#71  
Old 04-11-2011, 04:20 PM
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Napa, CA
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by splatgirl View Post
...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...

Well, it looks like my starter is on the "sluggish" side as after yesterday's 4x Expansion, and change over to a glass container, it never even came close to doubling in volume. I fed it again a little while ago with another 4x Expansion, and i guess I will just keep feeding it once a day until it gets going!

Once it gets going good, is there any special care in hanlding the starter? like pouring off the top or trying to keep the top portion or just mix it up and weigh out what you want? (the latter is the one I hope works!)?

And I like the idea of making pizza dough out of the not so great starter as constantly throwing away that much flour seems a waste. And with our mid -60s weather and two teenage boys with friends, pizzas out of the WFO sounds like a good way to get rid of some dough.

Thanks, Eric.
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  #72  
Old 04-11-2011, 08:33 PM
Journeyman
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: minnesota, usa
Posts: 472
Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Once it gets going well, just keep doing what you're doing. You shouldn't need to feed it more than once a week or so if it lives in the fridge in between. I routinely go two weeks between feedings. Longer than that, and I'd make sure to leave myself enough time to do two feedings before use.

Stir in whatever liquid has separated out if that happens, otherwise you'll lose your baseline 100% hydration.

You can use excess starter in just about anything that calls for flour and liquid (water or dairy--just use powdered milk or buttermilk). I liked your idea from a previous post about adding it to IDY doughs. Also pancake batter, waffles, muffins, quick breads, etc.
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  #73  
Old 04-16-2011, 11:46 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Hi Eric!

I just logged on after traveling for a couple of weeks. Splatgirl knows her stuff and gave you great advice!

Only thing I see worth commenting on is that I often check loaf temp - not always but often - and while I have hit 212 (not sure how for my max should be about 210.5 at standard barometric pressure) I routinely target 208-209. As you found the temp you bake your bread to does impact flavor! There are caveats however. You don't want to bake an enriched sandwich loaf to 209. It should be a lean, artisanal style bread.

I will reinforce some of splatgirl's comments. After some recent experiments I am now doing a "preexpansion" by feeding my starter the morning before I actually start my preferment. I.e. I feed it in the morning. It will peak at roughly 6-7 pm that evening. I then feed it again to make my preferment. That, with a reasonably robust starter (to begin with) gives me a reliably robust preferment the next morning which in turn gives a robust rise to the final dough.

WRT temp...I am not very excited about the temp of a fed starter or of the preferment. Yes, there is an optimal temperature, but... there are other variables as well and I don't see it as critical so long as the temp is above 68 or so and below 78 or so. (NOTE: I actually use 3X expansions (100 gm starter plus 150 water and 150 flour) in the winter so it will peak in about the same time as a 4X (100 plus 200 plus 200) expansion which I use in warmer weather. But...it is not a big deal). I do like my final dough to be above 70 and will use a warming drawer as a proofing box in cold temps. NOTE: I am not critical about temp because I don't try to schedule my baking - I divide and form and proof and bake as the dough demands which is variable. IF you want to bake on a schedule you need to control temp. I like cooler temperatures - say 72 than 82 because I think it gives better flavor but...the shorter times that accompany higher temps may be important to you!

On water... avoid chlorinated tap water. Period. Get bottled water (I can get a gallon for 70 cents at my grocery. Or use a Brita filter....)

Oh...and about excess starter... my yeasties needed feeding when I got home so I fed all four of my starters and took the excess and made bread. As an experiment I took the 460 grams of starter and added 70 grams of water (for a total of 300 grams of water) and 270 grams of flour (for a total of 500 grams of flour), plus 10 grams salt (2 percent) and 5 grams of yeast (1 percent which was too much). Mixed it up and it was way loose which is kind of what I expected due to degraded starch and protein - and why I dropped the hydration to 60% (300/500). So I mixed in flour until I could reasonably deal with it. Skipped the bulk fermentation and put it in the banneton. When the banneton was overflowing I baked it. I have termed it "Sludge Bread". Came out pretty good - odd (and as my wife says "fermented" tasting due to all the starter) - but interesting and not bad.

Hope that is useful
Jay
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  #74  
Old 04-16-2011, 12:15 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Jay,

Thanks for the comments, I can't believe how much my bread making has progressed, not that I don't still have a lot to learn. I have been somewhat lucky as I currently work from home so I can keep an eye on my Starters, Preferments and doughs. I have been working on "reading" my doughs and starters more than trying to control them. If it gets to be too late I put the dough in the fridge, leave the starter on the counter and go to bed.

With Splat's advise I have been able to get my starter very active, sometimes almost too active! Getting the starter active and feeding it 4x expansions seems to be working.

Today I am experimenting with a pizza dough that I mixed up this morning with all the left over starter that I have been just putting in a separate jar stored in the fridge instead of tossing it down the drain (we are on a septic out here so it is actually good for the septic system). I just let it warm to room temp and then added enough flour to thicken it up for pizzas tonight. We will see how it turns out, good thing I have two teenage boys and their buddies to consume it all.

As far as water, we are on a non-treated well and have pretty good water according to the tests that I have done routinely.

I am pretty happy with the SD results that I have gotten the last two bakes, though I keep forgetting to slash my loaves, the last bake I slashed after about eight minutes, which actually still worked. But that was my fault and not a function of the dough or starter.

