Help a beginner please!

Hi,
I am fairly new to sourdough and need a little help with some basics. Some questions I have are:
1. What is the idea proving temperature and what is the idea dough temperature during this time?
2. My starter never doubles in size after feeding when left at room temperature, yet all the info says it should and that the time of maximum volume is when to bake with it. Is this true? What is a good starter volume to use and what is a good program?
3. What is the ideal protein content of the bread flour? Some say 12-15%. Should I be adding some gluten flour to the mix?
4. What affects oven spring?
5. Sometimes my loaves look great except for an increased denceness at the bottom. What can cause this?
Any comments would be appreciated. So far, the bread is getting better each time (with the odd learing experience in between). A very addictive pursuit!
Cheers, NicolaJane.


65 comments

Oh carly, you may start soon...but you will need some passwords I fear

Thanks heaps for your info Bichafin (sorry - I know that spelling is incorrect!)
Just baked with my starter that now knows I love it after all and starting to see some real progress. As an experiment I knocked back only one loaf toward the end of the first ferment and really nowiced that there were less airbubbles in that loaf compared to the other. Also, I baked the loaves 1/2 hour apart and it was amazing to see that I was spot on with one loaf, but had obviously overproven the second. I feel like I have really learnt something this week.
Does anyone routinely knock back their loaves in the first ferment?
Cheers, Nicky.


Only very gently to redistribute some of the food for the yeasties and to stretch out the gas holes. Be careful to do it gently so as not to lose the gas you have developed.

[quote="bianchifan"]
But its in German, for english translation I may ask the developer.
[/quote]

Please don't bianchifan - as I will get another PM "...could you please translate..."

Razz

[quote="NicolaJane"]
Thanks Bill for your advice.
In a previous posting where you were talking about the Detmold feeding regime, you quoted from "Samantha" on the stages and listed a flour multiplycation factor for each stage. I am just not clear on what this means.
Cheers, Nicky.
[/quote]
Nicky you've got me mixed up with someone else.

Nicky, unless you have a method of accuratly controlling the temperature of your starter then forget about the Detmold process.

Hello Nicky,

carla's listed some links (thanks carla) and you may follow a chain of links.. but I think you've discovered all...(I must take a closer look to samartha's sourdough calc sometimes)

multiplication factor (Arkady rule) is a uitlity to determine the amount of meal /flour for the following stage in a process using several stages. In the past, it could be experimentally show that 3 stages are enough, more stages don't make sense, so the Arkady rule is used for 3-stage Processes only.

It says, that you multiplicate the used flour in a given stage with the time of the following in hours. For exaple, if you choose a basic sour over night and want it to rest for 12 hours you you have to take 12 a lot of the refresh amount. If it would rest only 7 hours, bacause you wanna choose a long 3rd period overnight, you'd only take 7 a lot.
If you want to do a process very closed to a Detmold 3-stage and your final sourdough woulb be at about 500 g the starter amount is very very small. The Det-3-st isn't the best choose for homebaker, it will constrict you. ANd it's designed for rye-starters only. wheat starters have very, really verry minimal acetic acid, they will have much more lactat. So there are many methods to do some wheat, and most of them you cannot compare.
IMHO the essence for homebakers is ti limit the used starter. Once you have a googd starter, you need only a teaspoon (or half) to refresh with 100 g flour. I don't think, its a good idea, to refresh 100 g starter with 100 g flour/water.
If you are further on interested in Det-3-st, I can give you a link to a calculater designed for homebakers, where you you may choose you time of starting with bakaing process. But its in German, for english translation I may ask the developer.

Hi Nicky, sorry to be so long in getting back to you but I've been fairly busy for a while.
"What do you mean by the flour multiplication factor?" I'm not sure what you are refering to here, could you expand a bit.

There is no problem changing your starter over to rye, and there is no problem using either starter in your recipe, I would not leave out the rye just because you are using a rye starter. You may get some satisfaction out of feeding your starter just 20% rye which is the same proportion in your recipe. You will find that your starter will be more active with the addition of some rye.

