Discussion in 'suburban75' started by miss minnie, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. miss minnie

    miss minnie Well-Known Member

    Bread what I made! From scratch, using River Cottage sourdough recipe

    This was my second attempt at a loaf, the first one didn't 'prove' and had to be binned. :( This one is not a total success, the dough was too stiff and dry and I was convinced that it too would be binned but I figured I may as well have a go at baking it to test the oven... but it turned out better than I expected. :)

    The starter took 10-12 days to build and needs feeding daily

    The loaf that I thought would fail entirely

    The basket in the backgroud is from the Granville Arcade for 3.99 as I wasn't about to fork out £15 on a proper baker's basket. (I was convinced that the last loaf didn't prove because I put it in a big ceramic bowl instead of a basket as recommended.)

    It seemed to bake much quicker than the recipe stated despite adjusting 25 degrees down, its a very hot oven though. (Must get an oven thermometer.)

    So I'm feeling quite chuffed but hoping I can do better next time. Not going to splash out on fancy flour or variations or anything until I get the basics of the process working well.

    Onward and upward, its a fascinating process and not incredibly hard work. I need to find a sweet spot to prove the dough and I need to refine the oven temperature and baking time adjustment for my fan-assisted oven.

    I would also love to get that sticky, chewy, glossy crust that the French bakers get.

    Anybody got any breadmaking tips they want to share?
  2. geminisnake

    geminisnake a complex mass of conflicting ideas

    It took 12 days to do a loaf?? I'm sorry but I would SO faff that up!! My short term memory is rubbish.
    I'll stick to my breadmaker I'm afraid. Load it and walk away til it goes BEEP!
    Guineveretoo likes this.
  3. miss minnie

    miss minnie Well-Known Member

    12 days to make the starter but you can buy starter kits. Now that I have a starter I can make a loaf any time. I particularly wanted non-yeast bread.
  4. Hocus Eye.

    Hocus Eye. Snap, crop, scrap crap

    I went through a phase of making bread many years ago. It became my habit to come home from work on Friday evening and knead up some dough for bread. I used dried yeast which is a lot simpler than making a sour-dough which I never tried. I experimented with various combinations of strong white flour (Doves Farm) and wholemeal flour. White flour makes a nice fluffy loaf which expands more and a pure wholemeal bread flour makes for a smaller tighter loaf. I think I got the recipe from Elizabeth David (her book, not personally)

    I used to prove it on top of a warm radiator in a plastic mixing bowl with a damp cloth on the top if I remember rightly. It took about half an hour and then would beat it back down and knead again to leave for another proving session. I hope I have remembered this correctly.

    EDITED TO ADD I see from the photo that you also used Doves Farm flour, I am glad it is still going.
    Guineveretoo likes this.
  5. Quartz

    Quartz Eclectic contrarian plebeian

    I'm envious. I've seldom managed to get the blasted thing to rise properly.
  6. Chz

    Chz Stark Raving Sane

    Breadmaking is a bit of a Dark Art, but once you've got the knack it's pretty simple. I find it to be real trouble around this time of year because it's so hard to find somewhere warm to proof the sucker.
    mrs quoad likes this.
  7. miss minnie

    miss minnie Well-Known Member

    Same here, the central heating hasn't kicked in yet but ambient room temperature is just a little too cool for proving dough. I keep the starter in the microwave but not enough room in there for the dough also.
  8. Chz

    Chz Stark Raving Sane

    To be fair, I use an old breadmaker to mix and do the first proof (I just find it easier that way - it's temperature controlled for the first hour). It's the second one that gives me trouble. It's nice to have the boiler *under* the kitchen for space and noise reasons, but I miss having one to stick the bread under.
  9. miss minnie

    miss minnie Well-Known Member

    So, attempt number three and its getting better. Made a much smaller loaf and ate it all so no photos!

    Bit of trial, error and accident with this one.

    Firstly, ditched the Dove's flour for Canadian Extra Strong Bread Flour. Made the sponge up and left overnight but then a problem with my shoulder flared up so I couldn't knead it the next day. Or the day after. In fact it was three days before I felt I could make a loaf.

    Was prepared for the sponge to be dead but it still looked ok so thought what the hell, give it a go but half quantities this time and more careful when adding the flour - taking care that it didn't go too dry. It was a pleasure to knead and rolled into a lovely silky ball after 10 minutes. Put it to prove in the microwave (cold, i.e. not switched on, just to avoid draughts).

    The next day it had risen a bit, but not enough imo. My guess is the kitchen temperature was a bit too low. Had a brainwave! Wrap the bowl in bubble wrap and put in a cardboard box lined with insulating foam. The next day a mighty loaf had risen, yay!

    Second proving and I decided to use a well-floured but unlined basket for this, hoping to get a pattern on the top. Put it back in the bubble-wrap and box for about 4 hours. It rose and looked great but the dough stuck to the basket and had to be scraped out, deflating a bit in the process, bah. Ploughed on regardless.

