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David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I decided to make the "Sesame" bread from Tartine Bread, which is basically the basic country loaf formula with a cup of toasted sesame seeds added after the first turn.

For this formulation, I used 300 grams of home ground white whole wheat instead of the 200 grams of whole wheat flour.

I took the old starter out of the fridge on Thursday night, fed it, then fed it again in the morning and it was nice and lively Friday evening when I created the levain using 200 grams white whole wheat and 200 grams all purpose flour.  By the next morning the levain was much expanded and looking very much alive.  (I made two whole wheat loaves and two sesame loaves with my levain).

The dough for the sesame loaves were mixed Saturday morning and baked Saturday evening. The bread is absolutely delicious. The crumb is very soft despite being loaded with sesame seeds.  I assume this is because the seeds are soaking in the dough for over four hours before baking.

Here is a close-up on the crumb:

Closeup crumb

And the boule's which had great oven spring:

 

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Deja vu.  This weekend I decided to make the Tartine Country rye bread again, this time I made four loaves.  The formula in the book:

Leaven  200g

Water    800 g

Whole Rye 170 g

Bread Flour 810 g

Salt 20g.

++

My "modifications" to the formula:

Leaven                      200 g.

All Purpose Flour     500 g

Whole White Wheat 330 g

Whole Rye                170 g

Water                          818 g

Salt                                20g

Because I took the starter out of the fridge on Thursday evening, I was able to feed it 3 times before using it in the levain, and it did nicely by Saturday morning when it was time to mix the dough.  So, no yeast added this go around.

For me, the most interesting thing about this loaf is being able to taste the wheat, the rye and a mild tang of the sourdough.  Usually my bread is not this complexly flavored, or I can't usually taste so many things in each loaf.

I also added a smattering of sesame seeds which I think make the bread all the more delicious.

And a blurry  "bottom shot" since a lot of people seem to burn the loaf.  I avoid that, I think, by nesting the pans after the first 20 minutes, removing the deep top and putting it under the shallow bottom pan.

I really do love this bread.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

This weekend I decided to make the Tartine Country rye bread again.  The formula in the book:

Leaven  200g

Water    800 g

Whole Rye 170 g

Bread Flour 810 g

Salt 20g.

++

My "modifications" to the formula:

Leaven                      200 g.

All Purpose Flour     500 g

Whole White Wheat 330 g

Whole Rye                170 g

Water                          800g

Salt                                20g

Yeast:                            1g

My leaven was not looking sufficiently potent, perhaps because the starter needed to be refreshed one more time before use.  So, rather than cross my fingers, I added 1/4 tsp of yeast.

Also, rather than disperse the leaven in water before mixing the dough, I mixed the flours and water, and after 30 minutes, pinched in the leaven, yeast and salt alla Forkish.

The loaves came out great. The crumb shot is from the smaller loaf, and the bread was absolutely divine.  I also through some sesame seeds in the basket to help with the release and to add to the flavor of the crust.

 The bread is delicious. The crumb is very soft. It was almost too soft to cut easily, but I suffered through it.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

My father and my next door neighbor have both confirmed that Field Blend No.2 from Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast is the best bread they've ever eaten.  I happen to enjoy it a lot.  To date, it has consistently produced the best tasting loaf for me.

The four loaves pictured were proofed overnight in two different fridges.  The front/expanded loaves were proofed and baked straight out of the main fridge.  The rear/undersized loaves were proofed in a 4.3 cubic foot fridge and taken out and left on the counter while the first loaves were baking (they seemed to be under proofed when I checked on them, so I wanted to let them warm up a bit).  I need to check the small fridge temperature, which we just started using.

The crumb on one of the smaller loaves looks like this:

As usual, there is peanut butter here because it is my lunch I am eating. It is a mixed levain and yeasted dough. I don't particularly enjoy having to add yeast and understand that I can probably omit the yeast and proof overnight on the counter instead of the fridge, and one day I will try this and report back. 

The reason I prefer this bread to the overnight country brown from the same book is because I find that making that bread, the way I do it, produces a loaf that is more sour than I enjoy. That is not to say that this would be the case if someone else were making the loaves.  I do not (for either loaf) usually use starter that was last fed 24 hours ago to build the levain. Instead, it is usually more like week old starter, fed 12 hours before, used to build my levain.  It just turns out that when I make the overnight country brown this way, it comes out more sour than I like. But when I make the field blend no. 2 this way, it comes out tasting really mellow.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

The plan for this loaf started out to be the Overnight Country Brown, from Flour Water Salt Yeast.  However, I ran out of all purpose flour and made up the difference with whole wheat from my red winter wheat berries freshly milled for the occasion.

