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Sourdough Shokupan (Stiff Starter)

The bread texture is soft, more moist, fluffy and slightly chewy. It stays fresh longer than the non yudane method bread.
Yudane Method ⬆

Without Yudane Method ⬇ 
The bread texture is soft, moist and fluffy.  However, it lost its moistness on the second day.


You may wonder why I have been using stiff starter for my baking lately. I read a lot of good reviews using a stiff starter on sweet enriched bread so I thought I would give it a go.  

I created a recipe using a high percentage of stiff starter that help to cut down proofing times and make the bread rise faster. I have experimented with 6 breads using this stiff starter recipe and all the proofing times were shorter (about 2 1/2 hours - 3 1/2 hours at ambient temperature 29C - 30C) and with better oven spring too compared to when using my   It could be also the lower percentage of liquid levain used.  However, please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate, environment, flour, your starter and etc. 

I am sharing both stiff starter recipes USING YUDANE METHOD and WITHOUT YUDANE METHOD.   An advantage of using the Yudane method is that the bread stays fresh much longer.  Please click  to understand more details on Yudane Method.

Some of you may find it is too complicated with yudane dough.  After all, most of us will toast it from the second day. Anyway, it's up to you which method you prefer :) 

It is advisable to read the general notes below before starting the bake.

GENERAL NOTES:

MILK POWDER 
Why do I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and makes the bread texture softer due to the fat content of the milk. 
  2. Milk powder is shelf stable and you can have it anytime when you want to use.  Unlike liquid milk you need to finish within a certain time before it spoils.
KNEADING TIME
For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.

OVER KNEADING
Some have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  If that happens it is due to over kneading.  Please stop the machine and check your dough during the final cycle of kneading to ensure that you don't over knead. Every machine is different and there is always a chance of over-kneading when using a machine. You may need to adjust this timing and stop as soon as you reach the window pane stage.  This happen especially to Yudane dough method.   I noticed that it is harder to achieve a very thin window pane  with Yudane method dough. 

FLOUR
The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.  Usually bread flour content around 11.5 - 13.5% protein, while high gluten flour is around 13.5 - 14.5%.  All purpose flour content less protein around 9 - 11%.  To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  Sources from  and 

HYDRATION
The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

PROOFING
Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

Proofing:
  1. Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 
WRINKLE TOP OR SHRINKING
If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof your dough until it just reaches the rim of the pan.

BAKING
Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

SOURDOUGH STARTER
A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by   It is advisable to feed your starter daily if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.

If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  

When is a starter at its peak?  My sourdough starter is usually at its peak when it is tripled in the jar.  It usually stays at its peak for around 30 minutes before it starts to reduce/fall.  

Why use starter at its peak?  This is when the starter is most active and it will result in a better rise for your bread in general.  

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.

RECIPE 

Yields:  2 Loaves in 450g Loaf Pan
Utensil:  450g loaf pan (21.3 X 12.2 X 11.5 cm  /  8.4" X 4.8" X 4.5")

Sourdough Shokupan (Yudane Method)

INGREDIENTS:

Yudane Dough:
70g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
70g boiling water

Sweet Stiff Starter (50% Hydration):
60g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), use at its peak 
180g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
75g water
30g sugar (I used organic brown sugar)

Main Dough:
70g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
All yudane dough (above)
All stiff starter (above)
15g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar)
1 tsp salt
30g milk powder (I used full cream/whole milk powder)
25g butter, room temperature
45g egg, whisked (from 1 egg), balance use for egg wash
25g water (reserve 10g and add in later if needed) I used total 25g of water

Egg Wash: (Optional)
Balance of egg wash from the above + 1/2 tsp water

Sourdough Shokupan (Without Yudane Method)

INGREDIENTS:

Sweet Stiff Starter (50% Hydration):
60g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), use at its peak 
180g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
75g water
30g sugar (I used organic brown sugar)

Main Dough:
140g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
All stiff starter (above)
15g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar)
1 tsp salt
30g milk powder (I used full cream/whole milk powder)
25g butter, room temperature
45g egg, whisked (from 1 egg), balance use for egg wash
85g water (reserve about 10g and add in later if needed), I used 85g of water for this bread

Egg Wash: (Optional)
Balance of egg wash from the above + 1/2 tsp water

METHOD:
  1. Yudane (please omit this step if without yudane method):
    1. Add bread flour in a bowl, pour the boiling water and mix well with spatula or spoon until no dry flour.
    2. Cling film and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.  I prepared the night before.
    3. Take out from the fridge 30 minutes before using to return to room temperature.
  2. Sweet Stiff Starter 
    1. Dilute starter with water, stir in sugar and mix in bread flour to become a dough.  Please use stand mixer with paddle attachment to mix if you find hard to mix with hand.
    2. Cover and let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and leave it in aircond room (approximately 24 - 25C room temperature) overnight until tripled.  It took about 7 - 8 hours depending on your starter.  You can also prepare and leave on your kitchen counter, let it rise until triple in several hours and use at its peak.
  3. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter) into a bowl of stand mixer.  I usually torn the stiff starter and yudane dough into pieces first.
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes or until all incorporated.  
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for 10 - 12 minutes or until reach window pane stage.  The whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
  4. 1st Proofing/Resting:
    1. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for 30 - 60 minutes. Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  This dough I rested for 35 minutes at 30C room temperature and the dough rose quite a lot in 35 minutes.  (I did not find any big differences of 30 mins to 60 minutes rest.  So, please follow your schedule).
  5. Shaping:
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide into 2 equal portions.  Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.
    2. Form each portion to a ball.  Flatten with rolling pin.
    3. Fold right to centre and fold left overlap it.  Roll out with rolling pin into long rectangle shape. Roll up the dough like Swiss Roll until a small log is formed. 
    4. Place all dough in the prepared loaf pan.   
  6. Final Proofing 
    1. Let it proof at warm place until the dough reaches the height of the pan.  This one took approximately 3 1/2 hours at room temperature of 30C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
  7. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 190C (top & bottom heat) or 170C (fan-forced) for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. Brush with egg wash (optional) and bake in a preheated oven for 25 - 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
    3. Remove bread from oven and let them cool on rack completely before slicing.

Stiff Starter


Main Dough


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