Everyone is baking! Yeast is sold out everywhere and I'm getting loads of questions about sourdough.
I've explained a lot in my basic sourdough recipe but it's a lot and I can understand it's hard to process all that information at once so I've made a Q&A with the most common questions I 've had.
If you have a question that's not on here, let me know and I'll add it.
About the starter:
Q: There's a layer of water on my starter, do I need to toss it?
A: No! The water is a signal your starter is hungry. Just feed it every 24 hours and eventually your starter will strengthen and the water will be gone. Never throw away your starter unless it has mold on it.
Q: There's a layer of water in the middle of my starter. What do I do?
A: The same as above, first stir your starter before you take 100 grams and feed that.
Q: My starter is not doing anything and I'm already a couple of days in. Should I start again?
A: No! It can take up to two weeks before your starter becomes active. It all depends on the temperature in your house. The warmer it is, the quicker it goes. Put your starter in a warm place is the house, just not in direct sunlight. Too hot and you'll kill the bacteria.
Q: I forgot to feed my starter. Should I throw it away?
A: No, just feed it as soon as possible and try to stick to every 24 hours. As long as you don't forget for days/weeks, you'll be fine. Your starter is tougher than you think.
Q: What types of flour can I use?
A: Pretty much any type. Bread flour, rye, whole wheat, wheat. Do not use self raising, that won't work.
Q: I've done the floattest after feeding but it won't float. Now what?
A: You have to do the floattest around 8 hours after feeding. Your starter will 'eat' the food and then become active and will float. When it has doubled in size, that's when you do the floattest.
Q: My starter will rise and double but after that it will shrink to its regular size. Is that alright?
A: Yes, that's what's supposed to happen. Your starter will eat the food and becomes active. After that, around 8 hours, it will shrink back to it's regular size and then you have to feed it again. That's why it's important to make your dough when your starter is at it's peak.
Q: What to do with my starter after I've made a bread?
A: The reason I feed 100 grams starter with 100 grams flour and 100 grams water is that after making my dough, I use 120 grams starter, I have plenty left to feed again and maintain. You haven't done all this work for 1 loaf! I either do one of these things, depending on how much I want to bake:
1. When I have to go to the office I only bake 1 loaf in the weekend. I feed my starter Friday morning, make the dough Friday night and use 120 grams of starter. I immediately feed my starter again, screw the lid on and put it in the fridge. I take it out of the fridge the next Friday morning when I'm ready to bake again.
2. I work from home now so I bake much more. I feed my starter Friday morning, make the dough Friday night and use 120 grams of starter. I then keep my starter in room temperature and just feed it again on Saturday morning as usual. If I wanted I could make another dough on Saturday night.
It's important to keep in mind that when you leave your starter in room temperature you have to feed it every 24 hours.
If you want to store your starter in the fridge, that's fine! Just feed it before you put it in the fridge and it will keep for at least a week. You can only store in the fridge when your starter is active after every feeding round (otherwise you can never bake with it)
About the dough:
Most of the questions were about the starter, maybe the dough is easier of you aren't there yet. These we're the most common questions.
Q: My dough flattens out like a pancake after I take it out of my banneton. Why?
A: That can come because of:
1. You've let the dough rise for too long. When you do that the gluten will lose their strength and can't hold the dough together. With letting dough rise you need to keep in mind the temperature of your house. I Let my dough rise 4 hours in room temperature and then 12 hours overnight. In the morning I check the dough with the poke test. I poke the dough, with a floured finger. If it comes back slowly and not completely, it leaves a little dent, it's ready to bake. If it comes back completely, you need to let is rise more. It it remains a big hole, you've let it rise for too long.
It's better to bake an underproofed dough than an overproofed dough. Underproofing can be fixed in the oven with the ovenspring.
2. You need to step up you shaping. And that's a tricky part. Your shaping needs to be tight in order for the dough to keep it's shape. I've posted a video in my basic recipe with how to shape a batard.
Q: Mijn brood is heel compact, hoe kan dat?
A: Het kan zijn dat het deeg nu niet lang genoeg heeft gerezen. De 4 uur rijzen buiten de koelkast is meestal genoeg, maar als je starter misschien even minder actief is of het is koud in huis kan het zijn dat je het deeg langer had moeten laten rijzen (had ik zelf van de week). Wanneer je de 3 stretch en folds hebt gedaan laat je het deeg sowieso nog 1,5 uur staan. Kijk dan even of je luchtbellen of bubbels in het deeg ziet, zo ja dan kan je verder met het vormen en kan het de koelkast in. Zo nee, dan moet je het nog langer laten staan.
Q: Do you need a banneton?
A: No, you can just line a bowl with a kitchen towel. Flour heavily before putting in the dough.
Q: How big should my bowl be?
A: I either use a round banneton of 20cm or I use a batard shape of 21cm. Use Dutch Ovens at least a couple of cm bigger than that. Bigger is not a problem, if you shaped the dough right it doesn't need a lift from the sides of the pan.
Q: Do you really need to let your bread cool off?
A: Unfortunately yes. If you don't do that your bread can become gummy.
This were all the questions. Still got a question for me? Let me know!