I was trying to find the ways to reduce the proofing time lately: one thing I have tried in the last two weeks is proofing the dough in an oven (not turned or warmed up; no lights , either) to see whether this relatively temperature-wise stable environment would help reduce it.
This dough was only proved for 3 hours (in contrast to my usual 4-6 hours proofing). It was almost flat when I placed it on the parchment paper and scored. But there was a great oven spring (just like last week), so it turned out to be just lovely.
I think the in-oven proofing helped. I also think that maybe in the past I was over-proofing my dough..
Of course, the hydration levels of the dough makes a difference in terms of the yeast activity – this was a slightly sticky dough. This may be another reason for the short proof time working with this loaf.
In any way, I am just happy to have this loaf 🙂
mighty starter/levain 🙂 it is 100% whole wheat starter
iitial dough: it has 1 cup of levain; 1.5 cups of water, 1.5 tbs of salt and sugar, and 3.5 cups of bread flour – I stretched and folded it 4-5 times, and left at room temp over night for the rise
the next morning, this is what I have said hello 🙂
shaped and left for proofing for 3 hours
at the end of 3 hours-proofing time; not so much of a rise but it is puffy and I took my chances 🙂
on the parchment paper prior to scoring
tried this style for the first time – let’s see it 🙂
looook at these air pockets 🙂 so impressive considering that it was a short proofing this time – bon appetite me! 🙂
This was the first time that I tried 3 hours of proofing. When I took it out of the shaping bowl and scored, the dough was almost flat. But in the oven it showed a great oven spring and one of the largest air pockets I have ever seen. It even cracked itself on top even though I had slashed it, which tells me that yeast really worked hard this time.
Will continue like this – it has been a great experiment.
Here is a fantastic sourdough with a hint of trolled oats and black olives 🙂
This loaf was my first trial of a rectangular shape 🙂 I learnt a while ago that sticky dough do not keep its shape well if does not have enough support. So I used one of my oven pots to prove and bake this loaf.
I would do this loaf again; the crust was thin and soft (the way I love it) and it tasted amazing!
The recipe is similar to others:
1 1/3 cup 100% whole wheat starter (fed Friday night and then on Saturday morning prior to saving half in the fridge; used to make the dough in the afternoon)
2 cups water; mixed the starter and water well with the help of a fork until it became kind of frothy
2.5 tbs sugar; mixed well into the starter/water mix
4.5 cups of bread flour, 1.5 tbs salt, and 200 grms of pitted black olive-halved: (approximately 1.5 cups). Formed a shaggy dough, closed the lid, kneaded every 30 min or so three times until dough looked like forming. At the end of folding stage dough was too sticky (must be the olives’ juice), so I added 1/3 cup of rolled oats to help with the moisture
let rest at room temperature over might
since it was a kind of sticky dough, I decided to place it in a large rectangular oven pot lined with parchment paper
sprinkled top with more oats, placed in a nylon bag, tied the ends, and proved for 4.5 hours at room temperature
baked in non-pre-heated oven at 350 F for one hour
after the stretch and fold and prior to over night rise at room temp
this is how it said hi to me 🙂 what a lovely rise 🙂
placed in the oven pot without trying to shape; I just helped it to the corners and that was it
and it looks awesome inside – as expected from a sticky dough it has nice air pockets
closer look – black olives are my favorites, so I could not be happier 🙂
I baked two loaves today – my freezer stock has been depleted. One always need a decent home-made sourdough bread 🙂
Both loaves have been sightly sticky, risen at room temp for about 18 hours (at round 17 C). For the baton loaf, I used a pot to rise, whereas the other one was risen in a mixing bowl. The latter was slightly more sticky in the next morning and required quite a bit of flour to handle. I also needed to use a lot of flour to keep it from sticking to baking clothe while proving. This inevitably resulted in a pale looking loaf. I have risen the baton loaf on parchment paper between a couple of stuff to help keep its shape.
The prove time was 4 hours for the round loaf and around 5 hours for the other. I baked them at 350F for around 55-65 minutes.
The end results are good with lots of air pockets. The big pockets in the round loaf are worrisome, telling me that I did not do a good job deflating the dough in the morning. The baton loaf had a much better crumb, which was very pleasing.
