San Francisco Sourdough Starter

I worked with San Francisco # 2 again, and it just keeps getting better. I know that the longer proofs will make a better sour, but I thought I would work on an easy one night dough build and have a great tasting sourdough with a mild tang. Using the basic white recipe will give you a pretty good sour with this starter. I made up a sponge the night before and in the morning I added to the dough. The bread was ready to shape after only five hours.

fermented dough

The dough was this fermented after only five hours. It was a nice soft dough full of bubbles:

dough ball

I got some really nice loaves:

first loaf

another loaf

This next loaf looks pretty funny:

heart shaped loaf

This loaf stuck to the pan as I was trying to put it onto the baking stone, it sort of rolled over it’s one end. Looks like a valentine loaf. The bread has a great flavor, is mildly sour and has a finer crumb:

cumb

Have a great baking day!

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Sourdough flop ~~~

I have company, so needed some fresh bread. I decided to mix some up yesterday so I could have fresh sourdough today. Things did not go the way I had planned. I forgot that I had to run a child to a dental appointment and husband had a job interview and we were going to shop… too late…I had already mixed up the bread! I went ahead with the bulk fermentation (first rise) then I shaped the loaves and just put them into the freezer. I knew that the loaves wouldn’t make it in the refrigerator overnight and until late afternoon the next day. So I put them in the freezer and decided to see what would happen. In the morning I got the bread out of the freezer at 6:00 a.m. and it was frozen like a stone. I left for town at 7:30 and the surface was barely thawed. I had a dilemma because I didn’t think I would make it home before the dough was ready to bake, and if I put it into the refrigerator, I would probably be baking at 12 midnight. So I left it out. I got home a little after 2:00pm and it was already slightly overproofed. That means it was overproofed at 8 hours out of the freezer. And don’t forget, I had to preheat the oven still! If I would have taken it out just before I left at 7:30am it probably would have made it just right. So I am guessing that if you freeze the dough right after shaping, and let it warm up for around 6 -6.5 hours, it would have been about right. But you would also need to be there for preheating the oven so figure on 5.5 hours until you need to be home so you have time for heating the oven. That is for a 1.5 – 2 pound loaf.

Anyway, my bread was overproofed and it flopped. Not much oven spring and a whitish cast to the dough from overproofing and a dense crumb. However, the taste is fantastic!! I am still using the San Francisco starter for these experiments. Here is my freezing experiment flop:

sourdough flop

So there you have my flop for today. I am planning on a One Night Sourdough starting tonight and baking tomorrow, I hope it fares better!!

Crust glazes, an interesting observation…

Today I baked up some sourdough basic white using my San Francisco starter # 2. It has improved immensely since I first tried it. It now has a nice tang and robust flavor and….it behaved wonderfully! The dough bulk fermented on schedule… and proofed a bit on the long side, like I would expect a SF starter to do. I am very happy with the results. However, I wanted to experiment with glazes and I found out that they may affect not only the crust but the bread shape as well.

Here is a picture of the San Francisco starter bubbling away:

SF starter

Here is the dough after bulk fermentation, I tried to catch it just before it was completely proofed:

dough

Here is the dough poured out:

dough poured out

Here is the dough cut into three pieces which weighed just shy of two pounds each:

cut into three pieces

Shaped and put to rest in the bannetons:

bannetons

I let them sit out for 30 minutes and then put into the refrigerator overnight.

Next morning at 6:00 am I took the first one out and then staggered the other two.

Proofed and slashed:

proofed and slashed

I did a different glaze on two loaves and left one of the loaves plain. The loaf on the left was an egg glaze: One egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water. The one in the middle was left plain. The one on the right was a cornstarch glaze: 1 teaspoon of cornstarch mixed into 1/2 cup cold water in a small pan and then simmered until thickened.

Three loaves

It hard for you to see in the picture, but both breads that were glazed spread apart more than the plain loaf. The plain loaf had a greater oven spring. The egg glazed loaf spread more than the other two. The cornstarch glaze gave a nice finish and color to the crust.

three loaves

I glazed the loaf with the egg glaze after it was about halfway finished and then again before it was finished. I glazed the cornstarch glazed loaf before it went into the oven and again halfway through. I think that perhaps the glaze kept the crust moist longer than the plain loaf and allowed the loaf to spread more. The crust with no glaze was able to form a crust that was stiffer and helped it to spring more. These are only speculations. If you have any experience in glazes and have noticed an effect on the crust or dough, I would like to hear it. It never occured to me that a glaze might cause spreading of a loaf. I think maybe glazing at the end of baking would take care of this phenomena.

Here is the crumb of the unglazed loaf:

crumb

This is a really good tasting starter at this point. I think it has much promise.

I am sure there will be more San Francisco starter experiments to come…

Silky Soft Whole Wheat Loaves…yep Sourdough

Today I am working on a soft sourdough bread recipe. I have condensed milk in the dough plus more oil. I wanted a soft, part wheat bread for making sandwiches. I am also going to give a demonstration on slashing. The amount of dough made up three loaves at about 2lbs 5 oz each (they were the same weight within tenths of an oz) and I shaped them into batards. I proofed them in the marine canvas couche I have which I love, it is so terrific! The dough feels soft to work with, and has taken longer to bulk ferment and to proof. Here is the dough after warming up, after being taken from the refrigerator this morning:

dough

Here are the loaves going into their couche bed:

couche

Now I want to share with you what I have learned about basic slashing. Here is a picture showing the different common kinds of slashing and thedirection the dough will spread.

slashes

I thought I would go ahead and show you how the slashing affects the baked loaves with today’s bake.

