#51  
Old 02-22-2011, 08:53 AM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

I know the BBA instructions mention dough temperature constantly. I've never temped my doughs. Not that it isn't a good indicator. Start doing it and see...

Proper cooling of bread is like resting meat. You've mobilized all that water during baking and you want to give it a chance to settle back down, an the end result is a nicer finished product. It's not something I live by. Fresh, hot bread is one of the great pleasures of life. Do what you want, or approach it scientifically and see if you can tell the difference in crust and crumb between a loaf you've cut into hot/warm and one that cooled completely.

I was going to ask the same question about scaling your ingredients. It's impossible to comment on volume measurements. I think you'll find that the BBA recipes done according to scaled measurements, work well without adjustments. Knowing what I know about the BBA recipes, I'd say if you're using 30% more water, it's because your volume measurement of flour is off vs. the volume/weight ratio the book uses.
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  #52  
Old 02-28-2011, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Not sourdough but here are some of my recent successes. Now that the resort is open for business, every Sunday is a pizza party. That's all I can handle without a full time cook, I'm retired after after all. Any way, every Sunday we have a special where we get any where from 30 to 50 people for an all-u-can eat Pizza/Pasta party. So I cook 20 or 30 pizzas and usually have dough balls left-over, once everyone has stuffed themselves. They are 350g balls and I don't want to waste them. Whatever balls left-over I make french bread. I reshape them using the standard baguette forming method and roll them into french bread loaves. Allow them to re-proof for about an hour and bake them in the retained heat. It works out great because the people are ready to eat again by that time, Filipinos call this mirinda or afternoon snack. They love the freshly baked bread.

As a result, I am getting pretty good at french bread. I'm finding that knowing when the french bread loaves are properly proofed and ready to be slashed and go into the oven is as important as anything else. It's the old adage.....how do you get to Carnegie Hall...practice, practice, practice. As I look at many of these threads with bread problems, many of them are proofing problems. A properly proofed loaf is a not a straight forward thing to see for the novice. Once you have seen it a few times and have great results, you start to see when the loaf is properly proofed. The loaves aren't perfect but here is my typical result from last Sunday.
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  #53  
Old 03-06-2011, 11:19 AM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

What a great thread! For what it is worth, I'm baking sourdough for me and my wife -- we're addicted. I keep a written record of every bake. Here's is this morning's effort.

Formula:

Sourdough starter (50% bread flour and 50% water) 609 g
Water 415 g
Bread flour 795 g (plus 24 g)
Sea salt (coarse) 23 g

I prepared the dough yesterday at about 1000. A little mixing and kneading with a Kitchen Aid, a 20 minute rest for water absorption, then a little more kneading. During this Kitchen Aid stage, I added a total of 24 g of bread flour to get the dough to a pulled away from the sides, but attached to the bottom of the bowl consistency.

Next, removed the dough to a very lightly floured surface. Dough was slightly sticky - almost tacky. I kneaded the dough by folding it on itself from each direction. After each kneading, I rested the dough at least five minutes. When the dough reached the tacky stage, after 25 minutes or so, I placed it in a lightly oiled bowl, covered the top with plastic wrap and into the frig.

Last night I baked pizza and calzones, intending to bake this a.m. At 0730 this a.m. I removed the ash and swabbed the floor. I also removed the dough from the frig. At 0800, after allowing the oven to equalize, I had a center dome temp of 550 and center hearth of 510. I formed three loaves and placed them on peels for final proof.

At 1000, I slashed the tops and loaded the oven. Immediately after loading, I sprayed the interior with water until steam was coming out, and put the insulated door in place. Center floor was 485 and center dome was 525.

Bake time to an internal temp of 205 was 35 to 40 minutes. The loaves had nice spring and the crust a good caramel color.

My method is an adaptation of that described in Peter Reinhart's "artisan breads every day" -- overnight cold fermentation and remove and form loaves 2 hours before baking. My dough is about a 64% hydration. For my oven - a 42 inch Pompeii - I find a center floor temp of 500, plus or minus 15 is optimum. I check internal bread temps with a Thermowerks thermometer. I open the oven at 10 to 15 minutes to check the appearance of the crust, then check internal temperature when the crust is taking on the rich caramel color I like.

I began my sourdough mother in November 2010. I feed it with bread flour and water - 50/50 - and once each week 100 g of whole wheat flour. It is very active, healthy and is producing loaves with a mild sour flavor.

I'm still learning and experimenting. Keeping a record of each effort has been very helpful. However, probably more than data, developing a feel for the dough at each stage has made the most difference in my baking outcomes, which certainly early on were dominated by more failures than successes. Once I began to learn my dough, adjusting - water, flour, kneading, proofing, etc. - on the fly began comfortable, and the probability of a success increased.
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  #54  
Old 03-07-2011, 07:04 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Hi daymorr!

