can someone tell me why my bread isnt sour?

nowonmai

hi all,

Just joined this site a few weeks ago, and love the content. The more of us there are, the better! I have a question to throw out there, regarding sourness of my bread. I have a wholemeal starter, fed daily, and once a week with a small amount of fresh orange juice, and a small amount of wholemeal rye. Its extremely active, and has a fantastic prove time as well as consistent results. I am achieving all i want to in terms of crumb texture and loaf shape, but for some reason i cant get that real 'sourdough' flavour into the bread. I was wondering if anyone had any tips for me? My doughs usually prove for a minimum of 10 hours total if baking the same day, and up to 24 hours if retarding overnight. I have tried everything i can think of to get it more sour, but cant seem to manage it! (tasting the starter on its own, its incredibly sour, but it seems to get lost after baking)

thanks!

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JohnD's picture
JohnD 2008 February 25

Sounds goodmate, but if you want it sour, I reckon lose the orange juice.

Where do you make it? in a regular bakery or...?

I tasted a "sourdough" like that in the recent Melb bread show. The maker,a TAFE instructor,swore no yeast had ever gone into it, and that it was kosher.... i dunno... It was  so suprising in the middle of all the sourdoughs.Tasted like he had a Sacc C culture .... more than just  poolish or sponge made, but a culture. That may be possible?? I wish i could remember where i heard that somone had cultured the Sacc C yeast from a sourdough culture!

Keep it and maybe just start another one from scratch?

 I hope someones got a far out explanation.

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 February 25

Last year, we had some discussion on Don's starter which didn't produce a typical sourdough taste. Don't know if it tasted sour on its own before being made into bread. Frankly, I don't mind having some 'unsour' strain (if there is indeed one) to cater to some local tastebuds. As it is, I can't see why yours doesn't produce a mouth-puckering bread given those proving times. Mine would.

Waiting for more input....
Danubian's picture
Danubian 2008 February 25
G'day Nowonmai,

Before I can give you some meaningful suggestions I need to ask you some questions.

  • Is the wholemeal or rye stoneground?
  • which type flour is added to the bread dough?
  • there's been lots of talk about diastatic malt, do you add diastatic malt at the sourdough stage or the bread dough stage?
  • how long do you ferment the sourdough prior to incorporation into the bread dough?
  • what is the water content of the sourdough and the bread dough?
  • at what temperature is the sourdough allowed to ferment?
  • how old is the sourdough?
To satisfy my own curiosity, where did you get the idea to add orange juice on a regular basis?

Finally, acidic flavour is not always desired. Yes, it's a feature of some styles of sourdough bread, but it is possible to make fantastic, aromatic, and deeply natural flavoured bread with a  mild acidic profile.

However, I understand the desire to be the master the process and achieve deliberate variations as you may fancy different flavours at different times. After all, it's nice when food is a pleasure and not just a matter of nutrition.


Croc 2008 February 25

i be happy to take your starter :)

i been trying for a while now to get some not so sour starter happening.

might try your orange juce trick (fresh orange i figure and not bottled shop juce, right?)


 

Danubian's picture
Danubian 2008 February 25
[quote=TeckPoh]
Frankly, I don't mind having some 'unsour' strain (if there is indeed one) to cater to some local tastebuds.
Waiting for more input....
[/quote]

TP, if you're seeking a less acidic bread, reduce the floor time of the sourdough as well as the final proof. Do not refrigerate on final proof or use a sourdough that's been in the fridge but one refreshed. It should not linger after maturity but use directly.

To clarify, instead of allowing your sourdough to ferment for 8-12 hours, allow it to ferment for 3 hours and refresh, 3 hours again and refresh, but make the absorption level at first & second stage 200% and don't just mix to combine, incorporate some air with a little beating. Up to 4 stages at 3 hours each, third and fourth with absorption at 150% and 100% respectively, each stage will further yeast production and allow the final bread dough to gas sufficiently prior to intense acid production and increased acid volume. 22-24'C is best at each stage.

