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Sourdough bread... Learn to make your own.

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    Sourdough bread... Learn to make your own.

    Want to learn how to make sourdough bread?

    Eventually, you will realize it is very, very easy. The recipe is a piece of cake - they are a dime a dozen on google and they are almost all the same.

    The top 10 basic SD recipes are ALMOST all exactly the same. They just have a different experts name tag on them. They all have bread flour as the main ingredient at 100%. They all have the water content between 60 to 70 percent of the weight of the flour. They all have the salt content at 1.5 to 2% of the weight of the flour and the quantity of the starter you add to the process... Only determines how long your dough will take to rise. Less starter and a longer rise will produce a better loaf of bread. If you reduce the starter content, you must add flour and water to your recipe. If you reduce your stater content by 100 grams, you must add 50 grams of bread flour and 50 grams of water... If your starter is maintained at 100%.

    It's the techniques that gives you a good crust, a good crumb and fancy looking ear's.

    There's only 4 ingredient"s... Flour, water, starter and salt. How difficult can that be? People figured that process out 2000 years ago. Way before instant yeast was engineered.

    Your water content can very from 50% to 80% of your bread flour. The more water you add the more open crumb you will get. The less you handle the dough, the more open crumb you will get.

    The more tension you get on your final shaped dough... Will give you better oven spring and those pretty ear's. If dock/score it right.

    Your starter can be from 10% to 50% of your flour weight... The less starter you use the longer it will take for your dough to rise. It's just basic math, starter is yeast. Less yeast, longer rise. A fast rise produces a lower quality bread.

    The magic of sourdough is learning...

    #1... The Bakers Percentage concept

    #2... What is autolypse

    #3... What is stretch and fold

    #4... What is fermentation all about, fast and slow

    #5... How do I master shaping my dough

    #6... How do I dock/score my loaves

    #6... How do I get steam on my dough during the first 15 minutes of the cook

    Guess what... I learned all of that on YouTube. It's all there... For free!

    Don't waste all of your money on these fancy, dancy books by famous bread bakers... They all have ALMOST the same recipe.

    You can view the techniques of all the other functions on YouTube... By the people that wrote those expensive books.

    Happy baking my friends...

    My bread - baked in my BGE... http://www.flickr.com/photos/food_pictures/8991726160/

    The crumb... http://www.flickr.com/photos/food_pictures/9001969603/

    The recipe for that loaf was...

    500 grams of bread flour... I use King Arthur flour
    200 grams of sourdough starter... At 100% hydration
    300 grams of warm water... About 85 degrees.
    12 grams of salt
    Last edited by Breadhead; February 25, 2015, 03:01 PM.

    There are many places to get good info on naturally leavened bread baking. It is well worth the effort to track this down, believe me. I took the plunge seriously about 10 or so years ago. I bought a good grain mill, tracked down the info, and secured places for ingredients. A large and small digital scale rounds this out. It takes my bread 3 days minimum from start to finish, but only about an hour of total aggregate work for the bread. For those kamado owners, or for those that are willing to line their oven(s) with tiles, you can bake better than you buy, in many cases. Of all things that have made the most difference, the grain mill tops the list, by far. Yeah, the mill cost 700 smackers, but has been a game changer in my baking of all kinds, even non bread type baking. When I make my cornbread, I mill the corn and wheat together, which gives a superb cornbread when cooked in a cast iron skillet, for example. With the mill, one can control everything you want or need for any baking; flour particle size, the size and texture of cracked grains, and the mix of grains you want to use. I make bread flour, cracked grains of myriad sizes, pastry flour, etc.

    It sounds difficult, for the non-baker, but is actually pretty easy. For those that want to explore this further..


    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      You have much more experience than I do. The thing that really opened up my scope of understanding was learning the baker percentage. That made scaling very easy for me. Then learning what each type of dough was and knowing what their basic formula was nice to know. I find I learn things when I need to.

      I've never baked brioche... What can you tell me about that? Do you have the bakers percentage for your formula? What temp do you bake it at?

