Help a beginner please!

NicolaJane

Hi,
I am fairly new to sourdough and need a little help with some basics. Some questions I have are:
1. What is the idea proving temperature and what is the idea dough temperature during this time?
2. My starter never doubles in size after feeding when left at room temperature, yet all the info says it should and that the time of maximum volume is when to bake with it. Is this true? What is a good starter volume to use and what is a good program?
3. What is the ideal protein content of the bread flour? Some say 12-15%. Should I be adding some gluten flour to the mix?
4. What affects oven spring?
5. Sometimes my loaves look great except for an increased denceness at the bottom. What can cause this?
Any comments would be appreciated. So far, the bread is getting better each time (with the odd learing experience in between). A very addictive pursuit!
Cheers, NicolaJane.

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NicolaJane 2006 September 11

Bill,
A dumb question. And believe me, there will be more.
What do you mean by the flour multiplication factor?
And another, I currently have an all white starter. Is there a problem with changing this over to a rye starter? The recipe I have been using all along (keeping to more or less the same one until I can get the basics right) calls for 20% rye flour. If I use a rye based starter, should I just use white flour in the mix? Also, is there a good reference somewhere explaining the chemistry of what is happening in the bread?
It seems like the more I try to learn, the more I realise that this is a lifelong thing, that I will always be learning.
Thanks for all your patience.
Cheers, Nicky.

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 September 12

Hi Nicky, sorry to be so long in getting back to you but I've been fairly busy for a while.
"What do you mean by the flour multiplication factor?" I'm not sure what you are refering to here, could you expand a bit.

There is no problem changing your starter over to rye, and there is no problem using either starter in your recipe, I would not leave out the rye just because you are using a rye starter. You may get some satisfaction out of feeding your starter just 20% rye which is the same proportion in your recipe. You will find that your starter will be more active with the addition of some rye.

NicolaJane 2006 September 12

Thanks Bill for your advice.
In a previous posting where you were talking about the Detmold feeding regime, you quoted from "Samantha" on the stages and listed a flour multiplycation factor for each stage. I am just not clear on what this means.
Cheers, Nicky.

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 September 12

Nicky, unless you have a method of accuratly controlling the temperature of your starter then forget about the Detmold process.

bianchifan's picture
bianchifan 2006 September 12

Hello Nicky,

carla's listed some links (thanks carla) and you may follow a chain of links.. but I think you've discovered all...(I must take a closer look to samartha's sourdough calc sometimes)

multiplication factor (Arkady rule) is a uitlity to determine the amount of meal /flour for the following stage in a process using several stages. In the past, it could be experimentally show that 3 stages are enough, more stages don't make sense, so the Arkady rule is used for 3-stage Processes only.

It says, that you multiplicate the used flour in a given stage with the time of the following in hours. For exaple, if you choose a basic sour over night and want it to rest for 12 hours you you have to take 12 a lot of the refresh amount. If it would rest only 7 hours, bacause you wanna choose a long 3rd period overnight, you'd only take 7 a lot.
If you want to do a process very closed to a Detmold 3-stage and your final sourdough woulb be at about 500 g the starter amount is very very small. The Det-3-st isn't the best choose for homebaker, it will constrict you. ANd it's designed for rye-starters only. wheat starters have very, really verry minimal acetic acid, they will have much more lactat. So there are many methods to do some wheat, and most of them you cannot compare.
IMHO the essence for homebakers is ti limit the used starter. Once you have a googd starter, you need only a teaspoon (or half) to refresh with 100 g flour. I don't think, its a good idea, to refresh 100 g starter with 100 g flour/water.
If you are further on interested in Det-3-st, I can give you a link to a calculater designed for homebakers, where you you may choose you time of starting with bakaing process. But its in German, for english translation I may ask the developer.

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 September 12

[quote="NicolaJane"]
Thanks Bill for your advice.
In a previous posting where you were talking about the Detmold feeding regime, you quoted from "Samantha" on the stages and listed a flour multiplycation factor for each stage. I am just not clear on what this means.
Cheers, Nicky.
[/quote]
Nicky you've got me mixed up with someone else.

carla's picture
carla 2006 September 13

[quote="bianchifan"]
But its in German, for english translation I may ask the developer.
[/quote]

Please don't bianchifan - as I will get another PM "...could you please translate..."

