Sourdough Diary - Beginners please ask questions here

Graham's picture
Graham

Please feel free to ask questions or talk about your experiences making your first sourdough.

Category: 
up
107 users have voted.

Replies

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 May 1

It is indeed what ketones smell like.

There are two likely scenarios when a human (as opposed to a starter) will smell like nail polish (ketones). One is in a diabetic, the other is in anyone who has not been eating enough, particularly noticeable when people are on really strict diets, ie. those incredibly stupid 'meal replacement' diets where you replace two meals a day with a milkshake-type thing. As you mentioned,you produce ketones basically when your body starts eating itself to survive - not just fat, but muscle, too - which is why it is a really, really bad idea!

Thus SourDom's post about the starter having run out of food making that smell! Same thing.

Now, all that said, I gave my starter a huge dinner last night ... and it is bubbly but not vivacious!

What next?

Carol.

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 May 1

Not vivacious? Try a mini skirt, Tank top and a bit of make up.
Seriously, patience is required, it's only a young stsrter and needs a bit of time to get it's legs so to speak.

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 May 1

[quote]
Now, all that said, I gave my starter a huge dinner last night ... and it is bubbly but not vivacious!

What next?
[/quote]

What I would do: (remember what I said about ex-professionals not working with starters much).

Create a warm cupboard zone or similar and keep your starter at around 24C to 26C. See: [url]http://www.sourdough.com.au/beginners/#TOOLPREP[/url]

I am leaning towards 'bikram method' technique for getting starters up to strength. That is warm to very warm rather than 20C which is more traditional. But my trials are still continuing in the starter area. It's possible that the first starter I got going (in only 24 hours or so) was actually infected by a beer or red wine yeast because I was surprised at the speed it developed (as was Jeremy who sent me a PM).

The cupboard I ferment in is in a van 25 metres from the house/kitchen...but I do have an occassional red and bottle-fermented beer in the van area. So that origianl stater is now history and I am cleaning out the work space today to make room for another go.

Carol, What do you plan to do when your starter is bubbling and peaking after this latest feed? Are you planning to progress fairly quickly to a leaven and make some bread?

Graham

Edit: The 24C / 25C advice is based on the strategy that we are trying get a still not completely active starter, up to full activity. Once it is up to full activity we will use some of it to start leaven (a stage before your final bread dough) and put the rest away in a storage/maintanence cycle (I am leaning heavily on the other forum members to provide good advice here).

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 May 1

Hi Graham,

Yep, wanna make bread. I am spending today with Dan's preferment recipe ... to practise kneading and because the house needs bread for tomorrow!

But I would like to have a go at the starter ... it has been nicely bubbly for a few days now and I have refreshed twice now with a small amount of starter and the larger 100gm flour/100gm water mix. It has been cool overnight/this morning ... so it's a little slow but I have popped it under the lights of my rangehood (!) as there is a little warmth from that.

Sooooooooooooooo .... next?

This is where keeping the steps involved in making sourdough in some kind of order in the beginners section will be handy. (Indeed Dan's preferment instructions are amazing ... step by step/hour by hour ... wonderful!)

Graham ... you have mentioned John Downes previously ... it occurs to me that the only book that I still have in my possession from high school (quite some years ago) is John's 'Natural Tucker'!

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 May 1

Would the kind folks of the forum tell me if this is good information about starters?

[url]ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet-by-group/news.answers/food/sourdough/starters[/url]

It seems to be ... if so, is it worth adding a link to?

northwestsourdough's picture
northwestsourdough 2006 May 1

[quote="SourYumMum"]
Would the kind folks of the forum tell me if this is good information about starters?

[url]ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet-by-group/news.answers/food/sourdough/starters[/url]

It seems to be ... if so, is it worth adding a link to?

[/quote]

There is a link to this site through the links page on this Australian Sourdough site.

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 May 1

[quote]
This is where keeping the steps involved in making sourdough in some kind of order in the beginners section will be handy. (Indeed Dan's preferment instructions are amazing ... step by step/hour by hour ... wonderful!)
[/quote]

Hi Carol. I think you might have mentioned a link to Dan's steps earlier. Are you able to provide the link again?

