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Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

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Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby Breadandwine » Fri May 10, 2013 1:50 am

Hi folks

!'m currently half way through a 12 hour workshop (2 sessions of 6 hours each on consecutive Sundays) in a small village hall in deepest, darkest Somerset, with up to 12 very keen students (although 2 have already given their apologies for next Sunday):

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/breadmaking-at-hornblotton-somerset.html

As is my usual practice on any course, I plan the first session meticulously, so I know exactly what we're doing, and when. However, for subsequent sessions I want to bake what the students choose - with perhaps a few suggestions from me. But I try and accommodate all requests.

Normally, I'm pretty well on top of my brief, but not this time! :?

They all want to make a sourdough loaf next Sunday. I've got a reasonable idea of how I would go about it, but I just wanted to tap all that expertise I know is out there.

I've made many starters in my time - this is perhaps the easiest part of the whole process. I gave them some basic instructions, and I've heard back that one or two have begun the process.

I began making my starter on Monday, by Tuesday evening it was active, and I've been dividing and feeding it ever since.

ATM I've got 1.3ltrs of active starter - which I could easily double by Sunday. I'm not sure, as I write, how many students will turn up with their own starter on Sunday, so mine may have to suffice for all.

My gut feeling is that I should refresh the starter on Saturday evening, then, on the Sunday we should go for a small loaf for each student, comprising 50% starter.

1.32kg of starter (2:1 water to flour), refreshed with 440g of flour and no liquid, would give me 1760g of starter, at a ratio of 1:1, wouldn't you agree?

This amount divided by 10 students = 170g of starter. To make a loaf with a 62.5% hydration (normal 1lb flour to 10fl oz water), we'd need to add 115g flour and 40g water.

It's only a small loaf, I know, but I've only got 1 domestic ovens and 5 small (size of a microwave) ovens to work with.

I figure if we make up the sourdough first thing on Sunday morn, then leave it through the day, it may well be ready to bake sometime in the afternoon. If it's not, then the students would have to take it home to bake it.

One further question - between now and Saturday, would you recommend me refreshing the starter (and discarding half?)

What do you guys think?
Now that you've discovered that making your own bread is easier than you thought, what else is there that isn't so difficult when you actually have a go? Like making your own pasta without a machine, for instance!

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.com/

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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby dennispc » Fri May 10, 2013 9:35 am

Paul sent this to me as an email this morning and then had the bright idea that umpteen heads are better than one. Not only am I pushed for time this morning but our land line’s playing up, phone rings once and that’s it - OK during the day, but at 11.45 and again at 02.30 not nice - I unplugged for the rest of the night.

So briefly Paul, I don’t think it’s possible to make a decent sourdough loaf in six hours, which effectively is nearer four taking in oven time, clearing up time and delay at the start. Also, I don’t think you should try, I’m sure with my oven warmer I might be able to achieve something. Better to complete part of the process rather than something which doesn't inspire them to do more.

Dan Lepard, the Handmade Loaf, starts at 8am, going in the oven at 5.30pm.

I’d go for them doing the final shaping, say about an hour before finishing time, at finishing time ring home (if they’ve got a signal) to put the oven on so that two hours later they can have a fresh loaf.

So make a sponge at the start, two(?) hours later make the dough and hope there’s time to shape before you go home.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed and look forward to others on here giving other points of view, at my stage of learning I’d rather not be the first to post.

I’ll leave them to deal with percentages, hydration and so on.

For the rest of you Paul also asked about the basis of my sourdough recipe, mostly it’s based on HF Whittingstall’s.

100g of starter
250g flour
275g water

That makes the sponge

Then add oil, 300g of flour and salt.

I refresh my starter with a 50/50 mix of flour and water.

To help me, as well as Paul, is that water content too low?

Looking forward to replies, forgive typos.

:idea: Where's the village? I could make a dough Saturday night, hold it back in the fridge overnight, drive out for the start (or you collect it on your way), it could then be shaped and baked before their very eyes. At least they know what they'd be aiming for.

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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby dennispc » Fri May 10, 2013 9:42 am

Paul, you are talking about this Sunday aren't you? I couldn't do the 19th. Dennis

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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby Gillthepainter » Fri May 10, 2013 10:04 am

Ah-HA!
Good luck Paul.

Sourdough workshops?
- I'm not convinced you can make a loaf from the start of your session. But an overnight preferment would make it a lot easier and is do-able.

- & 50% leaven for the loaf is a lot. You are in danger of producing rubber loaves - not chewy successful ones.
With a pre-ferment you will have a 120g biga to start with, and add the rest of the ingredients first thing. Showing how to measure, weighing water, mix etc
However if you've tried it then don't mind me.

- There's a simple formula to working out how much starter you require, with a double refresh of 1:2:2 then 1:1:1 (starter: water: flour) giving you 100% hydration.

