Scaling Up – Sourdough Bread (Part 2 of 2)

Baked the four loaves of sourdough bread today vice my normal two.

Sourdough loaves baked

Things that I noted in baking the two batches of loaves:

  • Rice flour is the bomb! Makes my loaves less inclined to stick to the bannetons
  • Can’t preheat the lids for the second batch – not enough space in my oven
  • Baking at 420°F convection for 25 minutes plus 20 more minutes lid off makes for a richer crust color than 35 mins lid on plus 5 minutes lid off
  • No real difference in the loaf results when comparing batches
  • Proving was took a while even though it was in my proving box. Therefore, scaling to 6-8 loaves might prove difficult because I can’t fit a tub that large into my box. My kitchen temp is lower which will make proving take even longer!

Overall this was a successful test. I’ll have to look at the crumb later once I cut into them. They don’t look much different than my other loaves so I’m not expecting anything earth shattering.

Now to think about “what has to be true?” If I want to double and try 8 loaves!

Scaling Up – Sourdough Bread

I decided that I’d try scaling up my bake and try four loaves instead of my normal two. I’ve a friend that wanted me to bring some bread to an event. As I think about this I’m always asking myself “What has to be true for THAT to be true?”

Starting 2X batch of leaven

It started with me making 2x my normal batch of leaven.

I also decided to also pay close attention to temps since it is now cooler in my home now that it is fall. The first thing was to put my leaven into the proving box set to 82°F. I added tape to monitor growth by time and temp.

A couple of hours into the process I began my autolyse. My flour temp was 72°F so I aimed at the high 80’s fir my water temp. I microwaved my water to bring it to 89°F and, once mixed my dough read 81°F.

Double my normal amount of flour.

My leaven more than doubled in 5 hours it read 89°F when I took it out of the proving box. The microbes were hungry and working up a sweat!

Doubled in 5 hours

I follow led my normal process of mixing in the leaven, waiting 39 mins then adding my salt. The only change being that I kept the tub in my proving box.

Mixed dough showing 3 qts

It took longer than I expected to have the dough bulk to double in volume … especially since I kept the temp at 82°F. It would have taken much longer at the ambient temp of my kitchen today.

Doubled in volume showy 6 qts

I divided out 4 x 840g pieces of dough and preshaped.

Preshaping into rounds

After 15 minutes I did my final shaping, coated in rice flour and put them into their bannetons.

Shaped and in their bannetons

The loaves are in the fridge to rest overnight. My Dutch Ovens are in my stove and set to preheat tomorrow morning.

Baking tomorrow… we’ll see how it goes!

Sourdough Baguettes – Attempt #3 (Part 5)

They’re baked!!

I’m pretty jazzed by the result. Lots to improve on but a much better outcome than last time!

Baguettes Cooling

They remind me of little tuna fish actually. A little fat. Need to roll them a bit longer. I did as intending to put them on a scalloped holder and was shaping them a bit shorter.

I suspect my scoring or lack of good steam development was the cause of the crust locking. I noticed a bit of tearing along the bottom (note the loaf on the right where I had a bit of a blowout).

Bottom of the loaves showing the seam

It was really great to hear the loaves “sing” as they cooled and crackled. I waited as long as I could then cut open one to see the crumb.

The larger bubble develodment / more open crumb isn’t what I am looking for; however, it wasn’t bad. Taste is really nice.

I will definitely keep practicing!!

Sourdough Baguettes – Attempt #3 (Part 4)

This post has a video of me shaping baguettes.

As you can imagine I’m multitasking and probably not doing a good job of anything.

Again, this will show me shaping baguettes. I’m new to this. My technique is horrible. I’m trying to record as a way for me to remember what I did.

The dough feels much better than previously. It does have some lumps in it that I suspect is dough that wasn’t fully hydrated. That will be interesting to see after they’re baked.

I do have rice flour top and on the Couche. Last time I didn’t and the loaves stuck to the cloth. Hopefully this won’t happen again.

Here’s the video (raw) of me shaping my baguettes after separating, measuring, preshaping and then bench-resting for 20 minutes.

Shaping Baguettes

NOTE This video only shows me shaping the first baguette.

I shaped the loaves and got them covered in the Couche. The method says to let prove for 2-3.5 hours. Not sure I’ll let them go that long. I’ll poke them and bake maybe 90 or so minutes from now.

I’ll certainly be trying to NOT put out my oven with my steam!


Here is a gallery of photos of the loaves in the Couche and about to be baked.

Sourdough Baguettes – Attempt #3 (Part 3)

This is a short post showing me doing a coil fold. I’ve referenced them before but never attempted posting a video.

NOTE: This is ME doing it and I’m not an expert in any way! There are plenty of videos on YouTube made by bakers far more experienced than I.

Coil Folding

Before this I’d snipped off a portion of my dough to put in my Aliquot jar. You can see it to the right side of the video frame with a little black line to indicate where I want it to rise during bulk ferment.

I won’t bore you with any more videos of my coil folding….

The dough is starting to come together!

Sourdough Baguettes – Attempt #3 (Part 2)

“Flexibility is the key to AirPower” said Italian airpower theorist Gen. Giulio Douhet. It was one of the first tenets taught to me as a cadet at the US Air Force Academy.

I guess it also applies to bread making.

