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Old 11-30-2008, 01:24 PM   #1
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Panera Sourdough Bread

My starter was feeling lonely in the fridge, so I took it out, drained off the juice, and gave it three good feedings before throwing together the Panera Sourdough Bread recipe (assembled by weight). The first thing I noticed was that this dough was really slack. I must have added a whole additional cup of flour before the dough would pull away from the sides if the bowl. I then kneaded in almost another 1/2 cup before sending to bed in the fridge until morning. In the morning I pulled it out and let it get to room temperature before dividing the dough into four small loaves. I still needed to flour my hands and the work surface because the dough was so sticky.

I then let it raise on the counter for 2 hours, turned on the oven, then let it raise while the oven and stone came to temp (about 40 minutes). When I went to slit the top of each loaf, I noticed that the loaves were already starting to deflate. Into the oven they went for 30 minutes at 400 F, but there was no oven spring going on with these babies.





Yep, they just stayed in the deflated position, but the crumb and taste is fine.



I would appreciate some analysis on this recipe, because I like the taste. The problem appears to be in the viscosity of my starter, which is NOT the Panera starter, but is my own. I don't need other recipes (thank you anyway), but need help to get this one refined to where it has more body to the dough, if in fact it should have more body. I've never made this before, so maybe this is what the finished product should look like.

Thanks

Joe

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Old 11-30-2008, 01:33 PM   #2
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*SIGH* Another master piece by JoeV!!! I'm hungry.... I think I can smell warm fresh bread!
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Old 11-30-2008, 02:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sattie View Post
*SIGH* Another master piece by JoeV!!! I'm hungry.... I think I can smell warm fresh bread!
Sattie, my sweet. Negatory on the masterpiece. This is one with some problems that need to be overcome before it can go in "The Book." I wish I could come down to the Lone Star state and get you started baking bread. we would have a lot of fun, and put on some serious pounds in the process.

Joe
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Old 12-02-2008, 06:27 PM   #4
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Hi Joe,

I've never tried Panera bread, so I don't know much about the loaf you're trying to duplicate.

I looked over the recipe you linked, and noticed that while the ingredients in the dough itself make it seem like a lean bread, their "sourdough starter" (which is not a sourdough by the common definition) contains a good amount of dairy in the form of buttermilk and yogurt as well as sugar in the form of grape juice. These ingredients (dairy and sugar) will change the bread significantly, in both taste and texture. There's also probably some fat in the dairy as their ingredient list doesn't mention using nonfat ingredients. This also has an effect especially on the texture. You mention that you're not using their starter but your own, and I figure yours is probably a more standard sourdough, maintained with flour and water. If you want to duplicate the recipe given, you probably need to incorporate the missing ingredients somehow. In fact if what you want is to make bread by their recipe, you really should be using their starter, as it is a very different beast than a traditional sourdough starter.

The problem of loaves deflating during or before scoring sounds like they overproofed. A shorter final rise should help with that. This will probably also help you get some oven spring.

You don't mention what the hydration of your starter is, other than to say that you suspect its viscosity may be the problem. This of course affects the hydration level in your bread. Personally I've been keeping mine at about 67% lately by feeding it in a 1:2:3 ratio (one part starter, 2 parts water, 3 parts flour, all by weight). I find that the firm starter helps to strengthen the dough it is used in.
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Old 12-02-2008, 07:04 PM   #5
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Russ,

I'm reluctant to mention it here, but I found out why my dough was so slack...I used the water volume from the starter, 8.375 oz., instead of the dough volume of 6 oz. I realized that when I made the second batch, which reacted normally when I used the correct volume of water. Duhhhhh... The second batch was a normal dough which reacted in a normal fashion. I reduced the final proof to 1 1/2 hours, and got excellent results:



I was reading the recipe off my laptop while making the dough, and if you look at the website, the color contrast on the page leaves something to be desired. In the end, it was my mistake and not the recipe's error.

Yes, my starter is a traditional starter, but still provided an excellent crumb and flavor. I don't see myself spending the time to make their "starter" any time soon.

Thanks for your input.

Joe
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Old 12-03-2008, 05:51 AM   #6
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Sounds a lot like the kind of mistake I make too. This round looks great. Glad to hear the happy ending.
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:36 AM   #7
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the 2nd try looks awesome. And I love just about anything from Panera Bread. Its one of my fav places to go
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