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davidg618

In the past three days we've been baking: a first try at Vollkornbrot, three loaves of sourdough, and 38 dozens of cookies including Welsh Cakes, Date-Nut Pinwheels, Tart Cherry and Pecan Biscotti, and Tangerine Spritz. Except for the spritz, I creamed all the butter and sugar by hand, before adding the rest of the liquid ingredients. Result: wielding the wooden spoon I got a blister on my little finger! Geez! do I have to wear work gloves to mix dough too?



These are left for us, and the neighhood cookie exchange. Seven packages left home yesterday posted to family.


The vollkornbrot



This is Hamelman's formula in Bread. I don't have a local nor online source for rye chops, so I ran rye berries through my homebrewing grain mill that cracks the seed coating on whole barley grains. I think the result was essentially the same as commercial rye chops. I'm happy with the flavor, and density but not elated. I tested it after resting it for forty-eight hours. I'm going to let it rest for three or four more days before I freeze it to see if the flavor develops further. The tea towel was a gift from an English friend of mine, and was the only tea towel I own big enough to wrap a Pullman loaf.


I didn't photograph the sourdough loaves, because one was immediately eaten, one immediately given away, and the third one immediately frozen. They looked like all my other posted sourdough boules'. However internally they're a bit different. I've named these Halcyon Acres Sourdough, after our modest five acres of horse pastures we call home. I concocted the formula, and my wife likes it more than any other sourdoughs I've baked to date.


I recently started feeding my sourdough starters with first clear flour, instead of bread flour. Additionally, when I want to increase dough sourness, I feed a small portion of starter for three days at room temperature, 72°F to 76°F, every eight to twelve hours. (I discard much of it each feeding--1:1:1 ratio--so thing don't get out of hand.) I'm indebted to Debra Wink for debunking the folklore that lactobacteria reproduce better in stiff cultures, at low temperature. The myth flew in the face of my understanding of physics and thermodynamics, but I'm not a microbiologist, so I wasn't entirely certain the myth was nonsense. I've started feeding with first clear flour because of its relatively high ash producing content, which provides necessary minerals and trace nutrients to the bacteria.


Here's the fromula for three 1.5 lb loaves of Halcyon Acres Sourdough


Ripe Sourdough Starter     450g


Starter Hydration              125%


Whole Rye Flour                225g


All Purpose Flour               450g


Bread Flour                       450g


Water                               650g


Salt                                  27g (2%)


Final Dough Weight           2252g


Hydration                         68%


I built my formula-ready starter using a culture previously rejuvanated with first clear flour, at room temperature, for 72 hours. The culture had subsequently been refrigerated for two weeks. I use a 24 hour, three build, method to create the needed formula-ready ripe starter. My three build method is described elsewhere in this blog, in detail. I used first clear flour for each build for this starter.


Procedures: Hand mixed flour, water, and starter to shaggy consistency; 30 minute autolyse; added salt; hand mixed to smooth, homogeneous consistency. Bulk proofed for 3 hours with 3 stretch-and-fold at 45 minute intervals; turned out; divided into three equal portions; preshaped boules; rested 10 minutes;final shaped. Final proof 1-1/2 hours in bannetons; scored loaves. Pre-steamed oven (I use water-soaked towel on a baking sheet) five minutes before loading. Baking: Initial oven temperature 480°F; reduced oven temperature to 450°F at loading. Removed steam source after 15 minutes; finished baking (approximately 10 minutes.)


Happy Holiday baking; watch out for blisters ;-)


David G

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davidg618

Well, I tried it: two different starters, each handled to emphasize yeast activity in one, flavor production (sourness) in the second. I have three starters, all from commercial sources. Two were purchased online, the third came from a well-known bakery, with even more well-known bakers. I chose one of the online-sourced starters; it's been consistently more active (measured by proofing times, and oven-spring) than the other two, and I chose the bakery-one for its good, but not overwhelming, sourness. I maintain the first starter at 100% hydration, I keep the second one at 67% hydration. I built both formula-ready starters (450 g each) over a period of twenty-four hours tripling the seed-sarter mass 3 times, the beginning, and the end of the next two 8 hour periods, finishing with a formula-ready starter with a mass 27 time the original seed starter. I also adjust the hydration by 1/3 the difference between the seed-starters' hydration, and the target fornula-ready starters' hydrations at each build: 125%, and 60% respectively.


Bread Formula scaled to make 3, 1.5 lb. loaves.


