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Sourdough

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Post by Ploshkin on 2nd October 2013, 9:22 am

I'm getting back into hand breadmaking after reverting to the breadmaker for the summer. I had a go at sourdough last year & seemed to get some ok loaves. I have retrieved my starter from the back of the fridge & revived it & hope to get better at it this year. Are there any sourdough aficionados out there with useful hints or tips.
Any pictures I see seem to have pretty big holes in them (the loaf that is not the picture) but mine tend to come out quite close textured, but not dense.
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Post by Chilli-head on 7th October 2013, 7:28 pm

Looks like we don't have any other sourdough enthusiasts ?

As for texture, I thought that the size of the bubbles/holes is affected by how many times you knock the dough back and rise it again ... more rises -> finer texture Question  Anyone Question 
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Post by freebird on 8th October 2013, 7:22 am

Sorry, no idea. I've eaten sourdough bread once - I liked it well enough, but I am not good with anything that you need to keep a starter going (like homemade yoghurt). I get fed up with eating it, and then the starter gets old and manky.
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Post by Ploshkin on 8th October 2013, 9:05 am

I just leave my starter in the fridge & get it out, add some extra flour & let it get back to room temp. the day before I want to use it. It's spent 3 months in the fridge over the summer. I find that rye flour gets it going really well if it's a bit sluggish. I've not tried making yoghurt though.
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Post by Mike on 8th October 2013, 4:05 pm

With the "sourdough in the fridge" make sure to use it often enough to be resetting the amount. Long ago I used to make sourdough buckwheat pancakes, so the sourdough in the pitcher in the fridge was much more liquidy than a typical dough.

Take out, add more flour till proper consistency, set aside a bit till bubbling well on the new food, pour what you need on a hot griddle. Then add the proper amount of water and put back in fridge.

But this recipe wasn't totally inert at fridge temps and one time I forgot about it for too many days and it grew enough to overflow the pitcher. Yuck what a sticky mess to clean up.

................................................................................................................................
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Post by kathryn.barker.773 on 22nd October 2013, 7:49 am

I've just started making sourdough bread. I don't have a problem making normal bread but wanted to try this. I've not had an awful lot of success. The dough doesn't seem to rise very much at all no matter how long I leave it for. I've googled millions of recipes and they're all basically the same so why won't my bread rise? Crying or Very sad 
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Post by Ploshkin on 22nd October 2013, 10:19 am

Well Kathryn, this is the blind leading the blind (but the one eyed man is king & all that) but this is what I have discovered so far through trial & error.
I think it is less easy if you don't use the starter frequently - I use it once a week at the most, usually less so keep it in the fridge between times.  I usually do bread on a Friday so get it out on Weds night & refresh it on Thursday morning when it has warmed up.  I have found that it gets much more lively with rye flour than any other & if it goes really slow I also give it a good whisk for 5 mins with an electric beater.  It's revived perfectly well after 3 months in the fridge in the Summer.

I use the 'sponge' method because it fits in best with my timing & I think it gives the yeast time to get going well before the salt (which inhibits it) goes in.  For the sponge I use the starter, the water and half the flour & leave it overnight.  The rest of the flour & the salt goes in in the morning.
The wetter you can cope with the dough the better & I use olive oil on the worktop for kneading rather than flour so you are not adding more flour to the mix.  I leave it to rise for 4 - 5 hours.  When I tip it out to shape it I don't deflate it too visciously.  I prove it in a cane banneton but have also done it in a bowl lined with a teatowel & it generally takes about 4 hours to prove.  I have to have everything organised to get it into the oven sharpish as it tends to spread quickly when turned onto the baking tray but it does rise quite significantly in the oven.

My kitchen is a very consistent temperature & I do all the rising & proving in a black bin bag on the worktop over the freezer

My loaves have been very consistent but I'm sure they should be better.  I've only tried so far with white flour & a mainly rye starter, I haven't been brave enough to go for wholemeal yet.  I'll be doing one on Friday so if I can work out how to post pictures I'll take a couple for you to see.
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Post by kathryn.barker.773 on 22nd October 2013, 7:20 pm

thanks for the advice. My first one was wholesale with a white starter. That was my better attempt although not brilliant. The second was a white loaf. I even left it overnight like some of the recipes said to for the second proving. But rather than rise it just spread. The first one was a stiffer dough that did rise but not much. The second one was wetter and kneaded on olive oil.
I don't have a Benetton though. do you recommend one?
I guess I'm just going to have to persevere.
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Post by Ploshkin on 26th October 2013, 10:05 am

I've taken a couple of pictures of my latest loaf  but don't know how to get them on here (I don't understand the bit in the FAQs - can anyone assist?)

Anyway, having said that my loaves are consistent, for some reason my dough this time was very floppy & difficult to knead.  It must have had more liquid in it probably from the starter as I'm not scientific about feeding the starter - I just chuck in some flour & water whenever I have used some.  Consequently, the dough spread quickly when I turned it on to the baking tray & the loaf is a slightly flatter shape than usual but it is very soft & chewy & probably the best texture I have produced so far.
The only reason I got a banneton is because I prefer to make long loaves simply because the slices are a better size & shape for the toaster (& Mr P has a serious toast habit) & I didn't have anything suitable.  If I make a round loaf I use a bowl lined with a teatowel.
My suspicion is that your starter isn't sufficiently active but when you have nothing to compare it with it's hard to know.  I have just recalled something I read but can't remember where & it wasn't backed up by any evidence.  It said that you should not use tap water in the starter because the chlorine & anti bacterial agents it contains can inhibit the yeast.  We don't have mains water so it isn't an issue (& frogs don't seem to have an effect).
Hope to post photos if someone comes to my rescue.
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Post by freebird on 26th October 2013, 11:16 am

Ok, this is how it works:
1) Click on 'Host an Image' from the icons above the Quick Reply box.
2) When the box appears, click the Browse button to find your file.
3) Also resize your image, using the 640 for websites option.
4) Then click Host It.
5) Now, a second box will appear. Copy the file information in the bottom window, either by highlighting it, right click and choose copy, OR click the Copy button next to it. This second option will bring up a Windows message about allowing access to your clipboard, so click Allow Access
6) Now go back to the original Host an Image icon and click it to make the box go away.
7) Now click the icon next to it, Insert an Image - paste the copied file information into the relevant box and click Insert

I'm pretty sure those instructions are ok. However, this will only give you a single image in your post. Multiple images can be obtained by clicking the Upload button (forget which box it appears in), which makes all the file information go away, so you can browse for new file.

It's all a bit convoluted, but it does work.
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Post by Ploshkin on 28th October 2013, 9:41 am

http://i58.servimg.com/u/f58/18/58/57/51/p1000812.jpg

OK - I've followed FBs instructions & got a load of letters & numbers. I'm going to hit the 'send' button now & if everything blows up it's been nice knowing you all.
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Post by Ploshkin on 28th October 2013, 9:46 am

Me again, it seems to have half worked - the first picture popped up after about a minute in my above post, the second picture seems to have come up as a link underneath the first one but opens up ok.
I hope you're still with us Kathryn - the loaf isn't, it got devoured over the weekend.
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