No knead Sourdough Questions

CLBlakeyAugust 19, 2013

I am attempting my first shot at No knead sourdough bread. This past week I made the starter and yesterday I mixed my first loaf. I put it in the warmest room in my house (still not very warm) and it has risen a bit but not doubled. So should I turn on the furnace to help it or wait longer or some other ingenious plan you know about. The dough looks abit wet to me not sure if it needs more flour and if so is it too late. Was my starter not sufficiantly started? Here is yesterdays pic.

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Here is todays pic it looks smoother.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:04AM
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I'd suspect a weak starter over a problem with ambient temperature - especially this time of the year! You don't say what your ambient temperature is.

You could try sitting the dough in your oven with the light on and that should be closer to optimum proofing temperature (75-85-degrees F). Turn the light on when you start to make your bread and it should be warm when you need to use it as a proofing box. Just make sure you check the ACTUAL temperature with a thermometer. I have to place dough as far from the light as possible when using the oven as a proofing box. There is also nothing wrong with a long cool rise either, except it takes more time, but time is what develops flavor.

If your starter isn't doubling in bulk after you feed it, then it's not going to double your dough. In fact, "doubling" your dough is probably over-proofing it because our flour is no longer bromated and no longer has the extensibility it once had when it was and "double" was the rising standard. So try to keep it just UNDER double.

I'd also suggest a straight-sided container for your dough, like a dough-rising bucket with a lid, not a slant-sided bowl, so you'll actually know how much your dough has risen. If I place 1 quart of dough in my dough-rising bucket, I'll know it has "doubled" when it reaches the 2-quart line. With a slant-sided bowl, you are just guessing.

A trick I learned when I was in a hurry and wanted my sourdough bread dough to rise faster and didn't want to make it an all day project, I would add 1/8 t. of SAF Instant Yeast to the dough. You still get the sourdough flavor, it just doesn't take as much time. This may work well for you until your starter is good and active.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 11:19AM
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Thanks temp was definitely colder than that I just put it in the oven. What about adding more flour is it too late or should I just leave it really sticky.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 11:29AM
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Just leave it sticky. It's better to err on the side of a wet dough than dry dough. A well-hydrated dough will create an open (holey) crumb. A dry dough equals a brick.

That's the tricky part about no knead breads. You can't be sure about the hydration of the end product by just following a recipe. That set amount of ingredients doesn't take into consideration the percentage of moisture found in, or absent from, the flour, or the differences in protein in flour from brand-to-brand and bag-to-bag. If flour is stored in a bag in the warmer months when we have higher humidity, the flour will absorb moisture - and dry in the winter when humidity is low.

Adding flour that late can cause a number of other issues including streaks from improper mixing. Late additions of flour won't be hydrated properly and won't ferment correctly. Raw flour in the dough can also cause the loaf to break and shred on the sides, as well as influence the crumb color and the texture resulting in poor-quality bread.

These are also things that happen when people use too much bench flour while handling the dough. I prefer placing the dough on a Silpat instead of a floured board, and then you don't need bench flour, or only a very small amount. Handle the dough with oiled hands and the dough won't stick to them.

King Arthur Flour uses a method where they spray the counter with vegetable spray (PAM) instead of using flour, as another method for avoiding bench flour. Gently move wet dough with a plastic, rubber or silicon bench scraper to make it easier and to help keep the gases inside that will create an open crumb. If all you have is a metal bench scraper, it may need to be sprayed with vegetable spray to keep the dough from sticking.

In spite of it all, have fun!


    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 2:25PM
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Yes, leave it sticky. No added flour.
I like the suggestion to use a bit of yeast to a new starter until it ages.
You are not getting much lift.
Don't give up! Such good bread. Your next loaf will be better. Always a learning curve at first.
I don't use flour for benching. Don't like the raw flour taste that remains. I like a fine oat bran.
If you do get some lift with some heat and more time, you might want the bench flour if it is really wet. No-knead method is not at all handled, just gently plopped out of the bowl, so all the moisture of the rise is retained in the dough.
A video on this home page of Co. is helpful for what you are looking for and how your bread should behave.

Here is a link that might be useful: no-knead bread video

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 3:55PM
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Tomorrow is another day I buttoned up the house to bring up the heat and my starter should be better I have no yeast in the house. Thanks for the video I have watched a few on youtube as well.

Added for the laugh

This post was edited by CLBlakey on Mon, Aug 19, 13 at 17:37

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 5:35PM
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Haha. Yeah, we just had a flattie recently. Actually two, then figured out and adjusted...

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 5:52PM
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You are not alone. Made my "go-to/easy/use up 1 cup of" sourdough starter biscuits yesterday. Thought the dough was a bit wet. Ended up with biscuits the height of a puffy cookie and diameter of an english muffin. Resourceful kids covered them with diced peaches and honey.

As an aside, I have used my microwave as a proofing chamber, microwaving a mug of water until very warm and then placing the covered dough in with the water. This creates a very moist, warm environment that works well for some bread. It also tends to speed up the rise, which may not be what you want.

Good luck!

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 8:21AM
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