NicolaJane 2006 September 15

Thanks heaps for your info Bichafin (sorry - I know that spelling is incorrect!)
Just baked with my starter that now knows I love it after all and starting to see some real progress. As an experiment I knocked back only one loaf toward the end of the first ferment and really nowiced that there were less airbubbles in that loaf compared to the other. Also, I baked the loaves 1/2 hour apart and it was amazing to see that I was spot on with one loaf, but had obviously overproven the second. I feel like I have really learnt something this week.
Does anyone routinely knock back their loaves in the first ferment?
Cheers, Nicky.

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 September 15

Only very gently to redistribute some of the food for the yeasties and to stretch out the gas holes. Be careful to do it gently so as not to lose the gas you have developed.

Croc 2006 August 23

before some gurus post perfect info let me give you a little bit

1. ~27C

2. if starter is very young (i will continue to do that all time regardless of age) stir it up after refreshing at 2-3hours mark, it makes big difference also you will notice that bubbles are more even all around your starter

3. lauke wallaby is 11.9% and everyone loves it around here but you can make bread with even lower protein content, i set myself low end as 11.5% and refuse to buy flour with less than that.

4. EVERYTHING
a)overproofing/underproofing (both bad in different ways, i prefer to keep it right or JUST underproofed and never overproofed)
b)oven temp (bottom and top)
c) slashing, best way i find is way bill shown us, 45 degree, this let the bread go up and sideways all it needs without crust cracking, going short way with slashes and spring is not too good and you can be almost sure that you will have cracks
d) steam, helps to keep crust on soft side while bread is growing up
e) some more i bet wait for others

5. most the time overproofing but i guess low temp at the bottom of your owen could be responsible for it as well

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 August 23

[quote="Croc"]
5. most the time overproofing but i guess low temp at the bottom of your [size=24]owen[/size] could be responsible for it as well
[/quote]

[size=18]Aaarrrrrrrghhh! CROC! You're driving me nutz with the 'W'!!![/size]

*cough* smoothening down hair....Welcome, Nicolajane! Please feel free to browse. I won't be chipping in on the rights and wrongs bcoz I'm at a neither here nor there level at the moment and I'm not loyal to any particular type of flour nor their protein level. That croc fella with the V problem is sprinting up the curve!

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 August 23

Hi NicolaJane, welcome to the forum and may your stay be a pleasant one. In answer to your questions I offer the following that I have picked up over the years.
1. Opinions may vary but I keep my active starters and prove my dough at 25C.

2. A starter doubling in size is entirely dependent on what hydration your starter is at. A 100% hydration starter is pretty thick and has the ability to hold the gas and so it will rise quite spectacularly, whereas a 166% hydration starter is a liquid that does not have the ability to hold gas and the best you can expect is a froth on the surface.

3. When you ask about the ideal protein level I assume for general bread baking, as different levels of protein have different effects. I quite often mix in lower protein flour or even bake with all lower protein flour. However to get back to the original question, anything over 11% is considered to be OK, but as the saying goes "oils aint oils Sol" the same applies to flour. There are some 11% flours around that people have tried and both the taste and performance leave a little to be desired. Croc has mentioned Laucke Wallaby Flour, this is a proven good tasting and good performing flour which is actually 11.5% protein, and if you can get hold of some you will be very happy with it.

4. Oven spring can be affected by a few things but mainly the stage of proofing, this is one of the hardest things to learn, "when to bake", only experience will help you get it right, and even then you will misjudge it sometimes, we all do.

5. Ah, dense at the bottom but the rest of the loaf looks OK. Usually a clear sign that you should have shoved it in the oven a little sooner, yes a bit overproofed. Overproofing is where the dough activity has reached the point where it is weakening the walls of the gas cells and they are no longer able to support the weight of the dough, this is why a slight overproof always shows up on the bottom of a loaf. With a major overproof the whole dough will collapse and ooze across the baking stone and not rise very much. Suprisingly, most overproofed loaves still taste pretty good, especially as toast.

The above may not make a lot of sense to you at the moment but as you gain experience you will begin to understand cause and effect. Keep asking questions, that's what the forum is all about.

Croc 2006 August 23

[quote="Bill44"]
Croc has mentioned Laucke Wallaby Flour, this is a proven good tasting and good performing flour which is actually 11.5% protein, and if you can get hold of some you will be very happy with it.
[/quote]

i'm going to get hit by lighting for this but i think i have to correct bill
laucke wallaby is 11.9%
laucke organic is 11.5%

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 August 23

My appologies Croc, you are correct. The last time I looked it was 11.5, aparently there has been an upgrade in protein content some months ago.

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