#61  
Old 03-30-2011, 06:55 AM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

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Originally Posted by lwood View Post
Thanks Jay and Elizabeth, will do. How do I make pancakes out of the excess?
Hey lwood, I know you didn't direct the question to me, but I couldn't miss an opportunity to plug one of my favorite recipes for overnight sourdough flapjacks. It comes from great sourdough site that I have been learning from.
http://www.northwestsourdough.com/blog/OJacks.pdf

Good luck
Polo
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  #62  
Old 03-30-2011, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Thanks Jay and Elizabeth, your right Elizabeth it might as well be wonderful Look forward to your recipe.
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  #63  
Old 04-09-2011, 12:39 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

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Originally Posted by texassourdough View Post
...Assuming you have a 100% hydration starter,... 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.
With the help from this forum and especially this thread with Jay's, Splat Girl & the others input I have a lot more confidence in my indoor oven IDY breads and I now want to move on to true sourdoughs then back to my original intent of baking SD breads in the WFO.



And of course I have some more questions, not necessarily all related:
  1. Instead of throwing away my SD starter, I would like to add it to that day's IDY bread. When do I add the starter to the IDY mix? At the beginning when I mix the dry ingredients and water? This would be easiest but would there be any problems between the yeasts?
  2. I took my wife's SD starter out of the fridge yesterday, doubled it and this morning I tripled it. What am I looking for to tell that it is really ready to start making SD bread?
  3. What temp should the starter be at? Mine is currently about 75 degrees F.
  4. My current IDY breads are running around 63% hydration, is this a good start for the SD breads?
Thanks again for all the help, my two teenage boys and their friends LOVE my practice loaves! Eric.
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  #64  
Old 04-09-2011, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Yay!
1. Just add it in as you do your initial build. The IDY will boss the sourdough beasities, so no worries there AFAIK.
2. when you say doubled and tripled your starter, I assume you mean expanding it by weight by adding water and flour. Following a feed, when the starter has grown to at least double the volume is when I consider it at it's peak and ideal to bake with. For my starter and house temp, this is 8 hours or less. If it takes longer, I consider that a sign that I need to repeat the feeding/growing schedule before use.
3. I like my starter at room temp when I'm going to use it, but I do occasionally use it straight from the fridge. I store mine in the fridge between bakes, then remove, feed and let stand at room temp until doubled, trying to coordinate that with when I know I'll be doing my dough.
4. IDY vs. sourdough is independent of hydration. I'd start with a dough that you are familiar with in IDY so that you'll have something to compare to. Hydration totally depends on the bread and what you prefer in terms of style and texture. To me 63% is a really stiff dough, but I tend to bake lean, crusty artisan style breads with an open crumb=higher hydration. For me the best practice is repetition of one formula, tweaking it as I seek to make changes to the finished loaf. Sometimes I can even remember to take notes...
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  #65  
Old 04-09-2011, 08:46 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

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Originally Posted by splatgirl View Post
...when you say doubled and tripled your starter, I assume you mean expanding it by weight by adding water and flour. Following a feed, when the starter has grown to at least double the volume is when I consider it at it's peak and ideal to bake with. For my starter and house temp, this is 8 hours or less. If it takes longer, I consider that a sign that I need to repeat the feeding/growing schedule before use.
Ours seems to be taking longer and doesn't seem to be doubling in volume after I double it or triple it. And yes, when I say double or triple it that is by weight. If I have 500 g of starter and add 500 g of BF and 500 g of water, I call that tripling it, because I now have 1,500 grams of starter.


Quote:
I like my starter at room temp when I'm going to use it, but I do occasionally use it straight from the fridge. I store mine in the fridge between bakes, then remove, feed and let stand at room temp until doubled, trying to coordinate that with when I know I'll be doing my dough.
Is it ok to use a metal probe thermometer in the starter? My wife is saying NOT to do that again. Is it really that tempermental?



Quote:
IDY vs. sourdough is independent of hydration. I'd start with a dough that you are familiar with in IDY so that you'll have something to compare to. Hydration totally depends on the bread and what you prefer in terms of style and texture. To me 63% is a really stiff dough, but I tend to bake lean, crusty artisan style breads with an open crumb=higher hydration...
What hydration do you aim for? As at first I had it too wet from my experimenting with the No-Knead which I could handle. Then with the scale I realized I was putting a lot of water in and knocked the water ration down to the 62 or 63 percent level which does give a realy dry first dough.

