New here and searching for a recipe/help on a recipe

LMAshton's picture
LMAshton
Howdy y'all!  I'm new to the sourdough forums and new to sourdoughs.  I've made bread before (about 50 times-ish) using commercial yeast, and I'm no expert.  While I've been perusing this forum in the last couple of days, I came across a recipe that called for ten seconds of kneading every hour or two.  The recipe really appeals to me since I have problem joints and need to keep the kneading to a minimum (mixers capable of mixing dough without burning out don't exist here in Sri Lanka).  However, it involves yeast, whereas I'd rather use sourdough - I've got a starter ready to go.  I don't, unfortunately, have any experience with sourdough, so I don't know how to convert it. 

I'm looking - for now - for a basic bread recipe.  Nothing fancy.  I'd prefer to keep the sourness to a minimum, personally.  My starter, if I understand things correctly, is at 100% hydration. 

Can anyone point me to tutorials or something to convert it?

Thanks in advance for your help.  :)
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LMAshton's picture
LMAshton 2008 April 4
That recipe I can follow as is without conversion, so thanks!  Even better, he's got similar room temperatures to me, so I won't have to worry about how much to adjust times.  Even better, it's an easy very low kneading, so easy on my hands, and it's a smallish loaf (300g flour), around the size I was looking for, and complete instructions with what to do with the starter beforehand.  Were you reading my mind?  :D
LMAshton's picture
LMAshton 2008 April 5
Report I will!  I might attempt this tonight/tomorrow...  Well, here's a question.  If I sart with the preferment tonight and let it do it's thing overnight, given my evening routines and morning routines and such as that, it would end up being ten hours.  If I had a cooler room temperature, it wouldn't be so much of a problem.  Our daytime room temperature is 30-35C, nighttime room temperature is 27-30C.  So, really, 10 hours is okay for this, right?  I'm just a leetle nervous...
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 April 5

Laurie, it all depends on your starter's temperament and how long it has been dormant. If it's slow, the 10 hours won't hurt. But if it's the gungho kinda starter, then best to let it rest in the fridge overnight. Then give it a whisk first thing in the morning to wake the beasties up.
LMAshton's picture
LMAshton 2008 April 5
The starter is brand new.  I started it about a week ago, and at the temperatures we get here, I figure that's probably equivalent to ten or so days in North America.  :D  Of course, if it's not ready yet, then tonight's experiment will fail, but, you know, I'm okay with that.  While I have very limited experience with sourdough, I know roughly what it should smell like, and mine smells good and it's active, so I'm not overly worried except that it might still be too new.

But.  I did the pre-ferment stage of the Sourdough Vienna White that you recommended, which is 1 tablespoon starter, 100 g water, 100 grams flour.  What is this whisking you're talking about?  It's thick as dough.  This part already has me worried, especially since the part happening tomorrow calls for adding more flour but no more liquid.  But I was sure I didn't bungle the measuring, but I must have because it's too thick. *sigh*  Maybe I should try again.  It's too thick!  Or am I just being paranoid? 

I know, I know - beginner angst.  I haven't made bread of any kind in a long time, so I'm really out of practice.
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 April 5

Look at the Vienna White recipe again. Says you have to add 100g cool water to the preferment.

Whisking is probably not the right word. What I do is stick a spoon (metal is ok) into the thick cream and stir vigorously...the purpose is to introduce air.

You'll do fine.
LMAshton's picture
LMAshton 2008 April 5
Yeah, I don't always read things clearly late at night or first thing in the morning...  Thanks for pointing that out - I think I was going blind.

It's happily sitting in the dining room, waiting for another kneading.  The dough is soft, which I like, and smells about right.
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LMAshton 2008 April 5
It's done, and it turned out pretty good.  I say pretty good because it can be improved, but still, I like it and gladly eat it. Definite sourdough taste, but not even close to overwhelming and very good.
















I didn't follow the instructions exactly. 

Like I didn't slash - I don't have a sharp enough knife.  They tear bread rather than cut it.  I've got razor blades on my shopping list.

I don't know what my oven temperature is.  Our oven just quit working - there's one flame level, not variable, and there's no temperature guide anyway - I usually just guess and it comes out about right (I'm a good guesser, evidently, given that everything has always worked).  I've yet to see an oven thermometer here, although I'm thinking I should put it on my wish list for the next time someone asks me what they can send me.  :D  I must have hit a temperature close to 400F since the bread was done, very nicely golden, at 35 minutes.  No complaints there.  At least the oven is stuck at a reasonable temperature.

The bread didn't rise as much as I'd expected, but I'll chalk that up to a very young starter that hasn't fully developed combined with me getting familiar with the techniques, oven temperature problems, and lack of slashing. 