Our [url=http://www.sourdough.com.au/beginners/]beginner's section[/url] will be a bit messy at first while information is being collated and refined. But I am hoping that in a month or so it will be a consise guide for beginners. I looked at that starter info you mentioned above, which I think Dom has also mentioned before. It takes a lot of courage to write a consise guide, the way this author, Brian Dixon has.

He works with even higher temperatures than the average 25 I am currently toying with. At 26C to 30C you would have to keep a very close eye on your starter, which could peak and move through its optimum level of maturity very quickly.

Please keep us up to date with your bake. Sounds like you are on a roll

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 May 1

Well there you go .. thanks Teresa! I have been looking at your site for inspiration, too!

I've learnt two important things today ... that sticky dough is OK because it doesn't stay that way ... and to use oil to knead the dough instead of flour.

It all seems pretty obvious, I'm sure, but to beginners ... these things are priceless bits of basic information. Up until now, I've floured my kneading mat ... and although my yeasted breads have been OK ... not great, but OK ... I'm sure keeping them a bit 'wetter' will be a really good thing.

That's why I'm glad Graham has started the beginners pages in here.

Carol.

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 May 1

Hopefully a nice sourdough roll, Graham!

The suggestions of warmer temps are interesting ... it's 21C outside at the moment, and I think fairly similar inside ... so I have Dan's 'preferment' in the just-warmed oven, and another that I have knocked up this morning from my starter sitting under the rangehood light!

The link to Dan's preferment instruction was provided by donyeokl in response to my questions about kneading. It was the second time I had seen it so someone else has pointed me there, too.

Scroll down until you find Dan's post:

[url]http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?s=216a820376f538a4a8ff3a32d1d854ca&showtopic=80140[/url]

I like it because it is quite specific and ordered ... great 'breadmaking for dummies' instructions. And, as a beginner, that is what I need!

If I am brave enough, I might even post some bread porn later!

Unless I make a brick.

As my mother once choked a chook with a sponge cake she had made and thrown out, I won't brag just yet!

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 May 1

[quote="Graham"]
Our [url=http://www.sourdough.com.au/beginners/]beginner's section[/url] will be a bit messy at first while information is being collated and refined.
[/quote]

At the moment, there are lots of helpful links; problem is this can be a bit messy. It's like keeping a finger at a page and flipping back and forth. I wonder if the original posters can be contacted so that the information/tutorials can be reproduced here.

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 May 1

The links to outside posts are more of a process thing, where we are comparing notes so that what I write in the beginners area is relevant. The final beginners section will have enough info to make sourdough without using links to external information, but I would like to keep the links because they give extra detail which we don't want to bombard beginners with all at once, plus they confirm that what we are talking about on the beginners page is already being applied in practice (not just theoretical).

I do see your point TeckPoh and will try and keep the page flipping to a minimum. By the way, your [url=http://www.tpcalcake.net/home/childrensbirthday.htm]Hamburger Cake[/url] is a favourite. It's so damn contradictory. Graham

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 May 1

TeckPoh ... your website is just lovely! Jellycake! What a great idea!

And if you think flour over your way is difficult, getting char sui buns that look anywhere NEAR as delicious as yours is impossible! Except maybe in Sydney, but here in Newcastle ... frozen buns from the Asian grocer is the best we can do!

They are simply mouthwatering!

Thank you, Graham, for the link!

SourDom 2006 May 1

Graham

I confess to being sceptical about the beer-contamination theory.

Although there are some airborne yeast spores, the idea that spores from a beer or glass of red that you consumed some time back escaping bottle and mouth, and floating about until the moment when you happened to have a handy starter ready to be infected... well it just seems unlikely.

It is possible to generate a starter from bottle-fermented beer yeast, but I think (from reading about it), that you have to work reasonably hard (get a decent sized inoculum, avoid the usual yeasts) to create and maintain it.

It seems more likely that the yeast was from the flour that you used. My guess is that if you used the same batch of flour again, but started it in a different room of the house (in which you hadn't consumed beer), in identical conditions, that it would behave similarly.

