40/100 Sour Seed Bread

I have been experimenting with low hydration, extremely aged motherdough in the 40% and 60% hydration range. This post is about the 40% motherdough or seed dough as I often call it.

Here in Washington, we often have temps between 40 and 55 for months in the winter and springtime. I made up some 40% motherdough a month ago and had it in the trunk of my car because I no longer have my dedicated refrigerator set at 48F. Since moving, it has been in the refrigerator though (last two weeks). I took it out and used it to make up a batch of sour seed dough.

 

My thinking is this: When making up a SF style dough, you often want the dough to slow down and putter along quietly and slowly. Often though, it ferments too fast and your over night cold proof is ready to bake sooner than you would like. So I was thinking of ways to slow it down and let it take it’s time proofing, even when it is a warm proof.

 

I used a 40% and a 60% motherdough which had been aged a long time( I made the 40% motherdough on March 12) to accomplish this goal. The 40% motherdough has a small amount of whole wheat in it. The 60% did not. I basically am using these old motherdoughs not only as a flavoring, but also to add some acidity to the dough which slows the fermentation down. Because this dough is so aged, I also use vigorous fresh sourdough culture for the active yeast that is necessary.

 

Cold motherdough adds other enzyme changes (not a scientist here) which enhance the flavor and help to create a crisp, crunchy crust which shatters when you try to cut into it.If you cold ferment the dough, you get a terrific mild bread with a hearty wheaty flavor that is expected with motherdough breads.It’s the kind of smell that permeates the room and had the neighbors knocking at your door.  It’s hard to describe, but when you add some sour to such a bread as well…. it just doesn’t get better than this, does it?

 

So for the 40% Seed Dough you would make up a 40% motherdough and just abuse it by leaving it to rot for weeks. Make it up, put it in your fridge or dedicated fridge (over 40 and under 50 is perfect) and forget about it for a while (You can also make up the dough and leave it out at room temperature for several hours to get it jump started).

I know, hard to do when you are foaming at the bit and dreaming of that shattered crust, covered in lovely blisters and chewy, soft custardy crumb with a delicious sour tang (patience is a virtue).

40% motherdough (seed dough) using 100% hydration starter:

  • 6 oz/170g vigorous starter @ 100% hydration
  • 5 oz/141g water
  • 1 oz/28g whole wheat flour (freshly ground if you can get it)
  • 16 oz/453g good strong bread flour
total= 1 lb 12 oz/793g @ 40%
Seed dough using 166% hydration starter:
  • 157g of 166% starter (5.5 oz)
  • 141g water (5 oz )
  • 28g whole wheat flour (1 oz)
  • 510g of bread flour ( 18 oz )

total= 836 g  ( 1 lb 13.5 oz) @ 40% hydration

Make this up and do what I said above, let it rot somewhere cool.
After a while, try a week or two, break apart a piece of the dough and if it looks crumbly or cottage cheesy, then it is ready, especially if it smells strongly sour. If you taste a piece of it, your tongue will curdle and you will make a “lemon” face. The outside of the seed dough will have a graying cast to it, don’t worry, it won’t hurt anything. I often scoop from the inside of the dough, but the outside works too.
Make the 40/100 final seed dough:
  • 6 oz/170g aged 40% seed dough (also called motherdough)
  • 16 oz/453g  water
  • 6 oz/170g vigorous 100% hydration regular starter fed within 8 hours (feed in the morning).
  • 2 oz/56g whole wheat flour (freshly ground if possible)
  • 16 oz/453g  strong bread flour
Autolyse for two hours (2 pm to 4 pm)
Then add:
  • .6 oz/17g salt  stir this in well and then add:
  •  7 oz/198g bread flour
This makes 3 lbs 5.6 oz/1519g of dough @ 64% hydration. I divided the dough into two pieces and made two loaves.
Note: If you wanted to experiment and add more aged seed dough,  hold back or eliminate the autolyse. Once you have a significant amount of seed dough in your formula, you have enough protease action and you don’t need an autolyse.
    1) Mix all together well until the dough comes together and all of the flour is incorporated.
Bulk ferment @ 80F for four hours (if you haven’t run out and bought a Brod and Taylor proofer you had better do it soon. All of the bakers I know online,who have one, find it invaluable and are making up formulas using one).
    2)Shape, cover with plastic bags and then from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am refrigerate overnight.
    3) Next morning take out your dough staggering by 40 minutes.
    4) Proof at 80F until done proofing. My dough was ready in 4.5 hours.
    5) Bake at (heat oven to 450F) then turn the oven down to 425 and bake covered with roasting pan lid for 20 minutes. Then take off the lid and bake for 15 – 20 minutes more (use preheated baking stone and slash/spray dough with water before baking).
Play around with your temps during proofing. Increase the temperature every hour until it reaches 90 degrees etc. You can increase your sour by increasing time and temp during the bulk ferment and proofing times. You can do a real short bulk ferment and a very long proof or anything in-between. You can adjust the amount of 100% starter, using a smaller amount the longer you want to push your ferment.
This formula, time and temp produced a moderately sour bread with a very good flavor and aroma. The crust was thin and shattered when it was sliced. The crumb was soft and chewy with a nice openness.
For a more pronounced sour, I would have bulk fermented an extra hour and pushed the temp a little higher for the final proof. I also might have adjusted the formula to contain less active starter so the dough was capable of fermenting longer. Play around with it and just make sure you write down what you did , so you can replicate it once you have it down perfect ( is that possible?).
What is going on here is to add some really acidic dough not only for flavor, but to slow the fermentation down. Once you slow it down , you have the capability of a longer warm bulk ferment and proof.  Warm equals sour. Have fun with this, it is as close to regulating a consistant sour as I have gotten so far and I did not have to add a significant amount of whole grain flour to obtain a good sour.  You could play with adding one ounce of rye flour and one ounce of whole wheat flour to the final dough instead of two ounces of whole wheat, heck you could add some cornflour too, or spelt or….. have fun!
This was written and posted especially for my baker friend Jeremy at Stir the Pots, visit his site, it is awesome!
See my four volume book, “Discovering Sourdough” now in Kindle format at Amazon.