Thanks Bill for your advice.
In a previous posting where you were talking about the Detmold feeding regime, you quoted from "Samantha" on the stages and listed a flour multiplycation factor for each stage. I am just not clear on what this means.
Cheers, Nicky.


Bill,
A dumb question. And believe me, there will be more.
What do you mean by the flour multiplication factor?
And another, I currently have an all white starter. Is there a problem with changing this over to a rye starter? The recipe I have been using all along (keeping to more or less the same one until I can get the basics right) calls for 20% rye flour. If I use a rye based starter, should I just use white flour in the mix? Also, is there a good reference somewhere explaining the chemistry of what is happening in the bread?
It seems like the more I try to learn, the more I realise that this is a lifelong thing, that I will always be learning.
Thanks for all your patience.
Cheers, Nicky.


Thank you Bill. Will let you know how I go.
Off to feed the starter now!
Cheers, Nicky.


[quote="NicolaJane"]
I want to know how many times should I feed prior to baking and how long before?
[/quote]
Hi Nicky,

I must look over the forum whether there is an expanation of Det-3-stagees.
In case of not I 'll post something upon.
Please, don't use such high temps, nver > 30° C, only at proving-time, there but only there you can use 35 - 39° C.

Yes bianchifan there are some good explanations [url=http://sourdough.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2315&highlight=#2315][b]here[/b][/url]

And two recipes [url=http://sourdough.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2430&highlight=#2430][b]here[/b][/url]

Good luck!

Thanks heaps again for all your help.
I was not aware that I was feeding the starter too little or that the 39degs was knocking the poor fellas about. What is a good temperature?
Also, Bianchifan, about the German regime, I want to know how many times should I feed prior to baking and how long before? I will try the 12g starter to 100g flour and 100g water to refresh. Also, do I need to knock the bread back towards the end of the bulk fermentation? I thought I did, but I am just going off a recipe by Dean brettscneider from his and Lorraine Jacobs book "Taste - baking with flavour".
Thanks heaps again - I am sure it will happen for me one day.
Nicky


25C - 27C is a good range but down to 20C is fine, try not to go over 30C.

You say your starter looks active, so how can it be the problem?

Actually, there's no need to knock back the dough for sourdough breads. On the contrary, a very gentle touch is desired....you don't want to burst any bubbles which have so slowly build up. Why don't you try the 45-60 mins turn and folds?


Nicky, that 39 degrees may have played hell with your starter, bit warm lady.

Hello Nicky,

an active looking starter isn't all, 39 deg ( I assume Celsius) is much too high. You will get lots of lactat and your fungis will work so hard, its bubblling and bubbling, but they won't breed

Crying or Very sad

, they're bathed in sweat like you sitting in a suomi sauna at 120 deg Cel. (I like it, but I don't make any sports in there).

[quote]
Can I have that German regime in ABC form?
[/quote]
It's not clear to me, I don't know exacly what you want.

I think the starter may be a problem too. I have just baked this morning and the bread is vile. I think I have been over proofing the bread and today seems to be underproofed. Very dense, some big bubbles, small loaf size. Gross. I bulk proofed for only 2.5 hours before knocking back, then putting it into the fridge overnight. But it had barely risen at all.
I fed 200g starter with 100g flour and 100g water 24 hours prior then fed this with 200g water and flour 6 hours prior, then placed start @ 39degs. It looked pretty active. I need a regime that works. Can I have that German regime in ABC form? Please help!
Nicky.


[quote="NicolaJane"]
My starter is fed using 1/2 starter, 1/4 water and 1/4 flour. Also I add liquid malt extract
[/quote]
Hello Nicky, it's better to give the starter some more food at refreshing time, he's hungry, aren't you?
In Germany there is a rule for refreshing by several stages, named ARCADY, you feed 12 g starter with 100 g flour and water each, for example.
You mustn't look to close to the hydration, a low hydration as you told above, is only appreciated for wheat dough only, better is a higher hydration at about 100%. Rye starters need much more hadration, best results with 150 % hyd. at beginning. Only the last stage should be at 100 %, in special cases you may use 80%.

