sourdough too sour!
Posted: 11 May 2009 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi everyone. I?m new around here and I could really use some advice.

After years of successful bread cooking using yeast, I tried my first sourdough this week. What a disaster. It was so sour that it was inedible ? tasted just like vinegar ? yuk!

I used a 100% wholemeal rye. I know that?s a bit ambitious for a first attempt but I?m keen to get this one right as my daughter has a wheat intolerance and rye is one bread that she really enjoys.

My starter was frothing away nicely after three days and it smelt fine and yeasty. It didn?t smell off at all and on the first proving of the dough it still smelt nice so I was really surprised to break the bread and discover it tasted so awful. The only ingredients were wholemeal rye flour, springwater, honey ad a little salt.

If anyone can advise on what might have gone wrong here I?d be most grateful

Cheers

Phil

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Posted: 11 May 2009 08:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi Phil,

Welcome to the forums and hopefully we can help with your problem.  First of all congratulations on getting your rye sourdough so active.  You’ve got the hardest part cracked!  You don’t say if you fed your sour in the three days or before making your bread.  I suspect not.  To keep a starter from going too sour it needs fed in approx 12 hour intervals so that not too much acid builds up.  It would help if you posted the instructions back and we can help you with a feeding/bread making schedule so you will have a lovely sweet loaf of rye. 

I think you know that 100% rye is one of the most difficult breads to make and handle - all that sticky rye flour with minimal gluten.  So, don’t give up and your daugter will have a lifetime of delicious bread.

Annie

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Posted: 12 May 2009 05:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi Annie, thanks for that.

For my starter I followed the instructions on the Dove Farm rye flour packet. ie one cup rye flour and one of water to start then one cup of rye flour for the next three days, plus a little water at a time. This was very dense however and I did wonder if more water was needed. 

The recipe I used was very simple: on the fourth day add 1tbs of honey and one cup of rye flour to one cup of starter, then on the fifth day add five cups of rye flour and one of water. Prove overnight before setting into tins for a further proving. The dough arose very well and apart from a rather thick crust, it certainly looked the part. it was just the taste that was wrong.

All the best

Phil

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Posted: 12 May 2009 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Phil, did you throw any starter away when you were feeding it or were you using the whole amount of starter each time?  And did you keep any back for future use?

Annie

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Posted: 12 May 2009 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Hi Phil,  I see you are in England - I’m in Scotland.  Did wonder about the Dove’s Farm!!!

Annie

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Posted: 12 May 2009 05:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Annie,

No I didn’t throw any away. Should I have done?

I also didn’t mention that the only source of constant warmth in my house to get the starter going and for proving, is the airing cupboard. I didn’t check the temperature but I wonder if that’s too warm.

Thanks for your response

Phil

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Posted: 12 May 2009 05:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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And, Phil, did you keep any of the ‘old’ starter?  The airing cupboard may be a bit warm but I think your biggest problem was the percentage of sour to fresh water/flour mix.  If you kept some then you can recover it but if not you have to start again!  No worries though as rye is fast to get going.

Annie

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Posted: 13 May 2009 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thanks very much Annie,

So let me get this right. I discard half the starter everyday (or every 12 hours?) and add a further measure of flour and water. Yes? How long should I do that for before I can make my bread? I did keep some starter but I think I’ll try again from scratch

I tried some Spelt Bread yesterday from a local ‘artisan’ baker which was very pleasant. I wonder if that would be easier than a 100% rye for a beginner like me.

As you might gather I don’t have a copy of BB yet but it looks like I’ll have to get one very soon.

All good wishes

Phil

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Posted: 13 May 2009 09:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Hi Phil,

First of all, there is no need to start again.  Use the starter you have and throw away 75% of it (or use for a base for a white and/or wholewheat s/d).  Add double its weight in both rye flour and water.  Leave until it at least doubles and starts to fall back then repeat.  I wouldn’t put it in the airing cupboard as rye s/d is very fast acting (more so than white).  This will sweeten it up - taste it and see.  Then before making bread, keep some aside (for next time) and add about 200% - 300% flour and water (equal parts) and leave at room temperature 12 - 16 hours.  Then make your bread.

Rose doesn’t have a 100% rye recipe in her book but she does cover regular sourdough.  You are really starting at the most difficult end of the sourdough spectrum!  Rye has VERY little gluten and is quite difficult to handle but makes a very successful sourdough loaf.  There will always be a bit of tang to it.  Of course you can make a spelt loaf but, as you probably know, any loaf that has less than 50% white flour will be a bit heavier.  You can always add a bit of yeast especially when your starter is very immature as yours is.

Hope this helps.

Annie

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Posted: 14 May 2009 04:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thanks again Annie,

My starter is frothing away ok at room temperature now so I’ll have another bake-up soon. I’ve just discovered that a stockist only a couple of miles from where I live has the Shipton Mill light rye so I think I’ll have a go with that, as the Doves Farm wholemeal is very dark and makes bread that looks rather like chocolate cake.

All good wishes

Phil

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Posted: 14 May 2009 04:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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AnnieMacD - 12 May 2009 03:36 PM

Hi Phil,  I see you are in England - I’m in Scotland.  Did wonder about the Dove’s Farm!!!

Annie

Applecross. Wow that’s a long way up.


Phil

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Posted: 14 May 2009 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Hi Phil,

I use Shipton Mill flour for almost all my baking.  It’s great flour.  Their light rye is super but I always use some white with it so not the best judge of 100% rye.  For my Volkornbrot I use rye chops from them along with Bacheldre Mill Organic rye and add some sunflower seeds.  Sounds like you are well on your way now.  Is the starter less sour?

Yep, Applecross is miles from anywhere!

Annie

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Posted: 24 July 2009 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Hello!

....Just out of curiousity, would xantham gum help the strength/texture of a rye dough? I have seen gluten- free flour in the supermarket, and on the package xanthan gum is recommended in small amounts (forgot the ratio) to strengthen the dough.

.......Planning to try something similar later this summer

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Try something new, enjoy something familiar. There is a range of joys to explore through creating good food. Plus victories, small and large

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Posted: 24 July 2009 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I wouldn’t use xanthan gum in rye breads for the reason that rye already has a high percentage of pentosan gums that can make the dough sticky. They’re one of the reasons rye can be a steep learning curve, especially if you’ve mostly worked with wheat. But so worth it! Luckily, the pentosans themselves, along with starch, provide a type of cohesive structure in rye dough.

Anyone who’s interested in working with rye will enjoy Rose’s recipes, especially her Jewish rye. For a deeper dive into all kinds of rye breads, check out Jeffrey Hamelman’s book Bread. There are many other fine authors who’ve done a lot with rye, Maggie Glezer for one, but JH is my favourite.

A word of caution to anyone learning how to achieve a gluten-free diet. Rye flour is not gluten-free. It’s low on one of the protein components of gluten (glutenin) but not the other (gliadin).

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