Friday, November 4, 2011

San Joaquin Sourdough, or is it tweaked too much?

I found a beautiful looking bread on the site of The Fresh Loaf. David (DMSnyder) regularly makes beautiful loaves.
David writes; “I first developed this formula about 3 years ago. Since then, I've tweaked the formula and methods in many ways. I know many TFL members have made this bread and enjoyed it.”

Ever since I started baking bread, this month it’s one year ago, I read about bakers tweaking recipes. Tweaking means: Improve (a mechanism or system) by making fine adjustments to it. If you use this word also for baking, when you tweak a recipe; it should improve the original. I had no idea. I started to tweak recipes mostly because I didn’t have the right ingredients. Later on, when I became more confident, I tweaked because I liked other flavors in my bread. 
And because I couldn't bake the original, I had no idea if it improved. I liked tweaking and started to add some rye, whole wheat bran, roasted malt and roasted wheat germs. All great flavors. 

And today I did it again, I tweaked bread. I started with the recipe of San Joaquin Sourdough because it looks good. I had some biga naturale in the refrigerator and was looking for a bread to use it. I added roasted wheat germs because of the nice flavor and roasted malt because I wanted to bake a brown bread. The shape is also different because I wanted a big French bread. 

The bread came out as I had hoped and with a delicious smell. The taste is great, good crust and soft crumb full of flavors. But, can I still call it San Joaquin
That evening I made, my first and certainly not last, foam omelette with salami, olives and rosemary.

Below I wrote the ingredients as I found on David’s blog and made it like I usually make bread.
This is the recipe I found:
150 g  active starter (100% hydration) (I used biga naturale)    
450 g  all purpose flour (11.7% protein) (I used my regular all purpose flour)
25 g    DRM Dark Rye flour (I used light rye flour)
25 g    whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat bran)
360 g  water
10 g    sea salt

I added:
10 g    roasted malt
10 g    roasted wheat germs

This is what I did:
Dissolve the starter in the water. Mix all flours before adding to the water and mix. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough. I mixed the dough in the machine for 2 minutes on low speed and 2 minutes on medium speed. Cover and let it rest.

Stretch and fold 3 times more at 30 minute intervals.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled container and cover. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes with a stretch and fold after 45 and 90 minutes. 

Gently take the dough out of the container onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently pat it into a rectangle. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.
I went for French bread and gently pulled and stretched the dough into a big baguette. Place the pieces on a floured couche, cover with a tea towel and let proof for 30 - 45 minutes until the loaves have expanded to about 1-1/2 times their original size.
Do not over-proof. Push your finger in the loaf; when the dough recovers quickly you have to wait and when it recovers very slowly it’s time to bake.

In the mean time, pre heat the oven. Place the steam pan with stones on the bottom of your oven. Heat the oven to 260˚C/500˚F.

I boiled water, poured it in a glass bottle with a long neck.
I gently placed the loaves on parchment paper which is on my oven peel. I scored the loaves along the axes of the loaves. Place the loaves on the baking stone (which is always in my oven) and quickly pour the boiling water on the hot stones and close the oven door.

I steamed for 15 minutes, removed the pan with hot stones and parchment paper and  rotated the loaves to brown evenly.

I baked them another 15 minutes. Bake the loaves until they are nicely browned. Don't forget what Susan of Wild Yeast wrote: "it’s hard to over-bake a bread" 

When the loaves are done; internal temperature is 96˚C/205˚F or knock on the bottom of the loaf; if it sounds hollow it’s done.

I found this recipe on David’s at The Fresh Loaf 

I send this to YeastSpotting, this weeks host is Sally of Bewitching Kitchen. Susan; have a great holiday!
And I send it to Cathy who hosts Bake Your Own Bread

Go and get some inspiration!


  1. I took my first sourdough starter for an inaugural run last weekend. Fairly good results. I was stoked and after seeing your recipe highlighted on YeastSpotting, thought I'd start perfecting my technique on this yummy recipe. However, I still don't have all the ins and outs of maintaining a starter down. So I made the huge mistake of not activating my starter before diving into your instructions. Three small, dense loaves. :( Of course a day after feeding, my starter is now all kinds of lovely and bubbly. I liked your recipe and it was super easy to follow, so I plan to try again in the near future!

  2. Good to hear your starter is bubbly again. A good start for another try of this easy and delicious bread. Glad to hear you liked it too.