The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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alfanso's picture

This is a 76% hydration ciabatta modeled on that of Scott McGee.    Unusual in the low hydration and that he shapes these.

Dinner the other evening with friends for “Sunday macaroni and gravy”, which may be an Americanism for pasta with tomato sauce.  Also includes sausages, meatballs and ribs, all cooked in the “gravy”.  I hadn’t made a ciabatta in a while, so it was off to the races as part of our contribution to dinner.  

Today I’m once again seeing our visiting-the-U.S. London TFL compatriot Abe (in olden days "Lechem" and even older "A BakEr").  So I thought that I’d bake him one too.  But I wanted to bake something bigger.  Bumped up from 500g to 750g each, they are pretty easy to make, The biga was made the evening before and then warehoused in the refrigerator until mix time.  I’ve tried the Jason Molina Cocodrillo ciabatta quite a while back, and although it is a cinch to make, the flavor is lacking, so I ditched the effort and formula after two consecutive trials.

These were stretched out long enough that I had to load the baking deck sideways instead of head in.  13 minutes with steam, 16 minutes after, and 3 minutes of venting.  These could have gone a few minutes more.  

If you are a fan of the super open ciabatta crumb that mice and small children can fall through, this isn’t the formula for you.  But it is a ciabatta in every way, with modest open crumb,  thin crisp crust, and a light as a feather crumb. And makes fabulous toast.

And as toast:

Ciabatta w/Biga @76% Hydration       
Scott MeGee, alfanso        
500g  will yield 3" diameter loaves - small        
     Total Flour    
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1500 Prefermented40.00%   
 Total Formula   Biga  Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%825.5 100.00%  Final Flour495.3
 Bread Flour100.00%825.5 100%330.2 Bread Flour495.3
 Water (cold in final dough)76.00%627.4 66%217.9 Water cold327.6
 Olive Oil3.00%24.8    Olive Oil24.8
 Salt2.10%17.3    Salt17.3
 IDY0.60%5.0 0.14%0.46 IDY4.5
        Biga cold548.6
 Totals181.70%1500 166.14%548.62  1500
KA mixer: "1",  “2” & "6" to incorporate, 2nd hydration @ "4"to add, “6” to mix, “8” to finish. 
In mixer: IDY into COLD water, COLD biga, flour.  MIX ON "1" until water is taken up, then "2" until shaggy.  Pinch and fold.
Remove dough from mixer,  ~50 FFs, 5 min rest, 50 FFs.      
Back to mixer: bassinage of COLD water, salt and olive oil ADD VERY SLOWLY - MIXER ON"4" THEN  "6" & "8" to finish.
Mix done with slapping sound, pulling off bowl onto hook, then dropping back to bowl again.  
bulk proof - 2 hr., 3 folds - 0, 40, 80        
scale at 500g, no pre-shape, couche seam side up       
40 min final proof        
Roll and stretch dough as it goes to baking peel       
Preheat @480dF        
Bake w/ steam @460dF, ~13 min, another ~15 min, then vent      
alfanso's picture

The purpose of this post is to reinforce that folks shouldn't just assume one levain will act like all, or even any other differing hydration or composition levain.

During the current Community Bake of the Hamelman Five-Grain Levain, Designing Woman (Carole) expressed concerns about building her 1st very liquid levain.  I’d pointed her to a post of mine from two years ago which spelled out what to expect, as results from feedings and builds will vary.  I haven’t baked anything in almost a month (freezer inventory and a bit of dieting) and was itching to get a new bake started.  So I thought that I’d document the following while building my levain.  

Just for fun, if you want to call it that, I keep a few different levains alive and happy in the depths of my refrigerator.  Among them are:

  • 100% hydration AP flour levain (last refresh Dec 30),
  • 125% hydration AP flour levain  (last refresh Jan 10),
  • 125% hydration rye flour levain  (last refresh Jan 10),

 For those who think that you can’t keep a liquid levain alive without a frequent refresh, here is proof that you can, as it was 5 weeks without a refresh for the 100%, and it is still quite alive and at my service.

