A Sourdough Torpedo?
Posted: 11 February 2010 10:05 PM   [ Ignore ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  2
Joined  2010-02-11

Rose made a comment that the acidity of sourdough destroyed some of the strength of the gluten in sourdough bread. It was an “eureka” moment for me. Having made both traditional and no-knead sourdough, I’ve gotten some really good-tasting, hole filled results, but the dough always slumps. I’ve played with amount of water, but after the long cool rise, it pretty well crawls out of the rising bowl like a giant amoeba. I’ve stretched and folded it at this point, but it is still relatively flat when formed and baked.

So; I have a real desire to create some long, but reasonably thick loaves (I think the French call them “batons”) I’ve been eying some shaped pans designed for Italian-type loaves. Would a trough-like pan help? I don’t want something as thin as a baguette. Am I missing some other tactic to make my loaves stand up? How do those clever bakers in San Francisco do it?

Hopefully yours.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 February 2010 01:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1055
Joined  2007-11-15

I use a banneton, and I think that would help you.  They make them in round or oblong shapes.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 February 2010 02:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  865
Joined  2008-03-09

Many sourdoughs can be proofed and baked without any special support at all, whether shaped as batards aka torpedoes (oval and long) or boules (round balls). Depends on the recipe - how soft and/or wet the dough is. A recipe should tell you whether you need to consider extra support or if it can be proofed and baked simply on a sheet pan lined with parchment, possibly dusted with cornmeal or semolina.

When the dough is one that needs a little support, bakers sometimes use linen cloth called a couche, bunching the floured cloth up between the pieces of dough to form walls that prevent the bread from spreading sideways and flattening. You can improvise with an old, clean tablecloth or large linen tea towel.

As Matthew says, bannetons can be helpful to contain soft dough while it’s proofing. They’re baskets. Usually made of bentwood willow, sometimes lined with linen, occasionally called brotforms and other funny names depending on country of origin. They’re not essential, but a nice addition to the baker’s kitchen if you’re into making bread. If you’d rather spend your money on ingredients or other equipment, you can often improvise a proofing container of the right size and shape. I have a cheap wicker one that imprints a lovely pattern on my boules.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 February 2010 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1055
Joined  2007-11-15

I ordered mine from here.  They’re reasonable as far as bannetons go:

http://www.breadtopia.com/store/bread-baking-supplies.html

If you’re using Rose’s sourdough recipes, almost all of them call for a banneton.  As you describe in your original post, “still relatively flat when formed and baked, ” I think the recipe you’re using would benefit from one.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 February 2010 01:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  2
Joined  2010-02-11

Thank you both for your helpful replies.

I have a banneton, and it does work well, but it does not address my key problem (obsession?). Just today, I made a no-knead sourdough boule, adding extra flour. It rose nicely overnight then I folded it to strengthen the gluten. I did the final rise in a parchment lined round-bottomed bowl, about the size I wanted for the final boule.

When the boule had raised nicely, I lifted it in to the hot 5-qt. cast pan (larger than the rising bowl) and even before I put the lid back on, I could see it slumping. It wound up tasty, but as wide as the pan and about 3 inches high.

I’m about ready to drop the no-knead idea and see if vigorous kneading of a conventional sourdough can give it enough gluten strength to support a nice round or “torpedo” (batard) loaf shape. I’m also interested in a trough-shaped pan that is used for rising and then goes right into the oven—like some baguette pans I’ve seen.

Any other comments or ideas are most welcome.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 February 2010 01:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1055
Joined  2007-11-15

Sorry, didn’t pick up on the no-knead part. I think Rose has posted on this specific issue on the main blog.  You are right—the gluten is destroyed too much because of the time needed for the no-knead recipe. Rose’s regular sourdough, however, has no problems keeping its shape, especially with the help of a banneton. Maybe you should give her recipe a shot.  You are using bread flour, right?  If you are using all-purpose, it won’t be strong enough.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 February 2010 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  865
Joined  2008-03-09

Ah! You hadn’t mentioned that you were using the no knead technique. I assume you’re talking about its most recent incarnation that sprang upon the world in November 2006, when the article was published in the NY Times?

As Matthew said, Rose has posted about that particular approach on her blog. She’s learned a lot about it, because it’s one of her husband’s favourite breads. If you click on the word BLOG to the right of her photo above, then do a search using the box on the home page, you’ll find many links. Here’s one recent entry that may be helpful. But if it isn’t, and you still want to master the method, keep looking: http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2009/09/another_word_on_no_knead_bread.html

You may decide to move on to other methods. People have been making sourdough for centuries. Kneading is not so hard. Actually, it’s kind of fun.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 February 2010 10:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  865
Joined  2008-03-09

Have just re-read your posts and see that you have used conventional methods, not just the no-knead, and got the same result of the dough slumping when you transfer it to the oven. hmm

There are two things that give good height, assuming that you’ve done all the mixing, rising, shaping and proofing steps correctly. One is learning how to unmold the bread carefully from its proofing container on to a peel or other method for transferring it to the oven. You probably want to see that demonstrated. In person would be best, probably in a class on breads, but you may find a video online. Or a DVD at the store. There are also some good books with lots of pictures. It’s not hard - just hard to describe.

The second factor is steam. Some means of producing steam in your oven, to assist the bread in achieving “oven spring” in the first few minutes.

Good luck! Let us know how you get on.

Profile
 
 
   
  Back to top
 
‹‹ large looaves      Rich ››