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Dino_Pizza 09-21-2009 03:50 PM

Sourdough in Dinos WFO
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I've been planning all week for baking sourdough loaves yesterday. I made a started last month using wine grapes in my yard, hung them in cheese cloth in a rye flour & water mixture for days until bubbly. Then I began the daily-weekly schedule of replacing 2/3 of it with bread flour & water. It seems strong and smells wonderful after 40 days. I used Peter Reinharts Sourdough recipe from his BBA book using my starter for the barm on Saturday. On Sunday when I checked on the bulk dough, it easily double! I doubted I could get this strong of a rise without any yeast added.

Then I made 2 boules, 1 long cloche (although it rose again so much, I couldn't use the clay cover!), and 1 loaf in a brotform.

The WFO hit 660 deg. I Pushed the few coals left to the perimeter, re-closed the door to re-distribute the heat for 20 minutes. Then moped the floor and sprayed water and put my 4 loaves in. After 22 minutes, turning them once after 12 min, They were done. NEXT TIME: hotter oven to "clear" the soot and "load" the mass, remove all coals, spray after loading the loaves. Also, maybe make a triple recipe to crowd the oven up the moisture. Also, notice the brotform flattened when I my lame ripped its dried skin. I've never had luck with those things. I think we are too dry in SoCal so the wood dries the dough in spite of the damp towels or plastic over it then the razar rips the dry skin deflated it.

I'm quite happy for my 1st serious bread baking in this oven. I did all kinds of things not quite right (thanks for the help and info on Davids (Gromit) 1st loaves thread) so they'll be better next time.

Oh, the crust is great, nice holes and crumb and a mild sour flavor. I would like bit more crust depth and a more complex taste so maybe I'll bulk rise overnight in the fridg? Thanks, Dino

Les 09-21-2009 04:16 PM

Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO
Looks fantastic Dino! How long did you proof after shaping? I was told to do it for 24 hours to get the blistering. My last batch I tried that and got a few but I am after more.


Gromit 09-21-2009 05:57 PM

Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO

Great job on the bread! I will be following along here on your thread, watching your progress. If both of us are peppering the experts here with questions, we might learn twice as fast.

I have the same lame problem you are having. The skin always seems too dry. As soon as you figure that out, please let me know.

Happy baking!

MK1 09-21-2009 08:11 PM

Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO
3 Attachment(s)
Those pain au levain look wonderful. You should be more than pleased with the results of your first effort.
I took T. Sourdough's advice to really load the oven. Also I've been tilting the bottom of my door outwards so there is just enough room to spray up top. I spayed for 20sec 10m prior to loading, 20 again just after loading and then 10 at 1m, 2m, and 3m. I think it helped as the bread opened more where I scored than in my last feeble attempt.
Hamelman states that sourdough breads need more steam as they don't rise a quick as yeasted breads. I made my 3rd batch this weekend. There is so much of this bread-making that only experience can guide. Do you have the Jeffery Hamelman book? I just received it and have read much of it. I highly recommend it. It has more of what to look for in every stage of the process.
In the pictures the darker loaves are Pouilane Mishe from Reinhart and the lighter ones are Hamelmans Pain Au Levain, a basic sourdough with 5% medium rye. I really like this one. The Pouilaine Mishe has some wonderful flavors that I can't account for.
I took these pictures just out of the oven, (stayed in a little long) temp about 673. Didn't take a picture of the crumb but it's just a little more open than in your picture.


texassourdough 09-22-2009 06:46 AM

Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO
Hi Dino!

You did pretty good! I push my bread a lot harder - i.e. hotter oven/darker crust - but those are lovely for a light crust and I am more than willing to bet they taste great and make great toast/bruschetta. Your oven spring looks a little low - probably a hair overproofed and/or a bit of rough handling and/or short on humidity (probably all three but it could also be related to your hydration but I doubt it). Sourdough likes to be baked at about 2/3 to 3/4 expanded - not double. Double is too late for most sourdough levains. You will (I think) be happier with a hotter oven and a bit more residual heat in the oven. You got pretty good crumb for a "first batch". Well done! Oh... yeah, if you are only going to do 4 loaves I would spray before loading as well as after!

Hi Mark! Hamelman is tough! He can be pretty challenging but he is really good! Great book! Try his five grain (either commercial or sourdough - both are GREAT!) Your loaves look a bit overproofed also. And your oven was HOT! but you no doubt know that! Let it heat soak some to equalize and let the temp come down to the 550 range. The baking will be a lot more controllable!