For the flours, I autolyzed 200 grams KA AP flour with 680 grams of the whole wheat flour.  I decided to use 699 grams of water and that seemed just about right for moistening all of the flour. After an hour or so, I added 22 grams of salt and the levain.

Unfortunately, as I was measuring out the levain and seeing that I was not going to have enough, I realized, I messed up somewhere along the way, most likely in not zeroing out the scale before I started removing the levain, since I was pretty certain I had made enough.

Sure enough, when I weighed my dough and container, it was a bit heavier than it should have been, so instead of the 216 grams of levain I had intended, I had probably used 228.  Not a terribly large difference, but I think it made the bread tangier than usual.  It is quite soft, but easily sliced without tearing and tastes great with butter.

The crumb was quite closed but not dense.

 

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Obviously, a lot of us are baking or will be baking bread for the upcoming U.S. Thanksgiving.  I decided to do a "double" on Ken Forkish's Overnight Country Brown, using a mixture of Red and White wheat berries for the whole grain portion fo the formula.

Took the starter out of the fridge Friday evening, and fed it.  Saturday morning, I mixed the levain. Six or so hours later, it looked ready to go, so I autolysed the remaining flour and water for an hour, then mixed in the levain and salt.  It came up to the 2 liter mark on my container, meaning it was supposed to get to 6 liters before it was ready for shaping.

I was in a bit of a dilema because it was early afternoon when I mixed the dough and I was afraid it would be over-fermented if I left it out at room temperature. So, into the "butler's pantry" it went. Our pantry is in an uninsulated part of the kitchen and is quite cold in winter and quite warm in the summer.  By the following morning the dough had risen to the 3 litre mark, so I took it out and put it in the stove with the light on.  A few hours later, we were at 5 litres plus, and I decided that it was time to bake because the dough was looking more ripe than I like.

I scraped the dough out with my flexible scraper and it came out pretty much all in one piece.  Being it was a double batch for four loaves, I had cleared off my entire kitchen counter removing the blender, coffee maker and other sundries.  I floured an "+" in the dough and cut 1/4 at a time to shape it into a boule.  The dough was too sticky for my nerves, still more like fly paper than dough, but I quickly folded and shaped it and popped it into the baskets which were "dusted" with sesame seeds and rolled oats.

Proofed for a couple of hours and then baked. Two of the loaves released cleanly from the basket, which was more than I coudl hope for. Two stuck a bit, one of them tore a little.

I am eating the bread this morning and it is delicious. Moist, with a crisp crust.  Made a peanutbutter sandwich with it, and took some fresh blackberries, mashed them with a fork and spred them on the peanutbutter.  It is delicious. 

I wrapped two of the loaves this morning and put them in the freezer. I will take them out Wednesday night and let them thaw, wrapped for Thursday's festivities.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I was planning to make a "field blend #2" bread, using starter and the directions for the overnight country brown.  However, I started earlier in the morning and by the time the dough was tripled, it was very much over fermented.  I knew this because the dough was much more fragile than usual.  I could see the gluten web being fully developed as it poured/pulled out of the bucket.

The dough was super duper sticky, incapable of being handled or shaped. I just kept reverting to a mess, remaining sticky as ever after the bulk ferment.  So, I did what I had to do. I greased up some tins and deposited the dough into them, let them proof for a few hours and baked up some loaves.

The thermometer read 210 degrees so I figured it was done.  But several hours later the bread was very moist inside, damp to the touch.  It made fantastic toast, wonderful tang, but I would not want a sandwich made out of it ... at least not on day 1.  But a few days later, the bread "dried out" and had a much more pleasing quality about it, and made great sandwiches.

Very glad that it was not a total failure as a bread. The coloration on the top is due to an uneven application of butter after it came out of the oven.

Here it is after the proofing.

 

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

People often criticize the Forkish method of managing one's starter.  For example, if you were to make his double-fed sweet levain according to his instructions, you would throw away everything but 50 grams of your starter that you fed 24 hours ago, feed it 250 grams of flour and (200 grams of water) for a total of 450 grams of levain.  Then you'd throw out 200 grams of the levain and feed it 500 grams of flour and 500 grams of water for a total of 1000 grams of levain, before using only 540 grams of it, and presumably, keeping the remaining 460 grams of levain only to discard 410 grams of it for the next bake.

