Not looking too good..

DVTO2

So I have been able to create a rye starter and proof and bake a pretty good pumpernickel in a loaf pan.  Now I am trying to convert the starter to whole wheat.  I am getting a decent rise out of the starter and am using Lisa Rayor's recipe for whole wheat which is:

 

20 oz's stater (at 100% hydration)

6.7 ozs Hodgsen Mill Whole wheat flour

2.5 oz's water

1.5 teaspoons of kosher salt

 

 

I am getting a decent rise of ouf the dough but and have poofed it three times, but have not got it to pass the "window pane" test.  The skin is kind of "cratered" and not smooth and I can shape the dough into a ball but it flattens out on the board.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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farinam's picture
farinam 2012 March 4
Hello DVTO2, Where did you get the recipe for starters? That is an extraordinary amount of starter to be using (68%) where a more normal amount would be between 10 and 20%. Also what do you mean you 'poofed' it three times - not a bread-making terminology that I have come across? A bit more detail of your timeline would help as well. The other thing is, 100% wholemeal is a bit difficult to work with because the bran and germ and other lumpy bits interfere with the structure of the gluten and make it less strong so perhaps you should use a blend of white bread flour and wholemeal to start with until you get your method right. Hope this helps for starters. Farinam
DVTO2 2012 March 4

The amount of starter is right from Lisa Raynor's recipe for basic whole artisan bread.  Proofing is her terminology, as wel l, for letting the dough rise after kneading it, primarily by folding it.  Having made the 20 oz's of culture, I mixed the other ingrediants about 7 in the evening and folded it again around 11 that night. The next time was about 8:00 the  next morning.  She uses 100% whole wheat and I was having trouble with this starter with the white flour I had so I was keeping with the whole wheat.  The end result is supposed to be a dough with 75% hydration. 

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 March 4

Hello DVTO2,

As a rule of thumb, in my experience at least, the time from mixing the dough to being ready to bake should be about the same in total as the time that it takes your starter to peak after feeding (at the same or similar temperatures).

Unless it was particularly cold, there is a possibility that the dough was over-proved, even though you were still trying to go through the development stages.

I would perhaps consider going to a recipe such as SourDom's Pane Francesa which has a blend of wholemeal and white bread flour and making it several times until you can make an acceptable loaf with that.  When you have mastered it, then you can work towards higher wholemeal loaves.  You will find that as you progress to larger proportions of wholemeal flour you will have to increase the hydration to maintain the dough consistency because of the higher water absorption of the bran in the wholemeal.

Good luck with your projects.

Farinam

DVTO2 2012 March 4

The amount of starter is right from Lisa Raynor's recipe for basic whole artisan bread.  Proofing is her terminology, as wel l, for letting the dough rise after kneading it, primarily by folding it.  Having made the 20 oz's of culture, I mixed the other ingrediants about 7 in the evening and folded it again around 11 that night. The next time was about 8:00 the  next morning.  She uses 100% whole wheat and I was having trouble with this starter with the white flour I had so I was keeping with the whole wheat.  The end result is supposed to be a dough with 75% hydration. 

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2012 March 4

 My first guess is that the dough is over proofed.  When sourdough ferments it produces acid and as the acid builds up it breaks down the gluten that holds the dough together until you have a pancake.  I would use the dough to make a flat bread because it still is a good tasting bread.

Farinam has a good suggestion and that is to find a simple recipe like SourDom's Pane Francesa and keep making it over until you know it very well. 

Changing the flour that you feed your starter from rye to white wheat can cause the microbes to wonder what happened to their food.  You can try a blend of whole wheat and white flour and gradually move to white.  It lessens the shock of the change and the microbes get use to their new food.

DVTO2 2012 March 4

I am wondering if it was unkneaded, or, either over or under hydrated.  I never got the dough to a smooth consistency.  

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 March 4

Hello DVTO2,

With the large proportion of starter, I think you are starting behind the eight ball. Depending upon the time since its last feed, the gluten content of that flour could already be broken down. You then add a very small amount of new flour that has to provide the entire strength of the dough. There is also a comparatively small amount of food introduced to keep the culture working.

The hydration at 75% should be fine for a 100% wholemeal - probably could be even higher all things being equal. I very much doubt that it was under-hydrated. Using the stretch and fold technique will produce a strong smooth dough though as I said 100% wholemeal can pose some problems due to the presence of bran and germ. This is a reason for using a proportion of white bread flour, to reduce the influence of these particles by lowering the concentration.