Total starter weight: 900 g (450 each)


Total dough weight: 2250 g


Hydration: 67%


Flour:                              Baker's percentage:


AP flour in starters: 481g      36%


Whole Rye Flour: 225g          17%


All-purpose Flour 312g          23.5%


Bread Flour 312g                  23.5%


Salt: 27g                               2%


Water in starters: 419g


Water added        475g


All three loaves were baked, one at a time, under an aluminum foil cover, on a baking stone at 480°F, 10 minutes with steam. 15 additional minutes uncovered, without steam at 450°F. Reading from the top of the pile counterclockwise #1, #2 and #3; #2 was retarded for approximately 3-1/2 hour, and # 3 5 hours.


The bread has a taste more pronounced than previous sourdoughs I've made with one or the other starters, but that could be the extra rye flour. I made a mistake; I used 10% of the dough weight, rather than ten percent of the total flour weight to caculate the desired rye content. Despite the mistake, we love the flavor. I also experienced slightly less oven spring than usual, using only starter #1.


David G

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davidg618

David Snyder (dmsnyder) has convinced me pre-steaming is beneficial, but I've still been uncertain I'm generating enough steam, considering my oven door is not an airtight fit, and the convection fan blows some of the steam out around the door. So, today, I tried a new way to generate steam. I saw it recommended in Hamelman's Bread, but I ignored it happy as I was, at the time, generating steam with pre-heated lava rocks. It was only when David wrote of his experience pre-steaming his oven that I started reexamining the details of my steaming practice.


My wife's dog/horse treat baking (see blog http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/13862/baking-going-dogs-and-horses-too) gave me a clue. Here pet snack recipe is packed with fresh shredded carrots, resulting in a very wet "dough". Watching her open the oven door while baking three half-sheet pans full I saw a large amount of steam (water vapor, really) pour out of the oven.


Today I fitted a half-baking sheet with a terrycloth shop towel that covered its bottom. Five minutes before I put in the first loaf I poured a cup of hot tap water onto the towel. It was enough to soak it thuroughly, but there was no free standing water. I placed the pan on the lowest shelf.  As usual, I also covered the oven's top vent with a folded towel. Before five minutes were up I saw water vapor escaping at the bottom of the door where its sealing gasket's ends meet. I've never seen that before, although I was previously convinced steam was escaping.


When I placed the loaf, the oven was visably full of water vapor; nevertheless, I added another 1/2 cup of water to the towel. At ten minutes I reduced the oven temperature, and removed the sheetpan, and uncovered the oven vent.; for safety reasons I'd never attempt to remove the lava rocks. Whatever water vapor remained in the oven I'm certain disappated quickly. After the sheetpan and towel cooled I felt the towel. Its center was still damp, but the edges were dry, justifying the additonal 1/2 cup of water added.


Here's the visual results. I bake this sourdough (Vermont sourdough with a stiff levain) once every week. This loaf's oven spring is as good or better than any before now.


I'm going to adapt this method, at least for the near future. I think it's safer than splashing water into a pan of lava rock, all indications show it produces more steam, and it can be simply and safely removed to immediately stop the source of steam.


David G


 

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davidg618

As most, if not all, of you know Italians traditionally dip biscotti into their coffee or wine, i suspect, in part, to soften it a bit before chewing. October, November and December of year, along with holiday baking, we're putting the finishing touches to plans for our annual January open house wherein we serve only our homemade wines, homebrewed beer, and a cornucopia of food, all made from scratch.


This year's theme is Wine and Bread.


Technically, biscotti is not a bread, but it fits so well, we've added it to our list that includes sourdoughs (wheat and ryes), pain de mie, ciabatta, lavash, fougasse, and of course baguettes. I'm also going to try Hamelman's Vollkornbrot; if successful it too will join the list. It should pair well with a pilsner finishing its fermenting as I write.


Today I experimented with a parmesan-black pepper biscotti thinking it will pair well with white wine, especially the sauvignon blanc we're offering this year. My wife and I shared the small corner pieces, and froze the rest. We opened a bottle of sauvignon blanc. It pairs wonderfully.



We're also planning a dried-cherries and pecans biscotti to pair with a Cabernet Franc ice wine (sweet)--a first; always dry wines prior--and a craisins and pastachio biscotti that should pair well with both reds and whites.


David G

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davidg618

We are having homemade soup tonight for dinner. Since we've been eating a lot of sourdough lately I decided to make Hamelman's Pain Rustique. A unique bread, attributed to the legendary French baker. educator and author, Raymond Calvel, its poolish preferment comprises more than half of the entire dough weight.


Two pounds of poolish, for three-and-a-half pounds of dough!



One gets an interesting shape when the a loaf hangs off the edge of one's too-small-for-three-loaves baking stone.



The crumb: open, firm chewiness.



David G

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davidg618


At the moment we have three Welsh Corgi's, two "found us" cats, and a Haflinger pony. I think we give more thought to the healthiness of what we feed them, than what we consume ourselves.