Lined up for each build as: 100% AP, 125% AP and 125% rye.

1st Build:


2nd Build:


  • I was a bit inconsistent for the feedings, my starter being either 80g or 100g of each.  This wasn’t my Secondary School Science assignment and if I fudged a bit on the amount of the starter, so what.
  • All three levains were pulled from the refrigerator so they were cold and dormant for the 1st build.  
  • For both builds the 100% AP was fed with 100g water and 100g flour.  Each of the other two were fed with 125g water and 100g flour.
  • All builds were done concurrently, both at the start and end of each. 
  • Due to the runaway growth of the 125% rye levain, I terminated the 2nd build a bit early.
  • I didn't bother to wait for peak growth and maturity, since they all peak at different times, so the build durations were completely arbitrary and met my own schedule. 

The 1st build:

  • ~7 hours in my 78dF kitchen and the small black mark on the side of each vessel indicates where the mix originally came up to.  
  • 100% AP didn’t quite double, had modest alveolation from the side, and small bubbles from the top.  
  • 125% AP barely grew at all, but was quite frothy as seen from both side and top.  
  • 125% rye, just about doubled and the alveolation is obvious from the side but did not exhibit from the top.  

The 2nd build:

  • Skimmed off the excess levain to get back to approximately the 1st build's amounts before 2nd feeding.
  • ~5 hours in my overnight 75dF kitchen and the 2nd small black mark to the right of the 1st mark indicates where the mix originally came up to.
  • 100% AP came in just shy of doubling with similar side and top references.  
  • 125% AP now showed significantly more growth on this build with a less forty, but very active bubbling on top.  
  • 125% rye went bananas on this 2nd build, this time exhibiting the alveolation front the top as well.


None of this surprised me as I’ve performed these builds many times before.  Rather it demonstrates that each differing hydration and flour content will yield differing results from refreshes and builds. Now it may be out there and well documented elsewhere.  But generally I find write-ups in most formula notes to frequently be lacking, in whole or in part, in certain criteria, such as:

  • What to expect from the levain build,
  • What the dough should feel like and how it reacts as the process of mixing, bulk fermentation and folding proceeds,
  • How malleable the dough will be by the time it is ready for divide and shaping,
  • How wet/sticky the dough will be so that the appropriate amount of flour can be applied to the couch or banetton,
  • What to expect during the bake cycle.  

All of these are helpful, at least to me, and as valuable to my experience as the baker as just about any other notations in a given formula.  Well, anyway, that is my personal take.


alfanso's picture

We spent the month of November in northern California, where we lived for 15 years.  In SF for Thanksgiving with long long time friends, we stopped at one of the Arizmendi Bakeries that dot the bay area.  Among other delectables, we picked up their Sesame Semolina Jalapeño Cheese breadsticks, which we both fell for immediately.  Upon return home my wife asked if I could try to duplicate them.  So…

Looking for guidance here on TFL and the other sites, what I mostly saw was what would qualify as Grissini, those tall slender and sometimes gnarly things. I wasn’t interested in those near ubiquitous Skinny Minnies that are posted everywhere, nor those overly cheesy soft things that made a number of appearances as well.  No.  What I was after was a crisp sesame coated semolina version with some real girth to it.  The idea being to come as close to duplicating those treasured batons that we picked up in SF.

I relied on Jeffery Hamelman’s "Semolina (Durum) Bread" formula as my template, and then modified it to suit.  With the swapping out of the olive oil for more water and the addition of the two cheeses and jalapeños, this was no longer a Hamelman but an Alfanso with the nod to Mr. H.  This is a dough that uses an aggressive sponge, ready in 75 minutes in my 78-80dF kitchen.  

At 80g each, the breadsticks baked in a 460dF oven for 13 minutes with steam, 6 additional minutes and then 2 minutes more for venting.  And for a first time, I did not remove the parchment paper from under the dough.  Too delicate and messy to bother with.  

