The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts
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chouette22's picture
chouette22

Every time I spend five, six weeks with my family in Switzerland in summer, this is the bread I am looking forward to eating the most.



It is originally from Geneva (the French-speaking part of Switzerland) and its inventor is Aimé Pouly, the author of the book “Le pain” (available, but out of stock right now at Amazon, only in French, as far as I know).


         


He is one of the originators of the “Slow Baking” movement, where bread dough is made completely without the too commonly used industrial flour mixtures that speed up the fermentation. Most  bakeries have everything but time, it has to be fast and cheap, and the lacking taste is being helped with additives – a very common approach nowadays, as the well-known German baker Süpke (referred to recently by Hans Joakim) explains in this very interesting article about preferments (in German though). He says, that until he discovered the Slow Baking movement, the only preferment he’d use in his bakery was sourdough. All other dough was made with the use of “little helpers” or convenience additives, as most bakeries do. Now, he says, he doesn’t sell a single bread with yeast  that has not gone through some type of prefermentation, and the change was everything but easy, he adds. The entire rhythm of the bakery changed completely, but the resulting breads were absolutely worth it.


Aimé Pouly believes in the old approach of a very long fermentation (about 24 hours it seems) and all breads are hand-formed and therefore no two of them are the same. This is the first fresh bread recipe worldwide that got patented, in 1995. Since then, every bakery that wants to sell this bread needs to get the license from Pouly, and apparently only good, quality bakers are able to get it. Then an advisor comes into the bakery to teach the bakers. MANY bakeries in Switzerland now sell the Pain Paillasse, and in the meantime also over 50 bakeries in Germany, and many places in France, Spain, Austria, Italy, and probably more, but the flour will always get delivered to all of them from Switzerland, as part of the recipe. A true success story of slowness, as it is sometimes referred to.


It originally came in three types: white, dark, and rustique (with seeds), but now also with olives, or chocolate, as a provençal version, and more.


         


The crust is strong, and the crumb is very open, soft, sweet (there is, however, no sweetness added, it’s just the long fermentation) and very moist.



The taste is just wonderful! My favorite one is the rustic one with the seeds.


 



Since the recipe is a secret, I have recently tried to recreate a version of it. I saw a recipe for Alpine Baguettes in the blog Beginning With Bread. It is from Daniel Leader’s book “Local Breads” and he got it from Clemens Walch in the Austrian Alps. Since I liked the outcome so much, I have now purchased the book and intend to try many more recipes from it.


We really loved this bread! I have made it twice now, the first time with a whole-wheat starter and the second time completely according to the recipe, with a rye starter (that I have changed from my AP starter over the course of three or four feedings). I could not, however, detect a really different flavor or behavior of the dough, thus in the future I will just take my WW starter. If you like breads studded with seeds (it contains a soaker of sunflower, pumpkin, flax and sesame seeds, as well as rolled oats), then give this a try!


This was my outcome:



The Paillasse rustique has most of its seeds on the outside (it specifies this on the paper sleeve in which it is being sold), the inside just has a few and is otherwise mostly like the dark Paillasse. The Alpine Baguettes are full of seeds inside, but since the hydration is quite high, it's not easy turning the final loafs in a mixture of seeds and grains to coat them.


 

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Day one of Artisan II course at the San Francisco Baking Institute, Frank our instructor touched on a buzz word for me - Freedom.  This was by no means any where in the manual or was there any hint on his part of an emphasis when he mentioned it; it was a casual passing comment.  He said the best bread for him is a bread with a pre-ferment (poolish or sponge where there is a small amount of commercial yeast) and a levain (in the final dough which is then retarded), and that this combination gives you a lot of "freedom."  


There were 16 of us sitting in the classroom.  Not everyone gets a message at the same level.   I am not suggesting one level is higher than another, or a student who gets a particular message is a better baker than the rest of the class.   I am saying - the message I received has a special meaning to me, and me only.  For the rest of the day, I was chewing on the concept.   I did not know what exactly in Frank's remarks that fascinated me - is it the excitement in the knowledge that the combination of a pre-ferment and a levain would give me the possibility of making a great flavored bread, or what?  It was not until the next night when I was reading my French bread book (which I brought from home) with the assistance of Google translator on French bread tradition that it clicked on me - tradition? freedom? 


Is tradition a quantifier and qualifier, a boundary, a set of rules and conventions; or is tradition a liberator?   Why did the best abstract artists in fine art history start their life-long pursuits by doing serious charcoal sketches and still-life drawings?   I am a Chinese, but do I want to be bound by it?   Freedom.   My tradition is one enriching element in my fabric but I do not want it to be a boundary.   I learn bread, but I do not want to be bound by the bread conventions.   I will make breads that are meaningful to me, whatever that is.   I answer to myself.


