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First Trial with San Francisco starter # 3

I am experimenting with San Francisco starter # 3 today. The starter is only four days old and the bacteria responsible for producing the flavor are not yet mature, however the yeast is doing well, so I started a preferment last night. In the morning the starter looked like this:

San Francisco # 3

It also smelled terrific, nice and pungent and sour, not the dirty sock syndrome!

I put it back into the mixer and did up the One Night Sponge Sour Recipe. Only I used the preferment instead of the motherdough called for in the recipe. The dough did a bulk ferment in five hours and started crawling out of the bowl! I pushed it down and waited another two hours. Then I shaped loaves.The three larger loaves were all 1 lb 12 oz the smaller loaf was 1 lb 2 oz. The loaves were proofing too quickly so I put half of the loaves in the refrigerator and took them out when I had the other two loaves in the oven baking. I miscalled the proofing though. The first two loaves were underproofed. It is funny but sometimes the whitish cast to the baked bread that you can get with overproofed dough also happens with underproofed dough. Here is the proof:

first two loaves

The second two loaves were proofed just right and came out great.

 second two loaves

The loaves are really tasty so far while still warm and I bet the sour will be more pronounced when completely cooled. Here you can see all four loaves. Guess which ones were underproofed?

All four loaves

 I know Nancy Silverton in her book on the Breads of La Brea Bakery talked about perfectly proofed loaves blooming in color and smell etc. If you can catch them at the right moment…there is nothing quite like a sourdough proofed to perfection. Just keep trying. This was a promising firs bake with this starter, I will have another go at it soon.

SF number 3 crumb

Wheat Nubbins Loaves

Here is the bread I started in the earlier post. It is a lower hydration dough with sifted Whole Wheat flour, some sifted Rye flour and some boiled cracked wheat nubbins. I expect the crumb to be finer and I also put in the salt earlier this time to slow down the fermentation because my Northwest Starter is just bulk fermenting too fast for what I want at only 3- 4 hours and I want it more like six hours for that great long fermentation flavor. I also added melted butter and malt syrup for flavor and moistness. I am hoping to wet the crust and roll the dough in the part of the wheat that was sifted out, (the branny part) before slashing and baking. The dough is proofing right now in its finished shape and I will be baking it in about two more hours more or less. Or I might glaze the bread this time for something new to do. I will get back with you.

The bread turned out great! We have overcast skies today, so I had a hard time taking a picture to show you how wheaty and colorful the loaves look. In the pictures they look washed out. Maybe tomorrow we will see the sun and I can take a couple more pics. Anyway, I was also baking a roast in the oven, (yes, it isn’t hot here on the coast 🙂 ) I tried to put the first loaf in with the roast turned sideways, I didn’t have a skinny peel so the cookie sheet I was using wouldn’t fit into the oven enough for me to plop my dough onto the stone. I tried jerking it fast anyway, and it fell partway off the stone and I had to try to pull it up onto the stone, it gasped a little and I made it but….gee…not fair.

I did decide to cover the top in the sifted bran particles of the flour I used to make the bread. I spritzed the loaves and coated on the branny stuff. Then I slashed and baked. Here is the boule loaf:

Wheat Nubbins

Here are all three loaves:

Three loaves

Here is how the crumb looks on the boule:

Wheat crumb

The sifted Whole Wheat flour makes a great crumb. The loaves were just slightly over 2 lbs each. I made the recipe using the motherdough and a one night style technique so there was a preferment mixed together in the late evening, and a buildup of the dough in the morning, bulk ferment, and then baking. It is easier to tell when the loaves are proofed when they are not warming up from being in the refrigerator overnight. This recipe turned out great and I will probably write it up and put it into the Special Recipes folder when I get a chance. I am behind because I have not written up the Nickle Rye Recipe yet.

Bread oven

When you get serious about baking bread, sooner or later you begin to think of ways to make your oven into a better baking oven for bread. First you go out and get a baking stone. Then maybe a cloche or you think of ways to line your oven more. Perhaps a stone on the top shelf as well so that it can radiate heat downward as well as hold a more intense heat. Well then you begin to wonder about what else you can do. I am at that point although I have already glimpsed beyond to my own masonry oven and/or a commercial oven (there may be one in the works). So here I am at the point where I am trying to figure out how to bake my bread even closer to a hearth oven, this is what I have done today:

oven

Here is the set up before putting on the bottom baking stone.

