Adjusting for summer?

saralexis

I bake sourdough almost every day in my bread machine (3 kids under 6 don't allow for kneading!). I was getting a great, consistent loaf all through winter but in the two sunny days we've had my bread hasn't risen nearly as much (though enough to still be good). My recipe is:

300g refreshed starter (100%, I refresh it, divide it immediately and put 300 in the machine, the rest back in the fridge)

Then I add on top, without mixing:

300g water

400g White bread flour

7g salt

4 hr rest followed by 4 hr bread cycle.

Any tips to adjust for the weather?

Thanks! Sarah

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LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2011 June 6

That is strange.  Summer weather should make the bread rise faster.  Have you changed the flour, salt, or water?  If you haven't changed anything else and want to try to adjust for the weather then try shortening the 4 hour rest before the bread cycle.  That is what I would guess to do but the problem could be something totally different.

saralexis 2011 June 6

I haven't changed anything, have shortened the rest time a little (1 hour) to no obvious effect. I did run out of rye flour (I used to do half and half rye and white for the refresh) but that was a few weeks before the change...

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2011 June 6

 It might seem like a stretch to you but it could be the lack of Rye for the refresh.  Many people use Rye to perk up their starters.  Rye is said to make a starter more active.  It might have taken a few weeks for the starter to calm down from being fed Rye.  This is a possibility of what has happened to your bread.

saralexis 2011 June 6
Thanks for your thoughts, I've managed to get some rye in now so I'll see... I didn't think it would take that long for the rye to wear off!
saralexis 2011 June 6
Oh but wait, today is rainy and my bread rise better again... Not quite as good as before bit better than on the warmer days. Weird. Maybe a combination of lack of rye and weather. If I reintroduce rye and the rise is still below par then what? Try reducing the rest time more?
LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2011 June 6

 Warm weather should increase microbial activity that is why I suggested to decrease the rest period.  I was thinking it was so warm that the dough raised and was declining or over proofed.  You might have a totally different reason why it is doing what it is doing but I can't think of any other reason right now.

farinam's picture
farinam 2011 June 7

Hello Saralexis,

Just looking at your recipe.  Am I understanding correctly that your starter is 100% hydration?

If so, then your dough hydration works out at 82% which is OK but perhaps a little lower hydration would give you a better rise.

The other thing is, you say you add on top without mixing then 4hrs rest.  Does that mean that the ingredients sit there unmixed for 4hrs?  Mainly just curious.

Keep on bakin'

Farinam

Franz 2011 June 7

Hello Saralexis.

 

You refresh your starter by doubling its volume. You immediately divide it and put half into the bread machine. I would suggest to let the newly fed starter mature 6 to 8 hrs (depending on room teperature) before mixing it with the recipe. You will have many more bacteria ready to go to work during the 4 hr rest period. You should be getting a much better rise regardless of weather conditions.

Best regards, Franz

saralexis 2011 June 9
Thanks for all the thoughts. I refreshed the starter with 100g rye and 100g white today and it nearly climbed out of the tin. It's amazing the effect of the rye lasted so many weeks (3 or 4 I think!) of frequent baking! In answer to your questions, yes the starter is at 100% hydration. When I've added the ingredients to refresh the starter I mix them well and then put 300g in the bottom of the bread machine. I then put the extra water and flour, with salt (kept away from other ingredients on top of some dry flour as I understand it's not great for my precious starter!). It then sits for four hours before the machine starts to mix/knead. It seems to work very well and means that I can put it all together in 10 mins and just wait for the beep 8 hrs later. I'd love to make it by hand but doing it this way makes it practical for me to make all our bread, which just couldn't happen otherwise. I've added all sorts of extras to this recipe- seeds, milk instead of water, nuts and raisins etc and its great every time- if I keep giving the starter rye it seems! Sarah
farinam's picture
farinam 2011 June 10

Wow, who said you couldn't do sourdough in a machine - other than the palish crust one could hardly fault it.  And if you can set and forget and manage the kidlets, who could blame you.

And the only difference is rye in the starter?

I'm going to send this thread to my daughter.

Farinam

saralexis 2011 June 10

The only difference is the rye in the starter. I'd like a darker crust on top, and I get a hole in the bottom from the paddle of course- but small prices to pay for mix and forget bread every day. Thanks for the compliments :D

saralexis 2011 June 10
While I was tweaking my recipe I found that the high hydration makes a big difference, and apparently the rye is crucial too. It was, I must admit, my husband's idea to put all ingredients in at once, starter first and the rest unmixed on top. It makes all the difference though to be able to leave it like that.
farinam's picture
farinam 2011 June 10

Just another thought.  My daughter has a bread m/c but she only uses it for the dough preparation (yeasted bread admittedly at this stage) and then tins it and bakes in the conventional oven.  Something to consider for a nicer crust and no ruddy great hole in the bottom./;-{)}

Farinam

saralexis 2011 June 10

It's a good idea, I may well do it at some point but the lure of the bread machine is strong :) I've done that for pizza dough on busy days (still sourdough) but haven't actually tried it for a loaf. Usually if I have more time I make it by hand.

I hope your daughter has a go at sourdough in the machine- you can't beat sourdough!

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