As in any learning, formula can never replace the reasoning behind.  The concept is always more valuable than the mere formula.  Once we are able to extract the governing concept or principle from the formula, we have freedom to construct our own formula.   The aspect of freedom excites me far more than the formula.  But I have to start my learning from the formula. 


A Sourdough Formula From Scratch - 5 Days Start To Finish


day 1 at noon, starting to make the culture



  • 200 g bread flour

  • 200 g whole wheat flour

  • 400 g lukewarm water (80F)


day 2 at 8 am



culture on day 2 morning before feeding (after the very first mixing of flour and water the day before)



  • 200 g bread flour

  • 200 g lukewarm water (80F)

  • 200 g culture from the day before (threw away the rest)


day 2 at 4 pm



culture on day 2 afternoon before feeding



  • 200 g bread flour

  • 200 g water

  • 200 g culture from the morning (threw away the rest)


day 3 at 8 am



culture on day 3 morning before feeding



  • 200 g bread flour

  • 200 g water

  • 200 g culture from the day before (threw away the rest)


day 3 at 4 pm, beginning to turn the culture into a starter


 


culture on day 3 afternoon before feeding and turning into starter



  • 300 g bread flour

  • 300 g water

  • 120 g culture from the morning (threw away the rest)


day 4 at 8 am



starter on day 4 morning before being fed



  • 300 g flour

  • 300 g water

  • 200 g starter, amount increased from 120 g to 200g as this would be used in the afternoon to make sourdough!


day 4 at 3 pm, starting to hand mix the following ingredients for sourdough:



  • 673 g bread flour

  • 471 g water

  • 18 g salt

  • 337 g levain from above


Total dough weight 1.5 kg and total dough hydration 76% 



  1. Mix the above ingredients in a bucket (or a large bowl) by hand. 

  2. Turn out the sticky mess onto the work bench.

  3. Use the palm of one hand, stretch out (like smearing) the sticky mess against the work bench for one minute, not any longer, to thoroughly hydrate the flour;.

  4. Scrape the sticky mess back into the bucket.

  5. With one hand holding the edge of the bucket, another hand stretches and folds the dough onto itself at one corner of the dough; then gives the bucket a 1/4 turn, and stretches and folds the dough again until you have done four corners (ie, one round); do two round in total, no more.

  6. At 30 minutes mark, repeat step 5

  7. At another 30 minutes mark, repeat step 6; at this point you will notice some strength in dough has developed.

  8. At another 30 minutes mark, repeat step 7.  As some dough strength has developed, you will notice the dough is smooth and silky and easily clears the side of the bucket as you stretch and fold in the bucket.

  9. At another 30 minutes mark, turn out the dough onto a well floured work surface.  Oil the bucket before you attend to the dough again.

  10. Now, pre-shape the somewhat loose dough (due to high hydration) into a boule by folding 1/4 of the dough onto itself until all the dough is onto itself, then flip it over; and with two hands on both sides of the dough, create surface tension by applying downward pressure against the work bench and form the dough into a boule.

  11. With the flexibility of a gymnast (joking), flip the pre-shaped boule into the bucket (right side in the bottom) in a swift motion.

  12. Dust your linen lined basket with rice flour or a mixture of bread flour and rice flour.

  13. At 15 minutes mark, turn out the pre-shaped dough onto a well floured work bench.  Shape again as in step 10 but try to do it as tight as possible without tearing the skin.

  14. Flip the shaped dough into the basket, right side down.  Cover.

  15. At 30 minutes mark, wheel (I mean, chuck) the dough into your fridge for overnight retardation (14 hours). 


day 5 bake this little baby



  1. At 7:30 am, turn on your oven to pre-heat to 450 F

  2. At 8:00 am, remove the dough from the fridge to room temperature. 

  3. Invert the dough onto a peel, and clean off rice flour on top if there is any.  Dust the surface with bread flour or stencil the top with favourite design of your choice. (At the last minute, I cut out three round circles as stencils.)

  4. At 8:30 am, score your dough; steam your oven for 2 seconds, load the dough onto the baking stone, steam for another 2 seconds, and bake for 30 minutes; then, bake for another 30 minutes with the oven door ajar to vent (in order to dry out the crust) or until the crust is of a desired color. (Note: for home baking the steaming is done after the dough is loaded with 1 cup of water onto lava rock filled cast iron roasting pan.)

