Foods of the World Forum Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > Food Groups > Grains, Breads and Baking
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Sour Dough & Whole Grain Breads
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

This site is completely supported by donations; there are no corporate sponsors. We would be honoured if you would consider a small donation, to be used exclusively for forum expenses.



Thank you, from the Foods of the World Forums!

Sour Dough & Whole Grain Breads

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Message
HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
Master Chef
Master Chef


Joined: 21 February 2012
Location: Kentucky
Status: Offline
Points: 4223
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Sour Dough & Whole Grain Breads
    Posted: 11 September 2013 at 20:24
As often happens, what starts out as a simple question, like Topsey, just grows.

So it is with rye bread. Anne asked, “does anyone care to share their rye bread recipe.” (http://www.foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/reuben-reuben-ive-been-thinking_topic2101.html?SID=19866457ab59b852be9199f4fz7b21139930556#27167). Which in turn leads to a full discussion about sour dough and working with whole-grain flours.

One can make transitional rye breads; that is, use a basic white bread recipe replacing up to 50% of the wheat flour with rye flour. This will produce a light rye; tasty enough, but lacking the depth of flavor found in traditional European style rye breads. For those you need to use rye sourdough. Which, in turn, means having a starter or mother from which to work.

Creating a mother is a multi-step, multi-day process. Depending on authority cited, ingredients used, and specific techniques, it takes from 5 to 7 days. The various methods are similar, but there are enough differences to be confusing. Plus, different authorities use different names for the same thing.

For instance, you start with a specialized pre-ferment that is used to capture wild yeasts. The yeast, in combination with bacterial action, is what provides the base for the mother.

Good so far. Until you realize that Peter Reinhart calls that first stage a “seed culture,” Dan Lender calls it a “chef,” and Eric Kastel calls it a “sour base.” There probably are a half-dozen other names as well.

Same problem exists with the second stage. Often called a “mother,” or “sourdough mother,” it, too, goes by other names. Reinhart calls it a “barm,” for instance, while Lender uses the French “levain.” And it’s often just referred to as a “starter.”

Another problem for many home bakers is the waste. After creating the first stage, you use only a cup of it to produce the second stage. The rest has to be disposed of. The literature suggests sharing it with a friend. Uh, huh. But as we’ll see, you’ll need lots of interested friends for that to work. The reality is, the excess gets thrown away.
Nor is this a one-time wastage. Once the starter is established you have to feed it, usually on a weekly basis. Each time you do that you replace half the starter with new flour and water. Obviously, something has to be done with that half.

If you bake with sourdough frequently, that’s not a problem. But if you only do so occasionally, and are maintaining the starter for that purpose, you’ll be throwing half of it away every week.
Finally, many people are disappointed in the results---even when they work (which isn’t always the case). They set out to replicate the unique flavor of San Francisco sourdough bread, is why. What they fail to realize is that wild yeasts vary by location, and the specific yeast found in the Bay Area is not widespread. Even if you begin with a San Francisco inoculated mix, it will be replaced over time (a surprisingly short time, in fact) with the wild yeasts native to your locale, and the flavor will be different.

When I wrote my bread primer for FotW (http://www.foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/the-staff-of-life-a-primer-on-baking-bread_topic3089.html) I had hoped another member would jump in to cover the sourdough issue. Unfortunately, that never happened. But it’s obvious there is some interest in the subject, particularly as it applies to whole-grain breads. So I reckon it’s up to me.

As with the original primer, I’ll do this in a series of installments. If others with knowledge on the subject also jump in, we’ll soon enough find out who shaved the barber.
Back to Top
Effigy View Drop Down
Chef
Chef
Avatar

Joined: 17 June 2013
Location: New Zealand
Status: Offline
Points: 634
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Effigy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 September 2013 at 20:58
Thank you so much Brook. I can't wait for part two.

I cooked you some pears (over in NZ) to nibble on while you write.
Resident Peasant
Back to Top
HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
Master Chef
Master Chef


Joined: 21 February 2012
Location: Kentucky
Status: Offline
Points: 4223
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 September 2013 at 00:34
And very tasty they were, too, Anne. 
Back to Top
HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
Master Chef
Master Chef


Joined: 21 February 2012
Location: Kentucky
Status: Offline
Points: 4223
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 September 2013 at 09:39
Part 2: Making The Seed Culture

Before proceeding we need to make one thing very clear: there are many ways of achieving an end. Throughout this primer I’m going to focus on specific methods. But keep in mind that I am not suggesting that these are the only way to go; or even that this is the best. What I am doing is presenting methods that I know work.

Keep in mind, too, that sourdough, by whatever method you choose, consists of a series of rather complex chemical reactions between the yeast, bacteria, and enzymes working on the proteins in the flour. The wild yeast provides a leavening agent, as well as producing some acids. The actual souring, however, actually comes from bacterial fermentation. In other circumstances you would consider the food to be spoiled, and would throw it out. When milk sours in the fridge, for instance, it is essentially the same process. So what we wind up with is, in effect, controlled spoilage.

This is true, btw, for all lactic acid fermentations.

For phase one we’ll use Peter Reinhart’s approach. That being the case, we may as well follow his lead and call it a seed culture. I kind of like that term, as it’s descriptive of what we’re creating. If you recall our discussion on making Babylonian bread, a seed culture was also the first step. It’s how bread was made for several thousand years before refined yeast was available.

The key to this process is that it’s all done at room temperature, which gives the bacteria a chance to do its thing while the yeast cells multiply. Starting on Day 2 you will be using the same proportions of flour and water each day.

