it ? or a bit of a disaster

lenohbabe's picture
lenohbabe it ?  or a bit of a disaster, the forgiving sourdough always tastes good no matter what.

Just a heads up...........When you don't have the correct ingredients for a recipe .......dried apricots..............don't think about just using whatever is in your fridge.  The fabulous recipe on this site for Earl Grey Tea and Dried Apricots didn't turn out too well by me  adding preserved green figs.  When I added the well drained green figs the moment I started to knead them into the dough they excreted liquid and the fruit was just bursting out the wet dough in all directions.  So I just chucked the dough into a  lined bread tin and retarded the  in the fridge for about 18 hours.  The well fired loaf ( a bit burnt)  tasted amazing but the fruit was not incorporated evenly into the dough and was congealed round the sides of the loaf........better luck next time

The bread I baked today looked and tasted great the bread fermented and or  proved too little or too long, will I ever know,  why cant I get those great craters I see in the bread of others,  is this crumb right or wrong ?  Every loaf iI make its a lottery  how it turns out,   I really don't get the science bit, but no matter what I just adore baking with sourdough regardless of outcome.  I always feel I have achieved a masterpiece from just using some  flour ,water and salt.    I think I have to stop trying to get the science bit right and just keep aiming for that perfect loaf.


farinam's picture
farinam 2012 February 25

Hello lenohbabe,

Don't you hate it when you write a deep and meaningful reply and then forget to hit the 'save' button - grrrrrr!

Your loaves look fine externally.  By the look of the crumb shot, you have added at least some seeds and not sure what else.  The bran etc in wholemeal flour, seeds and other additives will affect the continuity of the gluten 'sheets' that are formed during dough development and will affect the crumb structure to some degree so you have to sure that the gluten is well developed to allow large gas bubbles to form and to be stable.  Also wholemeal flours are a lot thirstier that white flours and you need to work at a higher hydration to get a similar dough texture.  I have gone up to 80% hydration with 40:60 wholemeal/bread flour and I know of cases of 100% wholemeal being made at 85-90% hydration.

The recipe that I gave in my response to the other thread is a good one to practice to get your development right.  Make sure you can recognise when the dough will form a 'window'.

The fruit loaf seems to give quite a dense loaf but toasted with lashings of butter and jam - who cares.  I have made it a few times and I do have hopes of getting it a bit lighter in future but I haven't exactly worked out how yet.  I found that incorporating the fruit etc during the last two stretch and folds (of four) was a good way to do it.  The first two get a bit of strength going to hold the bits and pieces in place.  If you do get a breakout, just capture the escapees and stuff them in somewhere.  Trying to incorporate with conventional kneading, I have found is much more difficult.  Using a machine with a dough hook mushes the fruit up a great deal particularly if it has been soaked or is particularly moist as your figs seem to have been.

Let us know how you go.


PS To self - remember to 'save'.  F

lenohbabe's picture
lenohbabe 2012 February 26

Yes done that ...........Huh!! you think forgetting to save is bad, I can top that............I made up some dough last week, thought it felt unusual and halfway through bulk fermentation I realized i had forgot to put in the 300g starter...................its an age thing, on my part anyway 


 Once again thank you for you great advice.  It all seems so clear when you explain, thing is I go away and forget what you've said.  I am taking notes.............I have now got the "window" thing.........and the poke test after proving.............Is there test or tip to know your gluten is right after S & F/bulk ferment has been done ??


You do know Farinam that you can't ever dessert me with your replies.  I think I might alienated some of the other fabulous experts on the site.  I mentioned in another post, one of my first, that you were top of my league table simply because you had answered more than anyone else. Now it would appear you're the only one answering my requests for help. 

 To all the other experts out know who you are.............please forgive my stupid flippant comment,your advice and knowledge was every bit  as good a farinam.  The league table is no more ! apart from the dumb league table to which I am TOPS !!!!

regards and thanks again 

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 February 26

Hello lenohbabe,

I probably should be doing heaps of other things and maybe I just get in before the others have a chance.

The gluten is properly developed when it forms a window.  So as you stretch it it can go thinner and thinner without breaking.  When you fold it over you can trap great bubbles of air between the layers.  Once you have got that you can give the dough a rest and then do your preshape and final shaping.  If it only takes three S&Fs, all well and good, or if it takes four or five - doesn't matter by and large.  If it is overworked, and this is pretty difficult to do by hand, the gluten will start to break down and the dough will revert to being very sticky and the window forming capacity will disappear.  The other thing is that when the dough is strong enough, when you are trying to stretch it out, it will follow you around the bench because the stiction between the dough and the bench is less than the force needed to stretch the dough.  It will also tend to shrink back somewhat when you stop stretching.  Sort of like a piece of elastic - which is what they mean when they say the dough should be 'soft and elastic'.

Good luck with your projects.


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