Alternatives to pushing the starter with dry yeast

With my present home-made/air-collected sourdough starter I've baked maybe 20 loaves and they have all been scrumptious with most having a great texture and crumb.

Ican't keep up with my family's appetite for sourdough!

However,I cannot get the dough to rise as much as I'd like with just the sour dough and have to add maybe half a teaspoon of yeast on the second proofing(rising).

Only then do I get the rise I'm happy with. When I mix up my first ferment I get sourness, sour smell, and plenty of bubbling activity but not much in the way of expansion when I blend that with more (white) flour and knead. It certainly doesn't double in size as the tips suggest.

So I wonder if there's anything else I can try to get the dough to rise more by itself.

  1. I take the starter out of the fridge and mix it up with flour to create a 'batter' .
  2. I let that ferment for most of a day and it bubbles up a treat.
  3. I then blend in more flour and water, salt and oil.
  4. I then let that rise for at least 6 hours or so.
  5. If it doesn't rise as much as I want -- which is always -- I combine it with more flour to which  1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of dry yeast has been  added.
  6. I rise it again for baking and usually pop it in the oven when it's obviously risen more than it did with just sourdough.

I don't want to fiddle too much with this protocol but I feel that I should be able to bake my bread without the need to add dry yeast. When I do it withoiut yeast, the loaves are too dense and too wet --despite their flavour.

I do all the right things, I think,  in regard to warm temp rising, and more or less rise the bread over   1 and a half days. My climate is sub tropical but I rise the dough in the oven with just the light turned on and a warm bowl of water underneath.I've experimented by adding about 2 tablespooons of whole grain flour to the mix and have started to experiment with sugar additions -- although I prefer Golden Syrup. But adding sweetness may impact on the sourness, I think...



dave riley.


15 comments

Try limiting the first rise to one to two hours. Going most of the day might exhaust the yeast.

Or, try just having one rise and then baking. 


I'd try retardation in the fridge.
Knead and then do a couple of folds.
 Then shape put in banetton and in the fridge for 7-8 hours(or more, my fridge is 10C so...) and then out of the fridge for a couple of hours and bake.
That's how I got my sourdough to expand it's fullest.
What are the proportions of starter to flour and water at the various stages?


 I would try using sugar too because it might give strenght to the saccharomyces in the sourdough but I would try it, I wouldn't put it in my culture. Some sugar and it would foam more I guess because you would give food to the myces who are mainly responsible for co2
Try limiting the first rise to one to two hours

 2  hours? Not much would happen

I'd try retardation in the fridge

Good idea. I'll try it.

What are the proportions of starter to flour and water at the various stages?

My base loaf mix is 600 gms white  flour and 445 ml water but I have, separate to that, built the starter up with cup for cup water and flour  x 3 into a batter to which I've also added 2 flat tbspns of wholemeal flour. I now let the starter sit in an oven, with the light on, and a warm bowl of water on the oven floor overnight. I get a lot of bubbling action, but I cannot foster that activity when I blend it with the rest of the flour before kneading and rising.

I would try using sugar too because it might give strength to the saccharomyces

I've started to do that but I didn't want to upset the sour taste.  The bread is always fantastic and we eat every crumb.I add the sugars to the flour blend not the starter, of course.

I've also explored pusing up the salt proportion to see if that would work as a catalyst.

The problem is that if I do not add the dry yeast (and we're talking a little under a teaspoon)  and run the rising to full term (today I rose it  for 3 hours) I've always ended up with a shallow rise. I make three loaves  in ciabatta shape and the difference is clear as is the texture. All I'm after is 3 cm/1 inch more rise.

ratbagradio

Baking with your oven turned to full heat for an initial 10 minutes can give more spring (then dropping back to your normal baking temp), as well as adding steam during this period. Also, I keep reading that baking for the first 10-12 mins under a cloche can also enhance the spring, although I haven't tried this.

Shaping of the loaf can be a factor, as can dough moisture. So, lots of possible things to look at...

Cheers
 


Although salt makes the gluten stronger, try not to let your salt exceed 2% of the formula when it'll retard the yeast activity too much.