BUT it turned out well enough that it's definitely worth me perfecting my techniques on this recipe.  Happiness reigns.  :)
LMAshton's picture
LMAshton 2008 April 5
Yeah, picture placement didn't exactly work out like I'd hoped, so I'm posting the other one here. 


TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 April 6

Thanks for sharing your first experience with us. Considering all that oven guess work, you did great! How long did you prove the bread, Laurie? The lack of spring may be due to overproving.

What's next?
LMAshton's picture
LMAshton 2008 April 6
The pre-ferment stage took about ten hours.  Then I added the remainder of the ingredients, and honestly, because I'm easily distracted, I didn't do the kneading at fifteen minute intervals, but rather at anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. I did the stretch & fold step twice - after doing it the first time, I found a video on Youtube, so watched it and realized that I did a rather lousy job, so went and did it again.  *laughs*  After shaping the loaf and plopping it in my bread pan, I let that rise for 45 minutes, then tossed it in the oven.

I am no expert on making bread, never mind sourdough.  Yes, I watched my mother and helped her make bread since I was five, and started making it on my own at sixteen, but my mother knows little of the technical aspects of making bread, and to be honest, her bread ain't that great and she knows squat about technique other than knead it to death.  As a child and a young adult, I didn't know that, but I do now. It's only the last couple of years that I've started learning about the technical aspects of it and realized how so much of what went wrong could have been fixed.  But there's still a lot to learn.

I throw that disclaimer out there.  :D  Meanwhile, I don't know a lot about overproving bread, but it didn't seem to me to rise to the point of collapsing.  Although, really, my sourdough starter could still be weak enough that it just doesn't have the oomph to support the weight of the dough.

I'm definitely all ears.  I'm going to have to start a new batch tonight, methinks, if we're going to have bread tomorrow. 

My plans involve, for the immediate future, working on this recipe and perfecting it as much as I can, without making any modifications to it just yet.  Get this figured out right first.  At some point, I'll have to find/modify a recipe for a sweet bread with raisins in it for the hubby - it's what he likes for breakfast and we must keep him happy.  :D

Thanks for your help.  :)
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 April 7

Next step...a happy hubby

Now that you've got a bread you're (in-progress) comfortable with, play with the recipe. Hubby likes raisins? Wash a cup of raisins, cover them with water and boil. Let cool, then drain. This makes the raisins nice, plump and juicy enough to survive the baking process. Raisins go well with wholemeal, so go ahead and do a half white half wholemeal/spelt/rye.
LMAshton's picture
LMAshton 2008 April 7
We can't get spelt or rye, (or a lot of other things, really), so that's out.  The only version of whole wheat flour we can get is atta flour, which, from my understanding, is a hard wheat flour with just the bran removed.  I plan to try that out in my breads even though it's commonly used for chappattis, rotis, and other flatbreads.  Oh heck, I plan on eventually trying out chickpea flour, ulundu flour, kurukkan flour (a type of millet), mung bean flour, and just about every other type of flour we can get here.  :D

Great tip about the raisins - I've been wondering.  About this recipe, specifically - if I were to add sugar to make it a sweet bread, how much would I add?  1/2 cup-ish?  I'm guessing I would add both the raisins and the sugar at the dough making stage.  Please let me know if this is incorrect.  :)

I'm making another loaf today, probably plain. 
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 April 7

I'm sure we'd love to see you use all those flours in bread. We have those here too, but, they are not organic.

I usually add any sugar at the doughmaking stage, but work in the raisins as I do the folding and stretching if keeping the raisins whole and pretty is important. Otherwise, yup, right from the beginning. Others may have other ways (more correct perhaps) of adding the raisins. As for the amount of sugar, I'd add 2 tablespoons. I worry about too much sugar impeding the yeasties' activities. Having said that, half cup doesn't sound like too much.

Cheers
TP
LMAshton's picture
LMAshton 2008 April 7
Thanks for your many useful and insightful responses, TeckPoh.  It sure helps to have someone to bounce ideas off of.  :)

I doubt that our flours are organic, but I don't have a choice - gotta use whatever's available, and that ain't much.  If I was going to eat nothing but organic, I'd starve to death in about a week.

I'm thinking in terms of a half cup of sugar because the hubby loves his sweets, like all Sri Lankans.  :D  Any less and he might not call it inedible, but he'd sure laugh if I tried saying it was a sweet bread!  :D
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 April 7

why don't you throw in some butter, say, 100g? Makes the bread, nice, rich and soft.