Bon appetite! 🙂
levain 🙂 happy and healthy
initial shaggy dough – I added 2 cups of levain. 9 cups of bread flour, 4 cups of water, 3 tbs of sugar, and 2 tbs of salt
after 5 stretching and folding, I have cut the dough into two – this is the slightly smaller half risen at room temp overnight
the bigger half: risen in the pot over night at room temp
the big half in the morning – risen well
the small half; nicely risen
the big dough formed into baton shape on parchment paper and supported by some handy kitchen items 🙂
the small dough right before the start of the proving step
small dough after 4 hours of proving
this is how it looked; note the flour on the surface – I had to use A LOT of it to prevent it from sticking to baking clothe
scoring was not successful this time, but good enough
the baton loaf after proving; nice and plumpy 🙂
scored; I was not very good at scoring this time, but that is okay
aaand the small loaf after 55 min at 350F – during the bake I sweeped the extra flour from the surface, but flour still stuck to the dough. as a results I ended up with a pale looking bread. oven spring is pretty good
this turned out to be a big loaf – I cut it into three pieces for freezer 🙂
the small/round loaf – not bad but not great either. nevertheless it will be greatly enjoyed 🙂
on the sides of the round loaf there have been many large air packets
this is the baton and my verdict is that its crumb has been way better than the round loaf 🙂
Yesterday I have prepared two sourdough; one can be found here; it was prepared by a starter that was rigorous and with a long rise (around 16 hours at room temp) with 4 hours of proving, following my regular recipe. It turned out to be a lovely loaf with a great oven spring.
That loaf will be given to my friends that I have seen yesterday night. So upon returning home at around 11 pm, I decided I needed a loaf for myself so I prepared a small dough using the left overs from my starter that I resurrected this past week. These left overs are those that needed to be removed and replaced with fresh flour and water while feeding the starter. I did not want to put it in garbage, so I thought I could find a use for them (like tortilla), so had kept around 3/4 cups of them in my fridge. They were not necessarily the best starter, but I took my chances with my second loaf.
The second loaf had 9 hours of first rise with limited stretch and fold (1 only) at room temperature and 5 hours of proofing. Honestly it did not look good when I put it on parchment paper (it did not keep its shape). Anyways, in the oven there was some kind of spring. So I was still not very hopeful. But when I cut it, I was very surprised; it has the largest air pockets I have seen in my sourdough! It is soft and the sesame seeds give it an incredibly nutty flavor 🙂 Although its rise was short, I think dough being slightly sticky helped it to turn into this beautiful loaf.
I think sometimes keeping the faith and trying something that does not look much hopeful pays off 🙂
right before placing on parchment paper prior to baking; it was sticky so I applied a lot of sesame seeds to the sides
on the parchment paper: deflated dough never gives you hope about its future. BUT I was proven wrong this time 🙂
after 33 min of baking at 375F oven (oven was pre-heated). there is some oven spring, but nothing impressive
voila! wow! never expected this 🙂 beautiful, is it not? very impressive indeed!
this is my sourdough culture that I created a year ago from water and whole wheat flour; it is love.
this is how the dough initially looked; it consists of 1 cup of stiff levain, 1 1/3 cup of water, 3 cups of bread flour, 2 tbs sugar, and 1.5 tbs salt. I do not know why I use sugar, but I baked once without it and it was not a great rise, so I keep adding sugar to my sourdough
after 4-5 stretch and fold – ready to rest over night
after the over night rest at room temperature
shaped and directly placed into proofing basket aka mixing bowl lined with a clean cloth and sprinkled with flour; close those seams 🙂
after 5 hours of proofing in a nylon bag (green house effect; recommended)
perfect shape 🙂
my signature aka most favorite scoring
and after 55 min (45 min with oven on at 375F and 10 min off); baking at non-pre-heated oven
What is a Sunday without a home-baked loaf of sourdough?
You got it right – it is almost impossible!!!!! :))))
Since I started sourdoughing last August, except one weekend and when I was away for vacation/business trip, I baked a loaf or two every…single…Sunday! 🙂
I keep experimenting with the rolled cereals/grains in my sourdough loaves. My recent a couple trials including the soaked rolled oat and flax seed in sourdough (for example, here andhere) have been quite successful. I think they help with the moisture even though they lack the gluten so they take up only a small part of the total dough (other wise the loaf does not rise – I know by experience – unless you want a flat and stiff loaf, do not try to have a loaf with only rolled oat).