Notice that a fermenting sourdough gases more in the early part of the fermentation? That's the time that the yeast is most active. If I were to graph the development of the pH it begins to take a lower trajectory until about the 4 hour mark. Conversely the TA begins to take a higher trajectory at about the same time. To shorten the time frames between dilutions with flour and water encourages yeast growth at the expense of Lactics. Further, to increase  water and incorporate air favours yeast development.

Final tip, don't use diastatic malt for this one in either sourdough or bread dough. It follows that a lower extraction flour will reduce the TA and keep the pH higher.

Of course, the fine tuning of the variables in your kitchen makes it difficult to explain here and now but you can work it through and achieve some varying acid profiles.

nowonmai 2008 February 25
no, its just my private obsession! i'm a chef, who got jacked off with eating crap bread produced around, and decided that since i believed in making or growing everything else myself, i should take that philosophy and apply it to bread as well. The orange juice is fresh, and i got the idea from the first Dan Lepard book, Baker & Spice. the starter didnt follow a strict recipe, but i studied and just sort of threw it together (equal parts organic wholemeal, and water from a natural spring on my families organic farm) I added the rye due the flavour profile, and use organic stoneground wholemeal rye. I've never used yeast in it, and dont actually own any....i'm determined to avoid that temptation untill i get to a level with my sourdough i'm happy with. dont get me wrong though, the flavour and texture of the bread is great, but i'm really after that sour taste.
nowonmai 2008 February 25

Danubian,

the rye is stoneground, the wholemeal i believe not (although the starter was started with stoneground, done fresh on a family grinder

depending on what bread i'm making, organic white, organic rye, or organic wholemeal, all with around 12% protein. I have to confess i dont actually use diastatic malt at all - the closest i get to that is ground roasted barley, and then only for taste. the starter is refreshed 6 hours before using as a general rule, as i seem to get the best results just after it has peaked. i have experimented by leaving it up to 14 hours, with no appreciable difference in results, bar a fantastically blistered crust! the started is around 150% hydration (although i cant garauntee that), and my usual dough is around 70% hydration. the starter is fermented at around 20 celcius. the starter is about 5 months old.

The flavour i am getting is fantastic, rich and full of character, and for the most part i have been really lucky with this starter. its incredibly active, and very predictable in its lift. The reason i'm chasing sour is when i started baking i tried a loaf from a well known victorian bakery, and have been trying ever since to recreate that flavour. I'm new to this, and am basically teaching myself as i go along.


 

Danubian's picture
Danubian 2008 February 26
[quote=nowonmai]

Danubian,

the rye is stoneground, the wholemeal i believe not (although the starter was started with stoneground, done fresh on a family grinder

depending on what bread i'm making, organic white, organic rye, or organic wholemeal, all with around 12% protein. I have to confess i dont actually use diastatic malt at all - the closest i get to that is ground roasted barley, and then only for taste. the starter is refreshed 6 hours before using as a general rule, as i seem to get the best results just after it has peaked. i have experimented by leaving it up to 14 hours, with no appreciable difference in results, bar a fantastically blistered crust! the started is around 150% hydration (although i cant garauntee that), and my usual dough is around 70% hydration. the starter is fermented at around 20 celcius. the starter is about 5 months old.

The flavour i am getting is fantastic, rich and full of character, and for the most part i have been really lucky with this starter. its incredibly active, and very predictable in its lift. The reason i'm chasing sour is when i started baking i tried a loaf from a well known victorian bakery, and have been trying ever since to recreate that flavour. I'm new to this, and am basically teaching myself as i go along.
[/quote]


Sounds terrific!

I agree with John, first loose the OJ. I'm guessing having never used OJ, but to explain what I have in mind. OJ is acidic, since Australian flours have tendency to be deficient in alpha amylase, which limits the production of maltose during fermentation, the OJ may be exacerbating the problem. As sourdoughs ferment acid is produced. However, when sufficient acid is produced amylase enzymes are deactivated limiting further aicd production. Lactics in sourdoughs metabolise maltose, but sourdough yeasts by and large don't, that's one reason they can cohabitate.

