Author Topic: My Four Starter Bread  (Read 174 times)

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Online Pete-zza

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My Four Starter Bread
« on: June 27, 2006, 05:52:16 PM »
I have four different natural starters that I maintain. Recently, as I was doing a wholesale two-stage refreshment of the starters, I found myself with a fair amount of leftover cultures. I put them all in a single container with the intention of just throwing them away. At the last minute, rather than discarding the four-starter material, I decided instead to see if I could use it to make a decent loaf of bread. So, armed with the four-starter material and a dough recipe from Nancy Silverton’s book Breads From the La Brea Bakery (at p. 40), I embarked on making the dough using the four-starter material. In preparation for using the four-starter material, I added a bit of flour to it and let it sit on my counter overnight, to be used the next morning. The consistency of the starter material was like a pancake batter.

For ingredients, I used 6 ounces of the four-starter material (just shy of 1/2 c.), 17 ounces of flour (I used the Giusto's unbleached Artisan bread flour), 9 ounces of water (temperature adjusted to achieve a finished dough temperature of 78 degrees F), 1/4 c. raw wheat germ, and 2 1/4 t. sea salt. The dough was prepared using the fairly classic autolyse method: starter, water and flour combined and mixed/kneaded for 5 minutes at low speed, followed by a 20 minute autolyse, the addition of the sea salt, a 5 minute knead at medium speed, and 1 minute final hand knead. The dough, weighing about 2 pounds, was put into a lightly-oiled container and allowed to ferment (rise) until it doubled in volume, about 5 hours at room temperature. The dough was then gently deflated, rounded, and placed into a basket/floured cloth arrangement that I had fashioned to simulate a round banneton. When the dough rose by about a quarter, about an hour, it went into the refrigerator, covered with a sheet of plastic wrap. After 18 hours, the dough was brought back to room temperature, covered with a dry towel (which replaced the plastic wrap), and allowed to proof (still in its container) until it had doubled, about 3 hours.

About an hour before the dough had finished its final rise, I had placed a pizza stone on the middle oven rack position and preheated it for about an hour at 500 degrees F. In addition to the stone, I had also placed a metal tin with a bunch of rocks at the lowest oven rack position, to be preheated along with the stone and later used to generate some steam in the oven.

When I was ready to bake, I flipped the dough out of its container onto a sheet of parchment paper that I had placed on my peel, and scored the dough with a lame. I then opened the oven door and poured some water into the pan with the stones in order to create steam. After a few minutes, the dough was loaded into the oven, and the oven temperature was reduced to 450 degrees F. Within the next 5 minutes, I quickly opened the oven door and spritzed the insides of the oven 3 times with water from a spray bottle. The oven door was not opened again until the bread was finished baking, about another 12 minutes or so.

The photos below show the finished bread. The bread was very tasty, with a mild and pleasant sourdough flavor and a nice, chewy texture and a crispy outer crust. Overall, it was a good way to make use of the excess starter material. Next time, I plan to use some non-diastatic liquid barley malt to get even more flavor and color in the bread, as has been my practice in the past in using the Silverton recipe.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 27, 2006, 05:55:44 PM by Pete-zza »


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My Four Starter Bread
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2006, 06:12:05 PM »
Peter,

I use a similar approach (with one starter) and get much more color in the crust, but I bake it for longer than you do - about 23 minutes. Perhaps my oven is hotter than yours also - it has a "stone" mode in which all of the elements and fans cycle on and off. I've got some fermenting now in the fridge and will bake on Thursday. I'll post pix.

