Sourdough bread

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by billbixby, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. billbixby

    billbixby Member

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    First LOFE < yeah I like that spelling better.

    I don't think my starter is working as good as it should. I'm having a tough time getting the starter going. This did not rise as much as I would have liked, but G'damn it tastes good with some grass fed butter. This is eating at me. When I get into something like this, I gotta figure it out and win. That's about 12" wide and I consumed some of it already :D

    Feels good to make something yourself and all that's in it is Yeast (from starter), flour, water, salt. I refuse to eat regular bread now. Shouldn't be really eating any bread, but if I'm gonna eat it, it's gonna be good bread.

    For others that have made SD bread. Is it real tough to cut? This stuff is a bear to cut, but is stellar when warmed up and melts in your mouth. The tough part is the crust, which to me is the best part. My wife, like a 2 year old, doesn't eat crust.

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  2. billbixby

    billbixby Member

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    As far as I have read, the issue is the yeast that is used in the commercial type breads, whereas the SD bread is from a natural fermenting process. I don't know what they do to make commercial yeast, but if I had to guess, I would imagine it has to do with radioactive substances and 100 other cancer causing chemicals.
     
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  3. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    To me it looke pretty damned good! When I first started trying my hand at it, I had "too tight" of grain, and was going more for the way yours looks, with it being airy, fluffy and not tightly grained inside.

    In my experience yes, the crust is pretty hard. I can see you scored the top (I forgot the last time I did it and that seemed to make the top/crust even harder) and all. One thing, I found it really important to bake 20 minutes, and then turn off heat and leave the oven door cracked, for at least 5 more minutes, and then take out on a drying rack (anything that lets air go all around it, under too) and not cut into it until cooled or just warm instead of hot.

    Fresh it is fantastic, but after that I almost always prefer lightly toasted even when it is pretty new. Again, not sure what one can do about the crust, it's not THAT hard but it also matters a lot of the bread "crushes" a little when I try to cut a slice.

    One thing you could try, I personally gave up on round loaves because I like to toast, and you get ridiculously long thing slices towards the middle, I just form it into "normal" loaves. It rises enough that it looks pretty close to bakery bread when done.

    Also, if I were you I'd work on the starter more. Feed it twice a day, dumping half filling up again, etc. until it really starts rising to at least doubling.

    But man, it looks great!
     
  4. kkregsg

    kkregsg Member

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    Yes, my crust is tough to cut through, especially on the bottom. I like chewy, my wife much less so. Toasted is spectacular, either with butter or I've developed a fondness for almond butter.

    I like the airiness of your LOFE. It seems a bit squat, though. You may want to line a smaller diameter bowl with parchment to force it more vertical during the rise. The parchment also helps move it into the preheated dutch oven for baking. I've taken to folding over a couple of silicone baking pads and placing them under the dutch oven to insulate the bottom of the pan a bit so it doesn't brown the bottom of the LOFE too much. What the neck. It's all a big chemistry experiment.
     
  5. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I'm not quite sure I can picture the techniques you mention with the silicone (in the oven??) pads.
    I tried once with a "bread loaf" pan, but it was so small I didn't like the result as much as free, but as I said I don't make round loaves anymore but "regular" but often they are squat, and I would like to find a way to get them to be a little higher but not like squared. Trying to figure out how.

    As far as the bottom goes, I don't know if this will work, but last time (this was normal dough, not sourdough) I made a pizza I used a recipe that called for bread crumbs, coursely ground, to be spread out in the bottom of the baking pan. This did such a GREAT job on the bottom of the pizza I was thinking next time I bake sourdough I am going to try it. The crumbs (I'm guessing) must just barely raise the bottom of the bread from the pan, not much but enough to get more circulation.
     
  6. RevWillie

    RevWillie Gold Supporting Member

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    I made my own sourdough bread in the early '70s but it was a LONG process and I'd always have to make 2-3 loaves so I could have 1 for me before the rest of the family inhaled it all.
     