My experience of the runaway wholemeal starter, was that it seemed to burn itself out of crazy activity after a day or two, and then took some time to turn into a stable well-behaving starter. My thoughts at the time was that there were probably a significant quantity of yeast present in the original flour, but that a balance of yeast and lactobacilli took some time to develop.

all guess and conjecture mind

Dom

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 May 1

[quote]
My experience of the runaway wholemeal starter, was that it seemed to burn itself out of crazy activity after a day or two, and then took some time to turn into a stable well-behaving starter. My thoughts at the time was that there were probably a significant quantity of yeast present in the original flour, but that a balance of yeast and lactobacilli took some time to develop.
[/quote]

Sourdom, the experience that you had could expalin what happened to me. I think I probably gave in too easy to the suggestion that my starter might be 'infected' because I had never experienced a starter developing so quickly before.

One of the last starters I did took 3 days to show signs of life, but that was a 'cosmic' attempt to raise culture out in the bush next to a beautiful creek. In retrospect I think that any smart culture would have fled with the family when the temperature dropped to 6C at night (the days would have been about 17C) plus it had absolutely no maintenance (stirring, feeding) in that time although I don't believe that anyone has actually proven that stirring or adding flour to a starter that has [i]no activity[/i] makes any difference. I suspect it might help...but does anyone realy know for certain?

So my very last attempt, in perfect conditions at 23c to 27C, should perhaps not have astounded me as much as it did. Though I do have a habit of leaving old glasses of red and beer around (gross, I know, but the kitchen is 25metres away. My partner does the same thing with her cups of tea). Anyway, afer a day or so the old red and/or beer glasses really smell yeasty. And to top it of, my partner spilt a small amount of stagnant wine onto the carpet several days ago. So the whole place smelt yeasty and I panicked when Jeremy sent me a PM raising the possibility of an infected culture.

It must sound like our van/studio is a grovel. Maybe it was a little, but fortunately none of us smoke or it would have been a complete 1970's dive. The van is shiny now, I feel like bubble boy...take a look at the culture cam. I tend to agree with your comments. Graham

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 May 1

Note: The beginner's page has now had the reference to yeast contamination removed. I will be happy to change this if someone can provide substantial evidence that their starter was contaminated by a yeast from a source other than the flour.

Thanks
Graham

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 May 1

[quote="Graham"]
The links to outside posts are more of a process thing, where we are comparing notes so that what I write in the beginners area is relevant. The final beginners section will have enough info to make sourdough without using links to external information, but I would like to keep the links because they give extra detail which we don't want to bombard beginners with all at once, plus they confirm that what we are talking about on the beginners page is already being applied in practice (not just theoretical).
[/quote]

Got it. BTW, the van interior [i]does[/i] look squeaky clean.

[quote]
By the way, your [url=http://www.tpcalcake.net/home/childrensbirthday.htm]Hamburger Cake[/url] is a favourite. It's so damn contradictory. Graham
[/quote]

For you, I guess I'll have to add a slice of beetroot.

[quote]
TeckPoh ... your website is just lovely! Jellycake! What a great idea!

And if you think flour over your way is difficult, getting char sui buns that look anywhere NEAR as delicious as yours is impossible!
[/quote]

Thanks, Carol.

Jelly cake is quite the rage here coz of our hot weather. Because of the work involved, they usually sell for more than a regular butter cake, tho' the ingredients cost much less. They are mostly done in 2-D plastic moulds. I'm too much of a cheapo to buy moulds only to use it once or twice a year, so I try to think of more creative ways. By the way, the one with the white chocolate lotus (which melted and flattened right before my eyes when I took it out of the fridge) has 4 goldfishies 'swimming' in it.

If I tell you what makes a nice-looking char siu bao, you won't be too thrilled. The flour used is a highly bleached Hong Kong flour, a special flour for making baos. That's why it looks so white. These days, I make them with organic plain flour which turns out yellowish buns. I've posted the recipe under the char siu bao cook-off thread in eGullet. The buns are really good, doesn't 'stick' in the mouth.