Best,
Bill
« Last Edit: June 27, 2006, 06:25:47 PM by Bill/SFNM »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: My Four Starter Bread
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2006, 06:36:14 PM »
Bill,

What got me to thinking about using the four-starter mix was some posts of member Kinsman that I had read, including Reply 2 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3176.msg27020.html#msg27020. The other notion that intrigues me is that of just leaving the starter mix outside of the refrigerator all the time, preferably around 60 degrees F, as member Kinsman does. My room temperature is much higher than that at the moment, so today I fed my four-starter mix and put it in my wine unit, which operates at around 55-65 degrees F. For now, I just want to see what happens and how one might manage such a starter. My recollection is that pizzanapoletana (Marco) said somewhere that the starters used in Naples are left out all the time, quite possibly at around 65 degrees F. If you are making dough every day, that would seem to make sense.

Peter

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My Four Starter Bread
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2006, 07:26:31 PM »
I guess as long as the little critters have fuel and a suitable environment, they'll keep on reproducing. My cultures go to sleep in the fridge (35F) and wake up at room temp (70F-80F) after a feeding.

I have a wine unit and tried to let one batch ferment there at 62F & didn't notice any benefit. For whatever reason, all of my pies and breads seem to like fermenting at room temp (8-12 hours), retarding for a day or two in the fridge and then proofing at room temp. Darn convenient, too!

Bill/SFNM

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My Four Starter Bread
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2006, 02:39:52 PM »
Here are photos of my latest effort. Still need to work on slashing for the round loaves:


Online Pete-zza

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Re: My Four Starter Bread
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2006, 02:59:05 PM »
Bill,

They look beautiful, with an artisan appearance. I assume that you used a brotform, with the coils.

What kind of flour and which starter did you use this time?

Peter

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My Four Starter Bread
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2006, 03:11:06 PM »
Thank you, Peter. Yes, these were proofed in a 7" brotform. I used Giustos Bread Flour (not the artisan one) and my "French" starter from sourdo.com. I've also been adding some VWG and like the result, although it seems to beg for a higher hydration level. I'm going to keep cranking up the hydration to see how it comes out best.

I also need to make deeper slashes. This is the same dough I use for baguettes and I'm used to making pretty shallow slashes.

Bill/SFNM

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Re: My Four Starter Bread
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2006, 03:26:24 PM »
Bill,

Nancy Silverton recommends using vital wheat gluten to supplement other flours and in the past I have done that with her basic dough recipe. With the starter material I used, I estimate that the hydration was around 58% or so. I, too, would like to ramp that up a bit, although I am somewhat limited with the makeshift banetton basket I use. I should investigate getting a brotform sometime. The last time I looked, they were selling for around $32 at King Arthur. That seemed a lot to pay for a single, rather simple looking basket. And one might not be enough.

Peter

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My Four Starter Bread
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2006, 05:31:43 PM »
Peter,

Here is what I used in my latest batch which produced two smallish loaves. Note that Silverton recommends wheat germ. I tried that for a while - it did give the crumb a more rustic appearance, but I didn't feel it did anything for the taste or texture so now I leave it out.. I got the baskets from pastrychef.com for $25 each.

                   Starter Separate           Including Starter      
Ingredient    Grams     Bakers %   Total %        Grams   Bakers %   Total %
Bread Flour    865.02    100.00%   50.38%      1,004.09  100.00%   58.48%
Water              534.19      61.75%      31.11%    652.66    65.00%    38.01%
Starter               257.55    29.77%       15.00%         
VWG                 30.12       3.48%   1.75%        30.12    3.00%       1.75%
Salt                   30.12         3.48%      1.75%   30.12      3.00%       1.75%
Wheat Germ       -        0.00%           0.00%            -         0.00%       0.00%
                      1,717.00      100.00%                      1,717.0           100.00%

Online Pete-zza

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Re: My Four Starter Bread
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2006, 06:39:22 PM »
Bill,

Thank you very much. I saw the use of raw wheat germ as a way of getting a bit more nutrition  :).

Peter


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: My Four Starter Bread
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2006, 07:04:49 PM »
Bill,

Thank you very much. I saw the use of raw wheat germ as a way of getting a bit more nutrition  :).

Peter

That's why Metamucil was invented.  :)