LOL, I can just imagine the formula-followers rolling their eyes. So...you see, Laurie, I may not be the best disher-of-advise...I'm an instinct cook...more rolling eyes. Now, don't panic, I won't tell you anything which I haven't made before with (more than some degree of) success.

Er hem. Like advocating breastmilk, I'd better say using formula (not baby's!) is The Best Thing to do, of course, so that you can repeat the results you're pleased with.

Have fun with sourdough.
LMAshton's picture
LMAshton 2008 April 7
Oooh, butter...  Excellent idea!

Hey, I'm all for following formulas.  In the beginning as I get acquianted with a process.  But after that, alterations/modifications are fair game. :)  I'm also an instinct cook - it makes life more interesting and fun.  So, you know, you might actually be alright for giving me suggestions.  :p

I decided to get two loaves going.  *sigh*  One started at 7am, the second at 10am.  One's going to be a sweet bread, the other will be a plain jane loaf.  Oh, the horrors!  The addictions!  The obsessiveness of it all!
LMAshton's picture
LMAshton 2008 April 8
So I have two batches going.  One is the raisin bread, the other is the original recipe.   The raisin recipe was extremely soft to the point of complete instability - perhaps too much margarine?  (I don't have butter - extremely expensive here, but I did use baking margarine with a very low water content.  I prefer butter, too - please don't shoot me!)  So I ended up adding 150g more white flour on the first knead. 

During the pre-ferment stage, it bubbled happily.  Happily, I tell you!

At any rate, have gone through all the kneading, stretching, forming, placed the dough in the pans, waited an hour for them to rise, and...

Nothing.  Or, at least, nothing that I could tell.  Nothing obvious.  I could see bubbles through the glass side for the loaf, but still.

We're heading to bed soon, so I opted to throw both pans into the fridge and will resume rising tomorrow first thing. 

Today has been a cool day - monsoon weather, and we've had massive thunderstorms and rain off and on today with overcast skies, so today is probably the coolest day of the last year or five years.  I mean, pleasant without a fan, which is unheard of.  I think it was probably around 25C today.  Please tell me the lack of rise is due to the temperature.  Please.  Please tell me that tomorrow, it'll rise fine after the dough's had time to warm up.  Please?
LMAshton's picture
LMAshton 2008 April 8
I don't believe it.  The temperature's listed as 23C.  Yowsa.  No wonder I wasn't hot today.  I didn't think it got this cold here.  I've certainly never seen it before.
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 April 8

Laurie, did you put margarine in both the loaves? My educated guess (yeah, right) is the temp and that all will be well in the morning for part II. I hope you covered the dough in oiled cling film?
LMAshton's picture
LMAshton 2008 April 9
Margarine was added only to the raisin buns.  The other loaf was the original recipe with no variations.

I took the bread out of the fridge at 6:30 am, and they hadn't risen enough to call it close to doubled until 12pm.  I had them sitting in the oven the entire time with me lighting the fire every now and then for 30 seconds to give it some heat (no pilot light).  Five and a half hours seems ridiculously long to me, even allowing for the dough to warm up out of the fridge.  So, I dunno.  Call it the temperature compounded by, what, exactly?

At any rate, the loaf turned out nearly identical to the first one, complete with the same taste, texture, height, crumb, airholes, and so on.  Could be twins.  :)

The raisin buns, while they rose to double the height, were still quite dense with a very small crumb.  Okay, so maybe I should have stopped at adding 100g of flour instead of 150g.  Still, the husband likes them and willingly ate them for breakfast.  They're not as dense as dwarf bread, thank heavens.  They're actually fine, for the uninitiated.  It's just that I would prefer a lighter bun.

I think the next time I do this, I'm going to start with double the starter and see what happens while, yes, paying attention to the pre-ferment and its bubbliness glory.  I'm thinking part of the problem has to be that my starter doesn't yet have what it takes entirely.  Ah, the follies of youth.

TeckPoh, thanks for all your help.  :)
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 April 9

One hour of bulk-fermenting is rather short. I should have written out some instructions to you instead of trying to send it to you via telepathy. OK...if you have to stick your bread into the fridge after such a short while, next time...let it warm up, say, for an hour, then continue helping the gluten to develop by stretching and folding every half hour to an hour for the next 2 to 3 hours till you see a webby network when you cut the dough. Then only shape and prove. With a warm kitchen (29 deg C), it can mean a 2-hour proof or less.

I love your enthusiasm. Keep it up!
LMAshton's picture
LMAshton 2008 April 9
Yeah, I doubt it's enthusiasm.  I attribute it to sheer stubborness, myself.  :D

Okay, that makes sense about the stretch & fold after taking it out of the fridge.  I'll remember that for next time (although I really hope there won't be a next time.)

Thanks again!

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