Anyways, I saw and purchased the rolled rye a couple of weeks ago. Honestly I have no idea what it could be used for, but I thought it would be a nice addition to my baking adventures and a nice ornament for the crust. I was not wrong.
This is the biggest loaf I have ever baked so far; thus rather than a boule I opted out for a baton loaf (I thought it would bake more evenly). Also, I proved the dough in a large plastic bag that kept it somewhat warm (something like a greenhouse effect). I am glad I remembered to do this as I think it reduced the proving time.
tend to the starter and prepare the levain as explained here
mix 1 cup of rolled rye with 1 cup of water, soak for 30 min
add the rye mixture, 1 1/4 cups of starter, 1 cup water, and 2 tbs sugar together and mix well
add 4 cups of bread flour and 2 tbs of salt. Mix and form a shaggy dough. It will be a little bit sticky dough
stretch and fold 4-5 times at 30-60 min intervals
cover, wrap with a thick towel, and rise at room temp over night. My kitchen is around 17 C
the next morning, take the dough on a floured surface, expand and form a rectangular dough, and then fold over itself to form a baton shape
cover and rest for 10-15 min at room temp
re-shape if required and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet
cover with a thick towel and place in a large plastic bag; tie the ends of the bag and rest for 5 hours at room temp
pre-heat the oven at 375 F
wet the surface of the loaf with your hands and sprinkle with rolled rye. Gently press to make sure the flakes will stick. Score the loaf as you please
bake for 55 min
cool down and enjoy!
my beautiful starter has been very happy today 🙂
this is the rolled rye and water mix… I know… I know… it does not look great, but trust me, it does the dough really good 🙂
this is the dough right before I left it for the overnight rise
and, in the morning I was met with my dough 🙂 it has risen so much! this is always delightful to see 🙂
the shaping did well, but the loaf is really huge.. the biggest I have ever baked 🙂
and 5 hours later, it has risen well – time to score 🙂
I like this pattern of scoring – very practical and looks great. I also love coating the surface with seeds or flakes – this time rye flakes 🙂
this loaf has been great. I mean, look at these air packets… hmmm. I am al most sure this is one the best loaves of mine ever 🙂
I tried one sourdough recipe with semolina flour this time. I was worried because it did not rise as much, but the oven spring was there as well as the air bubbles in the loaf 🙂
It contained 1 cup of levain prepared from my Monster sourdough starter, 1 cup of semolina flour, 1.5 cup of bread flour, and 1 cup of water and salt as desired. Minimal kneading at first; 6 stretch and fold every 30 min or so; and resting at the fridge overnight. The next day, I left it at room temperature for 2 hours; shaped, and proofed for 1 hour 15 min; baked at a preheated oven (at 400F) in a roaster (25 min closed lid and 25 min open lid).
Taste is somehow unusual, but the crust was rich and crumb was soft and quite palatable.
As usual, immediately enjoyed with the butter 🙂
initial dough – does not look smooth and elastic 😦
after 6 stretch and fold and right before placing in the fridge for overnight rise; it has risen somehow, which is pleasing and I guess the dough structure is strong
gently spread and folded into a boule and placed in a bowl upside down. I had thought it was too small and possibly would give me another brick-like loaf (I was wrong!) 🙂
scoring right before placing it in preheated roaster and oven
thick chewy crust with soft crumb :0 I always love to see the air bubbles in the final product – somehow makes me feel accomplished 🙂
Today I learnt that the smoke detectors in my kitchen work just fine because I burnt the parchment paper in the oven!!!!
Never though that would happen. I recently started using it, always in a roaster without any problem; this was the first time I tried it on a cookie sheet.
I had placed the cookie sheet lined with the parchment paper + loaf on the lower shelf of the oven; is that the reason I wonder (oven was at 400 F – many people say that parchment paper is safe to use at this temperature)…
Anyways; a lovely loaf is gone to garbage (the one on top of the burnt paper); luckily I have had another loaf baking in the roaster at the same time, which turned out to be just great 🙂
This loaf is the same as last time where I used milk rather than water in the dough. This time I also increased the amount of yeast, sugar and salt (2 tbs of each for 4 cups of flour), and baked 15 min at 400 F (until I realized parchment was burning…); took out while still in the roaster for 10-15 min until I cleared the oven from smoke; and then baked it at 350 F for an additional 15 min (lid open).
