Using all purpose flour in this sourdough loaf was a disaster. They say the Canadian all purpose and bread flours have similar protein content and many bakers are successful in getting decent loaves with all purpose flour, but today I proved myself that was not the case for me. Bread flour it is!
Dough was fantastic, but as soon as I took it from the proofing basket, it spread and leveled. I was hoping maybe once it is in the oven things would get better. But the loaf did not rise, usual oven spring was not existing, and it took longer (1 hour 15 min at 350F) to get a browned crust (I suspect because it was such a shallow loaf that its crust was further away from the top of the oven, which made it longer to brown), and as a result is as dry and hard as brick.
I will eat it, but honestly use the bread flour if it works better for your loaves.
starter was one of the best I have seen lately; I was hopeful about this loaf. Alas…..
initial shaggy dough with 3 cups all purpose flour, 1 cup+1tbs of starter, 1 1/3 cup water, 2 tbs sugar, and 1.5 tbs salt. it was dry and did not form well at the beginning, which was somehow alarming
after 4-5 stretch and fold; it turned out to be working; dough was in a much better shape and moist
after 18 hours rise at room temperature dough has risen quite well and I was very pleased with this 🙂
quickly shaped and placed in a bowl lined up with a clean cloth and sprinkled with generous amount of flour
after 6 hours of proof at room temperature in a plastic bag (makes the green house effect)
when taken out of the bowl; it does not look bad but it started to spread after that
my signature (aka favorite scoring)
final product baked at 350F non-pre-heated oven for 1 hour 15 min
there are some air pockets, but it is a good example of a brick loaf 😦
Added after the post: On a second thought, this loaf may as well be just over-proved. The first rise was quite long (around 18 hours) and I wonder if this has something to do with this leveled loaf (aka less gluten structure)… if you have any opinion, please do comment.
Here is my 50% whole wheat, 50% bread flour sourdough with flax seed 🙂
And here is yours truly having some fun after baking this beautiful loaf (I could not upload the video; apparently I must be paying for a plan to do so. Hence, rather here is a snap shot from the video 🙂
I baked two sourdough today; one boule and the other baton-shaped.
The recipe is quite similar to previous ones with:
4/3 cup of whole wheat flour starter fed Friday evening and Saturday morning, 1 1/4 cup water, 3-4 cups bread flour, 2 tbs of sugar, and 2 tbs of salt. It should be slightly sticky
mix, rest at room temperature, and stretch and fold 4-5 times with 20-60 min in between (it is quite forgiving; you do not need to time everything. what is important is to fold and strech so that the dough and gluten form)
rise at room temperature over night in a mixing bowl with lid and wrap with a towel
the next morning (aka today), shape and rest for 10 min. Re-shape if required, cover the loaf with a towel, and place in a plastic bag for a green house effect (I think that works really well) for 4 hours or longer (this week at the end of 4 hours, the loaves had almost doubled)
bake at 375 min for 50-55 min (until it becomes golden crisp. I no longer pre-heat the oven or use a roaster/dutch oven to bake. Eventually if the dough is good, the bread comes out wonderful)
cool down and make sure to take your time to enjoy 🙂
this is how it rises at the end of the over night rise; does it not look exciting? i am so happy to see dough risen in Sunday mornings 🙂
the boule right before proofing, seam up in a shaping bowl with a clean cloth sprinkled with flour
I am not great at shaping baton, but this will do it 🙂
after 4 hours, the boule has almost doubled in size – this is always a good sign
aaaand the end products! look at these beauties! The scoring on boule made an impression of a face, do you not think? 🙂
and the crumb of the baton – what a great development. I am very happy with the loaves today 🙂
crumb of the boule – I find that baton loaves give more open crumbs than boules (based on last week’s and this week’s experience. I wonder whether it has something to do with the height – shorter is better to get air pockets somehow? Maybe it is easier to lift up the dough if the height is not high like in my boules… something to think about)
Yesterday I visited a bulk-produce retailer and bought myself some flax seed, rolled oats, and some other dry food at very affordable prices!!!
This excitement had to be experienced – I love it when I can get great food at such low prices. I feel grateful 🙂
This being said, I have bought the rolled oats and the flax seed to experiment/improvise new bread recipes. So, today I baked two different sourdough loaves – one with oat+bread flour and the other 100% whole wheat flour+flax seed.
Boy – they are beautiful, do you not think? So soft, so nicely risen, such great oven spring, and the air bubbles inside are making me fall in love with each one of them.