21 Responses to '40/100 Sour Seed Bread'

  1. Jeremy says:

    Thanks Teresa…I have my rotting mother in the fridge! Hope I have time to mix retard and proof..busy week coming up~!

  2. David Aplin says:

    Hi Teresa, I am fascinated by your post. It goes against everything I have been striving for when I bake bread. And yet you are achieving some very excellent results, the breads look beautiful. From my knowledge and aesthetic sense I thought that the way to go was high hydration, short fermentation time in order to achieve a very wet dough that ferments quickly and develops only a mild acidity. I guess there are many ways to skin a cat. There are many instances in which an author of a recipe (you are included) will tell the reader to taste the leaven (or whatever you call it) in order to a certain it’s flavour, level of acidity,etc. I have never done, not because I’m squeamish….just not as interested in raw dough as cooked bread I guess. I used to work with a german baker who was constantly eating raw dough claiming it was “good for your blood”. I think he was just hungry or maybe tasting to make sure that he’d added salt or something. I am amazed at the beautiful open crumb that you got with low hydration. I am going to give this a try, seeing as I have an abundance of wheat levain and rye sourdough starter at the shop. Oh, I also got a good laugh at the vision of you keeping your leaven in the trunk of your car, that’s something I have done many, many times…with excellent results.
    Take care.
    Regards,
    Dave Aplin

    • northwestsourdough says:

      Oh gosh David, your breads are so terrific looking, you should post some formulas! The long fermented or warm fermented breads do better at a lower hydration, but they become very extensible because of the treatment they “endure.” In the US here so many are after the extreme sour. I like a mild to moderate sour with a full flavor. I think where you are from, the trunk does very well as a retarding compartment….

  3. today I’ll start the motherdough. Can’t wait too make the bread. Patience, patience, I know… but your description is so flavorful, it will be hard to wait 2 weeks to try your recipe. Thank you, Teresa, I always find inspiration in your posts!
    codruta

    • northwestsourdough says:

      Hi Codruta, you will enjoy this bread, it is showy and tasty! Good luck on your new bakery venture!

  4. TONYK says:

    I AM INTERESTED IN THE B&T PROOFER BUT SINCE I MAKE THREE OR FOUR LOAVES AT A TIME I AM WONDERING IF I CAN PUT TWO 9″ BANNETONS IN THE PROOFER SIDE BY SIDE AT THE SAME TIME — IF NOT I DO NOT THINK IT WILL WORK FOR ME — AS ALWAYS THANKS SO MUCH FOR ALL OF YOUR HELPFUL ADVICE — I LOVE BAKING SOURDOUGH BREAD —

    TONYK

    • northwestsourdough says:

      Hi Tony, I can fit two 9″ long bannetons easily. If I have a rack over them, I can fit two more, so you could fit four. I use it more than I do a mixer and find it more useful. If you have two 9″ rounds, you can fit in two of them as long as you have a small rack to fit over the bottom banneton.

  5. Dwayne says:

    Your photos are amazing and I very sure the bread is absolutely delicious. I cannot venture these recipes as I am a newbie at sourdough and I live in Saudi Arabia where there are no helpful books. Some day I will rise near to this expertise. You encourage me.