You really don't need dried yeast as a crutch. Our fully sourdough breads here are a testament to that. A 1st rise of 3 - 4 hours always work well for me. You'll have to see what works best for a different bread (formula). If I want to coax more flavour, I let it rise for 2 hours, then retard overnight. When you do your folding, stretch that gluten but give it a light touch, try not to burst those bubbles.

Best

TP

 


With all the suggestions made here in mind I now work with a very hydrated dough.

My starter mix is approx 200 gms which gets really frothy. I then mix this with another 600 gms and about 400 ml water. -- golden syrup, salt (not too much), oil...and one quarter teaspoon of Baking Powder.

That's not much Baking Powder  but the dough really takes off and I may reduce the quantity of . as I only added it as an experiment and was amazed at the result.

I bake at my highest oven temperature for 10 minutes and finish off  the bread over another 30-40 minites at 200 degrees centigrade. Plenty of spring now.

I'm still experimenting with the risings. But I'm after a long rising period so that I can deepen the soir dough flavours.

I take my sour dough starter out of the fridge on an evening and mix it with 2 cups/200 gms four and an equal volume of water. I let that rise and bubble away over night.

I then add and mix in  more flour , water, 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour,  golden syrup, salt, oil and the baking powder. After mixing and kneading I  raise the mix for another 8 -10 hours. I then separate the dough into  my bread trays. The mix is very wet and cannot be kneaded much at all. It can however be knocked back and folded with some dexterity required. I then let it settle for an hour or two then bake with a bowl of water on the bottom of the oven.

The loaves are improving at each bake. and that's something I have to do every two days -- thats' three loaves every two days.

By the way, Baking Powder is no stranger to sourdoughs as the Amish use it and it is of course used to make 'quick (sough dough) breads' and  sour dough pancakes.

"Baking powder works by releasing carbon dioxide gas into a batter or dough through an acid-base reaction, causing bubbles in the wet mixture to expand and thus leavening the mixture".

What I wonder about though is whether the Baking Powder reaction impacts to reduce yeast growth thus  changing the  bread's flavour and altering how the  starches are  converted.

In effect with the Baking Powder  reaction--
NaHCO3 + H+ → Na+ + CO2 + H2O.
-- you change the envirornment in the dough by increasing the Carbon Dioxide and water . I'm not sure what the sodium would do unless it would perhaps encourage a saltier taste  to the loaves. But one quarter teaspoon to 800 grams of flour isn't a major addition.

Baking powder makes "quickbread" which will typically have a relatively "short" crumbly (cakey) structure - not an elastic crumb characteristic of (what I would call) "proper" sourdough bread (but hey, each to their own!).

Your (original sourdough) recipe doesn't tell how you develop the gluten??

Your recipe with baking powder has a 8+ hour ferment after mixing (when is the folding before or after your ferment?) before shaping loaves - wow for my starter at 8 hrs it would be well over-fermented by then and not much rising potential left, by that stage, unless it's very cold or unless your levain/starter ratio to final dough is very low. I get a long final prove by (sometimes) doing a 2.5-3 hr bulk ferment after kneading and with stretch/folds, then shaping the loaves, then retarding the prove in the fridge up to 20 hrs, before warming to room temp and baking. But to be honest, with a 10-12 hour levain ferment, and a 3 hour bulk ferment and 3-4 hour prove and no fridge step, I find it pretty sour and flavourful... I mainly do the fridge step for convenience when baking mid-week and full-time working.

I wonder whether with your sourdough (without baking powder) you might need some diastatic malt, if your flour is amylase-deficient? (Amylase = the enzyme that breaks down starches, and diastatic malt is a pure malted grain product, no weird chemicals).

[quote=davo]

Your recipe with baking powder has a 8+ hour ferment after mixing (when is the folding before or after your ferment?)[/quote]

After.

[quote=davo]...before shaping loaves - wow for my starter at 8 hrs it would be well over-fermented [/quote]

I've reduced that time down now -- but I am only interested in develping the sweet smell and bubble. Once tahts' happening I can move on. This thread started with my problems which are being resolved.