Second thing to try is increase the fermentation time of your sourdough - what you call starter - to 12 hours, but use 50% starter to the sourdough flour weight to inoculate the sourdough. For example;

Sourdough
  • starter (mature sourdough)                                      1.000 *
  • flour, high extraction (meal of rye or wheat) is best     2.000
  • water @ 20'C                                                           1.200
  • total                                                                        3.200
  • Time    12hrs
  • temp    20'C
Add to the balance of the bread dough ingredients but use the soudough at the following rate. The flour in the sourdough approx 30% of the total flour

Bread dough
  • sourdough                                                               3.200
  • Flour (desired type/ conbination)                                4.666
  • water +/- (depending on the meal/flour) @ 20'C          3.266
  • salt (as desired, I recomend 2% of total flour)               .133               

* (not included in the total but put aside for the next batch)

Bulk fermentation  4-6 hours
Temp                    22-24'C
scale and recover    30 min
mould/shape
Final proof            15-18 hours (refrigerated) 3 hours room temp
Bake in solid oven with initial steam

Finally, you could use a modest amount of diastatic malt in the bread dough @ .5% or the flour weight. But I would think it's not needed due to the high extraction flour (rye/wheat meal) The higher flour extraction rate, the higher the ash content and amylase activity. If using only Australian white flour, I'd use diastatic malt, not roasted barley malt. BTW just to try, dispense with the roasted barley (only a suggestion, it masks the true grain flavour)

Ok, I'm not telling you how to suck eggs, your bread sounds fantastic, the above is just a suggestion which incorporates the essentials for a low pH and a high TA which should give you the acid you desire.

PS small grinders are great but if there's any variation in damaged starch amounts from batch to batch (all other thngs being equal) will affect the pH and TA able to be achieved in your sourdough.

Good luck, I'd be keen to know how you go.



JohnD's picture
JohnD 2008 February 26

Well theres a story in that isnt there? have you considered that the bread from the well known bakery might not be as "fantastic" as yours? Perhaps the attenuated sourness you have achieved might be closer to the mark.

Also you cannot achieve the same taste from a home-made loaf as a commercial bakery  because  bulk dough has such a different dynamic, as does the baking.

wow danubian is firing, thats good options hes provided you, and a sound rationale re the wierdness of the orange juice, which is innocuous for fun,but i think would really start messing with your culture over time.

There is a time honoured culinary incompatibility of raw citrus and cereals, beyond mere flavouring. 

 


 

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 February 26
[quote=Danubian]

TP, if you're seeking a less acidic bread,......
[/quote]

Will start refreshing my starter first thing in the morning.



Panevino 2008 February 26
Hey John, Lallemand has a line of dried sour cultures that contain the Sacc C yeast strain.  Their literature claims that it's derived from a sourdough culture.  Their sourdough line of cultures is called "Lalvain du Jour".  There are several types which are a combination Sacc C and various bacteria strains, like LB Brevis, LB Pantarum and others.  I ordered some packages out of curiosity but have never cheated on my own starter!!

Tony
JohnD's picture
JohnD 2008 February 26
Im unaware of them. Could you give me a web site or contact please Tony? Glad you are true to your own!! Thanks for that...........John 
nowonmai 2008 February 26

thanks all for the input. As we speak i am attempting a bread based off a starter fermented for 12 hours, at around 18celsius. the ferment smells incredible, so hopefully the bread will come out the same!

Danubian - when i next get to days off i will try your suggestions, and very much appreciated they are! I'm not sure where to get my hands on diastatic malt, but i will go searching. The grinder i have been using is fairly consistent in its end product, and even though not especially sour the wheat flavour of the end result is incredible. This is all just a learning curve, and i'm not afraid to royally stuff it up, so if you have any suggestions at all i will certainly try them out!

