#31  
Old 08-16-2007, 01:04 PM
CanuckJim's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Prince Albert, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,479
Default Re: Proofing - raising questions????

Dutch,

I've worked with firm starters and sometimes go back and forth between them and liquid levain. The one in the pic is a liquid.

Jim
__________________
"Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 02-25-2008, 01:13 PM
Peasant
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 40
Default Re: Proofing - raising questions????

I honestly think people make starter-making harder and more intimidating than it has to be. Many sites make it into a full-time job, implying that you must quit your day job and become a full time baker if you ever want to have real bread. This thread, thankfully, has kept it relatively simple, but I think even the fruits can be eliminated.

Attached are two pics of my starter straight out of the fridge. It's a 100% hydration that I feed once a week (or refresh if I bake more often). There is no science to it. I just take it out of the fridge, scoop out what looks like half, weigh it, then replace that weight with 50% filtered water, 50% flour. The 100% hydration simplifies the math when I'm subtracting the leaven out of my baker's percentages, and makes it very easy to stir. It is, however, very active, so if you don't want to feed once a week, just lower the hydration to your taste. After feeding or replenishing, let it sit out til it starts to bubble, then move to the fridge.

Now, as for how I got it started. I mixed equal parts bread flour and filtered water, set it on the windowsill, stirred once a day, fed once a week. After two weeks it started to smell like yeast, and bubbled up after the feeding.. Good nuf. I transferred it to the fridge and fed it once a week. No grapes, no raisins, no vinegar, no midnight seances, no rushing home from work every three hours to pet it and tell it I love it.

I agree with all the posters, btw, who said that it is worth the difference to use wild yeast. It slows down the process slightly, but breadmaking should be slow. That's where the flavor comes from. And it's not a question of acquired taste or refined palate. Honestly, give wild yeast one try. If you can't taste the difference between it and the hurry-up manufacted yeasts (live or dormant), then you were probably born without taste buds. It is that huge. You will never go back to factory yeast again.

Oh, and here are some pics of the bread this starter makes. The first is on the hearth, the second is from my home oven, using a pizza stone.
Attached Thumbnails
Proofing - raising questions????-photo_022508_002.jpg   Proofing - raising questions????-photo_022508_003.jpg   Proofing - raising questions????-pizzabread004.jpg   Proofing - raising questions????-photo_020608_004.jpg  

Last edited by John Fahle; 02-26-2008 at 09:58 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 02-26-2008, 02:13 AM
Frances's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Allschwil, Switzerland
Posts: 2,186
Default Re: Proofing - raising questions????

Good post John! I love reading your stuff.

And you just made me decide to try wild yeast after all, especially if I don't have to pet it too much

So how much flour did you start off with? (I'll try to work out the amount of water on my own...) And what is your bread receipe - how much yeasty sludge for how much flour, aprox raising times etc?
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 02-26-2008, 09:49 PM
Peasant
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 40
Default Re: Proofing - raising questions????

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frances View Post
Good post John! I love reading your stuff.

So how much flour did you start off with? (I'll try to work out the amount of water on my own...) And what is your bread receipe - how much yeasty sludge for how much flour, aprox raising times etc?
For the starter, Flour= 6 oz or so. Water= . . . well, you get it. For the bread, the yeasty sludge/flour ratio varies by seasons, but basically you want 40% winter, 20% summer. Sort of. FIrst you take out however much starter you feel like using. Let's say you're making 100 pounds of bread, and you feel like using 6 oz of starter (which is handy, since that's half our starter, and now we just refresh). It really doesn't matter. Triple your starter by adding equal parts starter, water (filtered, remember), and flour, by weight. Now wait twelve hours. If it looks ready -- and you'll learn what "ready" means, but essentially it means sticky and bubbly and, well, goopy -- then you triple it again.