  7. DetSlicker

    DetSlicker Member

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    Looks great! No matter the size, fresh out of the oven that looks like a single serving to me.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. wildschwein

    wildschwein Member

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    Below is from a blog post I wrote about 9 years ago. From https://wildschwein.wordpress.com/2007/09/01/make-your-own-sourdough-culture-and-bread/


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    We promised someone a while back that we would do a post on how to make your own sourdough bread. The culture itself becomes a drop-in replacement for commercial yeast, and is very easy to make. Here are recipes for both the culture and the bread…


    How to make a sourdough culture

    1. Get yourself some organic wholemeal or wholewheat flour (you can also use rye flour).
    2. Put about 3 tablespoons of flour in a jar or plastic container.
    3. Add about 3/4 of a cup of cold water.
    4. Mix the flour and water well.
    5. Cover the container with some loosely fitted cling film and leave it hanging around on a kitchen bench.
    6. Everyday add another teaspoon or 2 of flour to the mix.
    7. In five days you’ll start to get some bubbling and a slightly sour smell. (You can cheat by adding some commercial yeast to the plant if you like; sometimes I have added the sediment from a bottle of homebrew ale just to get things started).
    8. Pour off and discard 1/2 of the mix and add about another 1/3 cup of water and another tablespoon of flour. Stir well.
    9. Keep feeding it with a teaspoon or 2 of flour for another few days.
    10. After this time it should be ready to use.
    And that’s it – that’s your culture. Simply pour 1/2 of the mix into your bread recipe and top up the remaining 1/2 with a little water and some more flour. Repeat this every time you make another loaf – pour half into your bread and keep and feed the other half.Some bakeries in Europe have been making bread this way for several hundred years, all the time using the same culture: using half for the bread, and keeping and feeding the remainder.

    If you keep the culture in the fridge you don’t need to feed it as often, but it will take a while to wake up when you want to use it again.

    Just a few notes about it’s properties when cooking. Generally, you are dealing with a mix of lactobacillus and some yeasts which are often wild. This means that your bread won’t prove like it does with commercial yeasts (unless of course you threw some commercial yeast into the starter.) The bread doesn’t puff up as much before you put it in the oven and proving times should be longer than with commercial yeast.

    Making your bread dough and leaving it to prove overnight is often worthwhile. With sourdough loaves most of the rise happens when you put it in a hot oven. Bakers call this “oven kick” as all the gases generated by the culture try to get out of the loaf are trapped in the gluten structure.

    It’s always a good idea to place some slits in the loaf before you cook when you’re dealing with a lot of oven kick as this helps the loaf expand in the oven in a pleasing way.

    Now to the bread itself…

    How to make a sourdough loaf

    Ingredients

    2 cups plain flour
    2 cups wholemeal flour
    3 tablespoons oil
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 teaspoons salt
    1 & 1/2 cups water
    1/2 to 3/4 cup sourdough culture (i.e. whatever quantity is half of your current culture)

    Method

    1. In a large bowl, add the sourdough culture, sugar, oil, flours, salt and water.
    2. Mix everything together with a spoon until roughly incorporated.
    3. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. You may need to add more flour as you go if the mixture is too sticky.
    4. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to prove for at least two hours (longer is better).
    5. After proving, knead the dough again for a few minutes.
    6. Shape the loaf and place it on a well-floured baking tray.
    7. Make several deep slits across the top of the loaf to allow it to rise and expand further in the oven.
    8. Leave for at least another hour (outside the oven).
    9. Meanwhile, heat oven to 200C.
    10. Place the loaf in oven. Reduce the temperature to around 190C, and cook for 1 hour, or until it sounds hollow when tapped. Bear in minds that sourdough is by nature much denser than bread made with commercial yeasts, and thus takes longer to cook.
    11. When done, remove from the oven and allow to cool. This type of bread is better the next day.
    Serve and enjoy!

    This is what real bread tastes like!

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Great stuff thanks!

