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How to make sourdough bread...

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  • Willy
    Charter Member
    • Apr 2015
    • 1819
    • High Desert of the Great Southwest

    Breadhead I understand everything you are saying. What I am saying is that I am routinely making very good loaves with a very active starter that does not pass the float test when I begin to make the dough. The starter has plenty of yeast in it and the loaf produces plenty of CO2. One time it even over-proofed (my timing error) and blew up to almost a basketball size. No doubt a weaker starter will take more time than a super-active one, but so often longer ferment times are cited as a good thing, right? As an example, think of Chef Jacob's Neapolitan pizza dough that just uses one gram of yeast instead of a whole packet. I am basically equating “weaker starter” with “less yeast” and a “slower rise time”. Also, it seems to me that a starter that has “exhausted” its available food and has begun to die back in activity will be guaranteed to be as “full” of acetic and lactic acids as is possible. I’m not looking to be argumentative, just trying to satisfy my own curiosity and get comments from more experienced bakers. It’s the da**ed engineer in me!!!

    I am also curious as to what folks think about the importance of the yeast to the flavor of the final loaf. I’d love to be able to make a loaf using a starter with only bacteria, no wild yeast, then leaven it with commercial yeast. Alas, I have no way to do that.

    Comment


    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      "Weaker starter = less yeast." That's a good analogy. Went you mix it in flour and water it reactivates the wild yeast though.

    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      I didn't think you were being argumentive at all. I could feel your curiosity. That's what we all do on this thread is learn from each other. Ask all the questions you want.👍

    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      Less yeast = more flavor. Less yeast requires more time to develop the dough which gives the flour more time to develop. Low yeast = slow rise. I call that my low and slow loaf.😎 Low and slow is as good in bread as it is in BBQ.
  • MBMorgan
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    • Sep 2015
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    "I agree... you could use an exhausted starter for just flavor and rise the dough with active dry yeast. I've read comments on different bread sites where guys will add a pinch of dry yeast after a long preferment to speed up the process. That seems counter productive to me."

    I do it all the time. I typically bake a Forkish style bread with a 500g poolish that's allowed to develop overnight. In the poolish, I use 100g established sourdough starter (for the flavor it brings) plus another 400g flour/water. The added flour might be anywhere from 100% white to 50/50 white/whole wheat. When I assemble the loaf the next morning, I generally add 1.5g (3/8 tsp) commercial yeast (per Forkish advice) in case the loaf needs a little extra oomph for rising. Works great!
    Last edited by MBMorgan; December 5, 2016, 01:30 PM. Reason: Corrected the amount of added commercial yeast.

    Comment


    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      Many times I start my preferment with just 20 grams of starter in 500 grams flour and 500 grams of water. I let it preferment for 16 hours and the add 500 grams of new flour, 250 grams of water and 20 grams of salt. I don't bother adding any additional starter or yeast and it rises perfectly.

    • MBMorgan
      MBMorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      FWIW, I use 100 g of established starter (25g BF, 25g WW, and 50g water) for the sourdough flavor it provides. For the 500 g poolish preferment, I add only 200g BF and 200g water to the established starter ... no additional WW at all.

    • MBMorgan
      MBMorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      To answer Willy , my starter is often pretty "tired" when I mix up the poolish that will preferment overnight. Hence the commercial yeast "kicker" to the preferment as recommended by Forkish.
  • Breadhead
    Banned Former Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 0

    Originally posted by Mbmorgan View Post
    Found this on the Chefs-Resources.com site today: http://www.chefs-resources.com/kitch...cipe-template/

    With a little modification, the Baker's Recipe spreadsheet looks like it might be really useful. FYI, there's a short video explaining the spreadsheet on the same page.

    EDIT: I've been checking the spreadsheet and have found that some of the oz.-to-gram conversions are off ... so until I've made corrections, use them with a grain of salt (by weight, of course) ...
    This format is what professional baker's use as their guide. It shows the traditional formula for each type of bread. Notice their is no yeast column showing how much or what type of yeast to use. Professional bakers know yeast is only used to determine when you want to bake your dough. They use very little yeast or starter for premium Artisan loaves and lots of yeast, starter, for sameday average bread. They use the bakers percentage to calculate their formula for how much bread they want to make. They can make 1 loaf or 1000 loaves using this list. They know they can tweak the hydration rate, the salt content, they can add or subtract fat at will.
    Attached Files

    Comment


    • Willy
      Willy commented
      Editing a comment
      Nice chart--Thanks!
  • Breadhead
    Banned Former Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 0

    Willy said...