    • Strat50
      Strat50 commented
      Editing a comment
      When I bake any bread I haven't baked before, or if I forgot what I did last time, I just adapt any recipe that looks decent. I weigh the flour and liquid, knowing these are "approximates" and calculate from there. I don't mean to be evasive, but many of my bread, charcuterie, and other recipes are going to be used when I open my own place. After I build the house, of course. My bakery experience is more for restaurant menu support, not for retail bakery sales, so I'm(in a baking sense at least) still a noob. If memory serves, there is somewhat of a treatise of brioche at fresh loaf.com. King Arthur flour might also be of help, but it is really just bread with a few twists. Most of my brioche bakes were fast risers, almost jumping out of the bowl, so it seems to be a pretty high hydration situation. Find a good french cooking site, and you should be golden. Once you have your proportions of flour to liquid, then adapt these attitudes to your own personal sourdough regimen. That's what I do, and it works well for me. That's one of my "house" flavors. Your results will reflect Wartface's house flavors. Why emulate when you can create?

    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      Brioche is the highest fat content bread I've ever baked. I don't want to use commercial yeast or my kitchen Aid mixer. I'm going to use the King Arthur recipe and convert it to sourdough. I'll just reduce the flour and water content by a third, do away with the commercial yeast and replace that with sourdough starter... That should do the trick.

    You guys blow me away. As much as I love good bread of all sorts I'm surprised I have little desire to venture into this world. I prefer to devote this level of TLC to meat.


    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment

      A man can only spent so much time at the grill... I can bake a few great loves of naturally leavened Ciabatta bread while my meat is in the smoker. There is nothing better than fresh baked bread to have for your pulled pork when it is ready. Sitting and watching a smoking BGE is not my idea of fun.
      Last edited by Breadhead; February 25, 2015, 04:32 PM.

    • Strat50
      Strat50 commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree with Wartface. It really is not much work. In fact, while I'm waiting for other things to happen in a long cook, I can take a few minutes to build some bread. The difference in flavor is well worth it. You already have the tools, and carry them with you: your two hands...lol

    I worked with my sourdough starter this weekend - made three different breads - "Simple Sourdough Focaccia", "Sourdough Bread - A Beginner's Guide", and "Simple No-Knead Sourdough"

    First, let me say that none of these seem that "simple" - it was quite complex managing all three of them at once - I'll stick to one type at a time in the future. Lesson learned.

    I'm very pleased with the focaccia - it came out great. It had great flavor and crunch, and I got the nice air bubbles that I've been shooting for.

    I think everything was right on the beginners loafs, but I had the oven too hot, so they are darker than I would have liked.

    The simple no-knead, I'm sure will taste fine, but I misstepped when adding the water and went over by about 20 grams - that made a definite difference and ended in a very flat loaf - I should have split that into two loafs as well.

    I'm learning and hope to land on just a couple of recipes that I can make easily when desired. It seems I dirtied nearly every large bowl in the house and a few dutch ovens doing this; that could be made easier - I need to get some larger jars for my starters so I can feed them directly in their home. Also, just a few more tools - like specialty vessels etc... may help.


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    • RonB
      RonB commented
      Editing a comment
      You could always divide the dough into meal sized portions and freeze what you don't plan on eating today. Then take a dough ball out of the freezer the day before you want to bake it and let it defrost in the fridge overnight. Take it out of the refrigerator ~ 2 hours before time to bake and let it warm up. If it's not completely thawed, take it out of the fridge earlier. Bake as you normally would.
      Blisters are considered a sign of a good job - ya done good.

    I have had good luck with non sourdough. Attached is a pic of the Forkish 80% biga white bread, really happy with that. Tried the Saturday white Forkish bread, good but too dense not what I was looking for. Just made those while waiting for the sourdough starter, and good practice. But, I have been trying to start a sourdough starter with little luck. After 4-5 days, it fell flat, bubbled, but never rose, liquid on top that I assume is alcohol? I read to not give up, so fed it a couple times and noticed today it has risen again from the dead! Any ideas what caused it to go flat for a few days? I kept it at room temp, fed it 2:1 at least. Just once a day. I have read different things about the number of feedings. I named it Audrey, then found out that was a common name. Still like it though.

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      Okay I have to ask. We have a bread machine that in my opinion turns out some wonderful loaves. Is baking by hand and oven really any better?


      • Mark V
        Mark V commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, incredibly so, with a dutch oven. Prefermentation adds a lot also. You are not going to get the flavor or crust and crumb in a machine.

      • RonB
        RonB commented
        Editing a comment
        Maybe - maybe not. Try makin' some no knead bread and compare.


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