At room temperature the S&Fs are usually done at hourly intervals through the bulk fermentation stage of about four hours (depending on temperature)

I assume that you are weighing your ingredients (both for your starter maintenance and dough preparation) so that your hydrations are accurate.

I strongly recommend that you make the Pane Francesa and see what the difference is. It should be perfectly fine to use your existing starter if you don't want to spend the time to convert it to something closer to the dough flour proportions.

Keep on bakin'

Farinam

DVTO2 2012 March 4

I have new all purpose flour, a Whole Foods organic, so I'll try to use this in the Pane Francesca recipe till I get my technique more nailed down.  Thanks much for the comments.

DVTO2 2012 March 7

So I tried the Pane Francesa as was recommended.  I'm still not sure I am getting a good fermentation from my home grown rye to whole wheat to all purpose wheat flour sour dough.  The rye seems to do great but the wheats are not rising as much - I may try buying some starter.  

 

I followed Sourdom's directions. Here are some shots 1) 2 1/2 hours into the second rise (90 minutes before baking), 2) just out of the oven, and 3) a crumb shot after about 3 hours of cooling.  The interior cooked to 220 degrees but the crust seems a little on the soft side and not as brown as I'd have liked, but maybe it's suppsoed to be that way.  I might try increasing the temperature of the oven from 410 to 450, or so, to see if I could get a crispier, browner crust. I did expect a bit more rise at some point, either in the proofing or while baking.  

 

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 March 7

Hi DVTO2,

Unfortunately your pictures don't seem to have posted.  I am not sure what goes on sometimes. 

Does your post edit box have a toolbar at the top? 

If it doesn't, then it seems that the photos don't post even though they might appear when you edit.

If it does, then you should be able to put your pics in using the icon with the mountain and sun but the pics have to be stored on the web with an URL (your Gallery on this site is OK but flickr etc is OK as well).  You don't seem to be able to move out of the edit page to copy the URLs when you need them so you have to write them down before you start posting.  You might be able to open a second Tab at your Gallery and go back and forth to copy/paste the URL into the dialog box that comes up from the icon press.  It is also possible to just copy/paste but you also seem to need to be in the edit box with the toolbar for this to work.

Increasing your oven temperature should certainly give you a darker crust - provided that there are sugars still available to caramelise.  Every oven is different and you may need to adjust your temperature and times from those published to get the result that you want. 

If you look at my Fifty Loaves blog you will see the sort of result I am getting from this recipe.

In the meantime, I think you should persist and make this recipe a few more times.  You might just be surprised at the difference that comes with practice.  But, you must be observant and take noticce of what is happeneing to the dough - look, feel, texture, smell - everything.

Good luck with your projects.

Farinam

DVTO2 2012 March 8

I am not sure how I uploaded the first picture but I can't seem to imbed pictures in teh forum.  I did upload them to my gallery.  In thinking about it, maybe the effort wasn't so bad.  The crumb seems acceptable and the flatness of the loaf my be due to how I proofed the loaf.  I'll keep trying.

DVTO2 2012 March 8

Thanks, Farinam.  So is the flatness of the bread due to my difficulties with structuring the dough.  I had it rolled up tighter and taller but it fell during the 2nd proof - is this why one uses a banneton?

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 March 8

Hello DVTO2,

Generally, as far as I use the terms anyway, the first stage of production from mixing the dough, through developing the dough (by kneading, stretch and fold or whatever) up to the stage of shaping the loaf is classified as bulk ferment or preferment.  After the loaf has been shaped is classified as proving.

I assume that what you have called 2nd proof is actually what I would call just proving.  Your post suggests that this was 4 hours.  Your didn't indicate how long the process had been going before this.

The loaf does look as if the dough was fairly slack and if your ingredient measurement was all correct, I would not normally expect that to be the case for this recipe.  That leads me to think that somehow your dough has over proved which will cause slackness as the gluten starts to break down.  This can also give rise to the pale colour because all of the sugars have been used up and there are none left to take part in the browning reactions.

Other causes of a pale crust are lack of salt, low oven temperature and too much steam in the oven.  I would certainly try another loaf at a higher oven temperature.  Have you checked your oven temperature with an oven thermometer or similar?

Some sort of support during proving will help, but if the dough is very soft, either due to high hydration or to overproving, it will still spread quite quickly when you turn it out.  May I ask, how you have been keeping your loaf during proving - if not in a basket or banneton?

Hang in there - you will get there in the end.

Farinam

dave 2012 March 8

All purpose flour is no good for bread, it's for cakes, biscuits, and pies. You're not the problem, the flour is.