JD - I will lose the oj, i got the idea from a book i own on artisan baking. apparently oj is used as a primary agent in 'biga acida'....i just thought it was an interesting excercise to try it out. Funnily enough, my first forays into baking my own sourdough came from a book inherited from my mother, a little tome called 'the natural tucker bread book'! still one of my favourite references.

Danubian's picture
Danubian 2008 February 26

You should be able to find it, but why not make your own? Since you've got a grinder, and I assume you can procure barley, but wheat will do just as well. There are several posters here who produce their own diastatic malt.

See this thread http://sourdough.com.au/?q=forum/topic/1126#comment-8396 

Graham's post has some useful links.

Grinding meal for bread; my reference to the variable results with grinding may be off target in your case, however, if the grinder is set to produce a coarse meal this may not produce sufficient starch damage for best results. In the light of Australian grain having a tendency to amylase defficiency, more starch damage may be required. The reason is not a mystery, damaged starch degrades more readily by amylase/diastase enzymes. This provides the Lactics with sufficient sugars to produce their by-products. How to determine the level of damage can only be ascertained by bake trials. Of course, too much damage is detrimental which gives rise to another raft of problems.

Good luck.

JohnD's picture
JohnD 2008 February 26

Interesting that you grind your own flour.I have done this lots,and it always results in sweeter wheaten flavoured bread.I wondered if it was because the flour didnt oxidise?

cheers mate,your mum heh!

JohnD's picture
JohnD 2008 February 28
Thanks heaps Tony...but what a frustrating site, i couldnt get any juice, just links with corporate(dare i say imperialist) designs on the baking trade....got any more info on them, or how to access, as i would really like to see their product lists?
Panevino 2008 February 28
Hey John, all I did when I discovered them was use their "contact us" and emailed them for more information and a contact #.  After a couple of tries I was able to talk to a salesperson who then sent out a couple of sample pouches with some data sheets.  I would do the same if I were you and ask if they have a sales rep where you are or close to where you are.  They are very engaged in all thing fermentative.  I came across this company in "the handbook of dough fermentation" , in one of the last chapters.  They were mentioned with a couple of other similar companies who culture yeast and bacteria.

PS: I've also sent them an email asking for an Australian rep and if they get back to me I will pass it along.

Cheers,

Tony
nowonmai 2008 February 28

thanks everyone for the advice. I tried a batch following danubians advice, and the end result, while not especially sour, had a fantastic lingering aftertaste, and the texture was what i'd been searching for. i pre-fermented for 16 hours, then bulk proved for another 8, with 4 folds, before shaping.

as for grinding the flour, the end result is certainly sweeter, with a an almost honey aftertaste (not sure if this is the wheat i am using, or my imagination!

thanks again all

Danubian's picture
Danubian 2008 February 28

If using your own ground meal, try going a bit finer to damage more starch. If flour from a miller, the damage will probably be sufficient but the amylase defficient!

The amount of finer meal doesn't need to be entire, but at least a 1/3 for the sourdough and the same for the bread dough. 

The sourdough put good time in to build a good foundation, but the final proof required must also be sufficient. What length of time was the final proof? 

I can't stress enough the problem with amylase in Australian flour, especially during these dry years.

How was the bread different this time, in crust,  crumb, and flavour, to the way you're accustomed to make it?

EDIT: One more thing I forgot to mention; if the OJ, and it truned out defficient amylase in home ground meal has been regular practice from first off, it may take several cycles to increase the population of Lactics to optimum.

Incidently, the most acidic bread I make is entirely of rye meal (100%) with a portion of it soaked over night to increase the maltose level. It's so acidic it even freightens East Europeans. LOL 

JohnD's picture
JohnD 2008 February 28

nah,not imagination...think about it,how could you actually imagine that...we are trained to think that such sensory references are "our imagination"...in fact,the"imagination" is the generating force in art,culture and invention....and we need more imagination in the baking trade!! taste on,your 'honey" reference is well documented,and i share it with some wheats,and also ferments.

