Category Archives for "Sourdough Baking"

Sour Saga…

What would you do if you had a batch of sourdough ready for the oven, the oven is heated and ready to go, you pop in the first batch and suddenly….the power goes out? I was faced with that scenario yesterday. The night before I started a preferment using:

Sour Saga Loaf:

  • 2 cups Desem or Whole Wheat Starter
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups Bread flour

I mixed together the preferment, covered it and let it set at room temperature overnight.

preferment

Next morning I added:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 5 cups (adjust for the right consistancy) of Bread flour

Makes about 5.4 lbs of dough.

I mixed this altogether in my mixer and let it autolyse (rest) for ten minutes. I then mixed it for 3 minutes. In only four hours it was already bulk fermented:

bulk fermented

We had decided to have hamburgers for dinner and didn’t have any hamburger buns on hand. So I took 3.4 lbs of the dough and made it into sourdough hamburger buns (this was not my intention!) I made two pans worth of buns. Then I took the other approximately 2 lbs of dough and made it into a batard shaped loaf and put it into a banneton to proof. I proofed the buns for 2 hours and then popped the pans into a preheated oven (425 degrees). About a minute later, the power went out! Where we live power goes out fairly frequently. We have high wind storms and live right next to the Pacific Ocean and Willapa Bay on the Washington Coast. I knew someday the dough would be ready… and the power would go out! We had just had a power outage two nights ago when a drunk from the local bar met with a power pole…grrrr… luckily I wasn’t baking bread then.

Anyway, I told the guys to fire up the barbeque and thought we would try to finish off the buns on the barbeque. I left the buns in the oven which was still pretty hot until they got the barbque hot enough and then they were barbequed! They turned out okay, somewhat too crunchy for hamburger buns, but we survived. Now to figure out what to do with a 2 lb loaf ready to bake and no oven! I was going to try to wrap it in a layer of aluminum foil and barbeque it like in one of my other recipes, but the loaf was just too fat. I remembered that I had a small roasting pan for roasting just a chicken. I went and found it…in the dark with a flashlight… and turned over the dough into the pan. I was glad I had made the dough a lower hydration dough because when I turned it over and it plopped into the roaster, I thought it would deflate, but it did fine.

dough in roaster

Well, we had the hamburgers done and off the grill, and I put the roaster with the loaf onto the barbeque, and shut the lid. About 20 minutes later, the power came back on 🙂

So I turned on the oven which still had heat from the stones, let it heat up for a bit and soon went out to get the roaster. The bread looked far from done, but it was doing okay!

dough partially barbequed

I went ahead and popped the roaster into the oven with the lid off and let it bake until it looked brown enough, and then I turned out the loaf onto the stone and let it continue to bake until it looked finished. It took about 20 more minutes. Here is what came out:

bread done

sour saga bread

The dark spot on the top was from where the dough was touching the roaster lid. The dough  got some great oven (roaster?) rise and it made a nice lofty loaf. Here is the crumb:

crumb

I never got any pictures of the hamburger buns, as they were eaten up fast in the light of kerosene lamps.

 So, what would you have done, if the power went out, right when your dough was proofed and ready to pop into the oven??

San Francisco Sour

I tried the long proofing San Francisco Sourdough with the basic white again. I added some Desem as a flavoring and some evaporated milk for a softer crumb. After bulk fermentation and shaping, I proofed the dough overnight for 10 hours. Then I warmed up the dough and baked the bread. Here are the loaves:

three loaves baked

First loaf:

first loaf

Second loaf:

second loaf

Third loaf:

third loaf

Crumb:

crumb

crumb

It was a great bake. The loaves still were a bit flattish from the long fermentation. The crumb was soft and the taste sour. The crust was wonderfully crisp. I am working on the measurements and testing of the recipe for Pane Pearl today. I am hoping to wrap that recipe up and post it soon in the Special Recipes folder.

Basic White Sourdough with San Francisco Starter

I whipped up a batch of San Francisco Basic White sourdough following the recipe at: http://www.northwestsourdough.com/recipes.html   I started yesterday in the afternoon and let the dough bulk ferment for seven hours: Here it is after I stirred it down:

dough

dough poured out

I poured out the dough and shaped up three loaves which I put in banneton baskets. I put the baskets onto my cold porch which stayed at 50 degrees F all night. The dough proofed at that temperature for 12 hours. In the morning the dough was nicely proofed and looked like this:

proofed dough

The dough was a bit sticky and tried to stick to the bannetons, which it usually doesn’t do, so I felt that the proofing was too long. I think I was right about that because the bread came out on the flattish side. Here are the finished loaves:

three loaves

As you can see, flat! Anyway this was the flattest loaf, the other two were a bit higher, but not by much! The flattest loaf:

flat!

