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Jenise

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So, my bread saga continues

by Jenise » Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:12 pm

Where we left off in the last episode, Jenise was having trouble with her starter. Little Larry didn't seem robust enough, and I had three failures in a row using the exact same tweaked recipe I'd lucked into by trial and error that produced the beautiful loaves I posted pictures of here. They just didn't rise. From that day until last weekend, I had not had another successful sourdough bake and I literally stopped baking with my starter. I did try keeping it out and feeding it every other day for a couple days until it seemed readier, but once I put it in the fridge and returned to feeding just once a week, it went lax again. Never got back the puffy airholes it had had originally nor the potency of sourdough aroma. It produced enough hooch to pour off every three days, but that's as close as it got to back when it had it's daddy's cojones.

I also read two bread books cover to cover, Ken Forkish's Flour and Water and Dan somebody or other's Bread Alone, which has a decidedly east-coast slant calling for brands and ingredients not available to me here by name. Did these provide clarity on how to make Little Larry well again? When to use, what's the best timing after feeding, where to keep him, how to optimize, etc? No, none at all. I was more confused than ever.

Then, by strange coincidence, last week a friend oblivious to my issues sent me an article from Food 52 about a possessed baker who feeds his starter twice a day. TWICE. EVERY. DAY. Well, I have a life--not much of one, but still--I can't do that. But it did clear the fog a bit: so what if I keep doing as Big Larry originally advised, keeping it refrigerated, but rather than feeding it once a week, what about twice a week? I'd been feeding him on Wednesdays, so what if I add Sundays? BINGO. Larry looked happy again. I used some in the loaf of buckwheat-raisin bread I made, which turned out lovely.

So on Friday evening I mixed up a sourdough, had a perfect proof, and on Saturday, baked this:

SeptemberLoaf.jpg
(1.04 MiB) Not downloaded yet


I'm back in business.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Robin Garr

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Re: So, my bread saga continues

by Robin Garr » Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:36 pm

Whoa, that looks amazing! Bet it tastes great, too.
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Larry Greenly

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Re: So, my bread saga continues

by Larry Greenly » Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:49 pm

Yay! You didn't give up. Looks great. Bread baking is a never-ending learning process. :D

It appears you used a proofing basket and couche.

BTW, you should google what you can make from spent sourdough starter.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: So, my bread saga continues

by Jeff Grossman » Mon Sep 14, 2020 11:49 pm

Note to self: Feed a sourdough starter, starve something else.
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Jenise

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Re: So, my bread saga continues

by Jenise » Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:01 am

Robin Garr wrote:Whoa, that looks amazing! Bet it tastes great, too.


Hope so. We didn't keep it; I delivered it warm to a couple who just had a new baby.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: So, my bread saga continues

by Jenise » Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:06 am

Larry Greenly wrote:Yay! You didn't give up. Looks great. Bread baking is a never-ending learning process. :D

It appears you used a proofing basket and couche.

BTW, you should google what you can make from spent sourdough starter.


No, I don't have a proofing basket and couche. I am using a plain wide bowl that I bought 35 years ago whose label insisted that it's a "British Baking Bowl". I had no intention of baking, I just liked the looks of it. I mix and do the overnight proof in there, then line it with a linen towel (which leaves that imprint in the flour) for the second rise which it undergoes in my proofing drawer, then gets dumped upside down into a hot Emile Henry dauffer (oval chicken roaster). Non-orthodox all around for 2020 coolness, but I do get a great artisinal look.

Yes, I need to find out how to make crumpets.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Larry Greenly

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Re: So, my bread saga continues

by Larry Greenly » Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:02 am

Your bread does look great.

I've made crumpets, but I can't remember if I used spent starter or not (I think I did). Found a set of crumpet rings in a thrift store. When tuna cans had a double end crimped seam, you could cut off both ends and use those for crumpet rings. Now the bottom doesn't have a seam. I've made crackers from spent starter and crepes and pancakes, too.

Floured linen works well in a proofing bowl or basket. For covering bread products, instead of plastic wrap, I use a cut up old wool army blanket. Dough won't stick to wool like plastic wrap. (Of course, floured linen works well, too.)