The Arizmendi breadstick, the real deal, exhibits both a pronounced cheese flavor as well as at the bite of the jalapeño in the back of the mouth.  I’m not quite there yet in either department, but the first inklings of the stronger taste are just beginning to show through.  Still have some work to do.  

Here is the formula normalized to 1000g, which is what I used for this bake.


Semolina Cheddar Jalapeño breadsticks with sponge     
Jeffrey Hamelman, mod by alfanso        
     Total Flour    
     AP Flour20.00%   
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1000 Semolina20.00%   
 Total Formula   Sponge  Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%509.7 100.00%203.9 Final Flour305.8
 AP Flour50.00%254.8 50%101.9 AP Flour152.9
 Semolina50.00%254.8 50%101.9 Semolina152.9
 Water69.00%351.7 70%142.7 Water209.0
 Salt1.80%9.2    Salt9.2
 IDY0.40%2.0 1%2.0 IDY0.0
 Sugar2.00%10.2 5%10.2 Sugar0.0
 EV Olive Oil0.00%0.0    EV Olive Oil0.0
 sharp Cheddar Cheese7.50%38.2    Cheddar Cheese38.2
 Parmesan Cheese7.50%38.2    Parmesan Cheese38.2
 finely chopped Jalapeño8.00%40.8    Jalapeño40.8
 Totals196.20%1000.0 176%358.8  1000.0
Total time: ~5.5 Hours.        

Finely grate both cheeses

Mix all sponge ingredients well.  Will ripen in 75 min. (in a 78-80dF kitchen).  CONCURRENTLY...

Autolyse final dough flours and water        
Combine the sponge and autolyse and hand mix well.  Add salt and hand  mix again.   
75 French Folds, then a 5 minute rest.         
Add cheese and jalapeno and hand mix to incorporate.  And a final 75 FFs more.And a final 75 FFs more.    
Bulk rise 90 min with one fold at 45 min..       
Divide into 80g pieces.  Rest 15-20 min. and final shape ~14-17 in. long.    
Roll in wet towel and then in sesame seeds.       
Onto couche, final rise 60 min.        
Preheat oven 480dF.        
Bake at 460dF with steam.        
13 minutes, remove steam, 6 minutes more.  Then vent for 2 minutes with oven off.   


During our absence our friend house/dog sat.  Upon our return I asked her which bread she’d like me to make for her.  She opened my looseleaf and while blindly flipping pages stopped on the Phillipe Gosselin Baguettes, levain version.  I have rarely made this in the 4 or so years since my first foray.  but as the lady asks, the dude abides.

M. Gosselin is another luminary boulanger in Paris, another who, I believe, also won the annual competition for best baguette in Paris.  The formula that I use was posted on TFL by David Snyder back in 2012.    And as you can see, these make for explosive oven spring and a quite open crumb.


alfanso's picture

Been keeping a low profile around here, minding my own business - mostly.

I finally got around to baking this bread after promising Lechem (Abe) that I would.  My grain selection was bulgur, steel cut oats and flax & sunflower seeds.  Indeed, all the crowing around TFL for this bread is well deserved and it is quite delicious.

Mixing by hand proved to be a bit of a bear, but French Fold mix it I did.  Left out the IDY.  Two letter folds at 40 & 80 and into retard.  The seam was a bit hard to ID as I was placing it onto the couche, and the two baguettes had a small amount of exposed seam which split on the side of each.  Grr, but it happens once in a while.  Twice in one bake is another thing.

Another bread where there is scant evidence of having been done in baguette form, so you know that it was destined to be mine to do so.

Being a heavy dough I wasn't disappointed in the amount of grigne on the breads, but I was hoping for a little more.  Next time I'll add some IDY and up the hydration a little.

Abe visits a friend of his in Miami Beach, maybe annually, and last year we got together for the day, driving around and exposing him to a mini-tour of some of the Latin culture there.  Argentine cafe for breakfast, Cuban sandwiches and cubano coffees for lunch and Peruvian seafood for dinner.  With a few stops elsewhere in between.

