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Bulk Ferment…again…using San Francisco Starter…

Sourdough bread

Before I get started with the starter experiment in bulk fermentation, I wanted to let you see a really terrific first Desem loaf by Jeremy Shapiro, an extraordinary baker and chef at : http://www.stirthepots.com/2008/02/desem-my-first.html . Spend some time perusing his website, it has much of interest to those who love sourdough and fine cooking.

In an earlier post, I worked with Austrian Starter and tried a seven hour bulk ferment in a controlled environment, the dough fell apart and was a loss. Then I tried it again and fermented the dough in the same manner for five hours and the bread was not only a success but had a nice mild sour (which was the purpose of this experiment anyway). Then the next logical experiment was to see if I could push the San Francisco Starter further because it is a longer proofing starter and could potentially take the longer bulk ferment with heat. So I made the same Basic White Recipe but substituted a cup of Spelt flour (which I also did with the other experiments) and 1/4 cup of milk powder for a more tender crumb. I then put the dough into a large container with a lid and popped it into my oven which had the baking stone in it to preserve the warmth, and was warmed by keeping the oven light on. I had a thermometer in the oven and kept the door propped open a couple of inches. The heat was just at 80 degrees the whole time. I would have liked to try it at 75 – 78 degrees, because I think that would be better, but I have no way of doing that at this time. Anyway, I had the dough in the warmed oven for seven hours and then took it out and left it at room temperature 70 degrees for another two hours. The dough felt wonderful, was light and full of air foamy bubbles. Here are the pictures of the this batch of bread:

Basic Sourdough with San Francisco Starter

Basic White/Spelt SF

Basic White Sourdough with SF

Basic White with SF

Crumb for the SF White

Crumb picture

Basic White with SF

The bread smells heavenly! The crust was crisp and shattery, and it was sour, but not enough sour! So guess what? I am going to repeat the experiment again and push the San Francisco Starter nine hours in a controlled warm environment. That is the real potential of the San Francisco Starter, its ability to last when other starters begin to break down. I am hoping for a consistantly sour bread with  a dependable  technique. I get breads sour all of the time, but often it is a hit and miss kind of thing. I would like some consistancy. Whole grain breads or breads with a higher ratio of whole grain flours are easy to get a great sour with, the white breads are more difficult to get it with consistancy. When I want a sour loaf, I want it sour! I think adding a little bit of Rye flour would also help that, but I want to push the timing thing first. If you have any suggestions, please offer them, otherwise…stay tuned…

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1 Comment

  1. February 25, 2008    

    Hey,
    Thanks for the nice comments, still awed by your wonderful loaves, how do you split up or morph the desem?
    I made some more desem, mixed in different flours,though I think it changes the overall bread, stales quicker too?
    Do you know if Laurel was doing 80% on the hydration of the levain?
    I will try to send a sample of New York Sour, send me your address again, I am so busy, no time for anything!

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