Author Topic: Sourdough  (Read 287 times)

Offline Mark H

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Sourdough
« on: December 16, 2017, 08:56:40 AM »
I've been talking about sourdough with Amie by PM. We were trying to find ways of getting the dough to keep its shape when taken out of the banneton, rather than spreading and making a flatish loaf. I achieved it by adding some sugar, which I've never used before with sourdough. See pic.

Amie tried a different approach - which I'll let her describe if she would like to.

I'm interested to hear any ideas on getting the perfect sourdough  :)

Mark
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Offline Amie

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Re: Sourdough
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2017, 09:18:00 AM »
That is beautiful.

I was quite proud of mine, but yours is better.
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Offline Amie

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Re: Sourdough
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2017, 09:30:30 AM »
I can't post a pic of mine. It came out really nicely risen, fluffy and yummy - but not sour.

Here's what I did:

On th basis that it's the acid from the yeast that weakens the gluten and makes the bread flop (as learned by googling), I made a few adjustments to my usual recipe to reduce the contact time between flour and acid.

1. I prepared the leaven just before going to bed (75g water, 75g strong white flour, 1 tbsp starter). Next morning it was super fluffy.

2. I mixed all the other ingredients (without the leaven) together (400g strong white flour, 100g string wholemeal flour, 10g salt, 300g water), and left to stand for 1 hour to let the flour hydrate (bowl covered with cling film)

3. After an hour, I kneaded for ten minutes until it was nice and springy. Then I left it fir an hour to let the gluten relax.

4. After an hour, I worked the leaven into the rest of the dough. The difference in texture is very noticeable - the dough seems much less sticky than it normally would at this point - I guess because the acid from the wild yeast hasn't had a chance to attack most of the gluten yet. I left it for 30 minutes, then stretch and fold. Then left for an hour, and stretched, folded and shaped.

5. At this point, I didn't have the volume I'd like, so I put it in a warm (c 40c) oven for 30 minutes. I know a lot of sites say a slow rising in a fridge is best to develop flavour, but if it's contact with the acid that weakens the gluten, I thought a quicker rise might be advisable. Always left to rest with cling film over, to prevent it drying.

6. 30-40 minutes, I folded it twice, tucking the seams under, and put it back in the oven to rise a bit more. It flattened a little, but didn't completely lose its shape.

7. 30 minutes later, took it out of the oven, and preheat oven to 220C. Tucked the edges under the dough ball again to plump it up a little.

8. Popped into a hot oven for I think about 45 mins to an hour (lost track of time, I just kept checking til it looked nicely browned)

9. Hey presto, nicely risen loaf that kept its shape.
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Offline Mark H

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Re: Sourdough
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2017, 10:43:07 AM »
I'm going to try a side by side blind taste test to see how noticeable (if at all) the lack of sourness is in the with sugar method. But. whatever the result, I can't help feeling that using sugar is cheating so I'd like to find a method that doesn't need it.

But before I do any more tests I have a lot of bread to eat :)
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Offline Amie

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Re: Sourdough
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2017, 10:55:04 AM »
My method is more true to the spirit of sourdough recipes, but doesn't taste sour at all.

Maybe I can get away with proving it longer, to develop the flavour...
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Re: Sourdough
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2017, 02:34:57 AM »
I am not much of a bread baker I'm afraid. I'm sure Gyp would have great input here

But sourdough is about the only bread I eat these days, super yum.
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Offline Amie

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Re: Sourdough
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2017, 11:01:00 AM »
I'm still experimenting. Was hoping there'd be a whole host of sourdough experts chiming in with their tips, but I guess I'm out of luck....
"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." - Kafka

Offline Mark H

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Re: Sourdough
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2017, 11:23:47 AM »
Me too. We can't be the only paniphiles on the forum surely?!
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Offline Gyppo

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Re: Sourdough
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2017, 12:01:03 PM »
Maybe you are ;-)  I've never made a sourdough loaf.  We learned about it in theory at tech college, but that was nearly fifty years ago and without actual experience to reinforce the memory the details are lost.

Adding sugar will make the yeast - wild spores or commercial - work faster.  Too much sugar will kill it.  There is always an optimum point for proving.  If you go beyond that the yeast will be 'spent' and there'll be no more gas to give volume to your loaf. 

If a loaf isn't proved enough the crust will have a foxy red colour, which can look quite nice, but it will taste sour.