    Like I said, I'm no expert at all, but have been making great bread for a couple of years now (kept my starters alive all that time!).
    When I did my starter the first time, I had read or seen (Paul Hollywood? not sure) to give it a kick one could use fruit in very thin slices. So I used a grape cut see-through thin. Don't know if it helped, or did anything better but it didn't hurt.

    Also have taken one of the two perpetual starter jars up to our cabin for a few weeks with me, and ever since then they have definitely been (both great) different from each other. The cabin starter seems hardier. I ought to bring the other one up this year.

    But anyway, I've been using the same basic recipe for a while now, only adding sometimes almonds, or other nuts, or last week used whole wheat flour in my starter and sponge, but I really like your recipes. Have never added sugar or oil (well other than coating the outside of the dough lighltly) so I am looking forward to trying your ideas next time, which may very well have to be this weekend!

    Thanks!
     
  10. ultradust

    ultradust Member

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    Really admire you crafting sort that keep the colony alive and make sourdough fresh.

    As an aside (though it gets plenty of discussion here on TGP), for those who visit California, you may owe yourself to stop by In-n-Out and Wahoo's Fish Tacos, etc., but whatever you do, do not skip over a trip to one of the Boudin shops. The shiny, chewy crust and moist inner flesh is absolutely unreal and like no other sourdough I've seen at any other bakery.

    A true treasure of the Golden State.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. take1carry1

    take1carry1 Supporting Member

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    When I was a semi hippy-ish youngster we always had a sourdough culture sitting on top of the refrigerator. I really don't remember it being that tough (or scientific) to make or maintain. We used it in pancakes as well as bread and pizza dough. If you use a lot of it just add flour and water and it makes more. If you don't use much the throw half of it away and add to it to keep it fresh (or put it in the refrig. to suspend it). Experiment to match your needs.
     
  12. kkregsg

    kkregsg Member

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    StompBoxBlues, I'm simply using the silicon baking pan liners to insulate the bottom of the cast iron dutch oven. I started off using baking tiles, but they just help retain and transfer the heat.

    There are silicone baking pans, including bread loaf pans, and you can find them at Goodwill or other thrift stores for cheap. They work well, and will give you a more traditional shape. One other trick I've found that works well with raising the loaf: a 1/2 to 1 tsp scoop of malt powder gives the yeast in the starter something to feed on. If you go to a beer brewing store, and tell them what your doing, they'll walk over and pick the right one for you. I also use 1/2 tsp of vital gluten to boost the flour protein, too.
     
  13. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Thanks for the tips. I have a coworker that brews beer, I'll ask him about it.
     
  14. TJNies

    TJNies Supporting Member

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    Bread-making gets easier as you gain experience. You find that bread requires knowledge of when it looks and feels "right".

    For anyone who doesn't have that experience, but wants great homemade bread, follow this:

    http://breadtopia.com/cooks-illustrated-almost-no-knead/

    You should have a Dutch Oven for the best results, but it is easy and turns out fantastic!
     
  15. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    I used to make sourdough. It's a lot of work. A $4 loaf seems great now! My starter used to get this big green algae on the top of it. I just pulled it off and used the rest of it.
     
  16. kkregsg

    kkregsg Member

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    To all sourdough bread bakers: I made a Kalamata olive/ rosemary/ sea salt/ red pepper flake recipe the last 2 nights for dinner parties. These people have eaten many pounds of my bread, and every one agreed this is the best bread I've ever made. Not my recipe, but check this out:

    http://www.sourdoughhome.com/index.php?content=sourdougholivebread

    Enjoy. And pay heed when he says don't omit the red pepper flakes. I had 2 extra sensitive mouths last night, and even they enjoyed it thoroughly.
    The old joke: "Enjoy it in good health."
    "You must mean Miles Around. Good Health is over in the next county."

    Cooking is like comedy. I know it's a good recipe (joke). It worked for the guy I stole it from.
     
  17. starjag

    starjag Member

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    Nourishing Traditions... this is the book you need!!!
     

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