BTW, Jenise, you should try your hand at some sourdough Welsh cakes, Yum.
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Jenise

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Re: So, my bread saga continues

by Jenise » Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:43 am

My bowl is deep and wide enough (I looked at proofing baskets, they seem way too small) that even my large 4 cup loaf doesn't reach the top, so cling film for the first rise and a floured towel wrap for the second topped with a piece of extra strength aluminum to protect the towel from the heating elements in the proofing drawer works perfectly. The proofing baskets I looked at on line couldn't fit larger than a three cup loaf. Maybe there are different sizes, though, and I missed that.

I've seen a reference somewhere to crumpets so I presumed that worked.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: So, my bread saga continues

by Jenise » Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:01 pm

King Arthur flour has a recipe for sourdough starter crumpets:

https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipe ... ets-recipe
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Christina Georgina

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Re: So, my bread saga continues

by Christina Georgina » Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:47 pm

I know I am quite late to the thread about bread but would contribute my solutions based primarily on the fact that I hate to waste anything and resisted making sourdough precisely because wasting all that flour and effort made me unhappy. I now work backwards using the "scrapings method" I stumbled on here while looking for advice on shaping batards.https://www.bakewithjack.co.uk/videos. His emphasis on fundamental principles really cleared up a lot of my misunderstandings I was hooked when he said that he also hated waste. He is funny, practical, an excellent teacher and totally engaging.
What I do now is based on how much starter I will need for any given bake and then start feeding a tiny amount of starter with equal amounts of flour and water to build the starter up to the quantity I will use, leaving about 5-10 grams for the next bake. I do not feed it again until I am planning the next bake. No waste. How often I feed is based on the amount of rise and gas that each feed produces as measured by a rubber band on the outside of a glass jar. It stays on the counter at ambient temperature as a reminder and I may need to feed once, twice or three times before I reach the quantity I need that is achieving 2.5-3X rise. I use it when it is on the rise [ you can do a float test for fun but not necessary] not after it has fallen. I try to time the last feed as late in the day as possible, leaving it out overnight [unless it is very hot and AC off ]and start baking early the next day but if it looks like it might be peaking sooner I put it in the 55 degree wine cellar to slow it down [ or in the fridge if really hot ]and still be ready for the next morning. I pay much more attention to ambient temperature now than I ever did and it makes a difference. If I want a more definite sourness I will put the shaped dough to cold ferment in the fridge overnight or up to 3 nights.
I know there are many fabulous bread makers here and this is likely to have been discussed previously [ I have been out of commission here for the last 2.5 years] but I just wanted to comment on what I think of as a back engineered approach to making and using starter.
Mamma Mia !
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Jenise

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Re: So, my bread saga continues

by Jenise » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:16 pm

Christina, VERY interesting. I ride both sides of the road when it comes to waste. Like to proactively use everything I have but live in a place rural enough to require some realism about buying more than I'll end up using in order to have multiple options on hand for creativity. Most things get used, but I don't sweat it.

(Last night, half a bag of green beans (probably 2 pounds plus) that were starting to get black spots got combined with about two cups of a Thai curry broth and four pork ribs leftover from dinner last Saturday night, some onion and a few juniper berries in a long cook, resulting in one of the more enchanting versions of long-cooked green beans I've ever tasted. Thought I'd miss the smoke of the southern ham, but no.)

I'm annoyed by the starter waste a bit, but actually even more annoyed by having to bake (or do anything) on a prescribed schedule. I want things in service to my needs, not the other way around. Haven't watched the video yet but will--I think I need this!

My starter story began a few months ago when Larry Greenly generously shared one of his starters with me. Hence, "Little Larry". I've been learning how to deal with it ever since, and climate wise I seem to be getting different results on a slightly different schedule than what works for Big Larry in New Mexico. Figuring that out, and adjusting to it, has been a bit of a trial. Initially vastly rewarding as I lucked into a method by trial and error that produced big sour loaves, and then suddenly--all went flat. For no reason I could understand. Little Larry never went more than 7 days without getting fed--every Wednesday, like clockwork.

And here we are. I feel like a new mother learning how to take care of a baby.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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