I cut it in half to use for Garlic Bread for barbeque:

sliced in half

The other two loaves:

two loaves

loaf cut open

crumb

The crumb is soft and open, the crust is crisp, crusty and the taste is great! Next time, I would follow the basic instructions closer, not having the second proofing so long unless it was ten degrees colder and kept in the refrigerator. I think it would have worked great on the cold porch if I had caught it at 8 hours proof at that warmer temperature. I was trying to work with San Francisco starters longer proofability. If I had bulked proofed (first rising) shorter like four hours, I think I also could have gotten away with the longer second proof.

A Great Sour!

Even while I am wallpapering, I was able to do up a batch of sourdough bread! I decided to combine Desem with Motherdough again (see earlier post). However this time I added more Motherdough on the next day following the preferment. If you have been following this blog you know what they both are, if not… Desem is a Whole Wheat cultured Flemish style sourdough starter and Motherdough is a vigorous starter kept in the refrigerator at about 80% hydration(at least that is what I keep mine at).  The reason I decided to combine them is that each one is at a peak of sourdough flavor. You haven’t tasted great Whole Wheat until you have tasted Desem bread, and Motherdough brings out the fullest flavor of the wheat, to make a really tasty sourdough. Anyway, I made up a preferment the night before baking with Desem as the starter.

Desem preferment

I let this set overnight and next morning, I put the bubbly preferment into the mixer. I added 18 oz of Motherdough which is approximately 2 cups and double the amount I tried the first time I did this experiment. I added more water, oil, salt and Bread flour. Then I mixed and autolysed (rested) the dough. Then I mixed for 2 minutes. I had to mix a very minimum amount because the Desem preferment and the Motherdough both had well developed gluten already and I did not want to break the gluten down.

I let the dough bulk ferment for six hours, however in retrospect, I would only allow four hours next time.

bulk fermented

I then shaped the loaves and let them proof….get this…for  three hours for the first loaf, which wasn’t enough so I let the other two proof longer and the last one ended up proofing for five hours! (Which still wasn’t enough!). The first loaf came out smallish and the crumb was a bit dense.

first loaf underproofed

 The subsequent loaves each came out better. What was so interesting though is the fact that because of the large load of acid from the two already developed sources of starters (Desem and Motherdough), the proofing time was slowed wayyyyyyyyy…… down.  That is great! The extra long proofing time made the sourest, tastiest, yummiest sourdough bread yet! The color and crust are excellent. I will be writing out this recipe to put into the Special Recipe folder and it will be called Pane Pearl  in honor of a dear friend who is dying of Cancer. Her name is Pearl Wilcox, a very kind and gentle soul.

Next day I actually had the sun out to take pictures by. The first loaf was already eaten and gone! Here is a picture of the second loaf:

second loaf

Here is the third loaf:

third loaf

two loaves together

closeup

 There are a few things I will do differently next time I bake Pane Pearl. I will let the dough bulk ferment a shorter time and then I will allow the last proofing to happen overnight in the refrigerator.

Here is a picture of the crumb, keep in mind that it still wasn’t fully proofed:

crumb

It really lacked a nice open crumb. Can you believe it needed at least another hour? Jeesh, I can’t wait to try this bread again. It is unbelieveably sour, tangy and has the most terrific taste. Toast is out of this world good. I can’t say enough about the flavor. My experiments with flavoring with Desem have all been positive. I think it is the way to go when adding a small amount of Whole Wheat flour to the batch for flavor, color and aroma. Desem is better than adding just the flour. It gives a great punch and with the Motherdough sidekick, you almost can’t do better….. can you???….. hmm.. I wonder… 

Desem Flavored Soft Sourdough

This is the soft sourdough flavored with Desem starter that I mentioned in the last post. I started a preferment the night before using Northwest Sourdough starter. Next morning it looked nice and bubbly. I poured the preferment into my dough mixer and added some Desem starter, oil, evaporated milk, water, salt and bread flour. I bulk fermented for 2.5 hours at which time it was already doubled. I poured out the dough to shape:

dough

It was mostly white flour with just the one cup of added Desem starter. So the dough was pretty white looking. I shaped the loaves and put them into regular loaf pans.

dough in pans

I slashed the dough down the middle and poured melted butter over the whole top of the loaf. The dough took about 2 hours to proof. Then I popped all three loaves into the oven at 425 degrees and baked for 35 minutes, turning halfway.