Here's a very pet-healthy pet snack recipe my wife makes about every three weeks. It originated with our wonderful neighbor, and accomplished horsewomen, Cathy, pretty much as she gave it to us. Both our dogs and Mimi, the pony, love them.


Buck-a-Roo Bites


As far as the cookies go, I usually have some basic ingredients and add whatever I might have.  


4-5 cups dry ingredients:  3 cups rolled oats, 1 cup flax, bran, ground pumpkin seeds, barley, corn meal......or whatever.


1 tablespoon salt - sea salt, mineral salt....


lots of shredded carrots and apples (skins and all)


a little sweetener - molasses, raw honey.  (I don't use much any more, everyone so concerned about insulin resistance but so many folks feed a processed feed that has a binder of molasses anyway.  What I use most now for adding sweetness is applesauce, pumpkin (Calabasa), sweet potato (boiled, baked with the skins)


mix together, make a mess everywhere.  You want the mixture to be like a wet cookie dough, so if it is dry, add oil.


bake at 350 degrees till golden brown or burnt if you forget and then put in dehydrator till very crunchy!!!


[or a 150° - 200°F oven, if you don’t have a dehydrator]


Cathy


You can vary the recipe for the dogs by adding protein - chicken, steak...


-----------------------------------------------


This batch is shredded carrots, oats, flax seed, yellow cornmeal, and apple sauce.



 


...and, the finished product



 


David G

 

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davidg618

Yesterday I was baking baguettes. I've usually had to bake them in groups of two, not because my oven can't hold up to four, but because I couldn't find a fool-prove way of getting more than two on the hot baking stone using a peel. (I've dropped them on each other, off the back of the stone onto the rack, and, worst of all, onto the oven door.)


So, I decided to try using a rim-less cookie sheet as a peel. However, I needed a flipping board to place four baguettes on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet. I like Mini's cardboard flipper, but decided I wanted something more permanent. I went out to my shop, and found the remnants of some fiberboard I used to back some bookshelves I recently made. One side is smooth, but the backside has a diamond-like 3-D pattern. Eureka! I reasoned the back would act as a flour "holder" much like the panty-hose covered flipping peels posted in Bread Flipping Boards


I cut a 6" x 18" board from the scraps, and dusted the backside with flour. My baking stone is only 16" wide, so an 18" flipping board is adequate.  It worked perfectly.



Here's the flour dusted side. The insert shows the 3-D pattern magnified, and before dusting.



The opposite side is smooth.


David G

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davidg618

I recently made Hamelman's Vermont sourdough, and especially liked the flavor layer contributed by the ten-percent whole rye flour. However, my favorite bread in this genre remains Dan DiMuzio's Pain au levain formula. I think the stiff levain and the ten-percent whole wheat flour create a more complex flavor profile. So I took what I like from both, and baked a couple of loaves yesterday.


The formula:


480g ripe starter (67% Hydration)


Final dough weight: 1700g


Hydration: 67%


KA Bread Flour: 90% (we like a chewy crumb and crust)


Hodgson Mill Whole Rye Flour 10%


H2O: 67%


Salt: 2%


I ripened the starter, using my usual 3-build method, over the 24 hours before making the dough: 4 minutes, speed 1; 30 minute autolyse; added salt; 3 minutes speed 2 (Kitchenaid stand mixer)


Bulk proof: 2 hours and 15 minutes with S&F at 45 and 90 minutes.


Pre-shaped two boules, 750g and 925g--I have two different size brotforms--rested 15 minutes, final shaped.


Final proof: large boule, 1 hour 45 minutes, small boule 2 hours 15 minutes--I baked them serially; I need a bigger baking stone:-(


Initial temperatute. 500°F; 10 minutes with steam, lowered temperature at 5 minutes to 450*F; at 10 minutes vented oven, baked 18 minutes and 15 minutes more respectively.


I also used dmsynder's before and after steaming procedure see Sourdough bread: Good results with a new tweak of my steaming method


The results: We like it! The difference between this and a pain au levain true to DiMuzio's formula is subtle, a slightly more accented note from the rye flour than whole wheat flour, and the stiffer levain lends its more complex flavor profile.



and the crumb...



David G

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davidg618

We enjoy sandwich breads--soft crust, close crumb--a buttermilk white straight dough, the dough for three loaves made in our bread machine and oven baked,  or a whole wheat variation has been our mainstay for six or seven years. My favorite is the whole wheat version. Recently, I've made a sourdough variation a couple of times, with enjoyable results. It was natural I'd turn to this favorite for my first go at making pain de mie--Pullman bread. This is a poolish started version. The final dough contains 25% whole wheat, and is firm (60% hydration). As expected, the crumb is close and soft, and the crust slight. The bread has a sweeter flavor than the straight dough version. I suspect this come from the poolish which makes up 25% of the final dough weight.