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 March 8

Hello DVTO2 and dave,

According to some reading I have done, all purpose flour can be variable in protein (gluten) content depending on the region and source.  It can be in the range 10-12% but it can be as low as 8%.  Bread flour is mostly in the range 12-14%.

I have made perfectly good bread with flour reporting 11.5% protein so if it is a high range all purpose it might be OK.  If it is a low range all purpose, possibly not.

Do you know what the protein content of your flour is DVTO2?

Perhaps seek out some bread flour and use the all purpose to make cakes/cookies.

Keep on bakin'

Farinam

DVTO2 2012 March 8

The package says 3 grams of protein per 30 grams of flour, so 10%.  I got the idea for All Purpose Flour from the Wood's book:

 

After many experiments, we have become convinced that "better for bread flour" with its "stronger" gluten is not neccessarily better for sourdough bread. Stronger gluten resists stretching and forms small uniform holes, producing unintersting texture.  The preferred sourdough texture, or "crumb", has large irregular holes.  We now use unbleached, all purpose flour, with it's somewhat weaker gluten"  (Classic Sourdoughs, 2011, Wood and Wood, p. 18).

 

My time frames followed the steps just as SourDom described them.  I just "proved" the loaves by shaping them by hand without any support. and leaving them on a flat surface  I don't have a banneton but I thought I would try a colander/towel next time.  It does seem like my dough might be too slack.

 

i'll get an oven thermometer at some point.  

 

Thanks for all the advice. 

 

 

chazzone 2012 March 10

 Very interesting project.  I hope you don't get discouraged.  farinam is giving you some great advice.  I think he has you on the right track.
BTW, the whole "proof" thing is something that is common to the US.  That's the terminology that I grew up with.  One of the first things I noticed when I found SC is that, apparently it's different across the Big Puddle.  Someone once said that "America and Great Britain were separated by a common language".

There are a couple of things I'd like to throw into the mix.  

First is your starter, it's only been a short time since you changed it from rye to wheat.  You'd have to think that it's still sorting itself out to some extent.   It's certainly not gonna be at a peak right now, so timing is very important, and you may not get the best results right away.  You mentioned that you were thinking of buying new starter, I'd say just let yours "find itself".  If you took just a couple of ounces and started feeding it every time it doubled, then that stuff would be roaring in a coupe of days.
BTW, when you mix the loaf, are you giving a 30 minute autolyze before adding salt?  Probably not a big deal, but it helps the gluten that does develop, absorb moisture and develop better.   
If you're going to make a bread with a big starter, then I think that you'd want to get that starter incorporated into the final flour as close to peak as possible.  That means as soon as the starter doubles after feeding, you want to add the flour.  Don't wait for it to fall.  This has already been touched on, but I thought it important to reinforce.  
If the four is on the low side for gluten, there might be some benefit from more frequent stretch and folds during your initial proof/bulk ferment.  Gluten typically only needs about 20-30 minutes to relax, and is ready to be stretched again.  
I bake all  my "white" sourdough with unbleached All Purpose, and it's absolutely fine for that, but the multi-grain stuff I make, I use a mix of AP and Bread Flour.  
Good luck, and I look forward to seeing you move forward on this.

-zz
 

 

DVTO2 2012 March 11

Yea, I am having trouble with the conversion from rye to wheat.  I am working on a 50/50 whole meal/all purpose and it is hardly budging.  I am getting doubling with a whole meal wheat.

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 March 11

Hello DVTO2,

I maintain my starter with 20% rye and 80% bread flour.  I gather that the rye has all sorts of enzymes and things that the beasties love.  If you didn't want such a large proportion then you could start with 5% and see how it goes.

Let us know how you go.

Farinam

DVTO2 2012 March 12

So I am thinking that variations in hydration and flour are having a big impact on my projects.  My first all purpose wheat was too wet, I think, and it did not hold its shape very well.  I did a 100% whole meal wheat today that had about 74% hydration that came out pretty good.  I turned up the heat to 450 degrees, and when I measured my oven temp it was ore like 425, so, farinam, the oven temp hypothesis was a good one.  My wholemeal dough did not pass the window pane test but it did hold together for the stretching and folding.  It's a bit dense, like my whole meal rye bread, but pretty good.  I'll try post some shots in my archive and if I can figure it out, link it to this thread.  My next effort hass been a 50% whole meal 50% all purpose wheat which when I measured added in the 74% hydration, was very dry and difficult to knead and proof.  It was very stiff in the folding and also never passed the window pane test - its resting in the fridge tonight.  I'll give it a long rise tomorrow at room temp before I bake it.  I am guessing I may have measured something wrong and did not add enough water - so getting the hydration right seems to be my biggest challenge right now. 