It is official; I have the greatest sourdough starter ever, which I hope to bake with forever and ever… 🙂
Levain: I have a 100% whole flour “Monster” starter that I feed with 2/3 cup whole wheat flour+1/3 cups+1 tbs water on Friday afternoon. I then let it rest at room temperature overnight wrapped in a thick towel. The next day I feed it again the same way; one hour later divide it into two: one part goes into the fridge till use next week, and the other continues to rise at room temperature for 5-6 hours. At that point it becomes very bubbly and that is always exciting to see this 🙂
Prior to preparing dough, I mix the levain with water and sugar to make the liquid base for dough (my measurements were: 1+1/4 cups of levain, 1 cup of water, and 1.5 tbs of sugar)
Sourdough with rolled oat:
add 1/2 cup rolled oat and 1/2 cup water- mix and let stand for 20 min
add 1+1/5 cups of levain/water/sugar base, 1 cup of water, 2 cups of bread flour, and 1/2 tbs of salt. Mix well and form a shaggy dough – do not worry about kneading or forming the perfect dough. Just cover, rest, and *stretch and fold every 20 or 30 min or so for 4-5 times.
*I lately started to “slam” the dough to the mixing bowl 7-8 times during each stretch and fold, which I kind of feel like helps stretch and form the dough. It is a strange feeling to do this to my dough and yeast, but then it feels also right…Try if you wish.
Then, cover, wrap with towel, and let rise at room temperature over night (my kitchen is usually cold around 17C. If you are in a hot climate, you may rise the dough at the fridge).
100% whole wheat sourdough with flax seed:
Rinse 1/2 cup of flax seed and add 1/2 cup water, let stand for 30 min
add 1+1/5 cups of levain/water/sugar base, 1 cup + 3 tbs of water, 2.5 cups of whole wheat flour, and 1/2 tbs of salt. Follow the procedure above.
Since whole wheat flour requires a little bit more water, I wet my hand before each stretch and fold to humidify the dough a little bit – it did help with a relatively softer dough. Alternatively you can add an additional 1-2 tbs of water while preparing the dough.
The next day; gently place the dough on a surface sprinkled with flour, deflate, stretch and form a rectangular shape, and fold & shape. Cover and let rest for 10 min. Shape again and place in proofing containers (i used a small mixing bowl for the oat loaves and a baking dish for the flax seed loaf).
Proofing time: 2.5 hours for the oat loaf, and 3.5 hours for the flax seed loaf
Baking: I recently started not to use roaster to bake my loaves. It gives a thinner crust and the oven spring is equally successful. I used a non-pre-heated oven for the oat loaf (375F, 50 min, baked uncovered). Once I was done with it, then I placed the flax seed loaf (pre-heated oven, 30 min open lid, 15 min closed lid, and 5 min open lid at 375F.)
Results, observations, and verdict: both loafs are gorgeous and better than what I thought I would get.
I know it is difficult to get the whole wheat flour rise so I was pretty impressed with the oven spring and the overall crumb of this lovely bread. It also had a nutty flavor and was an absolute delight even though for some the 100% whole wheat bread may sound a little bit intimidating.
The oat loaf was a delight from the beginning on – so easy to handle and the first rise was amazing with big air bubbles that I only had experienced with commercial yeast in the past. The taste of oat was undetectable but that is perfectly fine with me.
In both cases (oat and flax seed) the resting them on water prior to adding with flour and water produces a little bit sticky and mucus-like liquid, which I kind of think that helps with “binding” the dough. But of course we need a scientific proof for that.
I would certainly try these two loaves in the future and perhaps with the oat loaf I would increase the amount, just to see how the dough would respond.
Happy baking everyone! 🙂
the next morning after over-night rise at room temperature
shaped and rested 🙂
proofing – start
proofing – end: slightly risen, which is sufficient.
scoring right before placing in the oven. i always hesitate at that step – if it is too deep it deflates, if it is not deep enough then it does not shape well. in this case i think I would have tried a little bit deeper cut. maybe next time 🙂
100% whole wheat and flax seed loaf
the next morning – it risn more than I thought it would 🙂
shaping and resting 🙂
proven on a baking pot
what a nice scoring it was – the dough might have been a little bit stiff, but certainly it held the scores better than the other loaf
do you see what I see? even though it is 100% whole wheat, here are the air packets that make me feel like dancing 🙂
Friends; have a look at this 25% whole wheat – 75% bread flour sourdough!
Is it not magnificent? 🙂
With no ego I can tell this is the finest loaf of mine yet.
Sticky dough absolutely pays off – in my experience sticky (that literally sticks lightly-but not overly to your hand when you stretch and fold, or otherwise handle it) yields the softest bread with the best crumb.
This one was baked on a cookie sheet at 375F for 50 min (for 20 min of which it was covered with a lid to prevent the surface from burning).
I no longer use the roaster to bake my loaves, which gives me loaves with much thinner crust (which I love)!