[finding your own way]: With the exception of day one, this process uses unbleached high-gluten or bread flour. But you can substitute white rye flour if your intention is making 100% rye bread. On the other hand, you can substitute wheat flour in the first step if you don’t intend making rye bread later on; or if you want to maintain a standard starter that can be converted to rye as needed.

Day 1:

1 cup (4.25 oz) dark rye or coarse whole rye flour
3/4 cup (6 oz) water at room temperature

Mix the flour and water together in a bowl until they form a stiff ball of dough, making sure the flour is fully hydrated. Press the dough into a 4-cup measuring beaker and place a piece of tape on the beaker to mark the top of the dough. Cover the beaker with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day 2:

1 cup (4.5 oz) unbleached high0-gluten or bread flour
½ cup (4 oz) water at room temperature

The dough should not have risen much, if at all. Indeed, you likely won’t see any activity yet.

In a mixing bowl combine the Day 2 ingredients with the Day 1 sponge, mixing until all the ingredients are combined evenly. The dough will be somewhat softer and wetter than the Day 1 sponge. Return it to the beaker, pressing it down, and replace the tape with a new piece to mark the spot. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment for 24 hours at room temperature. There may be a strong, somewhat unpleasant aroma from the dough. Don’t worry. This will eventually brighten as it nears the finish line.

Day 3:

Check to see if there has been a rise in the dough. There will probably be some fermentation but not a lot, perhaps a 50% rise. Regardless, discard half of the culture and mix the remaining half with the Day 3 flour and water. Return it to the beaker. It should press down to the same height as on Day 2. Re-tape the beaker to mark the top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and ferment for 24 hours.

Day 4:

The sponge should have at least doubled in size, more is even better. If it is still sluggish and hasn’t at least doubled in size, allow it to sit out for another 12-24 hours. Otherwise, repeat as on Day 3, discarding half of the culture and mixing the remaining half with the new ingredients. Return to the beaker as before, cover, and ferment until it at least doubles in size. This may take 4 to 24 hours. It may even triple in size, but, because it’s a very soft dough, it will not be able to sustain that large a rise without falling. If it falls easily when you tap the beaker, that is the sign that your seed culture is ready to be turned into a Mother.

As you can see, the entire secret to a seed culture is time and patience.

What if it doesn’t work? Usually this means that, for one reason or another, you haven’t captured the wild yeasts. In theory they exist everywhere. But, as somebody once said, in theory, theory and reality are the same. In reality, they’re not.

Again, keep in mind that the sourness is coming from bacterial action. So, if all else fails, start over, adding about a half teaspoon of active dry yeast to the Day 1 mixture.
Back to Top
Effigy View Drop Down
Chef
Chef
Avatar

Joined: 17 June 2013
Location: New Zealand
Status: Offline
Points: 634
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Effigy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 September 2013 at 13:39
I am starting today. Thanks Brook
Resident Peasant
Back to Top
HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
Master Chef
Master Chef


Joined: 21 February 2012
Location: Kentucky
Status: Offline
Points: 4223
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 September 2013 at 00:01
Uh, oh: That only give me four days to post part 3. I better get cracking.
Back to Top
Effigy View Drop Down
Chef
Chef
Avatar

Joined: 17 June 2013
Location: New Zealand
Status: Offline
Points: 634
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Effigy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 September 2013 at 00:15
You have another day - the sun came out and I played in the garden instead. Clown
Resident Peasant
Back to Top
gonefishin View Drop Down
Master Chef
Master Chef
Avatar

Joined: 20 September 2012
Status: Offline
Points: 1777
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2015 at 09:51
    Hmmm, interesting thread.  Some neighbors of our gave us a sour dough starter (mother?).  We've been keeping it in the fridge, per their instructions, and feeding it once a week.  Having extremly little knowledge on using/keeping a sourdough starter...I need to set out to learn.

   Some things I'm hoping to learn is how to effectively maintain the culture that I have.  What's the proper way to use this in bread recipes.  My wife made our first batch of bread with this starter the other day...it was very dense and had no sourness.  If sourness is a product of the bacterial growth, how can I promote that?  Should I maintain it outside of the fridge for a period of time?  Are there better ways to maintain the starter to promote favorable characteristics?

  Love to hear any suggestions/advice!

Dan
Enjoy The Food!
Back to Top
drinks View Drop Down
Chef's Apprentice
Chef's Apprentice


Joined: 19 September 2014
Location: male
Status: Offline
Points: 373
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 April 2015 at 11:52
I have been keeping what I call a sourdough flavoring mix going for over a year now.
I got a dried starter by mail, mixed it with a cup of bread flour and enough water to make a slurry, put it in a glass container with a gasketed glass lid, let it work then removed 2 tbsp of the slurry, mixed it with my warm water and followed the bread machine recipe.
I added 2 tbsp of bread flour and a splash of water to the jar.
I use dry yeast to get the actual rise but the bread comes out with a nice sourdough flavor.
The liquid for the bread is with the 2 tbsp of slurry.
The seasoning mix is just left on the back of the table, no refrigeration.
I have added chopped nuts, raw sunflower seeds, sliced almonds and chopped , dried fruit to the basic bread recipe, all work.
I have made bread with the same recipe, but with 100% whole wheat flour, just add a tbsp of gluten per cup of whole wheat flour. I suppose it could be done with straight rye flour or some mix of rye, WW or bread flour, just adding some gluten as needed to get a good loaf.
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down



This page was generated in 0.063 seconds.