I think I overfilled the bread-pan slightly. There is a slight compression of the crumb just inside the crust (although that could also be due the way I fit the dough log into the pan). Jeffery Hamelman, in Bread, recommends 2.25 lbs. of dough for a 13"x4"x4" Pullman bread pan. My dough weighed four ounces more. Next time I'll follow his guidance to the fraction of an ounce.




the crumb.


On the last day of class at King Arthur we baked Fougasse and pizza in the center's magnificent Le Panyol wood-fired oven. Here's a picture of our classes' youngest member, Michael who attended with his mother, loading his pizza into the oven, and another of my Fougasse. At 650°F it only takes a few minutes to bake, and because the fire was still burning in the rear of the oven we had to keep turning our breads frequently. It was fun, but it also made me appreciate my home's modern convection oven.




This bread was delicious when eaten immediately warm, but the next day it was rock hard, good for croutons or bread crumbs, but not much more.

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Four afternoons of hands-on baking--that's Hands-on with a capital H. We started with first steps for making croissants, and sourdough levain, went on to bake lavash, classic baguettes (poolish),  sunflower sourdough bread, rye fougasse (w/preferment), miche, and pizza. The latter two were baked in a wood fired oven; all our other dough were baked in the KA Bakery oven.


The class uses a simple format: one of the teaching bakers demonstrates what's to be done; immediately following the students do what they observed, with guidance and critique by the roving teachers. Short lectures, followed by Q's and A's round out the teaching. The ratio of doing to demonstration and talking was roughly 7 to 1.


Two, sometimes three doughs were in various degrees of completion at any moment. For example, on day one we were given a small portion of sourdough seed starter, which we fed and set aside to be fed again the next day. We had just finished making the croissant's dough and butter block, which were chilling overnight.
We also made the poolish for the baguettes, and finished the day making whole wheat lavash--a spicy, whole-wheat version, peppered with mixed whole seeds, and salt. We got our first exposure to the commercial oven baking the lavash.


Day two was devoted to baguettes, but first we completed "le beurrage" rolling out the croissant dough, encasing the butter block in the dough, shaping the first tri-fold, and returning our efforts to chill overnight again. Following, we made our baguette dough, hand kneaded and stretched-and-folded once. While our baguette doughs proofed, Sharon O'Leary, the baker responsible for KA Bakery's daily output of baguettes demonstrated the preshaping and final shaping of baguettes. The school bakers had prepared a large batch of baguette dough for our practice. Consequently, we each got to form three baguettes--the first one or two directly under Sharon's guidance, and and the balance on our own--before shaping our own doughs.  Our baguettes proofed, while we listened to a short lecture on scoring, then off to the oven where we scored and baked both the practice and our own baguettes.


On day three we completed our croissants, tri-folding twice more, and book-folding once; fifty-four laminations resulted. Micheal, the youngest student, a teen attending the class with his mother did the math. After chilling we each rolled out a sheet adequate to create eight shapes of either croissants, bear claws, or pinwheels. Chocolate batons and almond cream were provided. We also did some freeform shapes with the scrapes, and sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar. Properly baked croissants finish with a much darker color than the many insipid faux croissants offered in supermarket bakeries. We finished the day making the fougasse preferment.


Each day, we aslo fed our sourdough starters, discarding half each time. The Vermont weather was unusuallly hot and humid, so our teachers kindly fed our starters during the hours we were absent.


Day four we finished our sourdoughs: pain au levain-like with sunflower seeds. The teachers demonstrated forming boules and batards, tightening the dough's outer surface relying on the friction between the dough and the unfloured butcherblock table. Susan Miller, our sourdough instructor, beginning the day before making a stiff levain, made a large batch of miche dough--enough that each student shaped and scored a 3.5 pound loaf, later baked in the bakery's oven. We finshed the day hand-tending our fougasse, and then pizzas (the teachers made the pizza dough) in the school's large, wood-fired oven. I shared a bottle of my home vinted 2007 Pinot Noir with my classmates.


Although, some of us were disappointed Jeffrey Hamelman, King Arthur's Bakery and Education Center Director, neither taught nor made an appearance, the bakers, Jessica Meyers, Michelle Kupiec, and the previously mentioned Sharon and Susan were superb. Collectively, they share over sixty years of experience baking artisanal breads. The atmoshphere was informal, and relaxed.


I bake alone like, I presume, many other TFL members. There is no one, neither home baker or professional near at hand I can learn with, share ideas with, nor smell, taste, poke or squeeze their doughs and breads. This class, a birthday gift from my wife, helped fill that void.

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