(Solved) Sourdough starter and general hints please??

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Re: (Solved) Sourdough starter and general hints please??

Post by MessyTendon » Fri May 27, 2016 5:32 pm

Andrew yes the loaf pans should help get a more uniform brown crust on top. The stone pans are sort of expensive and I think the metal ones with the cover are better if you can find them, or just order some.

For sour loaves like baguette, just stretch them out, cut slits across the top at a diagonal. With a spray bottle you can mist the tops with a light lager beer, the malty sugars will caramelize the top nicely...a couple sprays not super duper wet...Or carefully brush it on, but a spray works nice because sometimes when brushing you will indent the dough.

Just mess around with water and flour ratio, you'll find one you like then adjust to whatever it is that you are supposed to adjust to. Heck you can even download a fancy dough hydration calculator app, while you submerse your 600$ smartphone in dough :)

Have fun, if smells stinky and sour your on the right path.


Re: (Solved) Sourdough starter and general hints please??

Post by Noonesperfect » Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:22 pm

Rather than spend much on a clay covered baking pan, I use a pizza stone, and cover the loaf with either a stainless steel mixing bowl that I already had on hand, or with a granite ware roasting pan. Both keep enough of the steam close to the loaf, helping obtain a thinner, crunchier crust. Keep the loaf covered for the first 10 minutes of the bake, then remove for the rest.

Since most modern ovens vent very efficiently, it's hard to keep steam in the oven for long enough to do any good. The idea is to prevent the crust from setting/gelatinizing too quickly, allowing for a greater rise and a thinner crust.

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Re: (Solved) Sourdough starter and general hints please??

Post by Reymundo » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:18 pm

I too use baking/pizza stones and mist with a bottle sprayer, but I don't use a top. I use a regular bread pan for my sourdough, score the loaves deeply (~1/4") with a bakers lame, place in an oven (preheated at 425 degrees for 1+ hrs) and after 10 min reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees, misting the loaves just before placing in oven, again at 5 min and then again at 10 min (when reducing oven temp to 375 degrees). Total bake time is around 37 min (starting with refrigerated loaves).

My basic recipe comes from Peter Reinhart's book "The Bread Bakers Apprentice" scaled up to make 2 loaves (e.g., I use 200 g of a 50/50 (w/w) flour/water mature sourdough sponge starter to prepare 500 g of a stiff starter by combing the 200 g of mature sponge starter with 75 ml water and 225 g flour, then allow the stiff starter to mature; and then combine the mature stiff starter with 642 ml water, 1000 g flour and 25 g salt to form a final dough mixture by kneading in a dough hook mixer or by hand; and then allow the final dough mixture to rise (double) in a plastic wrap covered bowl, before dividing and forming into two oblong loaves and allowing to rise again in plastic wrap covered bread pans).

I do most of of the rising processes (and stiff starter maturing) in the refrigerator, which prolongs the process but also helps make a nice sour flavor. I also do the final dough mixing/kneading in a dough hook mixer (mixing all ingredients except the salt for 5 min, then allowing the mixture to set for 30 min (allowing it to autolyse), then adding the 25 g of salt and mixing for 5 additional minutes). I also use PAM oil spray to coat dough bowls and bread pans, and I shape and form loaves on a lightly floured pastry/bread board.

The above process may seem difficult, but it is not. Granted there is some degree of "know how" involved, but you can learn much just by trying a few times and picking up a good book (and searching the Internet). Having a good "gram" weighing scale is desirable.

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