And what the heck is the dimpling for after all the folding in SourDom's recipe?

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 March 12

Hello DVTO2,

As I think I said previously, wholemeal is more of a problem to work with because of the presence of germ and bran that interferes with the gluten strands and so you are less likely to be able to make a really good window.

For a half and half wholemeal, the higher water capacity of the wholemeal will make for a stiffer dough just as you described.  You might have to go up to 80% for a blend like that.  Once again it needs a bit of experimentation and feel because flours vary quite a bit and you might have to vary the hydration up or down to suit.  There can be an effect of the seasons and weather as well.  You have to be flexible, if not elastic.

Not sure what you mean by the dimpling, I had a quick look but could not see what you were referring to, but I suspect that it is just finger marks from thinning the dough ball before stretching/shaping.

Your loaf will probably rise quite a bit in the fridge (it doesn't stop - only slows down) and so you might not need much time after taking it out.  Many people just leave the loaf out of the fridge for the time that it takes to heat up the oven and stone to get the worst of the chill off.  If you leave it too long, you run the risk of over-proving.

Let us know how you go.

Farinam

DVTO2 2012 March 13

 

From SourDom's recipe:

"Shape the dough.
Divide in two. place on a floured surface and roll up into a tight cylinder. Dimple the surface vigorously with fingertips, and place the dough seam-side up on a piece of greaseproof paper, or a linen towel (generously coated with rye flour). Cover

[At this point I usually put the dough in the fridge overnight]"

 

 

 

 

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 March 13

Good morning DVTO2,

I think SourDom would have to answer that one.  If he had been making focaccia then I could understand as the finger marks act like docking of pastry and limit the rise to keep the bread 'flat'.

I'd be by-passing that part of the step unless somebody can come up with a good explanation.

Farinam

dave 2012 March 14

Maybe it's to get rid of holes.

Good shaping would do the same.

 

Edit: I meant gas bubbles.

DVTO2 2012 March 15

So I did another try at Pane Francesa, still working on a 50% Whole Wheat/ 50% All Puropose recipe.  I worked on the starter for a few days.  I altered the starter recipe by using 100% hydration (Sourdom only uses 50% in this step) - total hydration was about 73% in the final dough.  I also skipped the putting it in the fridge and just let it rise for four hours after the third folding.  The dough was nice and stretchy, coming pretty close to the "window pane test".  Here's a what it looks like:

 

 

Thanks for all the advice!  I'm sure I'll be back for more.

chazzone 2012 March 18

 Next time, you might give the fridge treatment a try.  I was hesitant, since I was always trying to keep my breads warm to increase raising.  What I found completely blew me away.   I've been using cold proofing since I got back into bread season this past September.  I really like what it does for all the breads that I make, including pizza dough.  I can stretch the making process over several days, and more sugars continue to be released from the flour, which contributes to better color, flavor, and a better final raise.  It also makes the dough more workable.  Might be a real plus for your whole meal...

 

chazzone 2012 March 18

 Next time, you might give the fridge treatment a try.  I was hesitant, since I was always trying to keep my breads warm to increase raising.  What I found completely blew me away.   I've been using cold proofing since I got back into bread season this past September.  I really like what it does for all the breads that I make, including pizza dough.  I can stretch the making process over several days, and more sugars continue to be released from the flour, which contributes to better color, flavor, and a better final raise.  It also makes the dough more workable.  Might be a real plus for your whole meal...

 

DVTO2 2012 March 19

So here is a whole wheat and whole rye rye effort.  I used Sourdom's Pane Francesa recipe with the following modifications.  I used 100% hydration for the starter and an 80% hydratin for the dough.  chazzone, I did proof the whole wheat in the fridge for about 18 hours, and then took it out for another 4 hours the next day.  The rye was just left out overnight.  I was able to stretch and fold the whole wheat dough but I simply scoop the rye into a bread pan for the proofing before tossing it inot the over the next day. The one thing that still frustrated me for the wheat was that when I transitioned the dough from the towled colander to the stone, it flattened out quite a bit.  I got some of the shape back with the baking,  Still, I'm pretty happy with the wheat.  I've been doing pretty well with the rye/pumpernickle but won't see that crumb till tomorrow.  Here are some shots:

Whole wheat and rye

 

Whole wheat crumb

 

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