This year, in fear of what to do, I came up with a plan which met with Abe's satisfaction.  Lunch at the Granier Bakery in Sunny Isles Beach where, for no other reason to go there, it was where Abel Sierra put in time with his friend last summer.  Then the “scenic” back way drive from there to my apartment in Ft. Lauderdale where we did two bakes together.  

I had prepared both a Vermont SD, which was still retarded in bulk, and an already couched and ready for the oven semolina with raisins, pine nuts and fennel seeds.

Afterwards a short walk for a dinner of pizza and beer, and then we traveled back down to Miami.  The destination being the fairly new Miami wholesale only bakery of the Sullivan Street Bakery in NY.  If the bakery doesn’t sound familiar to you then perhaps the owner will.  Jim Lahey, he being the baker who popularized the no-knead bread.

It is a pretty large scale operation and I checked with the head baker there to ensure that our visit was welcomed.  We arrived close to 11 PM, in time to see both some shaping and some baking in their humongous ovens.  Plenty of time for conversational interaction, and they couldn’t have been more accommodating, ensuring that we each left with a bread of our choice.  All in all, an exceptional and fun outing.

How am I going to top that next year?  Hmm.

alfanso's picture

My trip to Paris in June yielded these two useful results:  I was able to meet M. Bouabsa at his bakery for a few minutes and I came home with four 1K bags of T65 flour.  I’m certain that the flour isn’t the best quality as it was the house brand bought at the local Carrefour on my last full afternoon.  Held in abeyance until this weekend.

Styled on my version of Mr. Hamelman’s Vermont SD these are created using a 125% hydration KA AP flour levain which accounted for the 15% of the pre-fermented flour.  I picked up a bag of Bob’s Red Mill garbanzo and fava bean flour, as suggested by dabrownman and kendalm, and added 2% to the mix.  Therefore the quick formula is:

  • 83% T65 flour
  • 2% garbanzo bean flour
  • 15% KA AP flour
  • 65% hydration
  • 1.9% salt

Standard French Folds, 2 hour bulk rise, 2 Letter Folds, and retard overnight.  Baked at 460dF.  I usually get a darker bake than this, even with a pure white flour mix, but this is a new game for me.  And after the bake I looked at the ingredients and noticed that this was an unmalted flour, something unusual for me and which I didn’t take into consideration.  And I wonder if that is the reason that the baguettes came out paler than usual.  Or is this an expected coloration for this type of flour? 

3x330g baguettes

Update Oct. 01.  crumb shot added.  I had made an assumption that this bread di not have much of an open crumb.  And although it certainly is not very open it does display some characteristics of a standard baguette inside.  

I've already reworked the formula to include a pinch of diastatic malt powder, switch from an AP levain to an all rye levain and to increase the hydration to 68% for the next batch.

I hadn’t baked a rye in a while.  125% hydration rye levain comprising the 15% pre-fermented flour.  75% AP flour, 5% WW and 20% Rye @73.5% overall hydration.

 2X325g baguettes, 2x425g baguettes

alfanso's picture

A bit of a come-on, but for comparison the lead photo is my standard 84% hydration ciabatta crumb, as is this next of a full loaf.

Friends soon visiting asked if I could bake ciabatta for them.  I had to re-aquaint myself. Rather than make my old standby ciabatta at 84% hydration, I wanted to try another option.

A video by The Artisan Crust’s Scott MeGee has an interesting take on this bread.  In response to two separate comments, Mr. MeGee quotes the hydration first as 66% and later as 76%.  If you’ve ever made ciabatta yourself and then watch this video, I doubt that the huge billowy pillow of dough that he folds and then divides is anything like your own personal experience. It certainly wasn’t and isn’t like mine.  If you can duplicate his dough’s characteristics I’d surely be curious as to how.