My Poolish was rising at a much faster rate than my Leaven.

Next time I will use differs temps for both (e.g. 75°F for the Poolish and 80°F for the leaven). I’ll also mix my leaven at a 1:1:1 ratio not the 1:10:10 ratio…need a higher percentage of active starter to grow faster.

I could only wait until 1015 and then decided I needed to mix the Poolish into my main flour. When I realized I needed to adjust my method I decided to start the autolyse immediately. I figured 30 minutes would be better than none!

Squeezing in Poolish

I hand mixed the Poolish just enough to incorporate and let it sit until Noon. This was roughly 4 hours after I’d mixed the Leaven and Poolish mixtures. My Leaven by this point had grown by about 2/3. This was the clue that next time I’d use a ratio of 1:1:1 instead of the 1:10:10.

Leaven risen by two-thirds

I squished in my leaven in a similar manner to the Poolish (video above). I then set my timer for 20 minutes to let it rest before I added the salt.

Adding Salt

I simply sprinkle the salt on and squished it in. It feels gritty and I’m looking for a general consistency in the grittiness… not some places that are more so and others that have none.

I’ll wait for about 30 mins and cut off a piece to stick in my Aliquot jar to judge the bulk ferment rise. At that time I’ll start my coil folds.

Think I’m

Back on track…

Sourdough Baguettes – Attempt #3

Well trying again…. This is already turning out interesting.

Mixed the Poolish and Levain today and decided to make the temp of the mix 80°F.

My flour was 74.5°F I thought I’d make the water temp 85°F. Both weights of flour and water were 200g … the average would be ~ 80°F.

I microwaved my water and got it too hot (96°F). I cooled down to 88°F with an ice cube. Frankly, I got impatient. Anyway, the resulting temps were 83°F. Pretty close…

I dropped them both into my proving box at 80°F

Poolish and Leaven Mixed

Here’s the wrinkle…

At 0930 (1 hour 15 minutes later) my Poolish is almost 1.5x bigger and my leaven is maybe 10% grown! Oops.

About an hour later

This was me not carefully following method.

If I’d read more closely I would have noted I should have used 75°F for the Poolish and 80°F for the Leaven. I should also have had them NOT in the Proving Box…do them at room temp.

The result would be them growing at a closer rate.

I autolysed my main flour and I’ll mix it all together earlier. I’ll see how the bulk ferment turns out.

Autolyse Flour

Will just have to flex…

Sourdough Croutons

I mentioned making sourdough croutons first before turning them into breadcrumbs from day old bread (in this case my baguettes).

Here are some pics of the process for making the croutons

Cutting up the croutons

I cut the croutons up by slicing the baguettes (or bread) at about a finger width. I then tear the bread apart or use a knife if it a bit harder.

Coating with oil and seasoning

I put a couple Tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle a bit of sea salt and about a heaping Tablespoon of Heres De Provence. I’ve used a number of different dry spices before. Just what I’m using this time. Mix together well to coat all the bread.

Ready to bake

I had enough croutons to fill a full-size baking tray. I’ll bake at 400°F for about 15 minutes flight ping them around mid-bake to get a more even color.

Croutons baked and cooling

After they’ve baked I turn the oven off, crack the door and let them dry out a bit further.

UPDATE: Next time I’ll pull them out immediately after baking and NOT leave them in the oven. They didn’t burn but ended up darker than I prefer.

Good flavor and nice and crispy!

Sourdough Breadcrumbs

Made sourdough breadcrumbs from some day-old bread and baguettes. I mentioned that I was going to do this in my last post. Good use of older bread.

Sourdough Breadcrumbs

Process was pretty simple. First make croutons then crush them.

Cut up the bread into crouton size pieces. Add a bit of olive oil, sprinkle of salt and some sort of seasoning. I used Herb de Provenance.

Coated prior to baking

Bake at 400°F for about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Baked and cooling

I found that the best way for me to turn them into crumbs was to blitz them in my food processor. I had to experiment with my settings to get what I was looking for consistency-wise.

Anyway… that’s what I did. Pretty simple.

Going to use them as panko for chicken parm tonight! Yay!

Sourdough Baguettes Alternative Part 3

Well… they looked like baguettes (sorta).

Good thing was that I didn’t put my oven out with my massive volume of steam. Secondly, they were sized about right for my scalloped rack and not overhanging.

My wife’s comment was: “Why did you change virtually every variable from last time you attempted baguettes? Doesn’t seem like a recipe for success.”

She has a point.

Baguettes Cooling

This bake didn’t have to oven bloom I expected. Probably due to my more limited steam. My steam technique needs improvement. the end result was that my baguettes were more dense and moist with a tighter crumb (smaller bubbles).

Crumb shot

The dough was more slack in the Couche. It also stuck. I haven’t been using rice flour. All the other bakers I see talk about using rice flour in their bannetons and on the Couche. I ordered some from Amazon after I couldn’t find it in my local grocer. Hopefully it will keep my dough from sticking to the cloth unlike what happens currently with AP flour.

I’ve also seen from some other bakers I follow on how to not waste bread. I’m going to cut these baguettes up and make croutons which I will then crush and bake breadcrumbs. All’s good!

I will go back to the other process with the combined leaven and poolish and focus on mastering that recipe and method.

I’m not going to let it get the best of me!