    Breadhead I would never want to contaminate my starter with commercial yeast, but it'd be fun to make a sourdough loaf with no wild yeast. I just don't know how to do that. Maybe a young starter that has never floated, but I'd worry the bacteria wouldn't be up to the job, either.

    hmmm... a young starter that had never floated, I'm thinking that would not rise your dough and probably not bring much flavor either because the bacteria hasn't fully developed either.

    I would do what Mbmorgan said... use an exhausted starter in a preferment and add a pinch of dry yeast. The problem will be that the exhausted starter will reactivate soon after you put it in fresh flour and water so your desire to make sourdough bread with no wild yeast is not possible that way.

    ken Forkish has some recipes that are just yeast bread though.

    Comment


    • Willy
      Willy commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, getting active bacterial colonies without wild yeast is the problem. The rise wouldn't be a problem as it would be provided by commercial yeast. My curiosity is to find out if wild yeast brings any real flavor to the party beyond what commercial yeast brings.

    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeast is yeast... it doesn't matter which you use. Wild yeast in a sourdough starter does exactly what dry yeast does. What's different is the culture in your starter. As we discussed before the unique flavor you get from a sourdough starter is from the bacteria it produces.
  • Potkettleblack
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    • Jun 2016
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    Originally posted by Breadhead View Post
    Willy said...

    Breadhead I would never want to contaminate my starter with commercial yeast, but it'd be fun to make a sourdough loaf with no wild yeast. I just don't know how to do that. Maybe a young starter that has never floated, but I'd worry the bacteria wouldn't be up to the job, either.

    hmmm... a young starter that had never floated, I'm thinking that would not rise your dough and probably not bring much flavor either because the bacteria hasn't fully developed either.

    I would do what Mbmorgan said... use an exhausted starter in a preferment and add a pinch of dry yeast. The problem will be that the exhausted starter will reactivate soon after you put it in fresh flour and water so your desire to make sourdough bread with no wild yeast is not possible that way.

    ken Forkish has some recipes that are just yeast bread though.
    Click image for larger version

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    This is a Forkish bread made with a "straight" dough using nothing but commercial yeast. While a great bread, with an overnight bulk ferment, it's flavor was not what the levain bread with a bit of commercial yeast made this thanksgiving.

    Comment


    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      Oh my... that's a beautiful loaf of bread!!! Fantastic crumb.👌 Forkish explains in his book the added complexity of levain bread adds lots of flavor. As does the preferment of regular yeasted bread. Giving flour lots of time to develop makes your bread taste better.

    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      Personally I've never found a need to add yeast after the preferment. The pinch of yeast used in the preferment for 16 hours has multiplied many times in that 16 hour period. I just add the rest of the flour, water and salt and my final mix rises just fine.
  • RonB
    Club Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 12695
    • Near Richmond VA
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    That's one great looking boule Potkettleblack . The crust has a great color, and the crumb is top notch. I might have to check the Forkish guy out.

    Comment


    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      You really should study Ken Forkish' ideas and techniques. If you want to make really high hydration dough he is the master of that realm in my opinion.
  • Willy
    Charter Member
    • Apr 2015
    • 1819
    • High Desert of the Great Southwest

    Breadhead The reason I wonder about the influence of the yeast on the flavor of bread is based on my experience as a homebrewer some 20 years ago (I gave it up because it’s too much work and because excellent beer is easily bought, unlike excellent BBQ and bread which must be homemade). Consider a good German hefeweizen (a wheat beer) like Paulaner which has a taste often described as clovey/banana-y. Then taste almost any American wheat beer—they do not have that unique taste like Paulaner. The difference is due to a special strain of yeast used to make hefeweizens. That yeast produces esters that give the beer its lovely flavor.

    So, I am curious about whatever taste the wild yeast might impart to our sourdough. While I suspect it is minimal, I simply don’t know for sure.

    Comment

    • Willy
      Charter Member
      • Apr 2015
      • 1819
      • High Desert of the Great Southwest

      Breadhead What do you see as the advantage to using a tiny amount of starter (your 20 grams, say) and (I'm assuming) letting it rise at room temp vs using a larger amount of starter, say, 200 grams, and letting it stew in the fridge overnight or longer?