Divide your final amount by 15 is the 100% formula

Say you need 300g total.
divided by 15 = 20.

So you will need 20g starter.

20g starter add 40g water + 40g flour = 100g starter. (ratio 1:2:2)
Second refresh, 100g starter add 100g water + 100g flour. (ratio 1:1:1)
Giving you 300g starter for baking.

- Say, you have 10 students and want to bag up 120g starter each.
Using my maths, 1200 / 15 = 80
Plus if you do need 120 ea for the day's baking

You need to double refresh on Thurs 160g starter, 1 amount for use & another to hand out at the end of the lesson.

- Also about throwing away. If your starter is new, you need to get rid of the dead matter for it to thrive and multiply. And for pro workshops that double refresh is important (it's what the pro bakers do).
Double refresh now, and throw out excess, then double refresh on Thurs.
Or you may end up with a weak starter unmultiplied if you will with too much dead matter.

Different if your mother leaven has been going a while of course.


Will you have a practice session midweek beforehand? I do that when I'm teaching others at home.

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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby dennispc » Fri May 10, 2013 10:12 am

Or Gill, put a spoonful of normal yeast in the mix to hurry it along?

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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby Gillthepainter » Fri May 10, 2013 10:18 am

Ah, There's the problem though, Dennis.
It's not a sourdough, it's a hybrid.
You're in danger of get a kicking from the people who want to learn sourdough using yeast.

It'll disappoint. Especially if some have already made sourdough before.

You'd be better just holding a yeast workshop and telling them that sourdough isn't logistically possible with the confines of the kitchen and time.

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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby AZCook » Fri May 10, 2013 9:44 pm

I do hybrids on occasion (for a variety of reasons) but as Gill says it's not strictly sourdough and if the point is to teach makng sourdough and you add bought yeast it defeats the whole purpose - sourdough is a beast unto itself and to understand sourdough is to understand the beast and all its idiosyncracies IMO.

There are no real shortcuts for all-sourdough other than prepping/refreshing the starter in advance which means you can't go thru that full process. By definition whatever you shortcut you can't go thru the process of.

So it all depends what you want to teach and why. Regarding single day classes It's one thing teaching or adding to mid/advanced bakers' knowldege and using shortcuts, it's another to teach novices. Groups of consecutive two or three day classes would probably give a more cohesive learning and observational time frame.

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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby Breadandwine » Sat May 11, 2013 12:47 am

Thanks a lot, folks, for all your considered responses - I shall mull it all over, over the next 24 hours.

In an ideal world one wouldn't be covering sourdough in one 6 hour session - but, the students requested it, and my job is to leave them in a better place regarding sourdough after the session than before it.

Also ideally, I wouldn't use commercial yeast alongside sourdough - but, these are intelligent adults, and if I'm able to give them all the relevant info, and they're aware of all the pros and cons, I'll be happy with that.

I'll certainly come back on here and tell you what transpired.
Now that you've discovered that making your own bread is easier than you thought, what else is there that isn't so difficult when you actually have a go? Like making your own pasta without a machine, for instance!

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.com/

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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby Gillthepainter » Sat May 11, 2013 10:44 am

When I went to Dan's workshop, we made 2 types of sourdough in the morning, had an hour for a very pleasant luncheon.
The bread was all baked and admired by 2pm.

Leaving us time in the second half to pootle with shaping the dough.

You can teach sourdough in the time you have. I've done it in the morning, with some prep the night before.

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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby AZCook » Sat May 11, 2013 7:14 pm

That'd work for mid to advanced bakers Gill but you wouldn't be able to teach people from scratch how to make the starter, feed it or refresh it themselves which is an important step for beginners IMO - unless you did it in single day classes over say three weeks which would work.

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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby Breadandwine » Sat May 11, 2013 9:54 pm

Well, encouraged by you Gill, and despite the warnings of Dennis and AZ, I've gone ahead and done a trial run of my sourdough - and produced an acceptable sourdough loaf!

Here's the tale, including several pics:

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/sourdough-again.html

And tomorrow, I hope I'll prove you right, Gill, by making it with 10 students. If they can produce anything like the loaf I've just made, I'll be happy.

And for those who weren't able to make their own starter, I'll send them away with some of mine.

I've more to add to that post, but I have a load of planning to do for the morn.

Apart from the sourdough, they're also going to make their own lunch (in the form of a pane casereccio), pain au chocolate, jam doughnuts, ciabatta and a spelt loaf - plus some Pierogi/parathas (which are very similar, you know!).

And so far I have a blank lesson plan! :o
Now that you've discovered that making your own bread is easier than you thought, what else is there that isn't so difficult when you actually have a go? Like making your own pasta without a machine, for instance!

