Grapplestein arrived by post all the way from The Lost World in Oregon in mid November. He arrived in his own special non machinable envelope together with a travelling companion who I haven’t got to know as yet. GS has been acclimatizing to the food and the weather and has had a little difficulty with jet lag too.
However this weekend (26/27th Nov) he announced he was ready for action and as there was no football to watch he thought he might as well have a crack at baking some sourdough.
GS has a lovely wheaty/fruity aroma while he is fermenting, and did an excellent job with this sourdough bread.
I also finally had a go at baking in a pot, Dutch Oven style. The good Doctor Fugawe and Gill the Painter are two people who I know both use this method with great success. My first attempt was not entirely successful as the parchment sort of got inside the dough a bit, but the crust was thin and fine and the ovenspring, particularly with this teetering-on-the-edge-of-being-overproved loaf, was more than satisfactory. In fact the crumb was beautiful!
As you can see in this last pic, there is no stopping him now, so I’m having another go with the bake in a pot method tomorrow with a larger ball of slightly lower hydration dough this time! Edit: You can see the resulting pic in one of the comments below…
This dough was made from :-
- 200 g of revived and cosseted Oregon starter (1:1 water to wheat flour)
- 325 g water at 20 C
- 500 g of flour: a mixture of 350 g of strong bread flour, and 50 g each of wholemeal spelt, dark rye and swiss dark
- 12 g fine seasalt
- 4 dessert spoons of runny yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon of barley malt
Made a soft loose dough.
First prove took about 3 hours, then shaped and into bannetons, and a second prove of about 4 hours. I find breads with spelt tend to prove quicker and the dough slackens more quickly towards the end of the second prove, so it is easy to go over with them. I think I just caught this one in time, though it is a bit mishapen. Tasted as good as it looked! Thanks Doc for sending him so far. At the moment he is definitely different from my own starter, whether time and the English diet will change him, we’ll have to wait and see…
Oh, I’m so proud! Looks like he likes it in England. Hey, that’s beautiful crumb – I recently read that it’s not enough to have big holes, they also need to be well distributed – and yours certainly are!
Tell Grappy I said Hello.
Hi Doc! He’s a happy chappie now :) I am looking forward to more experiments with the pot bake method too…
Love that the starter-exchange program is taking off!! And it’s exciting to read about your experiences of baking in a pot . . . I am having my first try (baking in my dutch oven) with the Horst Bandel right now (?!?!?!) . . . knew it had to be a heavy, closed environment, so thought I’d give it a try . . . it’s in hour 5 of baking and already smells wonderful. (fingers-crossed)
You’re doing it! Fantastic Abby! I can’t wait to hear how it goes… I’m just waiting for Grappy 2 to warm up before I shape and try the pot again :)
Good medicine from the Doctor! :) Grappy looks very healthy and robust, and look at all those amazing holes right from the get-go! I’ve tried pot baking, but get a bit scared manipulating the blazing hot pot! I didn’t ever line the pot though, and nothing ever stuck?
The hot pot is not my favourite object in the world either Celia! I was following the Doc and Gill in lining the pot, as it is a way to get the dough in and out more easily and allows you to slash the loaf before putting it in. I will have several goes with this method and will also try an unlined bake too :) It’s a lovely starter !
That crumb is beautiful- I haven’t used the pot method, but I’m thinking hard about it. It certainly gives you some additional control over the oven spring, doesn’t it?
Well, done, Joanna- working with starter from so far away! ( and well, done to the Dr as well!)
Thanks Heidi! It’s worth trying to see if it works, and so many people have tried it, that I finally got round to it. It’s also less messy than my usual method which ends up with flour on the oven floor and on the door, the seals etc etc…. the disadvantage is that you can really only bake one loaf at a time :)
Good morning Drfugawe, Joanna and Grapplestein.
How exciting to get a brand new starter to play with, I can almost smell Grappy from here.
And you’re making bread in a pot too. What a beautiful loaf you’ve created together with your new friend.
Delicious baking, Zeb.
Good morning to you too Gill! He is pretty perky, even though it is soo cold here!
Please allow me to add a thought about the pot baking method – I think its strength is that it captures moisture inside the pot (for the first half of the bake) and that results in a beautifully thin crust. To me, that’s the big plus.
BTW, I have a 24″ w oven and I can get two pots in there at once – although I seldom bake two loaves at once for us, but if I’m giving one away, it works.
In my next life/home I will have a 24″ oven too and an earth oven in the garden, and a pizza oven and a deck oven…. I’m just uploading a pic of a 1.1 kilo loaf (almost the same formula, only reduced the hydration to make the dough easier to handle, so about 60% hydration) retarded the dough in the fridge, and a five hour prove this morning – baked in the pot, no parchment Celia ;) , tipped in with a prayer, and slashed in the pot . Still cooling so no crumb shot yet. Looking good so far though! More pluses, can use the oven on its fan setting which is more economic too than whacking it up to 240 C. No question you get all that moisture retained in the pot while the oven spring is happening and the slashes opened beautifully. I’m well pleased !
