I've just started making sourdough (and any kind of breads) recently, and have learnt a lot from this forum and similar resources
I got some starter from Loafer bakery (through a contact) so I am pretty confident that it is good... I haven't seemed to get it hugely active but i'm still working on that, not quite sure why it isn't. I keep it in the fridge but for the first loaves it was fresh and fed daily. Maybe its the weather, or it's not happy to have been taken away from its cushy bakery job!
Anyway, I have made 2 batches of bread so far and both have tasted nice, and have had minor problems which I am getting used to.
So there's some background.
There are a few questions I have wondered about and I can't find specific answers for them, so here goes!
1. I am feeding my starter with 100g of water and 100g of flour, which is what seems to be a good basic thing, but i'm not sure if the consistency is coming out right... when i make a sponge and leave it, i can see that it is active because bubbles are forming, but they are big bubbles (close to 1cm) instead of the tiny frothy ones i have seen in pictures. The sponge also is quite stretchy, not runny at all... I am now trying a sponge with 100g of flour and 1 CUP of water (which is around 200ml i think) and seeing what that will do.
I will attach (hopefully!) an image of my starter consistency tomorrow. I really don't know what it should look like because the photos tend to show runnier, bubblier ones but my bread has *kinda* worked so far (not heaps of rising though i guess).
2. I seem to be getting skins on things that shouldn't have them - When i am proofing my dough it gets quite dry on top which i am a bit concerned might affect the rise potential. I have covered the bowl and put it in a bag as suggested. I saw a picture of a bit of dough in a cup and there's actually condensation inside as it proofs.
Also, I have just noticed that my SPONGE has also formed a skin within 12 hours of being mixed... can't be good, methinks.
I live in melbourne, we have fairly dry heat (and today was pretty warm).
3. I have been using the Pana Francese from sourDom's blog:
180g starter (36%)
320g water (64%)
450g white bakers flour (90%)
50g wholemeal flour (10%)
10g salt (2%)
it involves the method of stirring and leaving, quick knead for 10 sec, repeat a few times...
I was wondering, can this method be interchanged with a normal kneading method where you knead for about 10-15 mins (is that what they call intensive mixing?). I quite enjoy the kneading, and also it is easier for time to do it all at once for me rather than being in and out of the kitchen over the first hour. But i know that it can be hard to knead the wet doughs...
I would assume that to do the regular kneading method i would just knead and then leave it to rise (essentially just skipping all the knead-rest cycles)?
OK i think that will be enough questions for now! I will probably add more as i get more issues
thanks so much for any responses