#31  
Old 10-26-2009, 06:15 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO

Dino,
We're at about the same stage on the bread learning curve. I've been getting some great results when there are no distractions, (neighbors, calls, chores..) and some okay results otherwise. I have a pair of thermocouples buried in the middle of the dome bricks and the floor and I find I get the best results when the floor TC lags the dome TC, usually about 50F or so. It usually takes a while for the temp gradient to set up and this is usually about 1-2 hours after I've reached saturated temps of about 800F in the dome TC and 900F or better in the floor. Depending on the outside air temp and the amount of wind it can be 8-10 hours before I'm at bread temps. It's not easy to synchronize the bread fermentation with the oven temp curve. I think baking every few days in the WFO would help.

Mark
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  #32  
Old 10-27-2009, 12:53 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO

Thanks Dutch, you're right again. I'll remember next time to spray once and open the oven door at the end to getter a crisper crust which I was lacking. I just read about the gluten tears too in Hamelmans book. So many interesting things to learn in this process.

All of my baking lately has been squeezed in with other weekend chores like this last one. We had the next door neighbors over for pizza since they have to smell the smoke from the WFO all the time . This made me rush the baking and shorten my heat equalization time. You're right Mark, we get better results with less distractions. Nice to hear you are getting useful info from your thermocouples. Thanks guys, I really appreciate your input. - Dino
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  #33  
Old 10-27-2009, 06:21 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO

I have been learning our new oven also. Installed only one TC 2 inches below the surface of the center brick in the floor. At that depth the temperature peaks well after the fire is out. once I remove the ash and coals the transfer from outer surface back toward the oven begins. When that TC reads 800F the inside surface is relatively cool in the 600F range. When the breads begin to bake obviously the temperature begins to drop but for instance on our last farmer's market bake of the season it was about a total of 120 pounds of dough. Baguettes went in at a inside floor temp of about 600(800 TC) and the last load came out of the oven and the inside floor temp was 375(325). 10 minutes after unloading the floor read 416(~300)
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Last edited by Dutchoven; 10-27-2009 at 06:22 PM. Reason: poor typing
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  #34  
Old 10-27-2009, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino_Pizza View Post
I'll remember next time to spray once and open the oven door at the end to getter a crisper crust
Dino - I am having the exact opposite problem. When I bake white breads, I want the crust to be soft. I put in a tray of water prior to the bake, spray the loafs, and mist them about every 5 minutes (2x). It's too crisp to my liking (think wonder bread). What temps and process did you do to get the soft crust. At the end of the day, it may be that I have no friggen humidity here.

Les...
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  #35  
Old 10-27-2009, 07:30 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO

You guys seem to have a lot better handle on the bread than I do.

I built a fire, figuring I didn't need that much heat to bake up 4 loaves, shoved the fire to left and right and put two loaves in the center alley.

I am using sourdough that I started about a month ago. This time, plain flour water and salt are the only ingredients.

The taste ( by the time I finish up and drive home 25 min. drive) is pretty amazing.

I found an old cast iron skillet that was practically rusted through in our back yard over these many years. I sanded off most of the rust and oiled it up. Using it for a water basin inside the oven.

Took about 25 minutes for the first 2 loaves, and about 30 minutes for the second two. Did not take the fire out first. The bread is pretty soft.

I have to say, almost every sourdough I have made since starting this experiment has been slightly, ( if not radically) different than the previous batch.

Even my starter had undergone a complete change of personality. I think I inadvertently introduced the stronger yeast strain when trying a recipe that called for packaged yeast. Has anyone else had this experience, or similar?

Lars.

ps. Dino, every time I read your posts, I get the feeling I am one of the poor starving saps...
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  #36  
Old 10-28-2009, 05:31 AM
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Default Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO

Yes, I get much better results when bread is all I'm really doing. That's why the whole "job" thing is getting in the way!