I hope, you havn't kick the malty juice to the starter? You may add to the dough what ever you want, starter is flour/meal and water only. In special cases salt, but rhat a very special way of doughing and mostly unsuitable for beginners.
I recommand rye starter at beginning, no wheat. but i you find it easier with white wheat, do it.
I don't know you recipe, so I can't tell you more at this time.

Don't worry and have a good baking.

Oii! Get your watch out of this thread...your breads have already taken up unnecessary space.


Nic - yes, but we try to pretend to be conscientious.

Rolling Eyes

Croc -

Laughing

Laughing

Laughing

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i really like my new (old) watch

Bake Me !

[quote="NicolaJane"]
My starter is fed using 1/2 starter, 1/4 water and 1/4 flour.
[/quote]

Hmm....excuse the layman lingo...but methinks your beasties may not be getting enough food. I work with 1T starter, 3/4 C water and 1 C flour. That would make a 100% hydration starter by weight.


talk about hijacking
this was one hell of a hijack

anyway hydration starter from what it sounds like is 100% hydration (you do include this in final calculation lets say 50gr/50gr (water/flour) add to your totals in finall recipe

i'm not sure about malt as i don't use it myself but if you don't use it much don't calculate it, just like with oil in recipe it is not part of hydration calculation.

65-70% in general but it is not a rule, play with it and remember that same brand of flour at my place counld be not as dry as yours so to hit same TRUE hydration i would have to use more water than you so don't stress it, but i find that high hydration does makes texture really nice and open, i used to hate working on dough like this but now that i got used to it i love, so easy compared to lower hydration doughs.

look at bills calculators here if you want to play with different combinations

http://www.sourdough.com.au/learn/tools/

as for trying bit of this and bit of that, is up to you, it does makes learning easy to stick with one recipe and watch what happens to it as you change hydration, or proofing time, or kneading style, baking temp, etc.....
it helps to understand whole process and consequences of one or other changes.
saying that i toy with recipes a lot and do many different things, it might take bit longer to grasp some ideas but is great fun too but if you bake for family make sure you make your "good" bread at the same time so if you end up with experimental flop they got other one to eat

Laughing

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Is it normal to have a forum completely hijacked?
I have another question if someone can help me. I have read up on the bakers percentage and understand the concept. However, how do you calculate the hydration of the starter? I imagine that the water in the starter would affect your overall water content, but how do I work out what this is? My starter is fed using 1/2 starter, 1/4 water and 1/4 flour. Also I add liquid malt extract - should I count the water in this too? And should sourdough be in the 65-70% hydration range as stated in that article at artisan.net.? Is that what I should aim for. Also, the recipe I have used all along to learn has 83% white flour and 17% rye flour. I have yeat to stray too far from this as I am keen to get the whole concept right first. Should I just get white only bread right firts? Is this easier.
So many questions. I appreciate any comments.
Cheers, Nicky.


Don't forget the Wurst and brezels Bill!

Jeremy

A belated welcome to you, Nicky! I've been out of the loop for a few weeks.

You will find everyone here helpful, amusing, irritating (in their fantastic abilities!) ... did I say HELPFUL?!

We look forward to seeing lots of your bread!

Carol

And they also make damn good beer.

Laughing

Oh, Carla, Germans are not only direct and abrupt, they're also so warm that their bear hugs will squeeze the 'oom pah pah' out of you!


Hmmm - my direct, abrupt Germanic way of asking the obvious is killing the thread

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[quote="TeckPoh"]
Great breads, croc!

As for putting money where the mouth is, I'd settle for more talk even if it doesn't come with pix, especially if the theory/words are creditable. No pix no biggie. Reading a book vs watching a film based on the book.
[/quote]

"especially if the theory/words are creditable" This is my whole point TP, establishing credibility as a baker, not just sitting back like an "armchair critic" who has picked up all their information off the internet and spouts forth like an expert.

now you trouble bill

Laughing

Bake Me !