Here are the loaves finished:

baked loaves

baked loaves

baked loaves

Here are some pictures of the bread sliced and the crumb:

sliced bread

crumb

This bread is so good with sandwiches and those folks who seem to miss storebought soft white bread (not me 🙂 The toast made from this Desem flavored soft bread is quite good and highly recommended. Overall, this was a really nice sourdough with a nice sour taste and soft crust and crumb. I really like using Desem to add to my dough sometimes, instead of the cup of Whole Wheat flour sometimes used for flavor and extra sourness. It certainly adds the extra sourness. Have a great bake!

San Francisco Style Bread with Northwest Starter

I haven’t been able to find the time to post the San Francisco Bread recipe, that I did earlier, to the Special Recipes folder yet. However, I did make the batch again using the same recipe. I decided to call the recipe San Francisco Sunrise Loaf. I came out really well again, I am very happy with how vigorous the dough turns out. I make up a mixture of the preferment the night before and it contains quite a bit of the resulting dough. I let it ferment overnight at room temperature and next morning it is so bubbly and smells terrific! I then put it into the mixer and added the rest of the ingredients. After making the dough and letting it bulk ferment for four hours the dough was doubled. It was a fast ferment. Here is the dough ready to shape:

bulk fermented

I divided the dough into three pieces and they weighed just over 2 lbs each:

divided dough

I then shaped the dough into loaves and put them into the couche:

couche

I let the dough proof for two hours this time instead of putting the loaves back into the refrigerator overnight like I did the first time. Then I baked the dough and got three nice loaves of sourdough:

baked dough

Here is loaf 1:

loaf 1

Loaf 2 :

loaf 2

Loaf 3 :

loaf 3

Here is a closeup of loaf 1 :

closeup

Here is the crumb:

crumb

crumb

This bread is really nice. It has an open fluffy crumb, wonderful flavor and the crust is very crispy, crusty. I am really liking this recipe. I especially like the way the dough is so invigorated by the preferment, the dough is so bubbly that it is somewhat hard to shape and get all of the big bubbles out of. I have had a great time eating slices with butter, it is soooooo good!

Australian Sourdough Super Tasty!

I mixed up a batch of sourdough using my Australian Sourdough Starter. This starter is my husband’s very favorite flavored starter besides the motherdough breads. I decided to use the Two Night Super Sour recipe but make it a one night instead. Well I ended up changing the flour in the recipe too.

In the evening:

  • I started with 2 cups of vigorous Australian Starter at 166% hydration (one cup flour to one cup water).
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1 cup Rye flour
  • 1 cup Whole Wheat flour
  • 2 cups Bread flour

I mixed this together as a sponge and let it set at room temperature overnight.

preferment

Next morning I added the prefermented mixture to my mixer and then added:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons Oil
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups Bread flour (approximately)

I mixed the ingredients together and then let the dough rest for 15 minutes. I then kneaded the dough for an additional three minutes. The dough was doubled in 6 hours. I then had my daughter shape the loaves because I was very busy working on my car. I came back in to check on how she had done and realized something I had not considered before. I took it for granted that she knew how to shape loaves. She didn’t. She had basically gotten them into shape enough to put into the bannetons. The dough was flat in the baskets. Almost like it had been poured in. So I took out the dough and showed her how to shape the loaves so that the loaves had an outer skin of dough pulled around the outside and pinched together to form like a casing so that the bread could raise itself up and not turn out flat. If you don’t know how to do this, get some good books on baking which will show you. Jefferey Hamelman’s book on bread comes to mind, he has some great illustrations showing how to shape loaves.

Anyway, the loaves were reshaped and placed in banneton baskets:

shaped loaves

The shaped loaves raised for two hours and then slashed and baked:

slashed

The loaves were two large loaves weighing over two lbs each. They came out great!

Here is the first one:

first loaf

first loaf

Here is the crumb for the first loaf:

crumb

Here is the second loaf:

second loaf

This dough was easy to handle and not too sticky. The crust texture and color came out really great. The crumb is soft and open, and the flavor, as always, is unspeakably delicious. Australian Sourdough starter has an old world flavor that is hard to describe. It is also nicely sour.