The 76% version makes a fine ciabatta with one glaring exception - it does not produce the large hole structure that we associate with this bread.  I'm personally not too enamored by large holes.  Beyond an open crumb, I really don’t care.  This 76% version otherwise maintains that true ciabatta look, smell, feel and taste.  That’s good enough for me.

 The 66% hydration version was next.  Amazingly, at divide time, the jiggly blob of dough that tumbled out of the container could just as easily be mistaken for a dough with hydrations of 10% and even 20% higher.  Once out of the mixer it was near impossible to tell this dough from the 76% or even an 85% ciabatta dough when it came time to fold, divide and bake.  On the downside I didn’t detect the same ciabatta smell and flavor from this 66% version.  Maybe it was just playing with my head (and nostrils).

My takeaway is that with little, if any, additional work the 76% was the superior version.  And I anticipate that my shaping of these, although already pretty fair, will continue to improve over time.

I like how he shapes the dough and then refrains from stretching it until moving from the well-floured couche to the baking peel, neither of which I had ever done before in this way.  With the jelly-like quality of both versions, shaping is a task but doable.  The dough just isn’t what you see in his video.

I agree with dabrownman when he says that the holes have no flavor and you can’t eat them.  If you are in the market for a ciabatta with those giant holes, this is not the bread for you.

For both versions, I differ from Mr. MeGee’s formula in that I used an overnight 40% prefermented flour biga instead of making this a direct dough.   Prior to the double-hydration bassinage of water and olive oil, I removed the dough from the mixer and gave it ~100 French Folds, with a 5 minute rest halfway through.  The 66% dough is much stiffer as it isn’t a full 66% until the bassinage has completed, and therefore I had to add some of the second hydration to make it workable on the bench.

Then back into the mixer.  Both the timing of the mix and the speed of the mixer were far far different from what is in the video.  Mr. MeGee’s stated mixing time is with his large commercial rotating bowl spiral mixer. I have an old Kitchen-Aid planetary stand mixer where the dough hook and action of my mixer leaves a lot to be desired.  I’ve never been satisfied with its performance the few times that I use the dough hook.  The speeds of my mixer varied from “2” for incorporation of the second hydration, up to “6” and finally to “8” to thoroughly finish the mix.

The mix with this dough hook is done when the dough provide that familiar slapping sound and goes though successive phases of being pulled up off the bowl and onto the hook and then dropping back down to the bowl again.  There is an awful lot of mixing friction that raises the dough temperature, hence the use of a cold biga and cold water.

The 76% hydration ciabatta





 The 66% hydration ciabatta




My version of his 76% hydration ciabatta using a biga formula.  2x ~500g loaves:

Ciabatta w/Biga @76% Hydration       
Scott MeGee, alfanso        
     Total Flour    
 Total Dough Weight (g) 1000 Prefermented40.00%   
 Total Formula   Biga  Final Dough 
 Ingredients%Grams %Grams IngredientsGrams
 Total Flour100.00%550.4 100.00%  Final Flour330.2
 Bread Flour100.00%550.4 100%220.1 Bread Flour330.2
 Water,cold76.00%418.3 66%145.3 Water218.4
 Olive Oil3.00%16.5    Olive Oil16.5
 Salt2.10%11.6    Salt11.6
 IDY0.60%3.3 0.14%0.31 IDY3.0
 Totals181.70%1000 166.14%365.75  1000



alfanso's picture

Like Ulysses to the Sirens.  Like rodents to the Pied Piper, like Cupid’s arrow to the heart, and like Springboks to Spring Break - or at least to the watering hole on the Savannah. Abel Sierra posted his version of Baguette au Levain a few days ago.  Lovely, and that might have been that!  Except that in response to Old Baker’s comment stating that he would try it, Abel’s reply was "Maybe it's difficult to get this result at home. For better results, always work with professional tools.”

Well, if you know anything about me, then you know that I took it as a personal challenge, dropped my current project, and found myself on a mission.