My bread guru suggests artisanal breads (generally, but pain de campagne boules in particular) you are shooting for three colors of brown. A middle brown for the general crust, a lighter brown where the "rip" is, and a darker brown where the flaps (grigne) from the slash are more heavily caramelized. My experience suggests that that happy combo comes when the oven temp/time is just right. Too hot and I get one or two dark colors and too cold and I get one or two light colors.

Be sure to use a thermometer to check the internal temp. You are shooting for a hitting the right external colors at the same time that the interior temp hits 205 to 207 (unless you are weird like me and shooting for 209). (I need to back down to 207 again, but...)

Hope that is useful!

Keep learning! Bread is really addictive!

Dino_Pizza 09-22-2009 09:00 AM

Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO
Thanks Jay, you are spot-on about my loaves; hotter oven needed, I did over-proof by an hour and yes, the slightly underdone bread makes great toast! My end of season tomatoes will make a great bruscheta on it. Thanks for the info on sourdough rises and heat loading. All these little tweaks will be implemented in my next batch.

Thanks Les, I proofed the loaves 4.5 hours at kitchen temp about 75 deg. That was too warm and long as Jay noted. I've too read that blistering and crust improves with long, cool rises but I think next time I'll stick with the same rise time but put the loaves in my wine cellar which is 50-55 deg and do a 3/4 rise, not double for the sourdough.

Mark, your loaves look great! I too want to try a Poulain Mishe soon. I'll use your method on spraying next time. Elizabeth suggested so I bought a garden sprayer dedicated to H2O only which I used for this baking but it should make spraying thru the door crack with its brass extension easy next time. I'm going to buy a Hamelman book too next coupon I get from Borders. Which book do you have?

Thanks David, I feel I'm in good company being so lame with the lame'. Maybe were both overproofing? We'll get it worked out.

Thanks all, Dino

texassourdough 09-22-2009 11:17 AM

Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO
Hi Dino!

There is more to it than this, but when the slits open and leave a smooth skin, that tends to indicate that the dough was overproofed. As you get shorter, at some point it will "rip" (tear in the slit) and that is the look most people are after. As a first "step" I would suggest a 2 1/2 to 3 hour bulk fermentation (assuming vigorous yeast). Form and let those rise 2 1/2 to 3 hours. And bake. That should guarantee you are a bit under proofed and will get some rip. With experience you will learn when it is "ready".

Hamelman's book is "Bread". Be prepared. The instructions are at the start of each section. The recipe's are very simple in that he does not repeat the complex instructions at the start of the chapter. You basically have to read the book cover to cover (or at least front to back of each section). Good stuff!

egalecki 09-23-2009 07:00 PM

Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO
Jay's right on, as usual. I like the Hamelman book a lot, but for me it's like a textbook- sort of dense and not as user friendly as some other books are. That said, I love many of the breads in there- the pecan/raisin, fig/rosemary/hazelnut, vermont sourdough, to name a few. Just be prepared to read it first! There's no jumping in in the middle safely!

Your loaves look great for a first effort. I put my rising loaves in a big plastic bag and blow into it so it doesn't stick to the bread. I don't have much trouble that way with drying out.

I don't even have a lame yet, I just butcher my dough with a sharp serrated knife... but it always works better when I don't let it rise too long. You want to poke it with a finger and have it still spring back- if it stays pressed in, it's to late. If it resists poking, it's too soon. With practice, it gets easier to tell about the rising.

texassourdough 09-23-2009 07:55 PM

Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO
Good comments, Elizabeth!

The simplest way to "have" a lame is to get a round popsickle stick or a small thin flat one and put a double edge razor blad on it (blade must be bent). That works best for baguettes (where you want a curved blade). For boules, in theory you want flat which you can't do so well with a straight stick but... I got my lame from San Francisco Baking Institute for about $6 but it's just a short piece of steel with a funky, slightly curved tip. I can't slash with knives but I do okay with a lame. As several have said, the do drag some if you go slow. You want to b FAST!

It is rainiing and 58 oF and the world is wonderful!

Dino_Pizza 10-13-2009 02:25 PM

Re: Sourdough in Dinos WFO
Just bought Hamelmans "Bread" book yesterday and you're right Elizabeth, I've got to read it carefully. But its so much fun to go right to the bread recipes :D.

I've been vacationing lots lately and trying to roof my oven before the rains to the great neglect of my sour-dough starter. I just hate throwing out 2/3rd's of it just to keep it happy but do.

But I'm going to start my new years resolutions today in October:
-baking bread at least once a month.
-Oh and this will be the year of Pickling! All the "in" restaurants in L.A. do it like they've invented it or something. I love vegi's and vinagary things so why not put them together.

It's raining now in Los Angeles and you're right Jay, the world is wonderful.

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