Now I need to start concentrating on the timing of the starters, Preferments and doughs, then back out to learning how to use the WFO as all my baking has been on a stone in the indoor oven. I also want to start understanding more of what is going on and why with the wild yeasts, growths, starches and proteins to better understand and control the end products.

Thanks again, Eric.
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  #75  
Old 04-17-2011, 12:32 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricU View Post

Today I am experimenting with a pizza dough that I mixed up this morning with all the left over starter that I have been just putting in a separate jar stored in the fridge instead of tossing it down the drain (we are on a septic out here so it is actually good for the septic system). I just let it warm to room temp and then added enough flour to thicken it up for pizzas tonight. We will see how it turns out, good thing I have two teenage boys and their buddies to consume it all.
Well the pizza dough made from the left over starter came out great. In the morning I added about 1,000 gms of KA BF to about 600 gms of the starter discard and added enough water to make a dough ball and let it sit on the counter for a few hours. Let it rise and stuck it in the fridge until it was time to make the pizzas. Seems like a good use for the starter vs. dumping it down the drain.



Quote:
I am pretty happy with the SD results that I have gotten the last two bakes,...
Well, there I go shooting off my mouth and after saying that, now I am NOT very happy with last nights SD results. I baked two large loaves and they looked wonderful, but I do not like the way the crust came out, it was thin and not what I have come to like or expect in a crust. My wife and boys really enjoyed it, but not me. The crumb was very tasty, but the crust was to thin for my liking.

Is this a function of the hydration level? Or proofing time? or some combo?

Eric.
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  #76  
Old 04-17-2011, 01:03 PM
Journeyman
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: minnesota, usa
Posts: 472
Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Well, if it makes you feel any better, I just had a major fail with whole wheat SD sandwich bread. I must have angered the SD spirits.

Another idea for excess starter is crackers...I almost never buy crackers anymore because homemade is so much tastier and I can put whatever I want into or on them.
Any percentage of starter seems to work, plus any type of flour, the fat of your choice (~25% by bakers percent), salt (1%) and seeds, herbs, etc. If necessary, add enough additional water to get a very stiff dough. Roll out as thin as you can get it and bake ~350 until crisp. Sometimes I have to turn down the oven to 300ish to get them crispy without too much browning.
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  #77  
Old 04-18-2011, 09:18 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Probably not enough steam and too short a bake. Turn off the oven when "done" and leave the bread in the oven for an additional ten minutes or so (may need to experiment with time) with the door cracked. Will give a more robust crust.
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  #78  
Old 04-26-2011, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by texassourdough View Post
Probably not enough steam and too short a bake...Will give a more robust crust.
The last two batches I had forgotten the pan of water. My last batch, I placed my cast iron skillet on the rack one below my rack that holds the baking stone.

My attempt at hot dog buns came out much better tasting and with a nice crust and crumb.

I am now need to work on my timing of my doughs and preferments. And I am looking for a good robust crust and as much "Sour" in my sourdough loaves.

The current dough that I have started used my current healthy SD starter and is going like this:

Day 1) 8:00 PM (Monday 4-25): 200 gms SD starter + 300 gm BF + enough water to make a dough. This was left out on the counter covered overnight in mild Norther California to make the "Firm Starter".

Day 2) 5:00 PM (Tuesday 4-26): added to the 600 gm of "Firm Starter", 350 gm BF + 240 gms water + salt and all kneaded together, covered and let sit on the counter until 9:30 pm at which it had a good doubled in volume. I then transfered to the fridge, where it will sit overnight.



Now my real question as what to do tomorrow, day 3. I will pull out the dough and let it warm for a couple of hours, then should I:
  1. Add an equal amount of dough (BF, H2O + Salt) by weight?
  2. Add twice as much dough by weight?
  3. Add no more new dough?
  4. How long should I let the dough sit? At least until it doubles after adding new flour and water?
  5. After shaping and proofing, what should I be looking for? Usually I get some expansion of my shaped loaves and then get more expansion (spring?) in the oven.
I kind of feel like I am at a standstill point with my bread knowledge as now I am kind of shot gunning it again as to time and volumes (by weight) of ingredients.

Thanks for any help, Eric.
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  #79  
Old 04-27-2011, 05:54 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Sourdough Bread FAILURE!!

To be consistent, Eric, you really need to weigh everything in every step. As I have stated before, there are those who have "the touch" who can make great bread without weighing, but so few have this skill that I must assume you don't either.

Your preferment is LONG, way long, even at a cool room temp. And your expansion is low. I add 200 grams of flour and 200 of water to 100 of starter and it peaks in about eight hours. Your stiffer preferment will be slower but unless your starter is half dead it will run out of food way before your 20 hours or so from preferment to making dough.

What you are calling a "firm starter" is NOT. If it is starter it is underfed and overshot. If it is preferment it is underexpanded. Your day 2 expansion is even further underexpanded and underfed. Guess what! Your "starter" isn't ready to do anything. It is half dead! And heavy, dead starter/preferment will yield heavy, dead bread.

You can mess around all you want but if you don't have discipline you will get mediocre results. I have described the bread process on this site many times. I am not going to do it from scratch again!

Normal expansion ratios for sourdoughs at temps from 68 to 78 or so is to go from 100 grams of starter to 500 grams of preferment to 2500 grams of finished dough. You are WAY off!
Jay
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