Following Abel’s lead, this is a 75% double hydration (bassinage) dough using an assumed 100% hydration AP flour levain.  Formatting the formula in my BBGA worksheet the calculated pre-fermented flour came to 9.1%.  Without the prescribed fresh yeast I employed IDY instead, and found a cobwebbed container of Diastatic Malt.  Damn the torpedos if the Malt is expired, but in it went.

Upon shaping, the dough was quite slack but manageable, and again, another dough that is so soft to the touch that it just about rolls itself out.  One technique that Abel references is to retard the shaped baguettes seam side up, something that was a nascent experience for me having never done that before.

Scaled to 1500g I had enough dough to make 4 baguettes at ~370g, the dough before and after shaping was cumulatively ~15 hours under retard.  Baked at 470dF, 13 minutes under steam, 11 minutes after steam was released, and 3 minutes of venting.

The crust is incredibly crisp and the flavor is soft and sweet.  My crumb is not quite as open as Abel's, but nothing to be ashamed about, that's for sure.

If you are in the mood for an all white flour pain au levain, this is another in the growing list of baguettes worth trying.

And so my baguettes were baked, my itch was scratched, my curiosity was coddled.  And I am happily reporting that I found no greater challenge to baking these than with any other double hydration dough.  So you too can do it!

couched seam side up


Steam released, baguettes rotated


alfanso's picture

Or at least upping the hydration.  My first two runs had the hydration at the prescribed 73% and then 70%.  That first at 73 presented issues with a too sticky dough being difficult to shape and then to extricate from a heavily floured couche.  The subsequent run at 70 yielded much better results as I documented earlier.

Not being satisfied enough with not being satisfied enough, and with a "lot" more experience, I threw some caution to the wind and ran with a 75% hydration.  The dough unsurprisingly was wetter to begin my pinch and folds and then French Folds, but once I breached the 20 FF mark everything settled down and continued as documented before.  

I could have had some better scores on two of these, particularly at the first two entries of the blade, in fact on the initial scores of all four baguettes.  But overall I'd classify this run as a success.

The dough was as soft and compliant as could be during the shaping and maintained a very workable and soft slackness to it.  In many ways it was quite a positive experience shaping these.  As soft as newly-fallen snow and the dough just about rolled itself out.

Again onto a well floured couche.  No problems releasing them from the couche to get onto the hand peel.


  • The levain was mixed and then placed into my wine cooler at 65dF for approximately a full calendar day.  It was very bubbly on the surface and had just begun to recede as it approached its limit of food supply.  
  • The levain was added to the final mix at that 65 degree temp. So the final mix completed at 76dF instead of my typical 78.
  • An increase from 10 to 30 min. between pre-shape and shaping.  I'll continue doing this going forward as the shaping has shown signs of improvement with the additional rest period.
  • Less flour on the bench for shaping.
  • 20-25 min. out of retard vs. my typical 0 min. before placing them onto the baking peel.
  • The crumb still maintains that creamy color, likely due to an all-white flour bread where the FFs can't approximate anything more than a short mix.
  • The area that has a tight crumb corresponds exactly with the two scores that had minimal oven spring.


  • A third run was "necessary to understanding" this dough.
  • I don't see much advantage of going from 70% to 75% hydration, except for the challenge of doing it.
  • I continue to get better at handling slack doughs at shaping time.  But I still prefer to work with stiffer doughs.
  • I've learned to let the dough rest longer between pre-shape and shape phases.
  • Another in the growing list of understanding control of the process through time and temperature.  Re: the levain build in the wine cooler. 
  • I never stop learning.

Getting ready to load

Steam released, baguettes rotated.

Top view.


Bird's eye view of crumb.

Snail's eye view of crumb

Considering the difficulty experienced in the first 73% run, I can say that I am pleased with the outcome.


alfanso's picture

The video below is my step by step journey in baking Maurizio Leo’s Levain Baguettes.  It is self explanatory with almost all steps included.  However, I eliminated the levain build and final mixing of ingredients as I’ll take a guess that there are some somnambulists on TFL just looking for a good video to ease them into Dream Land.  Please watch and hopefully you will enjoy the video as well as the voiceover.


alfanso's picture

Between a fair amount of time away from home and baking the same old reliable stuff, I haven't been much of a blogging presence around these parts lately.

