Author Topic: Sourdough bread baking  (Read 937 times)

Tim Hall

  • I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes
Sourdough bread baking
« on: June 04, 2019, 11:29:00 pm »
I'm having a go at sourdough bread baking. I've got the starter and feeding thereof sorted. Kneading the dough I can do too. The recipe I'm using, from my grate frend Nic, has a first proving of 2 to 3 hours, knock back then prove for 7 hours or so.

So far so good. However, the dough sticks like shit to a blanket. I did the proving in a large mixing bowl,  lightly coated with oil and when I came to turn the nicely risen mass out, the amount of pulling and unsticking meant the dough collapsed somewhat.

Is this because it was over proved, or should I be using a floured tea towel to line the bowl? Or both? Or something else?
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2019, 05:49:34 am »
Collapsing after the first proving is not an issue, Shirley? And, do say hi to Nic from me.

Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2019, 09:04:40 am »
I wouldn't worry too much; as Ham says, you're going to knock it back later anyway. IME floured cloths will lead to even more stickage, though they can work well for the final proof. Sourdough doughs are usually fairly wet, so will be sticky until you've got gluten formation going. I personally like Dan Lepard's approach, which is to use a high-hydration dough and give it minimal working at ever-longer intervals; from memory it's eight stretch-and-fold moves on an oiled board at 15min, 30min, 1h, 2h, and 4h before the final shape and prove. Wet doughs form gluten without working over time, so over the period the dough will become less sticky; they're also less susceptible to over-proofing, so the timings can be much more flexible. I tend to make the sponge the night before, add the remaining flour and the salt in the morning, then work during the course of the day; depending on how much time I've got, the bread can go in the oven any time from lunch onwards, though it's usually late afternoon/early evening.

Tim Hall

  • I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes
Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2019, 10:12:14 am »
It's the collapsing/sticking after the second proving that's the issue.  Having said that, after baking it had regained most of its volume, but it's still a little dense.
Tastes wonderful though.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2019, 01:18:32 pm »
I had similar problems at first but then started using a Banneton with a liner heavily dredged with Rye flour and never looked back. Rye flour seems to prevent sticking much better than bread flour.
It also helps to stretch the outer surface when forming the loaf as this is said by bakers to prevent the loaf collapsing.

Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2019, 01:41:52 pm »
Is this with strong white flour, or a mix? I find the latter can be a bit slack sometimes. Agree that rye flour works well for dusting a banneton, though mine is now old and saturated enough that regular flour works well.

I'm a big fan of baking in a preheated cast-iron casserole; dumping dough out of the bowl into the dish any which way still gets more than acceptable results.

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2019, 06:26:28 pm »
I had similar problems at first but then started using a Banneton with a liner heavily dredged with Rye flour and never looked back. Rye flour seems to prevent sticking much better than bread flour.
It also helps to stretch the outer surface when forming the loaf as this is said by bakers to prevent the loaf collapsing.

This.

I also use the Lepard technique of many folds (both me and the worktop being covered in oil for the first couple, bowl covered in oil in between). Then into the rye floured liner in a banneton for the final proof.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2019, 08:26:51 pm »
I also use a banneton, but with no liner, and had issues with sticking to start with. Then I read that you were meant to season it (mist with water, dredge with flour and leave for 24hr) and since doing that I’ve been fine. I also lightly dust the dough with rice flour, which I don’t think is strictly necessary but since it work I don’t want to stop doing it...

Tim Hall

  • I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes
Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2019, 10:39:39 pm »
Thanks for the answers.  FWIW I'm using strong white flour.   Having looked up what a banneton is, I'll give one of them a go.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2019, 08:51:36 pm »
With sourdough I do tend to constrain it in some way whilst proving. Sometimes I use a tin, sometimes the outer ring of a cake tin, and I've even used a plant pot!
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven.

Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2019, 07:37:43 am »
It sounds to me like as if you have two, separate, issues. At the heart of it, you shouldn't be having to move the loaf after the second proving. However if you want a non-tin shaped loaf, and your dough is too sloppy, you are in danger of ending up with sour dough pizza base.

My solution for bread of any type is to use a heavy weight silicone sheet, such as is used in bakery production lines. Mine were a gift from an American cookery enthusiast who visited me more than 25 years ago, and they have seen constant use since. Nothing baked on them sticks, ever. I'm contemplating replacing them and, if I can and do I will share where to get them from, it must be possible in the internet world.

Full declaration: while I have been baking all my bread since forever, I've not had sourdough on the go for more years than I care to remember, for reasons of faffage vs yeast baking. I have recently been considering revising this position.

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2019, 10:49:00 am »
I turn my dough out of the banneton onto a silicone sheet as well. This goes onto the baking stone for about 10-15mins and then I whip the silicone sheet out so that the bottom of the bread gets to dry out a bit for the rest of the baking time, getting the benefit of the stone.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2019, 09:47:57 am »
Oh my. Look what I've found. This isn't going to end well.

Haven't found my silicone sheet stuff yet, although some of the others will doubtless perform as well.

Mrs Pingu

  • Who ate all the pies? Me
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Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2019, 04:09:42 pm »
That Super Peel looks interesting. Not convinced though.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2019, 07:55:43 pm »
Oh my. Look what I've found. This isn't going to end well.
Ah yes, can be an expensive place. I get the flours I use for our C17 re-enactment cooking from them. And I have one of their 'La Cloche' things although I've only used it once and wasn't that wowed.
"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."

Tim Hall

  • I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes
Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2019, 11:29:33 pm »
Bought a banneton/proving basket from Lakeland*. First proving was in my mixing bowl, knocked it back, transferred to the floured proving basket and covered it with cling film. Five hours later it was bulging nicely out of the basket and springing back when pushed lightly with a finger.

Slight bit of sticking to the cling film, so next time I'll oil it but it turned out of the basket onto the  baking stone  no problem. 30 minutes at 200°C then 15 minutes on the rack to cool.  Tasty, consistent loaf with a nice crust. I'll take that as a win.


* Go into Lakeland. Spy display marked "Baking". Look through the selection of cake tins and rolling pins at least twice without seeing a proving  basket. Finally ask one of staff, who directs me to a completely different part of the shop. So it seems in Lakeland making bread isn't baking.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2019, 12:42:57 pm »
Slight topic deviation.

I've made a few sourdough loaves with varying results - the last one was definitely not wet enough. Rather than making a starter every week which is proving (bread pun) expensive in flour and time consuming, I'm sure it's possible to take a piece of the loaf before proving it and saving that for next weeks loaf. I can't find any recipe online which mentions this. Is this right? How much do I take? Do I keep it in the fridge or at room temperature all week?
Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped

Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2019, 03:33:30 pm »
My starter is now 4 years old. I only use it every couple of weeks and keep it in the fridge. I bring it out half a day before starting a sponge , tip off the alcohol, feed and water it and after a few hours at ambient temp its good to go. My sponge calls for just 100 ml so the rest goes back in the fridge and will be happy for 3 weeks before feeding again, so I can even go on holiday.
Have a look at HFW river cottage metod.

Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2019, 07:27:17 pm »
Same here, use the sponge method and stick 100gms of the sponge in a jam jar that goes in the fridge.  Has to be before the salt is added.

Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2019, 08:15:04 pm »
Unless you're baking every day or every other day, it's best to keep the starter in the fridge IMO; yes, it's at its most active if it's been refreshed and fed for a couple of days in a row, but my (decade-old) starter's happy enough to be fed in the afternoon or early evening prior to making an overnight sponge. If you can be bothered to work it out, it's quite possible to have a process in which you keep back starter for the next batch from the sponge, but it's best to be reasonably accurate with this; at the moment my baking's irregular enough that I prefer to have the backup of excess starter in the fridge; the surplus gets used for pancakes and the like.