Sourdoh! (Part 2)

The second time, I erred on the side of caution and didn’t give nearly so long for rising – about 8 hours overnight, but in a cool house so possibly not long enough. I used two tins instead of one, forgetting that I’d used double quantities the time before, so the loaves came out only an inch high!

Perfect soldiers for soft-boiled eggs. However, the texture was much better: a little dense (not a fault, in my view), but neither gluey, gappy nor tough. Well, a little gluey at first, but I was warned that this would be the case – the bread is apparently best left for 24 hours before eating.

The third attempt resulted in the same problems as the first. I am tempted to throw the loaf away – but it’s not actually inedible, and it seems a waste if the birds aren’t going to eat it either. However, now they are nesting they may be less picky! It’s quite good toasted.

The troubleshooting section of my bread-making book says this problem is due to the yeasts having been too active: “excessive enzyme activity has softened gluten to the point where the pressure of fermentation gases is too great and the structure compacts”. The suggested solutions include having a shorter first stage (6-8 hours instead of 24 hours). So I shall try this next time.

The weather has turned much warmer recently and the under-floor heating in the conservatory is now off until late October (I hope). The room is a bit like a greenhouse. From April onwards, on a sunny day it gets pretty warm inside. Daytime temperatures have been about 5˚C higher than a couple of weeks ago, and now the conservatory’s warmer than the rest of the house instead of cooler (during the day, at least). All this has made the sourdough much more lively – the second proof only needed 3 hours instead of the 8 it had the previous time. So it makes sense that the first proof shouldn’t have had so long.

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~ by jobes on May 15, 2008.

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