Author Topic: Sourdough bread baking  (Read 1971 times)

Tim Hall

  • I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes
Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2020, 07:02:08 pm »
Revisiting this. My last couple of loaves have been of the collapsy spready out sort.  Am I right in assuming there's too much water in the dough?

My recipe calls for 500g flour, 350g starter,  225ml water, bit of salt.
Mix then knead for 10-15 minutes.
Prove for 2-3 hours
Knock back, put in banneton.
Prove for 7 hours.
Tip onto hot baking sheet,  bake for 30 minutes.

When I tip it out it (a) sticks in the (floured) banneton then (b) spreads out on the baking sheet. The sticking means it doesn't flop out if the banneton quickly but rather oozes.  This doesn't help with the shape. The amount of water in the starter is a bit variable, due to inaccurate feeding. I've tinkered with the amount of water used  adding only 190ml last time. Comments?
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 #26 on: January 15, 2020, 01:21:40 pm »
utes.

When I tip it out it (a) sticks in the (floured) banneton then (b) spreads out on the baking sheet.

The sticking is an issue - I fixed this with my banneton by gently misting the banneton with water, covering in rice flour and leaving for 24hr. This forms a nice layer of flour and reduces sticking, altho I still flour each time I want to use it. I've had best success with rice flour, wheat flour absorbs moisture and gets sticky. Some people also say you can use corn flour (polenta?) but I've not tried that.

Secondly, I've found it's important to get the shaping right before putting it in the baneton. This forms a nice surface tension on the dough which helps hold it together. Over-prooving can also mean that the dough looses some structure and is more likely to spread out, so make sure your long prove is somewhere cool.

Finally, I've found I get best success using an old cast-iron casserole dish as a dutch oven. This helps stop it spreading out so much, and means it bakes in a moist environment. Failing that, a stone will probably give better results than a baking sheet.

The amount of water looks OK to me.

Tim Hall

  • I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes
Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #27 on: January 19, 2020, 05:54:30 pm »
Reporting back. Made sure the banneton had no remnants of the previous loaf. Gave it a good dusting with rye flour. Proved the dough for 2.5 hours, knocked it back then proved for 5.5 hours. It rose nicely ( my kitchen is fairly warm  about 20C) but wasn't over proved - it was above the top of the banneton in the centre but had a bit of space at the edges. Nice spring back when poked with a finger.  In the words of George Formby,  it turned out nice. No sticking, no spreading out on the baking sheet. Held shape in the oven and rose a  it. Probably my best loaf yet.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #28 on: Today at 09:15:34 pm »
I decided recently to have a go at making sourdough...

Well, since I posted this, I've got quite into the whole sourdough thing. In fact, around the time I posted this was the last time I bought a loaf of bread from a shop. The starter I made back in October is thriving - to the point that I have to just keep making more bread to avoid having to throw the excess away... (it lives in the fridge during the week and only comes out to play at weekends, but it's still pretty active even at fridge temperatures)

I've expanded my repertoire from yer basic loaves to include sourdough crumpets, sourdough Yorkshire teacakes, sourdough hot cross buns, and even sourdough croissants - which are seriously bloody amazing, even if I say so myself.

I think I've spoiled myself - I just couldn't go back to ordinary bread now even if I wanted to.  :thumbsup:

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #29 on: Today at 09:43:27 pm »
Am I right in assuming there's too much water in the dough?

No - but with caveats...

If you do a bit of digging around on the internet, you'll see a lot of stuff about hydration and baker's percentages (in fact, many recipes are expressed only as percentages, rather than weights, to make them easily scalable). By my reckoning, your dough is at 59% hydration*, which isn't high at all - you'll typically see people recommend the 1:2:3 ratio of starter:water:flour, which works out at something like 70% hydration, and some hardcore sourdough bakers will aim for seriously high hydration, like 80% or more. (Baguettes are typically made with very high hydration dough, which is what gives them their light, airy texture.)

However, a lot seems to depend on your flour - if you're using only white flour, a lower hydration dough is easier to work with. Wholemeal flour absorbs more water, so gives a stiffer dough for the same hydration level. Stoneground flour has a higher bran content than roller milled flour, so that will also take higher hydration. If I'm making an all-white loaf using bog standard Allinson's bread flour from Tesco, I'll reduce the hydration to around 55%.

My current go-to recipe is 60% white wheat flour, 20% wholemeal and 20% white rye (ie the wholemeal and rye are 20% each of the total weight of flour, including the flour in the starter). And I'll make that at about 60% hydration.

Your dough not being able to hold its shape could be down to over-proving. Or it could be down to under-proving. Or it could be insufficient kneading...

Nice spring back when poked with a finger.

Based on what I've read, this is actually a sign of under-proving. If your loaf is fully proved, the finger poke test should leave a dent - it shouldn't spring back.

Although given the high proportion of starter used in the dough, over-proving sounds very plausible too - bear in mind that a higher proportion of starter means a higher proportion of already-fermented flour in your dough.



*Hydration is the total liquid content expressed as a percentage of the total flour content, remembering to include the flour and water in the starter in your calculation. So for your recipe, assuming your starter is hydrated at 100% (ie equal quantities by weight of flour and water), the sums are:
500g + 175g = 675g flour
225g + 175g = 400g water
Which works out at about 59% hydration.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Sourdough bread baking
« Reply #30 on: Today at 09:48:58 pm »
Secondly, I've found it's important to get the shaping right before putting it in the baneton. This forms a nice surface tension on the dough

I endorse this. I've watched a few youtube videos about shaping dough and there's more to it than you might imagine.

I've tried the Dutch oven method too and it gives fantastic results, but unfortunately I don't have a pot big enough to make decent sized loaves. (That said, smaller loaves are also better at holding their shape anyway, because gravity.)

Quote
I've had best success with rice flour, wheat flour absorbs moisture and gets sticky. Some people also say you can use corn flour (polenta?) but I've not tried that.

It's specifically the fact that rice flour doesn't have any gluten that makes it good for flouring bannetons, so corn flour would be good for the same reason. I use rye flour, which is relatively low in gluten compared to wheat flour, and I find it gives a nice flavour to the crust.