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 May 1

How did you know I liked beetroot Ahh I see now, cause OZ burgers have beetroot...I did not realise that the whole world knew Graham

northwestsourdough's picture
northwestsourdough 2006 May 1

[quote="Graham"]
Note: The beginner's page has now had the reference to yeast contamination removed. I will be happy to change this if someone can provide substantial evidence that their starter was contaminated by a yeast from a source other than the flour.

Thanks
Graham
[/quote]
Hi Graham, we were just discussing this on my forum because I cultured a new starter a couple of months ago out in the garden near where my husband dicards, barley and malted grains after making beer. I've tried making bread with it, using the exact same flour as I used to culture and feed my northwest sourdough starter, and it keeps acting, smelling,and tasting off. It peaks too quickly and I have to feed it too often to keep it going. It smells like buttermilk, yogurt or old cheese. When I try preferment and ferment stages, it poops out by the time I try to bake it.
So that there is almost no oven spring. It gets holey but stays dense. My loaf looked like this:

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/bigaflop.jpg[/img]

That and with Sourdom's diary about using fruits to get a starter going, plus the fact that many beginners give up for some of the same reasons as my bread above, leads me to believe that you certainly can get your beginning starter innoculated with something other than what is in the flour.

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 May 2

This is pure speculation on my part, but is based on my experience with starters and home brewed beer.
We all accept that the yeast for our starters comes from the flour. The yeast attaches itself to the grain during growing in the same way that yeast attaches itself to grapes. We would be very naive if we thought the good yeast that we want is the only one to do this, many different things float around in the air.
Past experience with homebrewed beer has shown that temperature controll is very important, because if the temperature of the brew gets too high it encourages the growth of "wild yeasts" that ruin the brew.
As I have stated before, I try a few new starters each year and in my experience if a starter is attempted on a day that the temperature is high, I quite often get the rapid start type of thing that Graham has described, with the consequent bad smell.
It is my contention that starters done in very warm conditions encourage the growth of undesirable organisms which develop rapidly. They become dominant before the protective system of the yeast/lactobacillus combination becomes established.

SourDom 2006 May 2

mmm,

I am sure that starters can become contaminated. However my guess is that unpleasant smelling starters are the result of bacterial contamination rather than yeasts.
The dried fruit are supposed to have yeast on their surface.

Is it possible for starters to become contaminated with the wrong yeast? I am not so sure

Dom

grubdog 2006 May 29

Still waiting to actually use my starters - (been rather busy currently)

I am currently storing them in kilner jars and I wanted to know whether it would be ok to use the lid on these (basically there will be no air) or whether this would kill off the starters.

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 May 2

It is ridiculous that we still have to rely mostly on our intuition to solve sourdough problems like this. Intuition is an artisan's best friend, but why hasn't anyone come up with the resources to test issues like infection in starters in controlled circumstances, such as a sterile atmosphere where potential contaminants are introduced to see how infectious they are to a flour/water mix at varying temperatures?

We would probably find that the tests have been done by some big European baking corporation and they are either protecting intellectual property or just don't see the worthiness of making the study public. Sourdough.com.au has a related project on the boil and it would be great to see two or three research-minded people collaborating to provide empirical knowledge about some of these uncertainties. The team could focus on, say, 2 of the most exciting issues so that it remained a fun exercise.

Would chembake join our research team? I do not know but he would be invited and you might end up sharing your lunch break with him. I would personally pick him up from home and deliver him to the research facility. That would give me half an hour or so to play classical music on the car stereo and go through role-plays and deep breathing exercises so that by the time chem arrived he would be full of praise and demanding a group hug. Though such a heightened level of positivity could have a negative effect on his research ability. Graham

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 May 2

Graham I agree with you on the lack of published research on the subject of starter contamination, particularly in the early stages.
Being retired, and officialy classed as disabled, I have spent a lot of time in front of the computer researching the subject of sourdough. There are extensive studies of the subject regarding activity at certain temperatures, yeast levels, lactobacillus levels (average 50 times more than yeast by the way), acidification etc, and all combinations you could think of, but of course they all concern healthy starters. I have yet to come across one scientific study of early stage contamination.