Happy baking everyone! 🙂
look at this – is it not wonderful? all the air bubbles and the fine structure. I am so excited and happy my friends – please give baking bread a try. It has been such an interesting and exciting journey for me that I wish it to everyone.
I try to bake every weekend to quench my interest in yeast and its activities, and to consume.
This week, I had planned a “left-over” bread that included the left-over green olives (they have been in my fridge for some time now) and the piece of the sourdough starter I was supposed to throw away yesterday (my starter was on its 5th day yesterday and quite a monster, I must say). Since I was inspired by a blog (which, sadly I cannot remember now), I also added poppy seeds to dough.
It was a dough that rested at the fridge over-night (I prefer this kind of dough – in my opinion it makes better breads).
Overall, the green olives were not enough and kind of got lost during the kneading/stretch and fold attempts. I do not know what to think about this now… Poppy seeds are okay and not overwhelmed the taste, which is pleasing. The dough had a slight sour taste – I am almost sure that it was not because of the starter but the olives, but I may as well be wrong. Crust was crispy while inside was soft and tasty.
I also experimented with the roaster I purchased a while ago to see whether baking bread in a container like roaster really makes a difference. I prepared two loaves from the same dough and baked one in a baking dish without a cover and another one in the roaster at the same time. In fact it does; the crust of the roaster-baked loaf was more browned and better looking. I may as well continue to bake breads in the roaster.
I seem to have shallow scoring cuts on the loafs. I will remember to make deeper cuts next time.
On a final note, parchment paper seems to be a baker’s best friend. If you do not have a roll, you may consider having one. It keeps everything clean and helps with not using vegetable oil, spray, or cornmeal that we would otherwise use in the oven dishes while baking.
1. Activate 1/2 teaspoon of dry yeast in 1.5 cups of warm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar by mixing all and resting at room temperature for 15 min (cover the bowl).
*Note that the amount of dry yeast is really low. I find that dough that rests at the fridge does not need a lot of yeast
2. When the yeast is activated, add 1/2 cup of sourdough starter, 2 cups of bread flour, 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Mix with spoon or hand and let rest at room temperature for 20 (the autolyse step)
3. Add 1/3 cup of green olives (you should add more if you are looking for an olive loaf), 1 tablespoon of salt, and 2 tablespoon of poppy seeds and knead on a clean, flour sprinkled surface for a couple of minutes to make sure the ingredients all mix.
4. take the dough in a clean, vegetable oil spread bowl (i use a pot) and let rest at room temperature for 30 min. After that do stretch-and-fold for a total of 4 times, each time with 30 min rest in between.
*this technique is supposed to eliminate the need for kneading and develop the gluten structure equally. Basically hold a corner of the dough, stretch it as far as you can and then fold it over the dough. repeat this with other corners of the dough (4-6). Turn the dough over so that the folded part lies at the bottom
**my experience with kneading is pretty conflicting. I cannot knead even though I know it would make my bread structure better. So I failed in today’s attempt too as the dough did not become a mature, elastic dough. That is why I decided to stretch-and-fold
***you will notice that over-time the dough becomes fluffy but not necessarily overly risen
5. Put in the fridge over-night. I left the dough in the fridge for a total of 12 hours and then let rest at room temperature for 2 hours
6. Take the dough out and spread over flour-sprinkled surface, degassing at the same time. Cut into two loafs, shape, and let rest on the bench for 15 min (covered)
*since the dough is not sticky, there is no need to add more flour than required
7. Re-shape if needed, cover, and proof for 1 hour 45 min at room temperature. I used a bowl to proof the round loaf and a cookie sheet for the baton/francala. Cover the loafs so that they will not dehdyrate and keep warm.
8. Pre-heat the oven to 400F (keep the roaster inside too). When the proofing is done, transfer the loafs in the oven dish (I used this for the round loaf with parchment paper at the bottom) and the pre-heated roaster.
9. Score the top of the loaf and bake for a total of 50 min; after the first 25t minute take the lid off the roaster.
activating yeast – the small amount of yeast causes a small foam 🙂
shaggy dough ready for autolyse
after the autolyse, add salt, poppy seeds, and green olives into the dough
form a nice dough ready for stretch and fold
place in a clean pot brushed with vegetable oil to keep it hydrated
after 14 hours of fridge rest. my dough has a funny shape 🙂
expand the dough on the bench and degas
cut the dough into two and shape
after the bench rest, I placed the round loaf in a bowl with a clean clothe for proofing
this loaf was proved covered with a long/deep lid of a pot; no shaper/basket was used
after the proof, the loafs have risen a little bit (but not too much). transfer the round dough upside down and score the surface
proofed baton loaf
final product; I need to score deeper
the air bubbles are very pleasing to see 🙂 (round loaf)