[quote=davo]I wonder whether with your sourdough (without baking powder) you might need some diastatic malt, if your flour is amylase-deficient?[/quote]

I use Australian flour since I live there/here. Am currently using Laucke White.. It has too much other stuff for my liking, though. I'm supermarket supplied. But here in Qld the other option is Defiance. I make too much bread to go hunting for specialty flours --and since all that's  baked is eaten in two -- or less than two -- days, there is no need to chase ingredients across town.I'm using  800 grams of flour  in each bake and all up 450 -550 ml of water.

But since I've honed in on my issues -- the original problems are being resolved. I'm now making  more hydrated loaves too and have stopped adding a little whole wheat -- was 2 tbsp. I mix  the leaven with the bulk  once the leaven is away, then knead and fold. Rest for... -- that time is still felexible, as I'm experimenting-- then fold again before shaping. My habit for the past 20 years when baking  has been to allow the shaped loaves  a little bit of rise before baking (just so I know I what I can expect from the baking, and thsi was  a standard habit of mine for pizza). I now bake full heat for 10 minutes then drop to 200c above a bowl of water for all up 40 mintes.

 It's coming together...

 At this bake tonight I used maybe one sixth of a teaspoon of baking powder, down from one quarter. Hardly an active or key ingredient.  When I was at one quarter of a teaspoon (only one quarter for 800 grams)I thought I lost flavour and texture  despite the extraordinary rise.

I know what I'm after -- that sweet and sour taste below a crisp crust with a crumb that's chewy like the best of the Mediterranean hard wheat breads - like no other bread I can buy anywhere regardles of price.

 

But I could in Barcelona..every day.

OK, I believe we are getting somewhere. I am also in Aus - in Melbourne, and use Laucke Wallaby unbleached bakers flour from the supermarket - although I also add in 10-20% wholemeal rye into my basic bread.

All Australian white flours are amylase deficient, I am told. This doesn't matter for yeasted bread, but means that sourdoughs made predominantly with white flour will not rise as much as flour with grains from other parts of the world (apparently). The diastatic malt that you buy to overcome this amylase enzyme deficiency is just sprouted barley (I think that's the grain) that's dried and ground. So a pure grain product, no chemicals. You can buy diastatic malt, from

http://www.basicingredients.com.au/SDintro.html

I have no interest in them other than having used their malt. It's not the same as brewing malt. You buy it diluted with ordinary flour, and in the diluted form add 10 g per kg of flour - so hardly any! But it makes a big difference to SD rise.

My advice if you want the great true sourdough texture - ditch the baking powder.

If you bulk ferment 8 hours and THEN fold, I reckon it will have pretty much zero rising capacity left, and will be sloppy, so you will have ensured a heavy texture. Once you add flour/water into your levain to make bread dough, you should strectch and fold during the ferment, over (for me in my kitchen) about 3 hours. Don't worry about it doubling - I find that if mine has doubled, it has gone way too far. It will not smell as sour as the levain, which has fermented further than the point of having any resonable gluten to rise a loaf, so don't look for that either. After the ferment, shape the loaves - the dough should not be slack/oozy at this point (although the dough should be soft) - you should still be able to get some tension in it. Rise it a further 3-6 hours depend on temperature (I suspect shorter times for QLD, maybe only a couple hours). Or put the shaped loaves straight inthe fridge for up to about 20 hours and warm them out of the fridge before baking.

(I don't understand you point about previously thinking you should rise after shaping - you should still definitely be doing this! This is when much of your flavour will develop.)

I've linked this blog from on here only because I know the author, and that he uses in the white SD bread only: starter, Laucke Wallaby flour, water, diastatic malt at the recommended rate, and salt. Trust me, the texture is as great as it looks, using no baking powder! You just don't need it and more to the point I'm pretty sure it won't give you that classic elastic SD crumb that you seem to want.

PS If you use a high proportion of high extraction flours like wholemeal wheat or wholemeal rye, the amlyase deficiency factor drops off, apparently.

http://sourdough.com/blog/wet/wets-blog

[quote=rossnroller]ratbagradio

Baking with your oven turned to full heat for an initial 10 minutes can give more spring (then dropping back to your normal baking temp), as well as adding steam during this period. Also, I keep reading that baking for the first 10-12 mins under a cloche can also enhance the spring, although I haven't tried this.

Shaping of the loaf can be a factor, as can dough moisture. So, lots of possible things to look at...