I think I have reached consistency in terms of baking a soft and beautiful loaf, which also happens to have excellent oven spring. I would recommend this recipe to everyone, especially those that are new to baking bread; it is much easier and more forgiving than the bread prepared with water (which I could never bake well) 🙂
look at the oven spring in this loaf? the shape is also better than what I would think it would be. It was soft inside and with a kind of thick/stiff crust. just the way I like 🙂
not bad, right? 🙂
right after scoring and placing in the oven. The bigger loaf was placed in a roaster with parchment paper at the bottom, and the small guy was placed on a cookie sheet with parchment paper (this is the one that burnt…. 😦 )
right after the shaping and prior to 1.5 hours of proofing. the dough was kind of sticky and this resulted in these rather shapeless loafs… right before putting into the oven I sprinkled flour on top of the loafs, hoping that it would help with a better looking crust. in fact it did help 🙂
I have been experimenting with bread making for some time and I can say I am still on the way to reach a perfect loaf.
For some reason I am not interested in following a recipe and I rather improvise. While this is exciting (each dough and bread feels like an “experiment”), the end results are usually not great.
This week I tried two loafs; one sourdough and one loaf with milk and commercial yeast.
The sourdough was miserable and did not forgive being poked, adding too much flour and then too much water. The dough was the weirdest I have ever made and I guess I should pay more attention to it 🙂
This being said, the loaf with the milk turned out to be the best ever! The oven spring was obvious, it was soft and incredibly tasty. Next time I should be using a little bit more yeast to make it really fluffy and with large air pockets 🙂
Milky bread recipe:
Add 1 cup warm skim milk, 3/4 tbs sugar, 3/4 tbs dry yeast. Mix well, cover with a kitchen towel, and rest for 10 min until the yeast forms the foams on top
Add 2.5 cups of bread flour, 3/4 tbs salt and mix with hands and knead for 4-5 min
Place in a container brushed with vegetable oil, flip the dough to make sure it gets oil all over
Let rest at room temperature 30 min and then and stretch and fold (total of 3 times; 30 min apart)
*I am not good at kneading, or at stretching and folding. So this time I tried to do a little bit of both of them to see whether I could get a nice, well formed dough
Rest in the fridge over-night – it should get fluffy and risen a little bit
In the morning, take it out to room temperature and let rest for 3.5 hours (only because my kitchen was cold today and I had to go out to shop. In a warmer environment, this time could be much shorter)
Gently de-gas, shape, and let proof for 1.5 hours
Score the surface, place in a pre-heated roaster, and bake at 400 F (oven is pre-heated too)
score – they say if you score with an angle, the ear forms better. This has been my experience with this loaf
lovely bread 🙂 Look at the ear! What a wonderful oven spring it was 🙂
air pockets would be larger should I have added more yeast. But still, not bad.. not at all.. 🙂
This sourdough bread is mystical because I cannot remember how much water I added to the dough 🙂
Argh… Murphy’s law – this is a wonderful loaf and it would be awesome to replicate it in the future. Anyways, at least I remember how the initial dough felt; shaggy but not runny. Good…
This is my second sour dough bread trial using my Monster sourdough starter. The first one last week ended up being something beyond brick….. Something even stronger… Like steel or something….
This time, it is better. The crust was definitely chewy and inside was very soft. It could use more salt next time. By the way, with this loaf I started to believe in “oven spring”; this dough has doubled in size while in the oven. I could not be more enchanted right now 🙂
Bon appetite! 🙂
Levain: Activate the starter by feeding a night before and resting at room temperature over-night.
For this purpose, I mixed 1/2 cup of starter with 2/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of water in a bowl. Then, I transferred it in a clean jar, secured the lid with a clean kitchen towel and elastic band, and forgot till next morning.