And here it is with the stone:

bottom stone

I lined the sides of the oven with three firebrick on each side,which I stood upright because two wouldn’t fit horizontally. I then added brick to the floor in two layers to lift the baking stone up off the element. I then put another baking stone on top. The baking stones are from a kiln and are crescent shaped. Not the best shape, but heck, that is what I have to work with. One of the baking stones has the edge broken off which worked out great for me because it wouldn’t have fit otherwise. I also had the firebrick laying out behind the shed not doing anything they are 1.25 inches thick.

I have made up a batch of the Coastal Loaf bread using regular sourdough starter instead of motherdough starter, I thought I would see if it was more like a baguette or french style bread. So I will try out the stone setup tomorrow.

Bottom heat

I made up a new motherdough recipe yesterday and the motherdough was really vigorous. I will call this bread, Coastal Loaf. The motherdough was at 80% hydration (the motherdough not the dough).

(Forgive the use of metric mixed with imperial, I just got my digital scale, and my mind is still mixed up 🙂

Coastal Loaf

I used:

680 g of motherdough (approx. 1.5 lb)

700 g water (3 cups)

938 g bread flour (7.5 cups)

150 g whole wheat flour freshly ground (1 cup)

8 g (1 teaspoon) malt syrup

27 g  (2 Tablespoons) of oil

24 g (4 teaspoons) salt (not added during mix)

This made 2436 g of dough (5 lb 5 oz)

I divided this into three pieces of 812 g (1lb 12 oz)of dough each.

I mixed up this dough at 4:00 pm in the afternoon. I let the dough autolyse for 20 minutes, finished mixing for about 4 minutes and then let it proof until 8:00 pm. I then added the salt, stirred down the dough and put it into the refrigerator overnight. In the morning at 7:00 am I took out the dough and let it warm up for one hour. At 8:00 am I shaped the loaves. I made two batard syle loaves and one boule style loaf.

dough proofing

For this proofing setup, I rolled up three bath sized towels and draped a large cotton cloth over the whole thing, then I put a tea towel over each half that was to contain one loaf. That way, I could lift each loaf out with the tea towel.

I preheated my oven for one hour at 500 F and put a baking stone on the bottom shelf and on the second to the top shelf. I was going to see if I could bake two loaves at once, and just switch them halfway. I was worried about the top loaf being too close to the top of the oven and getting overly browned. The dough looked ready after two hours proof (our temperature is in the 90’s). So I popped the loaves into the oven and misted for the first five minutes. I also had a bowl of hot water in the bottom of the oven floor. After the first five minutes,I turned the oven down to about 435 F  I put the timer on for 14 minutes, switched the bread halfway and baked another 14 minutes. I was surprised after the first 14 minutes, because the bottom loaf had really done an oven spring and the slashes had already opened up beautifully. The top loaf was smaller looking and the slashes weren’t too open. The dough was exactly the same weight and was proofed exactly the same, so the only thing I could think of was that the more intense bottom heat was beneficial for oven spring. I then switched the loaves halfway and the bottom loaf which I switched to the top did get a little too browned.

Here they are:

two loaves

two again

boule too

The boule went into the oven next by itself. It had a terrific oven spring. Here it is with the other two loaves. Here is a picture of the interior crumb of the bottom heated loaf:

interior crumb

I will get pictures of the other interior crumbs as they are sliced.

Here is the picture of the interior crumb of the bread that was on the top of the oven:

crumb

I really like working with the motherdough as you get the tendency toward the larger holes, and the color and flavor are always superb. The smell is heavenly. It really seems to bring out the full pontential of the wheat.

