New to baking – any advice on sourdough hugely appreciated!!

New to baking – any advice on sourdough hugely appreciated!!

Submitted by loubarkley on July 6, 2015 – 8:48am.

Having always been a keen cook, I decided about a month ago to emotionally give up the day job and invest in self teaching myself the basic course content of a professional pastry course. Along the way, I’ve realized that nothing makes me happier than baking bread (and that sugar confectionery is a bit too fiddly).

This week I tried to tackle sourdough. My starter seems to have done all the right things over 7 days of feeding up. BUT in the final stages (principally transferring the dough from my rather crudely made up proofing basket) the dough seemed to loose it shape and never rose fully in the oven. See photo. 

My starter was 50/50 wholemeal and white bread flour, my sponge made from wholemeal, and everything else white bread flour. I’m not quite sure I understand the concept of % hydration in starter terms. I’d just been taking half away, adding in 100g of flour and enough water to make it sloppy (as per my HFW recipe). Would that cause trouble? 

After I added the flour et al to my sponge, I left this for a good 4hrs in a warm kitchen. I seemed to get a decent rise, and then kneaded for 10 mins (timed). I was then planning to leave this again (in bowl, flour covered cloth, oiled clingfilm) for another few hours, but nothing had really happened, so I left this overnight. 

It didn’t look or feel right in the morning and kind of flopped everywhere. It never got back its shape. It has a really good flavour, and a great crust, and sort of OK crumb, but I’d really like to be able to produce big beautiful loaves. 

If anyone would care to give me some tips or advice or even a really good recipe to follow, I’d be so very grateful. Twitter Facebook StumbleUpon