Again,freshly ground flour is loaded with these sorts of flavours and aromas which decline with the age of the flour, and sometimes disappear when the flour is sifted down to white.

JohnD's picture
JohnD 2008 February 28


Hey danubian, would love to play with your starter culture,but like you,am megabusy ATM. Just opening a new venture. No axes heh,im just seeking the grail too.

On another tack....ive always sprouted wheat to classic malting length,and used it in my breads... im adding amylase right? I grind the sprouts with water in a blender,till finely ground,and add it to either leaven or dough.It seems to do the trick,i document it in my bread book.Seems to me better than di malt, and easier really.

Danubian's picture
Danubian 2008 February 28
[quote=JohnD]


Hey danubian, would love to play with your starter culture,but like you,am megabusy ATM. Just opening a new venture. No axes heh,im just seeking the grail too.

On another tack....ive always sprouted wheat to classic malting length,and used it in my breads... im adding amylase right? I grind the sprouts with water in a blender,till finely ground,and add it to either leaven or dough.It seems to do the trick,i document it in my bread book.Seems to me better than di malt, and easier really.

[/quote]

Yep, amylase and maltose. Amylase or diastase are two enzymes in fact, alpha & beta. As you know Australian flours have a tendency to lack alpha, but has beta in abundance. Makes no difference since these are specific in their action they can't substitute each others role. Specifically, starches are complex long chain sugars referred to as "polysaccharides". Alpha initiates the degradation much like a catalyst, the result are "dextrins" a simpler polysacchride but complex none the less. Beta initiates the degradation of the dextrines to a simpler sugar, a "disaccharide" maltose.

If sprouting grain as you do then drying in a very low oven, ground to a fine powder but taking care the moisture content ends below 13%, but slightly lower is even better. It can store for quite some time and it can be weighed easily as desired. I reckon the slurry is a bit fiddly and lacks the ability to store.

Alternatively it can be bought as "diastatic" malt which means the enzymes are active. It's the same as the powder made in the process at home described above but less variable. It's not the same as adding sweet malt or maltose liquid which can only be added to a dough in finite amounts but can still be either exhausted or excessive. To offset the defficiency in Australian flour its the active enzyme that you want, to do its work, providing Lactics with maltose over the entire length of the fermentation time.

I looked in your book THE NATURAL TUCKER BREAD BOOK but couldn't locate the the stuff you described. Is it in another book?

I'm sure you know all this stuff but I thought it useful for those who don't.
JohnD's picture
JohnD 2008 February 28
Thanks,yep,On pp 43 i talk about it in reference to keeping leavens,and again in the wheat/rye sprout bread.and describe how to sprout them. Your right theres no detail,as it was 1982 and nobody was really ready for sourdough,let alone detail. Its my mind,lol, ive been recently writing it all up for a book im working on....i knew what i was doing with the enzymes ,but as i say,it was a bit like wichcraft then. We also made an "essene" bread,soley from wheat sprouts,and it dripped malt and was incredibly delicious.
nowonmai 2008 February 29

heh, i do a similar rye bread, using a gelatinised mix made the day before. heavy as hell, but extremely tasty. not especially sour, but i reckon once my starter has come back online fully it'll be seriously good.

the bread that came out beautifully was not significantly different interms of texture (although the crumb was a touch more pronounced, the result of a shitload of extra liquid. i've been playing with hydration levels, and ended up at around 75%). the crust was more developed, with that nice blistered finish. I also hit it with a much higher initial oven temp, then went a touch lower for the second half of baking. really nice results there.

the flavour was the main thing. It was certainly more sour, but in an extremely pleasant way, almost sweet/sour. initially it was almost a caramel flavour, then the sourness came through afterwards. really tasty - and i actually got some photos of it (silly ,but it felt like a real achievement!) will be trying to replicate it this days off, so will post the results. am also going to try a fruit bread, using oats in the initial ferment - i did it once before, and it came out with the most amazing texture.


 

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