      Comment

      • Breadhead
        Banned Former Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 0

        Originally posted by Willy View Post
        Breadhead What do you see as the advantage to using a tiny amount of starter (your 20 grams, say) and (I'm assuming) letting it rise at room temp vs using a larger amount of starter, say, 200 grams, and letting it stew in the fridge overnight or longer?
        Less yeast = better flavor. Slower fermentation = better flavor. Low and slow is as good for bread as it is for BBQ.👌
        Like BBQ... going low and slow with bread is all waiting time, no labor required. Patience grasshopper.👍 Planning ahead has great benefits.

        Subtle Flavor and Aroma Differences
        Prefermented dough, poolish, sponge and biga are the primary types of commercial yeast raised preferments available to bakers. It is possible for bakers to develop a unique preferment (between an sponge and a poolish, for example), but the concept stays the same.
        The use of preferments is a simple and inexpensive way to improve bread quality. Each preferment generates different aromas depending on its characteristics. Aromas and final bread flavors are influenced by the preferments' liquid or stiff consistency, fermentation temperature, salt including or exclusion and the use of commercial yeast or wild yeast.
        Although it is difficult to describe all the flavors of each preferment, the poolish is generally described as having a nutty flavor, the sponge is sweeter with more acidity, and the prefermented dough is a little bit more acetic without being sour.
        The main factors to take into consideration when opting for a specific type of preferment are production and space requirements, flour characteristics and flavor. Knowing all those parameters, you should be able to decide what kind of preferment is best for your production. Once the choice is made, it is better to limit the type of preferment to two or three kinds.
        Using preferments is one more example of how the baking process can be simple and complex at the same time. But, when you understand how to work with preferments, they can provide a natural and traditional technique to improve bread quality.
        Last edited by Breadhead; December 5, 2016, 09:28 PM.

        Comment

        • Breadhead
          Banned Former Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 0

          Willy said...

          "So, I am curious about whatever taste the wild yeast might impart to our sourdough. While I suspect it is minimal, I simply don’t know for sure."

          Know this... sourdough bread has 4 ingredients, flour, water, salt and your starter. You starter is flour and water, so your are really dealing with flour, water and salt. You... didn't add wild yeast to your starter, your processed flour contains some yeast and then the wild yeast on your hands in your kitchen invaded the flour and water you mixed together. Wild yeast is everywhere. Your local wild yeast invaded your flour and water and killed the yeast in your flour and took over the infrastructure of your starter. The wild yeast creates 2 forms of bacteria, acidic acid and lactic acid. They produce alcohol and Co2 gas, the gas raises your dough. The bacteria flavors your dough/bread.

          A starter is a living organism that can be manipulated/engineered to be what you want it to be. If you engineer it to have the lactic acid the dominate bacteria of the culture you will get a mild loaf of bread, very little sourdough tang. If you engineer it to have the acidic acid dominate the culture you will get a tangy sour loaf - like San Francisco style sourdough bread. Advanced Artisan bread makers keep both types of starters.

          So... now that we've established that what we are using to make sourdough bread is flour, water and salt... that has been invaded by wild yeast how do we make a real kick ass loaf of bread that will blow your mind/taste buds?😎

          What really improves the taste and quality of an Artisan loaf of sourdough bread that you can't buy anywhere? What is your number 1 flavor builder? The answer to those questions is... TIME.

          FLOUR... is your main ingredient. If you give flour lots and lots of time to absorb the water you feed it, it starts a chemical reaction that develops enzymes that helps the bacteria do its job, it builds the Co2 necessary to raise the dough, the alcohol adds to the flavor. So... at the end of the day, TIME is your major flavor builder.

          You can mix together the exact same ingredients and make a loaf of sourdough bread in 6 hours and you will get a mild loaf of bread, no matter what your starter was engineered to do. Use the same ingredients and give it 12 hours, 18 hours, 26 hours, 32 hours to fully develop and each loaf will be noticeably different. Time... builds flavor.👍
          Last edited by Breadhead; December 5, 2016, 10:51 PM.

          Comment


          • scottranda
            scottranda commented
            Editing a comment
            Noticeably different flavor. I only do long preferments now bc it's way better, and doesn't take any more effort. Just more time/planning. I got one going right now!

          • Willy
            Willy commented
            Editing a comment
            A quick point of clarification--the yeast doesn't create the bacteria; the bacteria are separate wild species just like yeast and they get into the starter from the air, our hands, etc., just as does the yeast.
        • Breadhead
          Banned Former Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 0

          Willy ... when to add salt.


          The reason for the autolyse is to give the flour time to absorb the water... plus it gives it a head start on gluten development. Salt is usually held back because it inhibits the gluten development some. I weigh my salt content for the recipe during the mixing process but I put it in a ramican and set it right next to the mixing bowl that my dough is autolysing in. That's my safeguard from forgeting to add the salt.