*well… that is not true – I checked it many times during the night. Seeing it rising was magical 🙂 After all, I just had transferred it to fridge last week and this was the first time I tried to revive it back at room temperature 🙂
**basically, the starter I used for this levain is the portion of the starter that I am supposed to throw away while feeding the starter every week. Making no waste feels good 🙂
***it makes a stiff, not runny, levain
It must have at least doubled in size and have bubbles around the jar, indicating an active, robust starter.
1. Mix 1 cup of levain with 1/2 cup water in a bowl. Add 2 cups of bread flour and just enough water to make a shaggy and sticky dough. Cover and rest at room temperature for 4 hours
*the autolyse step is supposed to hydrate the flour and help develop gluten. At the end of this period, the dough should look a little bit swollen and possibly flattened out
2. Add 2 tps of salt and 2 tps of sugar to dough while still in the container and mix
3. Spread 1/3 cup of flour on a clean surface and place the dough on. Knead for 2-3 minutes lightly and add flour as needed.
*The dough should be fluffy, somewhat sticky but not too sticky
4. Place the dough in a clean container that has been brushed with vegetable oil. Turn the dough upside down to make sure it gets oil all over. Cover and let rest for 30 min
*vegetable oil helps with preventing the dehydration of the dough. i somehow feel like it also helps with the dough structure, but I have no convincing evidence for this yet (many people say that vegetable oil actually reduces the rising capacity)
5. Stretch and fold 4-5 times and let rest for 30 min covered
*this technique is supposed to be a good alternative to kneading. If you do not have a dough mixer or a bread machine and are using your hands to knead, you may want to give it a try
6. Stretch and fold for a total of 4 times and then rest the dough for a final 30 min
*I perform all these steps while the dough is still in the container with the help of a bench cutter
**by the way I use a large pot to mix the dough and for the fermentation/first rise. It is a very practical alternative. Just close the lid and cover with a blanket/thick towel or place in a warm place, like a warm oven, for the fermentation step
*** you will notice that the dough slightly rises/gets fluffier and develops some structure with each stretch and fold.
7. Take the dough on a lightly floured surface, spread with the help of your hands, and then fold over and shape. I made a round loaf. Cover and let rest there for 10 min.
8. Proofing: I used a bowl covered with a clean white fabric that had around 1 tbs of flour sprinkled to prevent the dough from sicking to it. I covered the dough and let proof for an hour
*they say sourdough does not rise as much as the commercial yeast, which in my experience was the case as well
9. 20 min before the end of the proofing step, pre-heat the oven to 400 F and place your roaster/dutch oven in
*I recently became a fan of using roasters to bake the bread. It provides good heat conductance and shortens the baking time. They say dutch ovens are even better. I bought a turkey roaster which is quite big. The advantage of it is that I can bake loafs with any shape; e.g. baton or boule. Not sure whether I can do this with a dutch oven – they usually looks small and suitable for boule only
10. Transfer the dough upside down on a parchment paper, score with sharp knife (around half an inch), and immediately place into the heated roaster
*dough was leveled down as soon as I scored it, which discouraged me. yet, the spring oven surprised me; the end product had risen and formed a lovely bread
11. Bake 30 min covered, and then an additional 20 min uncovered at 400 F
happy levain 🙂
initial shaggy dough prior to autolyse step
at the end of 4 hours of autolyse, the dough has risen and leveled out. it looks juicy and sticky
prior to kneading 2-3 min; a generous amount of flour was needed during this step
spread the dough. I saw this technique somewhere, which is supposed to re-distribute the dough ingredients and remove large air bubbles. It is becoming a routine application for me
ready to rest for 30 min before the first stretch and fold
at the end of 1st 30 min rest/fermentation
right after 1st stretch and fold
right before the 2nd strecth and fold
after the 2nd stretch and fold; with each stretch/fold, it becomes a more fluffier and stronger dough. it also started to lose its sticky appearance
right before the 3rd stretch and fold
right after the 3rd stretch and fold
right before the 4th stretch and fold. A nice structure is being developed
right after the 4th and the last stretch and fold
at the end of the final 30 min rest. The dough has obviously risen and its form looks good
looking good 🙂
spread it again. Note the air bubbles on the right top corner – isn’t it a beauty? 🙂
easily shaped into a boule
ready for proofing (dough was placed upside down in a bowl covered with a clean fabric and a little bit of flour)
not bad, is it? crispy crust and sift crumb. Yummy 🙂