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.com/

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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby Breadandwine » Sat May 11, 2013 11:29 pm

Quick question - is it worth adding 100g each, flour and water to my starter? There isn't any room in the container for more.

Or would that just be a waste of time?

Cheers, Paul
Now that you've discovered that making your own bread is easier than you thought, what else is there that isn't so difficult when you actually have a go? Like making your own pasta without a machine, for instance!

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.com/

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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby Breadandwine » Sun May 12, 2013 9:24 am

Answered my own question - I realised I only needed 1500g of starter - 100g each for the sourdough the students will make, plus 50g each to take home.

So I added another 200g each flour and water to the starter - left it a couple of hours, when it was in danger of overflowing the container, then took out about 500g, leaving 1500g.

I have to say I'm a huge convert to the 1:1 ratio - it's much more liquid than I thought it would be.

One further note (since I got up 15 minutes before I needed to, I have a bit of time) - before I amalgamated all my starter I had 3 jars of it. After pouring it all into one I rinsed out the jars with 150g of water, added another 150g of flour - and by yesterday evening that jar was as active as my main starter. It really is a vigorous little beastie!

OK, off to Hornblotton - 30 miles away - where I'll meet my ten new friends, and we'll have a ball!

Tell you all about it later! :D
Now that you've discovered that making your own bread is easier than you thought, what else is there that isn't so difficult when you actually have a go? Like making your own pasta without a machine, for instance!

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.com/

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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:56 am
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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby Breadandwine » Wed May 15, 2013 2:47 am

We began, as planned, with sourdough, since this could take several hours to rise.

6 of the students had brought in their own starters, so I initially said that they should make a loaf using these - and the students who hadn't managed to make their own should use mine.

In the event, the students who came with starters also wanted to make one using mine - and the students who had no starters were given some by the other students. So everyone made two sourdough loaves. Brilliant!

I was so impressed by the starters that the students brought in, that I took pics of them all!

Once all the loaves were made, we put them on one side, covered with tea towels, while we got on with the rest of the programme.

It took them about three hours to rise, so we began putting them in the ovens around 2pm - and for a while, oven space was at a premium.

Some of the home-made starters (not all) made excellent bread, and all those made with mine rose well. I still haven't uploaded all the pics I took of these, but I will very soon.

I had promised the students they could have some of my starter to take home with them - I was thinking I wouldn't have a lot to give them until I realised all I had to do was refresh it with more flour and water. And then I had loads!

I'm really glad the students chose to make sourdough - it forced me to research the subject much more than I had done, and I've learned a lot.

Thanks for your encouragement, Gill - you were right, it can be done.

Even by beginners, AZ! I think people are more capable than we sometimes realise - and they often rise to the challenge.

I'll certainly include it on any similar course, and I'll be a lot more confident when I do.

In the meantime, I was left with a load of starter - approximately 3 jars of it.

I was asked to make something for our coffee morning today, so, last night I set to and, using 600g of starter, I made a huge (1.3kgs) chocolate and beetroot loaf, and 16 Chelsea buns.

I'll post the recipe and pics for these when I get a chance - but just to say you couldn't tell that the Chelsea buns were made with using sourdough, so I probably won't bother repeating that (unless I have a surfeit of the stuff again!).

The C&B loaf was (is, because I've still got a load left) wonderful! I included a teaspoon of cloves, which added just the right hint of spice.

I have to say I'm now so confident with sourdough - I'm in danger of becoming cocky! :lol:
Now that you've discovered that making your own bread is easier than you thought, what else is there that isn't so difficult when you actually have a go? Like making your own pasta without a machine, for instance!

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.com/

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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby Gillthepainter » Wed May 15, 2013 7:11 pm

Paulthebread wrote: I'm in danger of becoming cocky! :lol:


Run for your lives ....

Seriously. Well done on your workshop success, Paul.
Looking forward to the pictures - I never tire of a good photo of a loaf of bread.

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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby Breadandwine » Wed May 22, 2013 2:32 am

Finally got my act together and posted some pics:

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/sourdough-again.html

Still need to get the recipes up, but I'll get there!
Now that you've discovered that making your own bread is easier than you thought, what else is there that isn't so difficult when you actually have a go? Like making your own pasta without a machine, for instance!

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.com/

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Posts: 179
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:56 am
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Re: Sourdough in a 6 hour workshop

Postby Breadandwine » Tue May 28, 2013 11:47 am

Made my usual wholemeal loaf this morning - but this time, using sourdough. It's rising as I write and it'll hopefully be ready for lunch.

I'm surrounded by sourdough starters, ATM, since my 3 grandchildren and I are conducting an experiment to see which of several different flours makes the best starter.

More to come, obviously! :)
Now that you've discovered that making your own bread is easier than you thought, what else is there that isn't so difficult when you actually have a go? Like making your own pasta without a machine, for instance!

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.com/

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