    The oven had heated to top temperature, 250 on the dial in a decent fan-assisted has got to be more like 300. Sprayed it well with water and put a tin of boiling water on the bottom. Dough tipped out onto hot floured, baking tray. 15 mins at top temp then down to 200, open the door, spray well again and let the oven cool a bit, then 25 minutes to finish.

    It had exactly the crust I wanted! Golden, almost 'glazed' and nicely chewy! The bread had a lovely sour taste. Just a shame that it was a bit flat.

    Nonetheless, it was delicious and the next day was still good. The previous loaf was rock-hard the next day.

    So, lessons learned: stronger flour, longer proving times in warmer environment, smaller loaves, line the proving basket, much hotter and steamier oven, slightly shorter baking time.

    I have another sponge on the go, am determined that by christmas I will be turning out small but perfect loaves a couple of times a week and hopefully be able to present a few to friends. Will try to remember to take a few photos of the next one. :)
    Wookey likes this.
  10. miss minnie

    miss minnie Well-Known Member

    Fourth attempt, implemented the lessons learned and it was looking good. Oven was hot and steamy, the dough had risen the basket was lined and floured. I whipped the tray out of the oven and spilled the dough onto it in a split second. No sticking or scraping this time but it immediately collapsed to half it's size. :( Baked it as before and got the same result. Delicious flavour, lovely crust, texture not at all dense or chewy... just a bit flat. :( It did have a nice pattern on it this time, from the loose muslin that lined the basket.

    So, I'm doing something wrong. The dough doesn't seem to have enough firmness to support itself, it has too much air in it perhaps? Will have to scour the internet for clues. :hmm:

    Can't see the scale in this photo but the height is approx. 1.5 inches
  11. Miss Caphat

    Miss Caphat I want it that way

    I want some!

    Maybe you could go down to your local bakery and ask questions? They might be eager to chat about what they do, and offer solutions to such problems.
  12. miss minnie

    miss minnie Well-Known Member

    Have tested the water with a couple of bakerys that I liked but they're not that willing to give away trade secrets - or samples of their starter. There are some fine bready forums around though. :)
  13. Idaho

    Idaho blah blah blah

    Looks a little overhydrated and overprooved. Bread making is really about 6 elements:

    Yeast/Starter vigour
    Level of Hydration
    Quality/Characteristics of flour
    Prooving time and temp
    Cooking conditions

    Once you have worked out a combination that seems close, just make small adjustments.

    I make my own sourdough rye bread every week. I keep making minor changes, but end up with something fairly similar. Rye is a bit more fussy than wheat. Wheat is a much more flexible flour.

    Also your starter will get more and more vigourous. After it is well set, then you can store it in the fridge between bakes.
  14. Ms T

    Ms T Honey-coloured ramparts

    Here's what I do and turn out a pretty good sourdough loaf every week.

    1. Take starter out of fridge and allow to return to room temperature. It will start to bubble when it is ready.
    2. Measure 500g of bread flour into a mixing bowl (my go-to brand is Dove's Farm, but sometimes I use Lidl's own brand and sometimes I mix in a little rye flour or smoked wholegrain flour)
    3. Add 1.5 tsp of salt and mix
    4. Add 60g of starter and 375g of water (sometimes a little less depending on humidity) and mix well.
    5. Cover with clingfilm or place in a plastic bag and secure with a clip
    6. Leave to prove overnight for about 18 hours
    7. Remove from bowl onto floured service and stretch and fold over a few times (I fold both edges into the middle, and then in half again, if that makes sense)
    8. Place in well floured basket, cover with tea towel and leave to rise for 2-3 hours.
    9. Place a Le Creuset cast iron pot with lid in the oven turned up to its highest temperature and allow to heat up for 30 minutes
    10. Place dough in pot and put the lid on, return to oven and switch temperature down slightly to about 220C
    11. After about half an hour, remove the lid and switch the temperature down again. Let cook for another 20 minutes or so.

    This method will give you a fantastic crust, and it's a pretty easy technique once you get the timings right. You will also get a nice open texture and a glossy, chewy crumb. :)
    TopCat, Wookey, Stig and 1 other person like this.
  15. Ms T

    Ms T Honey-coloured ramparts

    I got my starter from Franco Manca, and Blackbird were more than happy to give me some starter as well.
  16. miss minnie

    miss minnie Well-Known Member

    I'm thinking overhydrated too. Also I have a bad right shoulder which makes kneading a bit of a chore so I'm making a dough that I find comfortable to knead, even so, I use the exact quantities as per HFW's recipe. The dough feels lovely and silky to work with. The pictures in the first post show an attempt that suffered from too much flour, too dry a dough - that one held shape but was too dense.

    A French baker on one of the forums was saying that he proves his sourdough for 72 hours.

    This last attempt was 12 hours for sponge, 48 hours first proof, 12 hours second proof. There is no central heating on in the kitchen, the bowl/basket is wrapped in bubble wrap and placed in a cardboard box.