This is the first loaf, I slashed it diagonally:

Diagonal slash   baked

The loaf got a great oven spring but was smaller than the other loaves because I was pushing to get it into the oven before the other loaves were overproofed. It was underproofed. However you can see how the slashes affect the bread.

When you use a cloche, you have to realize that unless you have an oven big enough to bake three or four loaves at once, you will have to put in the first loaf slightly underproofed in the hopes that the last loaf in won’t be too overproofed.

Here is the second loaf, it was slashed somewhat vertically:

Vertical slash  baked

This loaf was proofed just right and the slashes are mostly vertical which make it look more professional. Think vertical, not only do the slashes spread just right, it looks great too.

Here is the third loaf, this loaf had one long vertical cut:

vertical long  baked

The long vertical slash very often gives a very nice looking loaf and open crumb. Be careful not to slash to deeply though or it will fall apart.

This bread smelled so good while baking in the oven! I had to turn the oven down 25 degrees because of the milk in the bread.

three loaves

crumb

all three

This recipe is called Western Wheat Sourdough. It will eventually find it’s way into the Special Recipes folder. The Special Recipes folder is a collection of my recipes which are available for sale on my website at ~( http://www.northwestsourdough.com/specialrecipes.html ). Many of them have been the subjects of this blog. The recipes are ready for printout and the folder is added to when I develop new recipes. Thankyou to all of you who subscribe to this folder. I hope you are enjoying baking as much as I do!

San Francisco …again!

I tried the San Francisco starter number one again, it was the one that tasted great last time but just didn’t have the oomph left after proofing too long (my fault). I waited a couple more days, feeding regularly and fed in the morning before starting the preferment in the evening.Then I proceeded with the Two Night Super Sour recipe. That entails a preferment one evening, and then building up the dough in stages the next day, shaping, putting in the fridge overnight, and then warming up and baking on the third day. The starter performed wonderfully this time with terrific proofing and no slacking. The dough felt silky soft and springy. I am really happy with how it turned out this time. Here is the first loaf:

proofed dough

sliced dough

Oops! A little underproofed! It is hard to slash in this pattern and not have it crack, I am working on it though. Any hints on slashing this pattern are welcome. I don’t slash too deep but just a surface slash because when I slashed deeper the loaf would separate and spread along the slashes. I may be slashing too far across the loaf. Hmmm….

baked

Here is the crumb:

crumb

Here is the next loaf:

second loaf

Here is the third loaf:

third loaf

Here are the two together, the first one was almost completely devoured when I was taking pictures of these two:

two loaves

Here is the crumb from loaf two:

baked loaf two

Nice soft crumb and tangy taste, a great bake!

Sourdough Experiments San Francisco Style…

I’ve been experimenting with two new starters that were sent to me. Both San Francisco starters. The first starter has a stronger aroma and I tried baking with it first, but I had to leave when it needed to be baked, so I put it back into the fridge and waited until the next day and it was too far gone, no oomph left. It also did not raise too well, so I will feed the starter and wait a bit longer to see if it will come up to snuff. I did bake the bread anyway and even though the flatness and color were disappointing, the flavor was really wow! So since it was my fault that it flopped, I will give it another try.

The second starter I baked with today, this is also a new (to me) starter and I may have to let it ferment a bit longer to develop the flavor. Once sourdough starters are dried, they need a bit of time to recover the bacteria that is responsible for the flavor, the yeast recovers more quickly, which is why you can bake a nice looking loaf, and wonder where the “tang” is. That is what happened to today’s bake. I will show you the steps I went through to produce this San Francisco Bread. I started with a preferment early in the morning. After six hours it looked like this:

Preferment

I then added the rest of the ingredients, mixed, autolysed, and then processed the dough for three more minutes. I then poured the dough into an upside down cake saver tupperware:

dough

Then the dough bulk fermented for four more hours and looked like this:

after bulk fermentation

I shaped the loaves into boules, they were about 1 lb 13 oz each:

shaped boules

Then into the proofing baskets:

proofing baskets

After 2.5 hours, ready to bake:

ready

Turn out the dough and….slash:

slash

(That’s one of Bill’s handcrafted lames, beautiful isn’t it?).

Then first loaf:

first loaf

Second loaf:

second loaf

Third loaf:

third loaf

I glazed all of the loaves with melted butter. Here are all three:

three loaves

A finer crumb with lower hydration:

crumb

I am going to try these two starters again with the Two night Super Sour Recipe and see how they come out! Keep tuned….

Back to Basics – White Sourdough

After working on sourdough experiments for a while, I have decided to go back to basics and do up a batch of Basic White Sourdough. This is the sourdough recipe that is on the website at:  http://www.northwestsourdough.com/recipes.html     I made up a batch in the afternoon and let it preferment for about six hours. I then shaped the loaves and put the dough into the proofing bannetons:

bannetons            

I made two larger loaves at 2+ lbs and 1 smaller loaf at 1.5 lbs. I then let the bannetons sit out for one hour because the dough was slow proofing this time, maybe because it has been around 60 degrees here. Then they were put into the refrigerator for their sleep overnight. I took out the loaves staggered one at a time next morning. It took about 2.5 hours to warm up and proof. I have been having problems with my new stone being too hot so I moved up the stone a bit and turned down the oven a little. The bread came out really well and has a nice sour tang. The crumb is wonderfully soft yet springy.

 Basic white             

As you can see the color is wonderful!

White basic         

All three loaves

Here is the crumb:

Basic White crumb

As you can see by the pictures which I took outside, I still have an overclouded sky. The picures look a bit greyed out on an overcast day. However, the bread is terrific!

So when you get tired of experimenting and you just want to see some great sourdough…do up the basic…you can’t go wrong!

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