Ah here we go…. Grappy Flies Again! Woo hoo!
What fun Joanna. Are you going to do a test / competition Grappy versus your other(s) starter? Those loaves certainly look mighty fine.
It is fun Choclette! and one of the things that keeps my interest in baking bread is all the lovely people I have met and the knowledge and skills they so freely share. I’m not going to put Grappy to the test, he has proved (ouch!) himself already!
Joanna that last picture you uploaded looks amazing! Look at that scoring! The crust! Very nice indeed. Grappy has proved himself.
Grappy + big steamy cast iron pot – taking another bow – thanks Brydie! Check out Sally’s post at the Bewitching Kitchen for another way to trap steam in that crucial first period of the bake….
Ah, the joys of a new sourdough starter!
I am jealous, I only have two going…. been tempted to buy a San Francisco sourdough, but so far resisted. Your post is NOT helping….
Joanna, I just blogged about a new way to get the steam, using a pie plate and a roasting pan – gosh, it worked so nicely, and I placed the bread on the COLD pan. If you want to check it out, jump to the Bewitching, I posted it a few hours ago
Your email came in at the same time as the comment notification. That is a BEAUTIFUL loaf Sally, looks like covered bread is the way to go in the pursuit of steam! I have been using spelt in my mix lately too with excellent results. I tried making 100% spelt a while back, but I have a theory that the 100% spelt I can get here is more coarsely (stone ground?) than some spelt. Like wheat flour, all spelt flour is not the same. The flour you rarely see me bake with, is wholemeal (wholewheat). It’s very popular in England, but I prefer a mix of rye, spelt and maybe a little Swiss dark, I don’t like all the big bran bits you get with english wholemeal, personal taste. I don’t like branflakes either – whole grains in soakers though, I love those :)
Joanna – that really is a beautiful looking loaf and the most perfect slashes you have. The crumb on the first loaf looks very appetising and making incredibly hungry even though I just had lunch! Interesting to read the hydration on that one, I’m assuming (you know me slow on uptake) it’s equal amounts of starter to water & flour when you’re saying 1:1 flour water?
On the first loaf you have the most gorgeous open texture and like mentioned already spread right across the slice evenly, not something I’m able to achieve all of the time.
It will be interesting to see how just how the second loaf’s crumb will differ in open texture from the first.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this whole open texture thing no just on sourdoughs but dry yeast loaves…sourdoughs tend to be a wetter doughs than the dry yeast loaves I make.
I haven’t come to conclusion on anything but my thinking goes:
McGee states the gluten development happens as soon as water is introduced to flour. This leads me to believe that this fashion of very wet doughs like Dan and others make require very little kneading, which is why you have his gently folding method or the “no kneading method” I linked in my post…I’m guessing for a dryer dough you need to make sure you knead properly to make certain water is mixed properly throughout the dough and the gluten development starts to happen to get the gliadins and glutenins starting to work their network structure as I learned through the reading.
Which is also making me think the old idea that you need to “knead” to develop gluten is not actually the case. The kneading is enabling you make sure moisture distributed properly throughout the dough…maybe that’s what’s happening with kneading…I know from mixing my doughs when making the dry yeast loaves sometimes you think it’s mixed enough then you break into the middle of the dough to find an air pocket or two of dry flour unmixed.
Sorry going off here but my point about the open texture is also connected with this very “wet” doughs. I noticed if sometimes I have very wet dough I get quite an open texture which I haven’t “worked” the dough for it…just the fact it’s wet seems to have created openness. I’m not saying this is the only way to get open texture but that I have noticed a correlation that also happens with wet doughs…
Hi Azelia, Thanks for this great comment! I’ll try and answer as well as I can :)
‘it’s equal amounts of starter to water & flour when you’re saying 1:1 flour water?’
Actually no, I tend to refresh quite a small amount of mature starter these days. So I think for this one it was about 25 grams of mature Grappy to 100 grams water and 100 grams flour. I find it is very active and wheaty/fruity and not too acidic that way. If I want a more sour starter taste then I use a higher proportion of mature starter to new material. It all depends on time and when you want to bake too.
Open texture – from my limited experience – wetter dough, gentler handling, full proof times – I reckon the wetter doughs are easier for the bubbles to expand in. The bigger second loaf had a closer crumb as you would expect from a lower hydration and it wasn’t proved for quite so long as the first one (which I almost forgot in the airing cupboard). I was trading off crumb structure against ease of handling. Another time I might go slightly higher on the water, till I find the right balance for me.
