Can I graduate from the beginners forum now?


jas's picture
jas 2009 May 22
Perhaps I'm over critical of my own work, but there is one thing I am still unhappy with - I changed from Manildra flour to Western (both strong white bakers flour), and since then the crumb has been, well, doughy.

I like the crumb to be chewy, but since the change, the texture is more like mashed potato, or an old dishcloth.  (Yeah, I'm exaggerating, but it's kind of mushy like that).

I used to have really good results with Western when I was making the same sort of bread with instant yeast, albiet with smaller bubbles, and I baked with ratios up to almost 80% then, so I can handle the wet stuff, and don't think this is about a change in hydration due to water content in the flour.

Can anyone suggest why the crumb has deteriorated in this way?  I'm using the same recipe (68% hydration) & procedure.

One hunch I have is that I threw my starter out of equilibrium when I swapped flour.  Another hunch is that the flour is just "different", and I need to adjust the baking parameters to suit it - perhaps lower temperature for longer?

Thanks for any tips,

Millciti's picture
Millciti 2009 May 23

Changing your flour can affect your starter especially if it is still a young one, but usually just till it adjusts.  Recently I had switched my whole grain starter over to spelt and it had finally gotten used to that type of flour.  But then I wanted to try Pierre Nury's Light rye that Duane (LeadDog) had in his blog.  So back to rye and wheat we went...  I had to wait a full three days of refeshing my starter to have the power i was looking for.  I finally merged some of my white starter with some of the whole grain starter to get a good response for the recipe.   I think that somehow using all spelt weakened the original rye & wheat strains of yeasts.  But also the starter for the recipe is a really thick starter at 50% hydration so it may have just been behaving differently. 

Duane's  version of Pierre Nury's Light Rye has a very interesting flavor and different method.  It might be something interesting for you to try now that you are ready to move on... 


jas's picture
jas 2009 May 23
Yeah, I think I annoyed my yeasty-beasties by changing their food - however there's still enough lift to make loaves.  I have another batch on today, and am going to try an adjustment in baking paramers.  Cooler and longer, in the hope that it cooks the inside more without damaging the crust.

I have been cooking at 225C for 20min then 200 for 20min.  (I throw ice cubes in the oven when the loaves go in.) 

I'll probably do the whole lot at 200C today and see what happens.
LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2009 May 24
I have been doing sourdough for over two years and I still feel like I'm just beginning.  Your bread looks fine.  I have found that different flours behave differently and I have to adjust things to get the response that I want.  You are on the right track just keep experimenting.
Millciti I think I'm going to have to revisit my blog on Pierre Nury's Light Rye,  I didn't know that I had changed method.  It is a wonderfully flavored bread, I do remember that much.
jas's picture
jas 2009 May 24
I know what you mean about experimenting LeadDog - I'm a "parameter tweaker", on the basis that I think it builds understanding of the processes at work.

Looks like my hunch was correct: a longer-slower bake worked nicely on my last batch of bread.
Millciti's picture
Millciti 2009 May 25
You did a spot on job in your interpretation of the recipe from Daniel Leaders's book - Local Breads.  What I was getting at was that Jas should try some other types of sourdough breads.  The method for that bread calls for a lower hydration starter.   And as you noted in your blog you learned a lot from the ciabatta bake off last summer.  I know that I also learned a lot from that challenge.  I thought it might be a good place for Jas to go, since I finally got around to trying it. It turned out great so don't go and get shy now about your baking!!  You do a great job!

So Jas you should go over and visit the ciabatta bake off, and LeadDog's Blog on Pierre's bread and give them a try. 

By the way Duane its been a while since we had a good bake off, sniff :( ,,,  we all need a good challenge, they help us to learn, after all we are all still learning.

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2009 May 25
TP said she was going to do a pretzel bake off.  I guess anyone can start a post.  I have some starter warming up to do the Pierre Nury's Light Rye.  Monday is a holiday and I get an extra day to bake.  I have never made the Light Rye in warm weather but I'm expecting wonderful results.  That bread tastes so good it is hard to be patient.

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