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 May 2

[quote="SourDom"]
mmm,

I am sure that starters can become contaminated. However my guess is that unpleasant smelling starters are the result of bacterial contamination rather than yeasts.
The dried fruit are supposed to have yeast on their surface.

Is it possible for starters to become contaminated with the wrong yeast? I am not so sure

Dom
[/quote]
Yeasts or bacteria, it doesn't matter which, they are both present. Its a matter of avoiding the conditions that favour the "Baddies" so that the "Goodies" get a chance. Once the "Goodies" are established the self protective mechanism of the yeast/lactobacillus symbiosis protects the brew from further contamination.
In the initial stages of a starter I consider the higher temperatures to favour the "Baddies".

Thats just my 2c worth.

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 May 2

Bill I am going to start a new starter at 1 pm today. In QLD the days can still be warm and I am expecting starter temperatures to range between 23C and 27C. This time I will catch the starter when it peaks, probably in 30 hours or so based on a similar effort last week.

At that 'peak point' or just prior, I will introduce a large amount of fresh flour and water and try to lower the evolving starter at a cooler temperature, preferably averaging around 23C. Cool temperatures will be difficult to achieve in the culturecam environment, but I shall look for a way.

My own expectation of what will happen and a suitable response is based on everyones input to this forum:

1. The flour I am using contains an abundant supply of naturally occuring yeast
2. At very warm temperatures (average 25C) (and when a medium exists to transport nutrient) the yeast is visibly active (bubbles/smell) in about 24 hours
3. The delivery of nutrient and quantity of yeast is at its greatest after about 32 hours
4. The colony of yeasts is in decline when nutrient levels diminish and by-products of yeast activity (eg acids) create an unsustainable environment for yeast
5. Bacteria that have participated in the development of the colony are more able to survive (and in some cases thrive) in the changing environment
6. Oil, er sorry, Nutrient required by yeast to survive vanishes and the by products of previous human, er yeast activity has left the environment so damaged that life is no longer viable for yeast, but it is just dandy for bacteria

Because the yeasts are overstimulated at an early stage, there is potential for the colony to burn out faster and for bacteria to take over faster. And with China consuming like the US and Australia, etc, etc, etc....

My strategy to avoid points 4,5,6 is to slow activity down by cooling at or just prior to 3. Plus lots of nutrient will be added to sustain future development.

The whole process will be viewable on [url=http://www.sourdough.com.au/culturecam]Culturecam[/url]. You are welcome to phone me on my mobile phone if you think the culture is out of control and needs attending to (I will not be able to supervise the starter full-time): M. 0400 480 053

Graham

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 May 2

Thanks Graham, will do. As a point of interest Nancy Silverton states that it takes two weeks to establish a starter.

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 May 2

OK ... I made two breads. This one was made from my 'poor slop' which over the last two weeks came to life quite nicely.

I baked them in nice bread tins my hubby gave me ... which means they weren't pretty, but they were tasty with nice crusts!

Your comments would be appreciated, and I know some of you have had much more glamorous first efforts than me, but I was quite pleased with myself. And the bread has all disappeared - which must be a good sign.

[img]http://static.flickr.com/45/138883663_d98ddcb6a0_m.jpg[/img]High-tech proofing!
[img]http://static.flickr.com/49/138883666_f6d4d495e9_m.jpg[/img]Flat loaf.
[img]http://static.flickr.com/50/138883667_1392b8e043_m.jpg[/img]The Vast Interior!

What I learnt from this is that my doughs haven't been anywhere near wet enough ... this was much wetter.

So ... how do I get bigger holes? The bread tasted nice, although not as sour as my 4 year old son would prefer! An all-round 'pleasant' utility loaf.

Unfortunately, the top of it stuck to a piece of plastic wrap which when I removed, punctured it and it flattened! There's another thing I learned! Until that happened it was a pleasant little mound.

I have also made Dan's 'pre-ferment' loaf ... but I must have done something wrong. Very wet dough, loaf flatter than the one pictured ... but nice big holes!?