On our last morning in Trieste last month, I stopped into the small Despar supermarket to check out their flour section and came across a flour called Tritordeum, which I had never heard of before.  Those in mainland Europe may be familiar with it as well as a few old-timers on TFL who may recall reading our Abel Sierra's few postings about this flour in 2014, including a posting for baguettes.

Tritordeum is a new hybrid grain, a cross between barley and durum, originally bred and cultivated in Spain (hence Abel's familiarity with it) and available mostly only in Spain and Italy and perhaps a few other European countries.  I picked up a 500g bag and slipped into my suitcase for the long ride home.

A single bag wasn't going to get me very far and, indeed, I used all 500g on this dough.  No room for do-overs, this was a one-shot deal for me.

Somewhat following Abel's outline, I changed around a few things.  Here is his writeup on his related YouTube entry.  Even for the non-Spanish speakers, the majority of this should be understandable:

  • Autólisis de 15 minutos. Amasar todos los ingredientes hasta conseguir una masa elástica pero no muy fina. Dejar reposar en bloque unas 2 horas en un lugar fresco. Doblar la masa una vez en medio de la fermentación en bloque. Formar con delicadeza. Fermentación final de una hora, aproximadamente. Hornear a alta temperatura con vapor, y bajar a 200 grados al cabo de unos minutos.

    Consejos a la hora de trabajar con tritordeum: no amasar en exceso. No sobrefermentar. Meter al horno cuando la masa aún esté joven. Horno caliente y con vapor.

I didn't have enough tritordeum @20% prefermented flour to also make the levain.  Here are differences:

  • 125% hydration AP levain vs. his presumed 100% hydration Tritordeum levain.
  • Added a pinch of Diastatic Malt Powder to compensate for this unmalted flour.  I don't have a clue whether this is kaput or not, having bought it 4 years ago and can't recall the last time that I used it.
  • Overall hydration at 70 % vs. Abel's 65%.
  • Autolyse 20 min. vs. Abel's 15 min.
  • 75 French Folds, 5 minute rest, 75 FF more vs. Abel's modest bench-top kneading.
  • Letter Folds at 45 and 90 min. vs. Abel's 1 fold at 60 min.  2 hr. total bulk rise before the retard.

Due to the long cold retard, I eliminated the IDY.

The dough was magnificently easy and handleable throughout the French Folds, and incredibly extensible during my bench-top Letter Folds.  A dream.  Off to cold retard it went.  And that's when Happy Days ended and trouble in River City began.

Upon divide, and pre-shape I realized I was dealing with a wholly different animal (vegetable?).  This dough was quite moist, still unbelievably extensible.  But getting a baguette shape out of it was a step away from trying to wrangle cats.  As the dough is a hybrid of barley and durum, I opted to coat two of the three in sesame seeds - my go to version for a semolina bread.  And even that was a challenge.  

I was pretty dejected as I placed them onto a well floured couche for the remainder of their overnight retard.

I can state with certainty that this was right up there with one of the two most difficult doughs that I have tried to shape so far.  And no second chances.  I unfurled the couche early this morning to find that they had flattened out.  Grr.  Scoring them was less of a challenge than I anticipated, and off they went into a steamed 460dF oven.

Surprisingly, the dough was quite forgiving as it baked, and although I am unimpressed with the final grigne (for me) and the baguettes are still flat, the results are way better than I could have anticipated.  And most surprisingly is how open the crumb is.  So far the taste is most similar to a semolina bread.  And yes, the crumb is that yellow.

You can read about Tritordeum here.

The 500g bag with my bubbling AP levain in the background.

Post French Folds, when the blob was still well behaved.




3 baguettes/long batards x 350g

And just for fun:

Flours in a Porec, Croatia supermarket

Flours in a small market in Krajska Gora, Slovenia in the midst of the magnificent Julian Alps.



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