Below are pics of today's bake with IDY that I added the SD starter to the mix that had risen yesterday and then sat in the fridg overnight, the mix was 25% old IDY mix with 75% new mix added yesterday which is what sat overnight. I haven't tasted it yet, but it smells just awesome!

The last pic is of my starter that had been in the fridge for a while getting weekly feeds and I doubled yesterday, and tripled today. What you see is more than eight hours old and has been at room temp for the last two days since being removed from the fridge. I think that I am going to feed it again tomorrow.

After the starter is super active, can it sit out more than eight hours without feeding? Or should it then be either fed again or put in the fridge?

Seems like this is my next step in learning regarding timing and reading my starter!

Thanks again for the help. Eric.
Attached Thumbnails
Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!-dscn0963.jpg   Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!-dscn0964.jpg   Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!-dscn0965.jpg  
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  #66  
Old 04-09-2011, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Just to avoid confusing terms, lets call you adding water and flour to a starter to increase the overall weight an EXPANSION.
Not to be confused with an increase in volume secondary to the starter having risen.

Unless your house is very, very cold, a long time from feeding to peak volume (aka at least doubled) is almost certainly an indication of sluggish bacteria secondary to underfeeding. You should always do at least a 4x expansion, meaning you would quadruple your total starter by weight when you feed.
For storage between bakes, I typically keep 100g. or less of starter on hand. Often it's barely more than the dirty jar in my fridge. The night before my bake, I pull it out to the counter and feed 200g. flour and 200g. water, giving me roughly 500g. starter. If I know I'm going to be doing big or multiple batches, I would expand my starter accordingly so that I know I'll have enough total weight to accommodate whatever I plan to bake.
Basically, you can't overfeed, but underfeeding, i.e. doing less than a 4x expansion will result in a sluggish starter eventually, as would not letting it at least double before refrigerating, or letting it sit out at room temperature without feeding for multiple days.

Having a probe thermometer in your starter wouldn't be a problem, and yes, I presume if it's accurate, that is the temperature. ~74 is great. Sourdough isn't some dark art. It's bacteria and you're just managing a colony with food and temperature. Room temp makes them hungry, the fridge sort of puts them in a trance. Your goal is to grow and capture the largest number of hungry bacteria you can (aka PEAK) and get them into a dough. Other than with heat, it's actually sort of hard to kill an established starter, IME.

As far as hydration, I suggest you just choose a basic recipe and follow it to establish a baseline for yourself. OR, since you know that no-knead is too wet for you to handle (IIRC, it's ~80%), shoot for somewhere between that and the 63% you are comfortable with. It really, really doesn't matter but is just a matter of your preferred style of bread.

I like a clear container for growing starter so that you can see where it's been. In your case, it's very possible yours has peaked and then collapsed and you just weren't there to see it and/or you can't tell where it's been in the crock. Remember that "peak" means that the bacteria is at its most active but also that it has exhausted most of the food supply. Once at peak, there is less food (fresh flour and water) available so the bacterial stop multiplying and slow down to almost nothing. It also collapses just like an overrisen dough would.
Switch to a glass jar--I use a 1qt. flip top jar with the lid gasket removed so it can vent. A mason jar with a screw lid is good, too, just don't put the lid on tight. Discard all but 50g. of what you have, and feed it with 200/200. Mark a line or use a rubber band to note where it starts out at if you need a reference. Mine often overflows the jar in this situation so I put it on a plate...
If it takes longer than ~8 hours to double, discard all but 50g. and repeat.
If it's a brand new or newish starter, it's going to take a month or so before it's sturdy enough to bake with, IME.
Once my starter has peaked, I consider it usable for baking for about a day or two IF it's stored in the refrigerator. If it's left on the counter, I would refeed and try and bake within 8 or so hours after peak.