    Still, I'm impressed that I got the same result as the last attempt, even down to the flatness of it. If I can just solve that bit I should have a good working formula. :)
  17. miss minnie

    miss minnie Well-Known Member

    Yeah, trouble is don't like the bread from either of them :D

    I asked at Marron but it was a "non" :(

    Anyway, have made my own now and very nice it is too! A proper Brixton sourdough ;)
  18. Ms T

    Ms T Honey-coloured ramparts

    Hydration is very important. For my no-knead method (see above), you need about 75% hydration.
  19. miss minnie

    miss minnie Well-Known Member

    I haven't changed any of the ratios in HFW's recipe but perhaps I will try putting in a little more flour next time.
  20. Chz

    Chz Stark Raving Sane

    It's really hard to give an exact formula, just because the ambient temperature and humidity makes such a difference. My first loaf when the weather changes is always a disaster. On the upside, once you know what a good loaf should feel like in your hands, it becomes very easy. Which is why I certainly couldn't give a formula, because I make it up as I go along.

    To approximate:
    - my 50:50 (volume, not weight) starter - usually 2/3-3/4 a cup of water and rye. total volume is less than the mix though. Don't know what it comes out to.
    - another 3/4-7/8 cup of water.
    - 3+1/4-3+1/2 cups of wheat based flour. be it white, malthouse, whatever
    - about 20mL salt
    - if I'm in a hurry, a tablespoon or sugar or malt syrup. malt syrup's way nicer but the bastard gets everywhere!
    - if not in a hurry, mix as is - I stick it in a bread machine which slowly heats to 30C for a first proving
    - leave it in there for another hour if using non-hurry method
    - take out, punch, stretch. not too much of either. put it to rest somewhere for another couple hours
    - toss it in the hottest oven setting for 10-12 minutes. turn down to 190C, turn and let it go another 20.

    I think it's yummy. I can make it more sour by adding time to the rest periods, but I normally just don't have the time or patience. This comes out good enough with some sour bite. The downside to my fast, volume-based method is that it really doesn't account for different flours with different densities. You should really go by weight, but I can't be arsed.
  21. miss minnie

    miss minnie Well-Known Member

    Another week, another attempt. Basically following the same recipe but with an extra 20g of flour (I'm only making small loaves) and halved the proving times.

    It stood up a bit better this time but still just over 2" high. A different proving basket might help. At least it didn't collapse completely as soon as it was turned onto the tray. I imagine that if I added more flour it might hold even better but I don't want the texture to get any more dense than it is.

    It was delicious though!

    Hmmm, my starter went a bit funny yesterday - liquid separation. Drained it off and added a good amount of flour. Its bubbling again today but hasn't risen much. Please don't die! :eek:
  22. Idaho

    Idaho blah blah blah

    Liquid separation suggests that it isn't ready/vigorous enough yet.
  23. miss minnie

    miss minnie Well-Known Member

    But it is at least 6 weeks old and has made 4 loaves so far. It was doubling every day, it just stopped yesterday. Think I may have added too much water/not enough flour last couple of feeds. Its looking a bit better today though. :)
  24. moose

    moose like some cat from Japan

    It'll be deeper if you use a pot, like Ms T, rather than a tray where it can spread.

    ATOMIC SUPLEX Member Since: 1985 Post Count: 3

    Nice looking bread but I could never be arsed to wait that long and piss around that much to make bread. The loafs I make take the time it takes to chuck the ingredients in the mixer, it rises, then it goes in the oven. That's about as far as I will go for bread, especially when waitrose sell off their daily made bread for 20p at 4pm. Idiots.
  26. miss minnie

    miss minnie Well-Known Member

    I've never heard of a bakery using a pot though. :confused:
  27. miss minnie

    miss minnie Well-Known Member

    Who be idiots? :confused:

    ATOMIC SUPLEX Member Since: 1985 Post Count: 3

  29. miss minnie

    miss minnie Well-Known Member

    Ah, ok :D

    Waitrose don't do South London. Put SW9 into its 'branch locator' and the page just stares blankly at you. It can't even be bothered displaying a message that there is no branch south of the Thames, or tell you that you could go to Oxford Street. So up your's Waitrose! :p

    We have Tesco and Sainsbury's, both make shite bread imo. We also have an ever increasing number of artisan bakeries which will charge you from £2.50 to £4.00 for a small loaf of variable quality. I'm trying to replicate the sourdough loaf made by Marron in Clapham Junction because it is my favourite and I refuse to add £2.40 in bus fares to the cost of my weekly bread.

    All of the steps to make this bread take very little time and effort, it just requires some forethought and planning. I'm enjoying the 'hobby project' aspect of it so far.

    I wonder what you do with the starter when you go on hols? Are there starter-minding services? :D

    ATOMIC SUPLEX Member Since: 1985 Post Count: 3

    Mines in south London

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