Except this time, tripling means something else. First, figure out how much dough you want. In the winter, divide by 2.5 (40%), in the summer, divide by 5 (20%). That's how much finished leaven sponge you need. So say you started with six ounces of starter, tripled it to 18 ounces, and now you want to make 20 lbs (320 ounces) of dough. (BTW, you can save yourself a lot of heartache by buying a metric scale, but then you have to go back to your drug-dealing conversion days to figure out exactly how much 9,120 grams of bread is). You know that (since it's spring here in Texas) about 30% of the final product will be leaven sponge = 96 ounces. So you need to turn 18 ounces of primary sponge into 96 ounces of secondary sponge. Therefore, you "triple" 18 by adding 39 ounces of flour ((96-18)/2) and 39 ounces of filtered water ((96-18)/2). Don't worry about the fact that it's not really tripled. The yeasties are weak on math, but strong on appetite.

Anywhere from 4 to 8 hours later (depending on the temperature, the pH of the water, whether Venus is rising, whether God is mad at you, and a lot of other hyper-technical factors) your secondary sponge will start to look like your primary sponge did -- in a word, goopy. (BTW, if you want either more flavor or more time, the secondary sponge rising is a good time to retard the dough in your fridge. It slows down the second rise, and enhances the flavor a lot. The pics that I posted of the first bread from the clay oven we built were retarded for a week during the secondary sponge, because I got over-anxious and thought we were going to start baking a week earlier than we actually did. Tastiest mistake I ever made.)

Okay, now for the hard part. Get out your calculator. We already decided we want 320 ounces of bread. We already decided we want 30% leaven sponge, because it's Spring here in Texas. Now let's figure out our hydration. Say we want a nice 60% hydrated, medium texture bread. And say we want it to be 10% rye, for a little added flavor. Forget the salt, forget the leaven sponge, and forget the 10% rye. All we want to know is how much total flour/water ratio we need. So we take 320, divide by 160 (100% flour plus 60% water, if you don't know why I'm using those numbers, google "baker's percentages") and then multiply by 60 to get the amount of water = 120 ounces water (Don't add it yet). Then we take 320/160*100 = 200 ounces flour. (Don't add it yet.) We want 10% of the flour to be rye, so now we need 180 ounces of white unbleached, and 20 ounces of rye. But what about the flour and water that were already contributed by the leaven sponge? Let's correct for those.

We have 96 ounces of secondary sponge, of which we know (since we used 100% hydration in both of our sponges and our starter) that 48 ounces is filtered water, and 48 ounces is unbleached white. 120 oz. water - 48 oz. water = 72 oz. water that still needs to go in. 180 oz. unbleached white (notice we did our rye calculation first so that the rye is 10% of the total flour) minus 48 oz. leaven sponge unbleached white = 132 oz. unbleached white that still needs to go in. Now let's check our math.

96 oz leaven sponge + 72 oz water + 132 oz unbleached white + 20 oz rye = 320 oz of dough. Check. Now we need some salt. Around 2% is usually good, a little less for an airy rise, a tad more for a denser, tighter crumb (sammidge bread). Remember, we want 2% of the flour, not 2% of the total (baker's percentages). So we need 200 oz flour * .02 = 4 oz salt.

Stir. Autolyse. Knead. Rise. Divide. Shape. Proof. Bake to 200F internal temp.

Technical? Yes and no. There are no recipes for great breads. There are only formulas, given in baker's percentages. It takes a few times doing it to start thinking that way, but once you do, you'll never need a recipe again. You'll be looking at recipes and automatically doing the math in your head to convert them to baker's percentages. And then you'll start playing with the hydration, playing with the salt content, various flours, retardation times, etc., until you realize that all that stuff about baking being a science, with exact measurements and regimented recipes and exact rise times, is just horsehockey. Baking is as much an art as any other form of cooking.

Have fun, Frances, and welcome to the world of real bread.

Last edited by John Fahle; 02-27-2008 at 08:08 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 02-26-2008, 10:35 PM
gjbingham's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Longview, WA
Posts: 2,021
Default Re: Proofing - raising questions????