  6. TONYK says:

    TERESA,

    IN MAKING THE FIRST LOAF THERE WILL BE SOME OF THE OLD SEED DOUGH LEFT — HOW DO I KEEP THIS GOING ON, WHAT TO ADD, SO I WOULD HAVE A CONTINUOUS SUPPLY OF THE OLD(ROTTEN) DOUGH — AS ALWAYS THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT —

    TONYK

  7. TONYK says:

    TERESA,

    I HAVE JUST ORDERED THE BROD&TAYLOR PROOFER AND I HAVE ANOTHER QUESTION REGARDING THIS RECIPE — AFTER THE 4 HR. BULK PROOF DO I DEGAS THE DOUGH BEFORE SHAPING AND PUTTING IT IN THE FRIG OVERNIGHT OR DO I JUST SHAPE AND THEN PUT IT IN THE FRIG — — I HAVE HAD TROUBLE WITH THIS OVERNIGHT PROCESS AS WHEN I TAKE THE DOUGH OUT OF THE FRIG IT APPEARS TO BE ALREADY OVER PROOFED — MY FRIG IS SET AT ABOUT 42* F —- I SO WANT THIS METHOD TO WORK — I ALSO HAVE THE ROTTEN STARTER IN THE FRIG TONIGHT — IT WILL BE HARD TO WAIT FOR TWO OR MORE WEEKS BUT I WILL — THANKS AS ALWAYS —

    TONYK

    • northwestsourdough says:

      Hi Tony, yes just leave it in the fridge and forget about it, go about your normal baking for a while. You should not have the problem with the dough being too proofed when you take it out of the fridge. The “sour” 40% makes it so that the dough slows way down and takes forever to proof.

      Yes, you should degas before shaping. Also for future reference, if your dough is acting too vigorous and you know it is going to proof too fast in the fridge, then cool the dough down by refrigerating it for two hours before shaping it. That hint works great for any dough really.

  8. TONYK says:

    TERESA,
    CAN I KEEP THIS ROTTEN STARTER GOING BY FEEDING IT AGAIN OR MUST I START OVER —

    TONYK

  9. TONYK says:

    TERESA,

    I MADE MY ROTTEN STARTER AND WAITED AT LEAST TWO WEEKS AND YESTERDAY STARTED THE PROCESS AND FOLLOWED YOUR TIMELINE AND LAST NIGHT I PUT THE SHAPED LOAVES IN THE FRIG AT AROUND 7 PM — WHEN I CHECKED THEM AT ABOUT 11 PM THEY WERE, IN MY OPINION, READY TO BAKE — — I WAITED UNTIL THIS MORNING AND THEY WERE BADLY OVERPROOFED SO I BAKED ANYWAY AND GOT PANCAKES — THIS OVERNIGHT RETARD HAS NEVER WORKED FOR ME — MAYBE IT IS BECAUSE I LIVE IN TEXAS AND THE TEMPS ARE RELATIVELY HIGH — I HAVE SUCCESS WITH SEVERAL ONE DAY BAKES SO I MAY STICK WITH THEM — THANKS AS ALWAYS FOR YOUR FEEDBACK —

    TONYK

    • northwestsourdough says:

      HI Tony, did you remember to chill the dough for at least two hours before you shaped it? I also have trouble with overproofing when it is warm or the dough is very active. Whenever that happens, I chill the dough BEFORE shaping and then refrigerate it. Try it next time and see if it helps.

  10. Hi Teresa, I would like very much to post on my romanian blog about this bread. I made it several times and I love it sooo much. Do you allow me to share the formula with my readers, (with link back here, of course)?

    codruta

    • northwestsourdough says:

      HI Codruta, yes, please do and let me know when your blog post is done, I will link back to you as well. I would eventually like to feature the blog posts on this bread.

      • Thank you, Teresa, I’m so glad you approved. I’ll let you know when the post is up.
        It won’t be done sooner than a week, cause I have a rye bread in the writing process, and I want to make your bread again for better crumb shots. Oh, well, any pretext is good if it means I have to bake it again :) )
        best wishes, codruta

  11. tonyk says:

    TERESA,
    I AM GOING TO TRY THE MOTHER DOUGH TECHNIQUE AND HAVE A QUESTION — AFTER MAKING THE ORIGINAL MOTHER DOUGH AND LEAVING IT IN THE FRIG FOR TWO WEEKS — IF I USE 6 OZ. OF IT TO MAKE THE 40/100 SOUR SEED BREAD — CAN I FEED THE REMAINDER OF THE MOTHER DOUGH WITH STARTER, WATER AND FLOUR IN THE ORIGINAL PERCENTAGES TO REPLACE THE SIX OUNCES AND PUT BACK IN THE FRIG. OR MUST I START OVER — THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP — I MADE THE MUFFALETTA BUNS TODAY AND THEY TURNED OUT BEAUTIFUL —

    TONYK

  12. TONYK says:

    I WOULD LIKE TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS TRIAL — IT WILL BE AT LEAST TWO WEEKS BEFORE I AM READY BUT I THINK IT WOULD BE GREAT TO POST SOME OF MY RESULTS — I DO NOT KNOW IF I AM READY BUT NOTHING VENTURED NOTHING GAINED —

    TONYK

Trackbacks/Pingbacks
  1. [...] you are interested in being a featured baker for the 40/100 Motherdough. Drop me a line at northwestsourdough@gmail.com. Bake the bread, post about it, link back to [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*