          Chef Jacob waits until he starts the slap and folds to add the salt. I usually follow his lead on that.

          Last edited by Breadhead; December 6, 2016, 01:55 PM.

          Comment


          • Willy
            Willy commented
            Editing a comment
            I don't mix the salt in--I just dump it on top when the mixing of the dough is finished. It gets mixed when the dough is kneaded or S&F'd. Lately, I am kneading with a KitchenAid & dough hook.

          • Breadhead
            Breadhead commented
            Editing a comment
            You're good... I just don't worry about not remembering the salt. My brain requires a built in check list that must be followed. In 5 years I forgot the salt once.😎
        • scottranda
          Charter Member
          • May 2015
          • 1731
          • Charlotte, NC

          I've heard several times that sourdough bread will "keep" longer. Will it "keep" longer/shorter if I used more sourdough starter (without a pre-ferment)? And will it keep more/less time if I use a pre-ferment?

          So, what makes sourdough keep longer?

          Comment


          • Willy
            Willy commented
            Editing a comment
            My understanding is that its acidity helps with preservation.
        • Potkettleblack
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          Okay, if we're asking random questions: What, if any, is the advantage of a high hydration dough. The difficulty in use is an obvious downside, but what are we trading for?

          Comment


          • Breadhead
            Breadhead commented
            Editing a comment
            You get a more open and softer crumb. It is well worth going up in hydration. Use Ken Forkish' technique. He really makes mixing high hydration dough very simple. Google Ken Forkish on YouTube. His videos are excellent. It's easier than the slap and folds actually.

          • Potkettleblack
            Potkettleblack commented
            Editing a comment
            Forkish is actually the only way I know to do things. My brother buying me that book is what started my interest in bread.

          • Breadhead
            Breadhead commented
            Editing a comment
            You have probably been making high hydration dough following Forkish. Try making a 65% hydration loaf just so you see the difference in the crumb.
        • Breadhead
          Banned Former Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 0

          Originally posted by scottranda View Post
          I've heard several times that sourdough bread will "keep" longer. Will it "keep" longer/shorter if I used more sourdough starter (without a pre-ferment)? And will it keep more/less time if I use a pre-ferment?

          So, what makes sourdough keep longer?
          Specifically, the fermentation process produces "lactic acid", and this element is responsible for the natural keeping qualities of sourdough bread. What a relief to use this acidity to our advantage instead of relying on commercial bread's "shelf life extender" and "mould inhibitor".

          A preferment of 20 grams of starter, 500 grams of water and 500 grams of flour will have as much starter after a 16 hour fermentation as a same day dough that contains 200 grams of starter.

          That 20 grams will multiply many, many times during those 16 hours. Putting it in the 500g of flour is starter nirvana. The ultimate feeding.🙀
          Last edited by Breadhead; December 6, 2016, 03:42 PM.

          Comment


          • scottranda
            scottranda commented
            Editing a comment
            Your last 2 paragraphs was what I thought. Thx for confirming that, plus the education earlier!
        • Breadhead
          Banned Former Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 0

          Willy commented
          December 6th, 2016, 04:43 PM
          A quick point of clarification--the yeast doesn't create the bacteria; the bacteria are separate wild species just like yeast and they get into the starter from the air, our hands, etc., just as does the yeast.

          The wild yeast that invades your starter has no bacteria in it. The bacteria doesn't invade your starter like the yeast does. The flour and water that you mix together has all of the necessary chemicals to start the process once the wild yeast ignites the process. You flour contains natural sugar. The lactic acid bacteria in the flour consumes the sugar and its digestive content creates alcohol and Co2.

          If you really want to totally understand the science to this entire process... here is the best article I've ever found on the subject. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/103...tion-sourdough

          Comment


          • Willy
            Willy commented
            Editing a comment
            Agreed yeast has no bacteria. Disagree that bacteria doesn't "invade"; it invades from the environment and the flour. I've read Wink's article several times.

            The reason that a new starter gets sour before it's able to leaven is due to the bacteria. The yeast takes longer to get established.

          • Breadhead
            Breadhead commented
            Editing a comment
            You might be correct... lactic acid bacteria is everywhere like wild yeast is. I'll have to reread the Wink article. My understanding is that the Wheat in the field has lactic acid on it plus it has natural sugar too. When it's processed those elements remain in the processed flour.

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