Feed at least 4x expansion, stand at room temp until double, refrigerate, use within a day or two.
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  #67  
Old 04-10-2011, 01:09 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

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Originally Posted by splatgirl View Post
As far as hydration, I suggest you just choose a basic recipe and follow it to establish a baseline for yourself. OR, since you know that no-knead is too wet for you to handle (IIRC, it's ~80%), shoot for somewhere between that and the 63% you are comfortable with. It really, really doesn't matter but is just a matter of your preferred style of bread.
What effect does the hydration levels have on the final loaves?

After reading some of Jay's comments, one of the things that I noticed is that I am trying to get my final loaf temp up higher without burning the crust. I have not been able to hit 212 degrees F. yet, I usually pull the loaves out of the oven at around 207-209.

One of the changes that I have made is to NOT use the convection feature of my oven, this has allowed me to get up to the 207-209 range without burning the crust.

With the higher internal temp and the addition of my left over starter, it really changed (for my liking) the taste of the crumb, but especially the taste of the crust had an unexpected WOW factor! The flavor was phenomenal, I have actually changed the shape of some of my loaves to have less crumb and more crust for the blue cheese and olive tapenade sittings (and maybe a little red wine as I do live in Napa and need to keep the local economy going!), while making the larger loaves for my boys lunches and their buddies after school devourings.


Quote:
Switch to a glass jar-- Discard all but 50g. of what you have, and feed it with 200/200. Mark a line or use a rubber band to note where it starts out at if you need a reference. Mine often overflows the jar in this situation so I put it on a plate...
Feed at least 4x expansion, stand at room temp until double, refrigerate, use within a day or two.
Thanks for the tips! I was planning on switching to a glass starter container for just that reason and will be picking one up today. I think I will put off trying to bake the SD bread until I get good consistent results with the starter doubling in volume after I quad the expansion!

I will see how it acts throughout this week and I am sure I will have more questions for you guys.

Again, I cannot overstate how much help your assistance has provided, thanks again.

Eric.
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  #68  
Old 04-10-2011, 03:00 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

One other thing you might try, depending on your water (ours is quite chlorinated) is using filtered water for your starter. Mine is much happier when I use the filtered than the tap water straight.
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Old 04-10-2011, 03:59 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

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One other thing you might try, depending on your water (ours is quite chlorinated) is using filtered water for your starter. Mine is much happier when I use the filtered than the tap water straight.
Thanks for the suggestion, we are on a well and don't use any chlorination. So hopefully the water is not an issue.

Eric.
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Old 04-10-2011, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Hydration affects both crust and crumb. Generally, a wetter dough will produce a more open, airy crumb and crustier crust, but obviously there are a whole lot of other variables that affect this, too.

Jay is more into a really dark crust than I am overall, but it depends on the bread, too. I don't really temp my loaves unless it's a new recipe or dark grain flours that make it harder to judge visually, but I'm sure I rarely bake to 212 internal. I too have found that I get better results in my indoor oven with the convection feature off. Keep in mind that if you are a crust fanatic that it is as much about getting the loaf into the oven at exactly the right stage of proof as it is about the baking. Oven humidity is a factor as well. And hydration.
I freeze almost every loaf I bake unless it's to be eaten that day. I pull it from the freezer, thaw on the counter and refresh with a quick trip back into the oven at eating time, and I find that they do better with this if the initial bake is a few minutes shorter than I'd normally go. It leaves a bit of extra moisture in the crumb to make nice on reheat and gives the crust some leeway to darken up a bit more without ending up too dark for my liking.

I'll also say that I think 212 internal for a 63% hydration loaf is too high anyway.

I think Jay and I can both attest to the fact that even with a well established starter, if it's sluggish in the jar for whatever reason, it's going to give you sluggish dough. And like I said, if it's a newly grown starter, it does take a while to get it's business straightened out. But it never hurts to try--pizza dough is a good thing to practice with both for high hydration handling and because it's simple and not so dependent on the rising strength of your starter. And even if it sucks, it'll still be pretty darn good. I like at least 75% hydration for mine...

Excellent point about the water. I recently gave some of my very perky starter to a friend who lives about a mile away. She had kind of a hard time getting it to go at her house, despite the fact that we are both on city water. I would have guessed it would behave exactly the same as at my house, but no.
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