  5. Cool completely before slicing. 


And, here is my true San Francisco Sourdough made in San Francisco.  (The above procedure is my own, adapted from various sources mentioned in this blog as well as Frank our instructor's instructions.)


 


  


   My true San Francisco Sourdough made in San Francisco


 


          


 


                 


 


Crust:  I cannot claim credit for the beautiful crust.  Frank was our master baker, the man at the oven.  He controlled the oven temp, the length of the baking, and all that cares that go with the baking.  The crust is very crispy and full of that caramel/charcoal fragrance.


 


  


 


                                                         


Crumb color: I have never seen such a beautiful crumb color.  You would say there was hardly any oxidization of flour at all due to the way the dough was mixed and fermented, resulting in this exceedingly creamy, somewhat golden, color. 


The taste is a little bit sour.  I am surprised as I would have thought with the liquid levain, there would be more lactic acidity, rather than acetic acidity.  Maybe overnight retardation is the reason.  Or maybe any true San Francisco sourdough is sour... that San Francisco air and sea breeze?


The mouth feel of the crumb is moist and mildly chewy, full of life.   


           


 


                                                        


 


Before I leave San Francisco I have one more job to do - to "immortalize" my San Francisco starter to bring home to Australia in dry form.  After using it to mix the dough at day 4 afternoon, I had about 460 g of liquid starter (100% hydration) left.  I turned it into a stiff starter (50% hydration) at the end of that day's class and this morning (day 5) I fed it again.  When I finished today's class, it was already very bubbly.  I brought it back to my hotel and was painting the starter onto a few parchment paper.  Before I had done painting the 5th piece of paper, the first one partially dried.  It was lucky that I turned the liquid starter into a stiff one as it dried faster; my decision was one of greed - I thought with a stiff starter, more flour, more beasties. 


 


                                                             


                                 Here is my abstract starter painting with flour and water to finish the day.


Shiao-Ping


p.s.  I asked Frank if I could blog today's sourdough.  I never received a YES answer so quick.   His reply was as if my question was unnecessary. 

DakotaRose's picture

Disapointing Whole Wheat Bread

August 21, 2009 - 12:07pm -- DakotaRose
Forums: 

I don't know what the problem is this year, but every time we make a whole wheat bread with red wheat flour it doesn't rise well and we never get any oven rise at all.  It is so disappointing.  I never had that problem last year, but this year it never fails to disappoint.  I am using the same recipes as last year, but nothing works.  Our sourdough breads aren't bad this year, but I don't use any red whole wheat flour in them because I don't want them to come out as hard lumps of bread.  Any ideas.


 


Blessings,


Lydia


 

boathook1's picture
boathook1

Once I've made a starter how long should I keep it before trying to bake with it? Does it continue to get more sour with age? MY AIM IS TO BAKE A REALLY SOUR LOAF...


I could not be much newer at this... I'm seeking two things:


1. VERY SOUR tasting results.


2. The simplest recipes.


Could I be asking too much? Is there hope for me?! !... I'm willing to learn... My baking history consists of a cookie mix that came in a cardboard container from the freezer dept. of the local Piggly Wiggly [?]... Oh yeah.. I did a few potatoes once too but if I recall correctly I ended up burying them in my back yard.... {late at night too}... I guess it's also worth mentioning that in the divorce papers I was served, my kitchen antics were a key factor in chasing the little woman from my loving embrace... {Have you ever tried reading fine print when your glasses are all clouded with flour powder?... And you're up to your arm pits in dough that is heavier than you can lift?}... A nasty rumor has found it's way to me as well... According to a recent ruling by the courts I'm not allowed to bake within 500 feet of my former wife......


I remain, your humble and curious student..


Boathook1

devil's picture
devil

first try without experience:



and...


this is the result



it's good looking but it's very hard.


second try with hope:


BUT,where is my rolling pin?



I use my hand to flatten the dough.And,I get these cutie shape croissants.



and finally,







90ye


yes, this is what I suppose to get(soft and crunchy croissant). YEAH!



 


 

Jean-Paul's picture

I cannot make sense of this baker's math for this recipe...

August 21, 2009 - 7:24am -- Jean-Paul

Help, I cannot make sense of the online tutorials for bakers math. And then when I found Jeremy Shapiro's sourdough recipe, his math sends my wittle bwain into a tailspin. What I want to do is to make 2 (two)  500 gram boules using his recipe.


Please help me out. Thanks!


http://sourdough.com/gallery/main.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=1914


 

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