Sounds like you have things reasonably under control and are making progress.

You are baking on the "lighter side" IMO. While 500 or so is a fine temp, your baking time and internal temp are on the short side IMO for that temp. You will get a more robust and flavorful crust with either a higher temp or a longer bake or both. That doesn't mean what I suggest is right for you, I just encourage you to give it a try. You can easily go to 210 to even 212 internal temp on a lean dough like that. The bread changes character as you push 212 - you may or may not prefer the results. Again, worth trying.

Part of the reason you are getting sticky dough at 65% is that you are using a VERY HIGH amount of starter which will always be looser than fresh dough because of the degradation of the starch by enzymes. You are getting away with it, in part, because you retard, but your proofing times/temps suggest you are probably underproofed. I suspect you are getting pretty robust rip.

I would suggest also trying a two phase expansion - making a levain first, and then the final dough (which could be much as you describe, just that you would start with about 125 grams of starter and feed 250 of water and 250 of flour to make a levain to replace the starter in your recipe. The "fresher" flour will tend to give you a less sticky and better behaved dough - and probably better crust and crumb texture depending on your tastes. I would make the levain the night before, let it sit on the counter overnight, and then mix the final dough pretty much on your schedule. (NOTE: I don't retard sourdough because I mine all but shuts down below about 65 degrees so I do all my proofing at effectively room temp or higher but that is my practice. There is nothing I see wrong with your final dough process though you never say when you form the loaves. I think you might benefit from delaying loaf formation and retarding and letting the yeast and dough develop a bit more before the retard and/or extending the warmup some before the bake.

These are just suggestions to try based on my reaction to your process. You are clearly pretty happy with what you are getting so try what makes sense to you!

Good Luck!
Jay
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  #55  
Old 03-29-2011, 01:35 AM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Ok...I have been feeding a sourdough starter for a week now. It's appears to be very active and ready to make bread..........SO now what do I do?
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:55 AM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Keep feeding it! Use it in pancakes and for flavoring yeasted bread (rather than throwing away the excess). But feed it at least another week and maybe two before trying bread.

There is always a temptation to begin using a starter prematurely. Many starters seem robust to the inexperienced and simply don't have enough oomph to do bread.

Also...many starters go through a false "success" phase in which they make lots of bubbles but it is bacteria and not yeast doing the bubbling. This is most common around days 2 to 5 and then seems to die. This is normal. It is the bacteria dropping the pH of the dough and making it more acidic. At some point the acidity effectively "kills" (more correctly subdues) the nonsourdough bacteria and yeast. At that point the yeast you really want begin to take over the sourdough culture. (which is why starting a starter with something acid like pineapple juice can be argued to be beneficial...but the logic/argument is not foolproof).

Keep feeding...Twice a day if it keeps bubbling. If it keeps getting more robust you can try in 3 to 7 days. If it "dies" switch to about once a day until it starts being active again. Then for another ten days or so...

Good Luck!
Jay
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  #57  
Old 03-29-2011, 06:18 AM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

When I was starting my first starter, I did what Jay is suggesting and he's absolutely right. If you really really want to make bread, you can always try adding a little yeast to the dough- makes the timing weird sometimes, but it does work. You still get the flavor.

I did this for a while when I wanted to bake bread but the starter wasn't strong enough yet.

Do wait a week or so, though, because it may indeed be the bacteria and not the yeast being active. I had that issue too. My starter would be crawling all over the counter at day 5 or so, but it wasn't yeast.
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Old 03-29-2011, 04:00 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Thanks Jay and Elizabeth, will do. How do I make pancakes out of the excess?
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  #59  
Old 03-30-2011, 06:14 AM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

I don't do pancakes but my wife does. Pancake batter is a roughly 100% hydration dough with baking powder and oil/butter. I will let someone else provide an actual recipe (or look online). Assuming you have a 100% hydration starter, it is easy, just throw your excess starter into the batter. As an aside, you can also throw some into a conventional bread recipe - just that you may have to reduce the water a bit since the starter is so wet.
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  #60  
Old 03-30-2011, 06:19 AM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Try a recipe something like this:

What's Cooking America Kitchen store provided by ShoppingHevanet

I don't use olive oil, however, and I'd also use a bit less than 4T. I use melted butter or bacon fat. After all, pancakes are never really health food, so why not make them taste wonderful?

I did have pancakes the other day that had granola mixed in with multigrain flour- they were fabulous. I am going to play with that recipe a bit and see where I get with it. If I can get it right, I'll post it.
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