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 May 2

[quote="SourYumMum"]
So ... how do I get bigger holes? --------------------------->[color=darkblue][size=18]Very wet dough[/size][/color], loaf flatter than the one pictured ... but nice big holes!?

[/quote]

See? You answered your own question.

Great first loaves!!!

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 May 2

OK then ... wetter ... wetter ... and thank you for having something kind to say about my baby bread! It is appreciated.

Hey TP, I am looking for the char sui bao recipe in eGullet ... can you pm me the link or something? I must admit I've been sidetracked by 'The Gallery Of Regrettable Foods' ... I reckon I must have one or two good photos for them!!

Carol

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 May 2

[url=http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=59538&view=findpost&p=885073]Char Siu Bao[/url] as requested. And, [url=http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=71344]Jellycake[/url] for the coming hot summer days.

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 May 2

Congratulations SourYumMum, your bread is leavened and edible! Many of the open-textured, large hole breads are baked on the sole of the oven. They benefit from a strong blast of heat underneath, giving quick spring to a wet and often less than fully proven dough. A baking stone is a good first step to open texture because making freeform loaves will change the way you prepare and shape dough...which is another influence on the texture of your bread.

Great stuff. Don't forget to look after your starter!
Graham

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 May 2

Carol, great first loaves lady. Don't get too crazy with the wet thing, there are a lot of good recipes that are high hydration, and a lot of people think that is the [b]only[/b] way to go, it's not, it is only one method. You've seen pics of my white bread with a good spread of holes, they are done at only 62% hydration.
Keep it up Carol, the more you do the more you learn and the better you get.

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 May 2

Thanks for the encouragement. I am very pleased and have learnt a lot from this latest attempt ... which I can thank the forum for giving me the encouragement to do!

Starter fed and watered.

And ready to go.

SourDom 2006 May 2

Carol,

I'll add my voice to the chorus of congratulations.

I have tended to associate bigger holes with wetter doughs (Carol Field in 'The Italian Baker' quotes a baker saying that 'the wetter the bread the better the bread'). However Bill will jump back in any moment now to disagree

But the other things that affect the 'hole' size include the flour (smaller holes with rye and wholemeal - on the whole (pun intended)) as well as how you handle the dough. If you do the 'folding' trick during bulk fermentation (I am pretty sure that Dan talks about it in his 'preferment' bread) it tends to stretch and encourage the development of pockets of air in the bread. I usually fold every hour during the first rise (also known as 'bulk fermentation).

Then you need to avoid losing any of the air that has carefully built up in your dough - to do this you need to handle the dough carefully and deftly when you shape the loaf (don't punch or knock back), and especially when you transfer into the oven. If the dough sticks, or is manhandled it will tend to deflate before it hits the oven.

For free-form loaves to get maximum height, here are three things that help
1. Bottom heat (preheat oven, and have an oven tray or stone in the oven onto which you will transfer your dough)
2. Avoid overproving. (As Graham suggests, if anything you should underprove). So try shortening the second rise time.
3. Fold the dough during the 1st rise (this gives it a bit more resilience)

On another matter...
Graham - the idea of a research group to investigate questions in home sourdough baking has been one that I have thought of before.
The logistics might be a bit offputting, but you could in theory have bakers all over the country following a set protocol for baking (with a couple of variations) and using clear outcome criteria. I am not sure how you would measure variables like the taste of loaves, or activity of starters, nor how you would go about 'blinding' assessment, but there would be a way.

cheers
Dom

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 May 2

Dom, could we just ask for 3-5 volunteers to set up CultureCams for a designated 2-4 week period? I can host them on the site and one person can be responsible for reviewing all the cams and taking a log, which would be posted on the site as available.

It is something to think about. I am happy to help get the cams up. It doesn't have to be a Cam thing...but would make it easier to verify that we are all doing the same thing, and get others interested in what we are doing. If it occurred during the coming months my role would probably be technical and coordination, rather than doing the test bakes. We (family + me) are transitioning from QLD to VIC via NSW and I will be on the road a lot in the next 6 months.