Coaxing the Sour

Sometimes it seems as if you just can’t get the “sour” you want out of your starters. Yes, last Summer there was no problem, now it takes more work to get a good sour flavor. I am not sure why this is myself, I wonder if it is just the overall cooler temperatures of flour, starter, house and some people bake less, so the starter is left in the refrigerator most of the time. When I leave my motherdough starter in the refrigerator all of the time, it is a sweeter, fuller wheat flavor, definately not a more sour flavor.

Anyway, I have been working with the San Francisco starter and decided to try and coax the sour from it. I have been having moderately sour breads coming from this starter, and really great flavor and vigor. I started with a thicker preferment and fermented it for 18 hours keeping it at around 70 – 72 degrees. It looked like this:

preferment

I then mixed in te rest of the ingredients and let the dough ferment for four more hours and then shaped the dough:

shaped dough

Then I put the loaves into the refrigerator overnight for 12 hours. I couldn’t get too many pictures of the process as one of my sons was using my camera to make “Lego movies” and the camera was taped down! Anyway, next morning I took out the loaves and staggered them so they would bake at different times. I had five loaves at not quite 1.5 lbs each. Here are the results:

all five loaves

more loaves

more

more loaves

I sliced the one which didn’t get a good oven spring so we could try it out, it was the only one that came out a bit on the flattish side, here is the crumb:

crumb

I made the loaves on the small side so I could share with neighbors and friends as I have been getting a few hints lately 🙂  The bread came out with a terrific texture and already has a sharp taste even though the sour usually takes a couple of hours of cooling to develop completely. Although I feel the experiment with timing was successful, I do think it was at its limit. It did take a lot of high heat to get a good color with me keeping the oven at 450 longer than usual and I noticed that some of the crust was trying to tear in places, if you look closely you can see this. The dough was also more sticky than usual for the stage and hydration it was at. I think the gluten was right at the limit of trying to break down. I am thinking of doing the initial preferment at 12 hours at a warm temperature instead of 18 to see what the outcome would be. It seems to me that if you want to control the “sour” more, you might need a proofing box to help you keep the temperatures at a steady predictable warmth.

Pane Teresa Bread… Holey

Pane Teresa bread is so good! I love this bread. It is so unique… it is made differently than other breads. When you are done, you have a flat piece of dough…which transforms into a light fluffy loaf full of holes. It starts like this:

The motherdough that is used is very active and full of bubbles, if it isn’t, you won’t make good bread.

motherdough

Then you mix up the dough and let it set overnight, this is after mixing and before Autolyse:

preferment

This is after Autolyse and final mixing:

autolyse

The dough is refrigerated overnight and taken out the next day to warm up. It is then divided. I divided it into three pieces which weighed almost 2 lbs each.

divided dough

The dough is very wettish and hard to work with. Here is a closeup of the dough resting in preparation for shaping:

dough piece

The dough is then shaped and placed into Bannetons:

shaped loaves

They then proof for two hours. I put one of the loaves onto the cool porch to slow it down so all of the loaves wouldn’t be ready to bake at the same time. I also preheated the oven for a long time. The house was cold anyway, so I gave it a good two hours. I had layered two baking stones together for a lot of heat when the dough was placed on the stone.

Here is the first loaf, it didn’t reach the full potential that the next loaf did:

first loaf

The next loaf was larger although the same weight:

second loaf

Here are the two together:

two loaves together

Here is the third loaf, it turned out magnificent:

third loaf

This is the crumb from the second loaf:

crumb

Here are all of the loaves together:

all three loaves

The fragrance of this bread is heavenly! The crumb is soft and moist, the crust crisp and crackly. This is a really terrific loaf to bake up and always a surprise when it springs up in the oven and is so full of holes!

San Francisco Starter Experiments

Today I baked up a lower hydration dough using the San Francisco starter. I made a preferment from a motherdough of 80% hydration and let it set for 18 hours.

fermented dough

Then I added more flour and water to the batch and fermented it 6 more hours. After that I added the salt and rest of the flour and water and mixed it to a somewhat stiff (for me) dough. 

 stiff dough

 I let this set for two hours to raise and then put it into the refrigerator overnight. In the morning I let the dough warm up for two hours, shaped, proofed and baked.

first loaf

second loaf

Here is the first loaf:

first loaf baked

Here is the second loaf:

second loaf

both loaves

I used the roasting lid again to obtain a superior crust. It worked great! You could hear the crackle of the crust as it cooled.  The batch is a great success with  a terrific flavor and crisp crust. I served it with fresh butter and Turkey soup.

Here is a picture of the crumb which I took the next day. It is a lower hydration dough, so not too holey:

crumb