Les, I am not sure the wfo is really able to give you wonder bread- but you might try rubbing a little oil or butter on the crust when you take it out to soften it up. You might be happier with an enriched dough done in a pan. (enriched means some oil, some milk or milk powder, anything that adds a bit of fat)

Lars, unless you got yeast in the starter itself, (and maybe even if you did, I'm not sure) the strain in the packet isn't made to coexist with the bacteria in the sourdough- so I don't think it's possible for it to take over. What can happen is that the wild yeasts in your area have colonized your starter and crowded out the first ones. I have two starters and while they do smell different still, they are less distinct than they were to start with. I also really don't notice a difference in the way they taste even though they smell a little different. If you want to keep a separate strain without getting contaminated, I'd suggest freezing some dried starter and periodically renewing it. It's easy to do, just feed it, let it go a couple hours and spread some on plastic or parchment and let it dry. Then put it in the freezer. When I was sent some to replace the one that died in the dead fridge, all I had to do was weigh it and then add the same weight in flour and water.

One thing I have changed, which does seem to make a difference here, is to use filtered water. Our water doesn't taste bad at all, but it's pretty chlorinated. I used to not bother with the filter, but it does seem to keep the sourdough happier to use it.

Off to work! Have a good day!
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Old 10-28-2009, 07:45 AM
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Default Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO

Elizabeth,
Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, what happened was, I poured a few drips from the measuring cup that I 'proofed' the packaged yeast in to my starter while I was making the recipe that called for yeast.

Up until that time, my starter just barely rose. It made very dense bread. Afterward, it bubbled and makes lighter bread. I have to let is set overnight when I start any dough so the whole 'sponge' can get sour. The starter is just a lot milder. If you starve it a couple days, it gets more pungent... I just think that the strains of yeast that were there before were just not as virulent as the one that jumped in there and maybe re-populated itself. That's my theory.

Does everyone take out the fire before baking? Is so , what happens when you start losing heat? Do you have to be really careful about keeping the door in?

L.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:55 AM
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Default Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO

Wow - a whole thread dedicated to sourdough -
Anyone do desem? That's the only sourdough I do so far. Been doin it faithfully for 5-6 years.
Elizabeth, I have two ovens - a junk oven I got at an auction, I keep on the back porch. And a "very nice dacor" inside.
The dacor is HORRIBLE!! The junk oven produces the best breads. I should take pictures and show you all the difference in the same batches of bread only some is baked in one oven and one in the other oven.
I had the "oven guy" come out and calibrate it, check for anything wrong. He says the temp is fine (although I have a thermometer specially for checking the temp - it's mercury, so it's pretty accurate (I guess) and it says my dacor is 15 degrees too cool).
He also agrees with me - that if I'm going to replace it, I shouldn't invest in any more $$ to fix anything...hinges, inside glass, cracked front face....

I can't wait to bake in the WFO!!!
I also can't wait to get my hands on that book you are all talking about...but I swear I will finish English Bread and Yeast Cookery - a great history lesson in bread baking.

Cecelia
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  #39  
Old 10-29-2009, 09:57 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO

Oh ya Cecielia, you'll have fun baking in the wfo. That's funny (but sad funny ) that your dacor doesn't bake as good as your older oven. I bet that's true with a lot of the nicer, newer ovens. Sometimes, it's just practice to figure out what it needs to really shine.

Les, my last wfo bread temps were a bit low. After 30 minutes, the IR said the floor and walls were 380 deg so I let the bread sit in for another 15 min. I did get a softer crust but that may have been the low temp and, or the double spraying. Glad to know someone else complains about low humidity besides me. I do my dough rising in bags, with moist towels, steaming bowls...man, it seems like bread books do their baking in sauna's cuz mine turn to stone unless I crank up the moisture.

Dutch, your TC temps are intriguing. I didn't realize how much an oven "gives up" after you load it and remove the coals. I wish I had put TC's in now.

Lars, I left a few coals in the 1st time but I think everyone rakes them out as I've done since. It's a hard and awkward, but I get the impression that's what everyone does. I'd like to know too. It's nice to have a cleaned out and hot oven, ready for loaves and steaming without the ash in it.

Thanks everyone, Dino
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  #40  
Old 10-29-2009, 10:19 PM
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Default Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO

Dino,
Eating white sourdough wood fired toast right now while typing this.

I have to say, the extra smoky flavor really kind of adds to the complexity of the bread taste. My starter raises well, AND, if you give it only one raising, you get very mild sourdough flavor. On the other hand, if you let it stand for over night and rise it all day, the 'sourdough' flavor is much more pronounced.

That is why I am now addicted to the flavor of wood fired sourdough toast.

Okay then.

Lars.
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