Cheers
 [/quote]

 

A friend with a new bakery in Sydney recently said that you get 2 minutes extra spring in the oven for dough that goes in at 14C, rather than 18C. I assume that this is with the use of steam in the oven (delaying crust development). It is a similar idea to your couche proposal....keeping the dough at lower temps with reduced crust for longer...encouraging microbe activity (producing gases) and fluid dough expansion in the absence of crust. My friend did not specify whether the 2 mins was with tins or freeform loaves. Tins would further delay hot dough temps, and the use of a heavy lid (like so-called 'sandwich tins' or tank tins) would delay crust development...usually until the dough hit the lid.

OK. I'm getting the message and will proceed accordingly.

(1)I'll tack down the amylase and add it to the bake

(2) I'll reduce my rising times and play around with bringing the temperature down -- if necessary, in the refridgerator.

(3) No more Baking Powder.

 

I am in a situation now, domestically, where the bread gets eaten at a faster rate so that  all three loaves go in 36 hours.So I'm in the ball park in regard to texture and taste ...and gastronomical support.If I stop baking I'm sure to be  murdered in my sleep.

I mean the bread is simply scrumptious and is up there with the best breads I've ever tasted -- and they were in Barcelona (hard wheat whites and every block seems to have its own bakery) and across Sweden (rye blends spread out for breakfast smorgasbords). Even the commercially available breads which are sold as sourdough here aren't or are ruled by labour time cost issues. (And a  boutique sourdough loaf can cost around $6AUD/loaf.) I suspect that the sourdough used -- if it is --were not very flavourful in the first case given what I've sampled.

I was keen to switch to sourdough because it has lower GI compared to other breads 

With the proviso: It is clear that the longer the yeast is allowed to take effect prior to cooking, or the higher the loaf rises, the higher the GI value will be! My guess is that the science behind this involves the yeast spreading out, taking effect, and doing its work to make the bread easier for us to digest.

  but I was challenged by the taste of what was available -- even at the high end prices. This is why I went for the long rising time -- taste (although that could undercut GI  preferences) as I understood that the longer the rise the sourer the taste.

 

And thats' relevant because the  glycemic value of a food can vary widely depending on what you eat with it. Sour food, such as sour sourdough,slows digestion of the food it accompanies, effectively lowering its glycemic ranking.

My initial problem was shallow rising. I think I'm working through that, thanks to the many helpful isuggestions  in this forum.

OK. I'm getting the message and will proceed accordingly.

(1)I'll tack down the amylase and add it to the bake

(2) I'll reduce my rising times and play around with bringing the temperature down -- if necessary, in the refridgerator.

(3) No more Baking Powder.

 

I am in a situation now, domestically, where the bread gets eaten at a faster rate so that  all three loaves go in 36 hours.So I'm in the ball park in regard to texture and taste ...and gastronomical support.If I stop baking I'm sure to be  murdered in my sleep.

I mean the bread is simply scrumptious and is up there with the best breads I've ever tasted -- and they were in Barcelona (hard wheat whites and every block seems to have its own bakery) and across Sweden (rye blends spread out for breakfast smorgasbords). Even the commercially available breads which are sold as sourdough here aren't or are ruled by labour time cost issues. (And a  boutique sourdough loaf can cost around $6AUD/loaf.) I suspect that the sourdough used -- if it is --were not very flavourful in the first case given what I've sampled.

I was keen to switch to sourdough because it has lower GI compared to other breads 

With the proviso: It is clear that the longer the yeast is allowed to take effect prior to cooking, or the higher the loaf rises, the higher the GI value will be! My guess is that the science behind this involves the yeast spreading out, taking effect, and doing its work to make the bread easier for us to digest.

  but I was challenged by the taste of what was available -- even at the high end prices. This is why I went for the long rising time -- taste (although that could undercut GI  preferences) as I understood that the longer the rise the sourer the taste.

 

And thats' relevant because the  glycemic value of a food can vary widely depending on what you eat with it. Sour food, such as sour sourdough,slows digestion of the food it accompanies, effectively lowering its glycemic ranking.

My initial problem was shallow rising. I think I'm working through that, thanks to the many helpful isuggestions  in this forum.