Can anyone see themselves joining a number of coordinated baking events for this project?

Graham

Anonymous 2006 May 2

Hi Carol,

That's a great first loaf... Congrats. Many more to come...

[quote]
I have also made Dan's 'pre-ferment' loaf ... but I must have done something wrong. Very wet dough, loaf flatter than the one pictured ... but nice big holes!?
[/quote]

If you are making Dan's recipe, you might want to know that Dan's starter is at 80% hydration and if your starter is 100% hydration, it will be wetter. So you might want to cut down slightly on the fluid side.

Cheers...

Don

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 May 30

[quote]
I wanted to know whether it would be ok to use the lid on these (basically there will be no air) or whether this would kill off the starters.
[/quote]

grubdog, my own way is to put a lid on loosely...not screwing it down to a complete seal. If I use glad wrap I push in two or three skewer size holes. If it is a preserve jar, I take out the rubber seal so closure is not completey air-tight.

However I am open-minded on the affect that a limited supply of air might have. How much oxygen does fermentation require, and for how long? We might find that other bakers are completely sealing their brews for certain time periods, with good results.

Graham

SourDom 2006 May 2

the preferment loaf is a yeasted loaf, so isn't affected by starter hydration. It isn't a sourdough loaf, but is a great way to develop some of the techniques for sourdough baking - including by the way, the ability to deal with wet doughs.

The secret to moist doughs is to knead on an oiled benchtop (rub a tablespoon of oil onto a clean benchtop, and over your hands), to knead briefly (Dan kneads often for only ten seconds at a time), and to avoid adding much (or even any) extra flour.

Dom

Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2006 May 2

Just to change course a bit but still in the mindset of bacteria and the like! Years ago I discovered a book about lsd and they had a great chapter about the ergot infections in rye bread and the Salem witch trials! Careful Graham! And what about vinegar where it is created by a mother?
Mother of vinegar is a slime composed of yeast and acetic acid bacteria that develops on fermenting alcoholic liquids, which turns alcohol into acetic acid with the help of oxygen from the air. It is added to wine, cider, or other alcoholic liquids to produce vinegar.

Mother of vinegar can also form in store-bought vinegar, if there is some non-fermented sugar and/or alcohol contained in the vinegar. While not appetizing in appearance, mother of vinegar is completely harmless and vinegar does not have to be discarded because of it. It can be filtered out using a coffee filter, or simply left in and ignored.

Jeremy

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 May 2

Jeremy I did not realise that you had figured out what I was up to. The Australian Bush is a wilderness full of opportunities that can only, yes [i]only[/i] be realised with the help of sourdough and [i]the mother[/i] and the produce of [i]the mother[/i]. But now you are aware, then possibly others are also and we have to be careful because there is a limit to how many people are capable of exposure to acetic acid at such cosmic quantities. Jeremy you obviously drink the same brand of red! Love to you and all in your company. Graham

Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2006 May 2

Hey Graham!
It's generation thing I suppose, I grew up at the end of the Vietnam era and was "highly" informed on the subject as well as some activities while in the Army! But I think more seriously, that food interchanges with sort of a 3 degrees of sepration sort of thing, if you can dig that idea? I alway's look at things historically as well as with a lazy knowledge of science but more an artistic "look" of nature and how it affects the soul rather than the mind(phew, gotta lay off the red!)Chembake would have a field day with this mumbo jumbo!
We definitley need to have a good dinner and a few glasses of red, or some red wine then ponder mothers (maybe Frank Zappa and the Mothers of invention!)

Jeremy

chembake 2006 May 31

[quote]
I am currently storing them in kilner jars and I wanted to know whether it would be ok to use the lid on these (basically there will be no air) or whether this would kill off the starters
[/quote]

grubdog, in microbiology, if you want the yeast to multiply you need air to invigorate them, that is why If I refreshed the starter I occasionally stir them during their lengthy fermentation time (to introduce air inside. )

If you look at large scale institutional sourdough fermentation tank there is the occasional slow stirring mechanism inside that turns the starter for the same reason.