If you really stretch the dough out, pin it out in a rectangle and then fold it letter style two ways, you should pick up the flour pockets and be able to get rid of them. I don’t knead with flour on the worktop, either a little oil, or nothing at all. I only use flour very sparingly when I am shaping and loading the bannetons. Ciabatta is an exception to that, as you have to shape it with loads of flour, I find hard because it is very easy to ‘scoot’ flour into the dough while you are moving it about. There are ciabatta to bake this December for MB, we’ll see if I can do better than the last time I did it, which was fairly disastrous :)
My last thought, professional bakers work with much much larger quantities. There are things that don’t effect us so much with our 3lbs of dough, like the temperature difference between the inside and the outside of a mass of dough, and making sure that everything is distributed evenly, from water to flour, salt, any inclusions and so on. If yeast is more active when the temperature is warmer, that would mean the centre of the dough is more active than the outside, the yeast there eating more, running out of food, so the kneading and folding and the knocking back and second shaping and so on are all intended to promote even development through the dough. This fashion for enormous holes to me is exactly that, a fashion, it makes nice photos, and fun bread to look at but it’s not necessarily indicative of a well made loaf.
In the past, I have had very big uneven holes when I have done the second prove in the fridge overnight, I am not quite sure why that is either, but we are not obsessed with giant holes in the bread, we find the butter melts and dribbles through on our trousers when we have toast so as long as the crumb is even and springy and doesn’t have either a flying crust, or a dense low section at the bottom of the loaf I find most crumbs acceptable for my everyday bread. Did you ever see that Russian site where the author mixed the dough and mixed and mixed to show what happened if you just carried on? Someone sent me a link and I can’t remember exactly where it was, it was really interesting seeing the change in the dough – extreme kneading…
thanks for the clarification Joanna glad I asked, and I’m with you on the holes letting the butter through!
Right Joanna had time to re-read your reply properly…thanks for your informative reply….I remember reading the old thread on Dan’s forum about the differences in temperature in dough in industrial size versus domestic…I think it was the thread about cooking some of the dough in water first, forget the term…so yes there is big differences between making bread in those two circumstances.
Interesting to read your second loaf has a tighter crumb…that’s my experience too.
I make a dried yeast loaf more often than sourdough and that’s where I notice the difference of slight variables because I’m making the same loaf over and over again. You mention forgetting the loaf letting it rise…well I’ve done plenty of that late at night when having to bake bread for daughter’s sandwiches.
Ideally I like to leave the dough to rise just above the loaf tin but often I forget and by the time I get to the loaf it has mushroomed over the tin…do you know that shape? When you cut the loaf and look at a slice across it looks like a big version of cut mushroom! In this case the texture is very open…which is not the ideal for my daughter as she likes soft close texture.
…and this brings me on to the next thing about wet doughs I’ve been thinking about and that’s water roux doughs. In conversation with another blogger about these breads and her explanation of how the dough can take up I think it was 65% or 70% water…I may have remembered the percentage wrong but the point was it takes in a considerable more water than the average dough. I’ve done a little reading on it on people’s experiences.
The result of this water roux dough is very soft crumb. Though some of the recipes contain butter, milk even without these you can achieve soft crumb bread which is something I have been wanting to make for allergy daughter she love that kind of stuff.
From the photos I’ve seen of other people bread it’s a tight crumb which is what I would expect from the description of very soft crumb to be, like a brioche somewhat.
So a very wet dough but tight soft crumb? I haven’t started on my own version of it but will soon maybe over the hols.
Nothing is ever straight forward with dough; flour, water & yeast, and so many variables!
PS – thought of the dried shiitake versus dried porcini last night as I was cooking dried porcini and I think you’re right the dried porcini certainly smells stronger than the shiitake to my noise anyway and I think it has just the edge on stronger taste too.
Hi Az, my take on getting a dense soft white yeasted crumb…..to get a soft crumb. Dairy in the dough in the form of fullcream milk or cream will do it, or a proportion of cornflour in the mix. See Dan’s soft white bap recipe, This might be one you could adapt to be dairy free, there’s soya milk that makes good bread, and I believe oat milk too. I recall people have made that one as a loaf and got soft white bread. To get a denser/closer but soft white crumb, you might consider using a pullman tin, Bakery Bits have one here, the lid will stop the mushrooming and you will get perfectish square bread for sandwiches.
Is a water roux dough,when you add boiling water to a proportion of the flour first, leave and then add to the dough when you make the final build? I thought that was for getting the dough sweeter without adding sugar? Used in Chinese bread cooking a lot?
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A water roux as I understand from reading is traditionally used for lots of breads in the Far East, I think in Japan is used to and a lot of recipes the method is used in sweet doughs but it’s also used in non-sweet doughs for the effect of softness.
I first came across it through Sunflower’s blog and she has more than one recipe using this but here is her normal loaf one:
thanks for the links…shall have a look now :)
Never tried that method, the thing I am thinking of is something different again. So many things to try :)
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