The benefit to creating so much starter that winds up in the trash is that small errors in measurement are much less significant when dealing with huge quantities whereas the same small errors when dealing with smaller quantities are significant (in terms of percentages.  What the impact on the bread is, is unknown to me).

I house my starter in a 1/2 pint mason jar. Here it is after having been fed and then used to create a levain for an overnight country brown.

My jar weighs 147 grams empty. With my culture in it above, it weighed 153 grams.  Since I had 6 grams of culture it was time to feed.  Rounding, I fed it 3 grams water, 3 grams AP flour and 1 gram of whole wheat flour.  That turns out to be 75% hydration rather than his recommended 80%. If I was to not round, I would have fed it 2.7 grams, 2.7 grams and 0.7 grams respectively,bringing me to 79%.  Given the resolution of this scale, lord only knows what I actually put into the mix.  However, to be sure of getting one thing right, I measured the water with a syringe.  Not because I am crazy exact, but because I have trouble pouring that little water into the jar and didn't want to over-pour by a lot.

Here it is, all fed right before going in the fridge.

Note, this is not how I normally do things. But that is because I have no real "normal" way of doing things. Sometimes, for a bake, if I have too much in the jar, I will take out a portion of my already small starter and build it in a new jar, feed the old and stick it in the fridge, and keep the new on the counter until it is ready for use.  I might then have two jars in the fridge, or simply add the old and the new into a single jar, cleaning the old one.     

 

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

This weekend was a "disaster" in terms of baking waste. I don't even recall what I was trying to bake, but I got distracted and used the wrong quantity of water.  I determined this because the autolyse was very dry and when I weighed my container it was short by a whole lot.  Unfortunately, it was not possible to incorporate the missing water at this point. I tried to overcome the problem with time, and eventually the pools of water in my dough bucket began to subside and I had a crappy looking dough that felt awful.  More time passed and it seemed almost passable except for the tumors of hard matter which I can only assume were clumps of drier dough in the mix.

At this point, I had already started down the path of making the Forkish Double Fed Sweet Levain bread and given the huge quantities of discard that he calls for, I had enough to make four loaves by the end of the second feeding. (I did not do a full forkish feeding for the first one, but did so for the second).  When I got to adding the salt to the Sweet Levain dough, I realized I forgot to add it to the first dough disaster I had created, so I just dumped the mess into the trash and said, good riddance.  I promise to have my notebook nearby next time I bake so I can keep better track of things.

Anyway, back to the double fed sweet levain bread -- his process calls for 1/2 tsp of yeast, he says, because the levain he uses is not particularly active, having been recently fed before mixing.  I decided to experiment and skip the yeast for the first batch and then add the yeast for the second batch.  The second batch also contained rye and more ground white whole wheat.

The dough is supposed to grow 2-2.5 times in size, and the one with the yeast, which was started nearly an hour after the one without, rose admirably and allowed me to shape and put in the fridge before bed.  The second set of dough started an hour earlier and without the yeast was barely budging, I think it came to just above 1 liter in the cambro container when it started just below 1 liter. I had no idea how long it would take to get to nearly 3 liters, but I put the bucket in the pantry which is a bit cooler than the kitchen this time of year, and went to bed.

In the morning, my shaped and yeasted dough had grown quite a bit in the baskets and were ready to bake first thing (6:30 a.m.).  I had added rolled oats to the proofing baskets and even sprinkled them around the perimeter of the dough, in addition to using rice flour.  These babies dropped out without leaving any bits behind FINALLY!

Scored Dough

The loaves baked up very nicely though they did not open up much.

And, as you can see, the crumb is beautiful.  It is very soft. No sourness at all. Just lovely to eat.

Even though it was baked fresh that day, I decided to make some grilled cheese for dinner.  I have been using my cast iron skillets to grill my sandwich, using the second skillet as a panini press. This makes the bread toast up beautifully.  I am using coconut oil and cheddar. Yum!

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Am I the only one who takes some sort of idiotic pride in using the minimum amount of flour to get the job done -- and by job, I mean, having the dough release from the basket without ripping?  And by "idiotic pride" I mean, using too little and having my dough stick/rip on occasion because I put it in the basket somewhat sticky instead of adequately floured?

In addition to the idiotic part, I also have a practical question -- how do you get the seam side to be less sticky? Do you flour it before turning it over and shaping, or do you let it stay sticky and then run it through some bench flour at the end of shaping?  For some reason, It doesn't seem like a good idea to turn it over, flour it and then turn it over again.

In any case, my loaves came out pretty good considering the damage I did to them just before baking.

I blogged about it with lots of photographs, here.

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