We use a mother dough, much the same texture as most preferments. It is fed directly from the fridge and usually just double 24 to 48 hours before using...we don't feed it obsessively at all...2 or 3 times per week as my baking schedule is usually for Wednesday and Saturday markets. It is allowed to ferment at room temperature for anywhere from 6 to 10 hours.

I wholeheartedly agree with Jim in controlling mixing times and temperature are crucial...with a capital C.

I know that this may be a bit of a stretch but...and that is a big one...I have on occasion refridgerated the dough after the primary fermentation and added cold dough as well as cooler water to create the final dough and had great results. In that case I have no worries about the dough becoming too warm during mixing and kneading. The extra time in fermentation is really no inconvenience.

Jim, what's your take on that?
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Do you feed it and put it directly back in the fridge, or do you let it sit out until its bubbly?
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  #22  
Old 09-06-2007, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: Playing with sourdough

Does not go directly back into the fridge it will stay out and ferment much like a regular dough. Since ours is firm it does not get bubbly like a barm or more liquid starter. In feeding we usually try for about 60% hydration much like in our final dough.
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Dutch
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  #23  
Old 09-06-2007, 10:32 PM
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Default Re: Playing with sourdough

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Originally Posted by DrakeRemoray View Post
Maver, I think there is a difference in letting the starter ferment longer vs letting the bread rise longer. The latter is a drier environment favored by a different type of bacteria than the wet environment of the starter. I believe, that a longer, drier, fermentation will result in a more sour flavor, while a longer wet environment will result in more sugars that help with crust development. I may be out of my league now, but I think that is the difference between Acetic (sour and dry loving) vs Lactic (sweeter and wet loving) acids...
Drake, that's a good point, although in my case I have followed advice Jim posted here once about pancake batter starter leading to pancake like bread (or something like that). My starter is a bit lower hydration than my 65% hydration bread dough. When I feed my starter I leave it on the counter for about 4-6 hours, then it goes back in the fridge. It's usually pretty active for about 3-4 days, then it quiets down a bit. I'd love to know if you are right about the hydration of the starter affecting the sweetness of the final product. I wonder if you maintain similar hydration for starter and dough whether the feeding to activate issue would be moot then? On the other hand, since starter is a mixed culture of lactobacilli and yeast, maybe having a higher hydration growth phase somehow selects one or the other of these in a way that is helpful to leavening and flavor. Here's a technical article that goes into some scientific background on this subject.

How do lactic bacteria affect sourdough bread?

Interesting read - not sure if it answers these questions though.

Regards,

Marc
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  #24  
Old 09-06-2007, 11:03 PM
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Default Re: Playing with sourdough

and an interesting note on "obsessive feeding"

How much starter do I need to keep?

and a note on rising times

How do I get holey, sour, moist and long keeping bread?

And here's an opinion in favor of activating the sourdough - but still no good explanation why you cannot just give it time to activate in your bread dough during a longer bulk ferment!

How should I feed my starter for best results?
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  #25  
Old 09-07-2007, 04:03 AM
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Default Re: Playing with sourdough

Drake,

You're spot on with the wet versus dry environments and the effects they have. This is one area that lets you manipulate final flavor. Depends on taste and what you're after.

Dutch,

Because you're using a firm starter, I think your method should work just fine. It comes down to that Crucial area of controlling temps. The best and clearest explanation in this area that I've found is in Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman. However, it finally rests with the baker and his or her experience, equipment, tastes, ingredients. It is entirely possible to make a firm starter from a liquid one or vice versa. My own preference is for a liquid one, but that's just me.

Jim
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  #26  
Old 09-07-2007, 02:27 PM
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Default Re: Playing with sourdough

Drake,

I've quadrupled a pound with good results, but it takes longer: 16-18 hours. I wouldn't go much further than that for one feeding.

I think we might all be overlooking one thing: starters vary because wild yeast strains vary, envirnoments vary, kitchens vary, water varies, flour varies, etc., etc. That's why it's difficult to write hard and fast rules on starters.

Jim
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  #27  
Old 09-08-2007, 05:23 PM
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Default Re: Playing with sourdough

I set out a bowl of equal parts water and flour on the fridge last Friday. After 2 days it was already bubbly. So every day after that I poured half out and added the same in flour and water. Then on Wed. I started to just add, no subtraction. Probably doubling the mix every day.

Today, (Sat.) I had a big bowl full. All bubbly and stinky! (good stinky) So I took half out at 2:30pm. I added more flour, a bit of oil, salt, and a small amount of sugar. I mixed it in my mixer and added flour till it was just a bit sticky. Then I hand kneaded it for about 15 minutes. I used the window pane test and it looked good. So I let it sit for 3 hours till it doubled. Then I separated it into three pieces and put each piece in a loaf pan for a final raise..........That's where I am at now.. 6:15 p.m. I will cook it in a few hours hopefully.

I took plenty of pics and will post them when the batch is done!
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  #28  
Old 09-09-2007, 05:30 PM
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Default Re: Playing with sourdough

Asdavew,

Good luck with the bake. You're hooked now, so there's no turning back. An interesting ancient quote, courtesy of Forum member Alphonse, "Fifth century Byzantine proverb, ' The nation with too much bread has many problems: the nation with too little bread has only one problem'."

Jim
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  #29  
Old 09-10-2007, 05:45 AM
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Default Re: Playing with sourdough

Jim,

Many restaurants now serve soup in a sourdough bread bowl. My goal is to be able to make good round sourdough bowls by this winter. I've had one attempt and it was a complete flop. My starter was only 4 days old and I was impatient about the whole thing I guess. I'm trying again tomorrow with my 3 week old starter. Any tricks to making my small loaf stay round without putting it in a pan? Thanks, Karen
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  #30  
Old 09-10-2007, 06:09 AM
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Default Re: Playing with sourdough

Alphonse?

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