Who is getting up your nose Bill?

here is one i somehow forgot to post
this one is 1kg sourdough, one of my latest bakes.
poor thing didn't even got crumb pictures (family was very hungry) but was just as great looking as the rest of this loaf.

[img]http://www.sourdough.com.au/gallery/d/4626-2/lastsd.JPG[/img]

Bake Me !

Great breads, croc!

As for putting money where the mouth is, I'd settle for more talk even if it doesn't come with pix, especially if the theory/words are creditable. No pix no biggie. Reading a book vs watching a film based on the book.


was too busy eating my bread to post pictures

Razz

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i take pictures of just about every bread i bake, not just finished bake but also quite a few during whole process to compare, most of them get forgoten but some make it here.

Bake Me !

little bit of history for everyone (because poor sucker got eaten

Smile

)

[img]http://www.sourdough.com.au/gallery/d/4629-2/yum_.JPG[/img]

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what i really liked about this two breads was how the crust looked and tasted, i guess the little amount of yeast made the difference and because of that it was very slow proofing for yeasted bread (~ 3hours total)

also what really shocked me was the so much more open crumb compared to my every other yeasted bake with 100% of strong flour where here i got almost as much plain flour as much i had strong flours (both flours were laucke)

Bake Me !

Yep, must have the pics. We know you are getting better Croc but we would like to see the results.

On the subject of photos, and baking credibility, we have had in the past a very critical poster and never saw a loaf of bread he made. It would appear that we have another one with us, not you Croc, that seems willing to voice his opinion. He would have a lot more credibility if we could see some of his baking, and I would take him a lot more seriously. It's easy to talk the walk, but it's another thing to actually walk the walk.

So where are those pictures before you have eaten it all???

Razz

You glutton! Think of your poor hungry family.

Now you know why some of us love this book so much! Try and catch up with me, bro. I've done at least 10 recipes already.


oh my god

i waited 35min before first slice and it was more than enough since the size was not so big.
anyway what a magic, it looks great, it smells fantastic, crumb got perfect texture (better than my breads with 100% of 11.9% protein flour breads)
taste is great as well.

half of first loaf is GONE (all me

Very Happy

) but i got some pictures

Bake Me !

i just had another slice ..........YUM
ok i lied, i had not just one but two more slices
at this speed my family will have no bread in a morning

Laughing

Bake Me !

Thanks heaps, will check out the link.
Nicky.


[quote="TeckPoh"]
Which one, which one? I just made his Apple and Custard Loaf yesterday. SLurp.
[/quote]

the basic white loaf, it is yeasted recipe but very different way, with DL steps of short kneadings and this one got addition of plain flour also it uses very little yeast compared to other recipes i been doing so the proofing time it longer.......

just got them out of the owen, made two small breads (400gr each), they look great, and smell fantastic, i put little bit too much flour on the baking tray but other than that all seem perfect, now just got to wait for them to cool down ..............................................................(this is worst than watching grass growing)

i guess i could make little bit deeper cuts, but didn't think after almost 3hour of proofing time dough would be still bit underproofed so oven lift got little bit limited but still great with slashes opening up to max and one got slight split in a centre, with deeper cuts i would get it even better but for first shot i'm very happy with what came out of the owen.

pics will come soon

Bake Me !

Thanks heaps for you reply.
The thing I dont understand is what the percentage hydration means.
In a nutshell, can you please explain the bakers percentage concept, say for 1kg of flour. I really appreaciate your time.
Cheers, Nicky.


Nicky, have a good look at the link and then come back with your questions. It will save a lot of writing.
[url]http://www.theartisan.net/bakers_percentage_revised_2001.htm[/url]

huge help for beginers (and the pros) is dan's book.
i just got it today from one of members around here that double ordered and it is money well spent no question, i don't think i ever seen baking book (or any other cooking book) with such great pictures and detailed info.

Bake Me !