Thinking about this a bit more, modern commercial yeast is optimised for a quicker process and has a shorter active - gas producing - life because modern doughs only prove once before going into the oven.  They are not 'knocked back' and allowed to rise again two or even three times.  In a modern bread plant the gluten is developed physically by brute force in a high-speed mixer as well as the chemical process of the fermenting yeast taking place.

To an old school baker high speed mixers are an abomination, because the dough leaves the mixer with a texture very close to Plasticine.  But this 'dead' dough is well suited to machine handling and measuring by volume in a 'divider' rather than weight.

Traditional dough is mixed, lifted out onto the bench, covered and allowed to roughly double in volume before being knocked back.   After which it is scaled or divided, moulded, and put into tins or on trays where it rises again to the desired volume before baking.

Question:  It might not be traditional, but is there any real reason why you can't put your sourdough loaf into a tin, to make it come out the shape you want?

Gyppo

 
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Offline Mark H

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Re: Sourdough
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2017, 01:52:00 PM »
...
Question:  It might not be traditional, but is there any real reason why you can't put your sourdough loaf into a tin, to make it come out the shape you want?

Gyppo
 

Sometimes I use tins for other types of loaf, but not very often. I don't think the bread is as good, even if you take it out of the towards the end. I have thought of trying a terracotta dish to see what that's like.

You can handle the loaf very carefully to try to protect the shape. But then it can collapse when you slash it unless your blade is razor sharp.

M
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Re: Sourdough
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2017, 02:12:13 PM »
I'm planning to have my first go at sourdough after Xmas, and this recipe was recommended to me by an experienced bread maker.
 
http://www.notquitenigella.com/2013/04/17/sourdough-basics-bourke-street-bakery-sourdough-class/

There might be some useful tips?

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Sourdough
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2017, 02:49:04 PM »
Sometimes I use tins for other types of loaf, but not very often. I don't think the bread is as good, even if you take it out of the towards the end. I have thought of trying a terracotta dish to see what that's like.

You can handle the loaf very carefully to try to protect the shape. But then it can collapse when you slash it unless your blade is razor sharp.

M

An old polish baker I worked with for a few years told me they baked 'farm bread' in proper terracotta flowerpots.  But he may have been talking about rye-bread, in which the gluten is inextensible.  In short it barely jumps in the oven.

As for a loaf collapsing when you slash it, yes, you do need a sharp blade.  We used a genuine cut-throat razor, or half a blade from a bread slicing machine.  The latter had rather large serrations but held the edge better.  The salt in the dough kills the edges anyway.

Are you slashing it just before it goes in the oven?  We did because that way the tendency to fall back a bit is counterbalanced by the tendency to 'jump' as the heat first hits the loaf.  The surface skins up quite quickly and the heat expands the gas inside just a little bit later.

You could try making the dough just a bit stiffer - slightly less liquid - and this will also help to preserve the integrity.

Hope this helps, or at least gives you something with which to experiment.

Gyppo
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Offline Amie

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Re: Sourdough
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2017, 04:01:39 PM »
Until Mark mentioned this problem, I always cooked my sourdough in a tin, and didn't realise there was a problem!

Once he mentioned it, it niggled me.

I've tried again, adding gluten to the mix. It's keeping its shape (24h later into the proving, with much stretching in between to redevelop the gluten), but smells like glue rather than sourdough. I don't want to bake it until it has that lovely sour beery  smell.
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Offline Mark H

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Re: Sourdough
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2017, 06:53:45 PM »
Are you slashing it just before it goes in the oven?

For sourdough, yes. I'm proving it upside down in a basket so the only opportunity to sash is after it has been turned out, just before baking. Loves that I prove free form (not in any kind of a container) I slash after forming and let the prove extend the gashes to create an interesting shape.

You could try making the dough just a bit stiffer - slightly less liquid - and this will also help to preserve the integrity.

The loaf in the picture was done like that. It is prefect in every regard except flavour. The crust was so brittle that minutes after taking it out of the oven in began to crackle like the sound of walking on ice. The crumb was perfect too. I want that loaf but with the sour flavour of the collapsed loaf I made the day before. That's all. Not much to ask is it?  :)

M
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Offline Mark H

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Re: Sourdough
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2017, 10:19:25 AM »
Trying to perfect baguettes.
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