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 May 2

Actually I read between the lines a bit with chembake and it would not surprise me if chembake joined us for dinner and bizarre conversation along with most of the other forum members. I wish I could get everyone to [url=http://sourdough.com.au/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=136]Boonderoo[/url] (this is not a plug, Boonderoo is just for the fun of it) but it's fairly isolated, particularly for you, Jeremy.

grubdog 2006 June 1

Ok - I started trying to bake my first bread today I started to use the method you gave to me earlier but was a bit stumped when it read:

[quote]
1pm Shape your loaf. Divide it in two. Put it onto a floured surface. Press gently out into disc. Take furthest end and roll tightly up towards you. Place your dough onto a well floured tea towel with the seam facing up. Repeat. Fold the long ends of the tea towel over each other. Twist the short ends so that they are tight against the end of the dough and tuck underneath the dough.
[/quote]

does it want me to wrap the tea towel tightly?, will this not prevent it from rising?
why not just leave it in a bowl to rise?
any chance you could explain this method further?
I have put dough in the friedge and will take it out in the morning for its final rising.
[/quote]

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 April 23

Well, let us hope that I can do better with my first sourdough in quite a while. As the saying goes: jump off the cliff and grow your wings on the way down .

Graham

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 June 1

[quote="grubdog"]
Ok - I started trying to bake my first bread today I started to use the method you gave to me earlier but was a bit stumped when it read:

[quote]
1pm Shape your loaf. Divide it in two. Put it onto a floured surface. Press gently out into disc. Take furthest end and roll tightly up towards you. Place your dough onto a well floured tea towel with the seam facing up. Repeat. Fold the long ends of the tea towel over each other. Twist the short ends so that they are tight against the end of the dough and tuck underneath the dough.
[/quote]

does it want me to wrap the tea towel tightly?, will this not prevent it from rising?
why not just leave it in a bowl to rise?
any chance you could explain this method further?
I have put dough in the friedge and will take it out in the morning for its final rising.
[/quote] [/quote]

Grubdog, one of the hardest things to do when you are a beginner is to trust the advice of experienced bakers, because some times the advice may be contrary to what you think. I have done this recipe several times and trust Dom's advice, it works.

northwestsourdough's picture
northwestsourdough 2006 May 2

[quote]
I baked them in nice bread tins my hubby gave me ... which means they weren't pretty, but they were tasty with nice crusts!

and I know some of you have had much more glamorous first efforts than me, but I was quite pleased with myself.
What I learnt from this is that my doughs haven't been anywhere near wet enough ... this was much wetter.

So ... how do I get bigger holes? The bread tasted nice, although not as sour as my 4 year old son would prefer! An all-round 'pleasant' utility loaf.
[/quote]

Wonderful first loaves Carol! We are all proud of you! Many give up because their first loaves aren't what they had in mind. But you have done the right thing, you have assessed what you want and what needs to change for the next batch. From here on out it is basically taking each loaf and doing the same, assess what you want done differently and change that in the next batch. Bill and Sourdom are both right in my opinion, about the holes. Wetter dough does give a more holey structure but is hard to work with and shape. Lower hydration doughs also give great holey structure, that is also in the handling, kneading,recipe,oven spring,etc. Most of my loaves are like Bill's, not too high or too low hydration, and my loaves are almost always holey!
"Some" of us may have had more glamorous loaves on our firs try, but "most" of us did not. I did not have glamorous first loaves. But I do think they dance and sing now! Great first try! Good for you!
TEresa

Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2006 May 3

Graham,
we ought to just open a forum member bakery somewhere, just do some nice bread!

Jeremy

northwestsourdough's picture
northwestsourdough 2006 May 3

[quote="Graham"]
Actually I read between the lines a bit with chembake and it would not surprise me if chembake joined us for dinner and bizarre conversation along with most of the other forum members. I wish I could get everyone to [url=http://sourdough.com.au/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=136]Boonderoo[/url] (this is not a plug, Boonderoo is just for the fun of it) but it's faily isolated, particularly for you, Jeremy.
[/quote]

Hmmmm...wish I could go. I can be bizarre if I want to!

Pages

Post Reply

Already a member? Login