Ouch, I've got a headache! As I said before, truely an impressive knowlege of baking bread John. I'll come back to this one over and over. Kind of a Wikepedia entry.

So after that incredible dissertation, to which I can only sit and wonder, did I miss school that day (?), I'm still at a loss how much it matters if you use a little too much AD yeast in bread. I can understand that too little is not good, and too much will give you a yeasty taste, but it seems that there's a lot of lattitude with ADY. Am I wrong? I'm a little off topic with the trend towards wild yeast propagation, but its an interesting thread and somewhat related.

BTW, awesome post John. I'm seriously going to re-read it a few times. I was just reading The Bread Builders book recently regarding a similar topic. I think it needs to soak in for awhile.

Thanks for any help you (all) can provide.

G.
__________________
GJBingham
-----------------------------------
Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

-
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 02-27-2008, 01:07 AM
Frances's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Allschwil, Switzerland
Posts: 2,186
Default Re: Proofing - raising questions????

Yes, thank you for that explanation.

My head hurts, too.

I'll print it all out (convert it to metric ) and prop it up in front of me next to the wild yeast starter I started yesterday (if and when its starts bubbling). Probably one of those things that only makes sense whe you actually try it... I hope...
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 02-27-2008, 08:02 AM
Peasant
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 40
Default Re: Proofing - raising questions????

Frances: It makes much more sense when you try it. And if you don't have it yet, get a copy of The Bread Builders that GJ mentioned. It is the Holy Bible. It doesn't contain recipe one (or even formulae), but it contains more information about a holistic understanding of bread than any other source. Daniel Wing, with his bizarre renaissance man background as M.D./gypsy caravan builder is in a unique position to truly understand both the art and the science of bread. And he conveys it very well. You think your head hurts now? Just wait.

GJ, thank you again. And I don't pretend to have Daniel Wing's understanding of the science of dough (which is why I try to skip it all when I post). But you are correct that you have quite a bit of leeway, and I think this is why: it's all about time, not volume. Given time enough, and food, any amount of yeast will replicate into "enough" yeast. And given time, any amount of yeast will replicate into "too much" yeast (overproofing). Remember, you don't have any idea how many yeasts per oz your starter contains, anyway.

In my last post, we "tripled" 18 oz of primary sponge into 96 oz of secondary. But we only did that because we wanted to end up with 96 oz secondary sponge, since we'd already decided to make 320 oz of bread. But if we wanted half as much bread, we'd have "tripled" 18 oz into 48 oz. If we'd wanted 120 oz of bread, we'd have "tripled" to 36 oz. The only thing that is affected is the time of the secondary ferment. But it's not affeted by much, since you're doing it in stages. In other words, if you put six ounces of starter directly into 320 oz of finished bread dough, it would take forever to make it rise, as compared to putting six ounces starter directly into 32 oz bread dough. But that's part of the reason for the variations in the time of the secondary ferment. You don't let it ferment for a set period of time; you let it ferment until it's ready. There is an illustration in The Bread Builders (I don't have my copy with me, or I'd give you chapter and verse) where he explains the french three-leaven method. And in the example he gives, they use something like an ounce of starter to make 100 pounds of bread, or something ridiculous like that. Again, because they add still a third leaven sponge, the time differences between starting the same amount of bread with a pound of starter or an ounce aren't that great.

Compare to commercial yeast. In any commercial yeast, there are a known number of yeasts per volume. And they are both voracious and prolific. And their trainers inject them with performance-enhancing sugars in the recipes, despite recent congressional investigations. They'll do anything to win. It's all about speed. And they give you set rising times. So if you add a tad too many yeasts, the results will quickly get out of hand. Certainly if you double or triple the amount of yeast called for in a recipe (as we can easily double or triple or halve the amount of starter we begin with) your end product is likely to be less than satisfactory. And because everything is happening so fast, you can't correct for it by using time, the way you do with wild yeast. If you tripled the amount of commercial yeast called for in a recipe, you might have a one-minute window between proofed and over-proofed. Not to mention that the tiny little amount of ferment time that the bread gets to develop flavor would be even more restricted.