This was really a wonderful learning day for me!

myself

Ciabatta

I decided to tackle the Ciabatta bread. I used my motherdough starter to save on an extra day fermentation. The hydration ended up being 74% for the finished dough. I actually had it around 80% ! gooey! But I added flour to bring it to 74%. Here is what the dough looked like after being brought to 74%:

ciabatta dough

I wish I would have taken a picture when I poured it out, it was like batter. But here is one of the loaves after I folded it the first time. I then stretched it again and folded it twice:

loaf 1

folded again

Here are all four loaves finished with their forming, they weighed about 1 lb 5 oz each:

all four

Here are the first two loaves out of the oven:

baked bread

Here are three of the loaves:three loaves

I would have shown you  all four except one was devoured while still hot!

Here is the crumb of one:

crumb ciabatta

I could have gotten more oven spring, I would like the holes to be larger, but overall I am very happy with how these Ciabatta loaves turned out.

crumb ciabatta

Country Kitchen Loaves

Yesterday I decided to make up a recipe that would have these parameters:

Dark crusty exterior, finer crumb, large, lots of slashes, have a taste like the large farm kitchen loaves with the added milk.

So I started at 10:30 in the morning, and already had a nice bucket of motherdough (I had this motherdough at 100% hydation, but I am now keeping it at 80% hydration , when I refresh I add 400g water and 500g flour) going and well fermented so I decided to use it for flavor and color and skip the extra night fermentation. The loaves were successful except for the slashes did not bloom as well as I would have expected.

Here is a picture of the loaves :

kitchen loaves

Here is the crumb:

kitchen crumb

As you can see, I got what I was after. The only thing I wasn’t happy about, is that I wanted a lot of slashes, but the slashes, made the bread spread too much in the first loaf, and didn’t bloom much in the second loaf. I had the dough at 63% hydration, so I thought that was a low enough hydration loaf to support a lot of slashes. I am pretty sure it was the fact that the loaves were too large (2lb 11 oz) for my regular baskets and I had to use plastic bowls. The skin on the dough didn’t dry enough to support a lot of slashes. I wish I had at my disposal, a very large number of bannetons and baskets of different sizes and shapes!If anyone has any other ideas as to why my loaves spread too much or the slashes didn’t bloom, I would certainly like to hear it!

Sourdough Vienna White Loaves

I made a batch of Sourdough Vienna White Loaves yesterday. I modified a recipe posted on northwestsourdough yahoo forum by Don. Instead of a seed starter, I used my motherdough starter again. With the seed starter, you build up a "seed" of dough to add to your main dough. You start the seed dough the day before, then add it to the main dough the next day. I just added the motherdough I had and mixed up my main dough ( I quadrupled Don's recipe). I let this proof for 6.5 hours.I knocked down the dough, added the salt, and formed loaves. Each loaf weighed approximately 1 lb 3 oz. Here is a picture of the formed dough set up to proof:

Vienna dough

Here is the dough 2.5 hours later just before I popped two of them into the oven:

Vienna proofed

The strange thing is, I was worried because the dough seemed right on the verge of being overproofed, how would I ever get the second two into the oven in time…but I was wrong! I baked the first two for 35 minutes and here is how they came out:

Vienna loaves

They came out really nice but the slashes didn't bloom so I figured they were overproofed. The next two loaves were popped into the oven, but then was I surprised when they were done:

Second two loaves

The loaves must have been perfectly proofed because they bloomed wonderfully, the slashes got "ears", the color was fully developed. So much for being overproofed!

All four

All four Vienna Loaves

I will post the recipe and interior pictures later.

Here are the interior pics:

Vienna interior

Vienna crumb2

The taste is so good! It is like a good French loaf. The basic ingredients I used were :

32 oz motherdough starter

18.5 oz water

34 oz flour

1 Tablespoon salt

1 Tablespoon oil

This made four loaves at approx 1 lb 3 oz each.

I received a request to show the interior of the other two loaves with the lengthwise slashes, here they are:

Interior

interior two loaves

The loaf on the left in the two upper pictures was baked about 1/2 hour after the first loaf done on the right, it was also baked at a hotter temperature of 425 degrees the one on the right was baked at 400 degrees, both were started out at 500F for the first five minutes. The dough was made at the same time from the same batch. They were the same weight. The only differences were the 1/2 hour longer proofing for the left loaf and the hotter temperature.

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