So the short answer is, I don't think it matters one whit how much starter you begin with. I take out a random amount, weigh it, and start my calculations from there, based on how much end product I want. The only reason I can see for using a set amount of starter is if you always make a pre-determined sized batch of bread, and you don't want to go through the hassle of doing the math every time. Although there are several free online spreadsheets that will do the math for you.

Canuck, if you're reading this thread, has this been your experience, or do you use some set percentage of starter?

Having written all that, it just occurred to me that I misunderstood your post. You were saying you have a lot of latitude with ADY, not with wild. Well, I guess "a lot" is relative. As I said, if you tripled the amount of ADY, I don't think you'd be very happy with the results. On the other hand, you have more leeway with ADY than with instant, because of the relative percentages of live yeast cells. I forget the numbers, but active dry contains something like one live yeast per 100,000 dead cells, and instant contains something on the order of 1/10,000. The reason you have to activate the "active" dry is to let all those dead cells unwind from the little protective cocoons they form around the live cells. So if you put in a tad more instant yeast than the recipe calls for, you're going to exponentially increase the number of yeasts that will exist in the dough 20 minutes from now, and an hour from now. So if anything, you'd want to err on the side of not enough yeast, and just give it a little more proofing time.

Last edited by John Fahle; 02-27-2008 at 09:07 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 02-27-2008, 07:39 PM
gjbingham's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Longview, WA
Posts: 2,021
Default Re: Proofing - raising questions????

Thanks for the nice comments John and thanks for the explaination. To a point, the yeast explaination makes sense. Interesting topic. There's probably tons of scientific studies available on the subject, but I find that the baker's POV is often the most valuable.
__________________
GJBingham
-----------------------------------
Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

-
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 03-01-2008, 06:06 AM
Frances's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Allschwil, Switzerland
Posts: 2,186
Default Re: Proofing - raising questions????

Ok John,

I've got my starter with 200g of flour and 200g of water, seems to be coming along nicely after nearly a week. I used Spelt (an older form of wheat, so wikipedia tells me).

So here's my question: How important is all the math in this?

If I want to use 1 kg of flour and I tripple the starter once, I'll have way too much starter already. So say I'm lazy and go ahead and tripple the starter. When its ready (about 12 hours later, right?) I add 1 kg of flour and say 550 g of water, which without starter would give a rather dry dough, but with should even out. Then I guestimate the salt for a bit more than a kg.

Would that work, or will something go horribly wrong? And does the starter have to be trippled twice, or is that just to it get up to a larger amount?
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 03-01-2008, 07:53 AM
Frances's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Allschwil, Switzerland
Posts: 2,186
Default Re: Proofing - raising questions????

... having done some more advanced math, wouldn't it also be possible to make bread out of 500 g of flour and use just half the starter, without an additional startup period? Say if I was being spontaneous and wanted to bake the same day?

Another question: as I said my starter seems to be glooping along nicely, but today I noticed a small spot of mold on it... so do I remove it and continue? Or have hysterics and toss the lot?

The book is on its way, but for the time being I'm afraid I'm like a little lost lamb in need of guidance.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
A few questions rwiggim Pompeii Oven Construction 2 06-26-2007 10:09 PM
Early planning questions CSWolffe Newbie Forum 0 05-30-2007 09:46 PM
Hearth Questions El Puaco Introductions 12 11-25-2006 11:55 AM
39.3" round cooking surface (Low Vault) Naples style oven QUESTIONS? southpaw Pompeii Oven Construction 0 02-03-2006 09:11 AM
Questions re: cladding and insulation George_in_MA Pompeii Oven Construction 7 01-03-2006 04:38 PM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:55 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0
© 2006/10 Forno Bravo, LLC