The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dmsnyder

12 September, 2014

 One of the attractions of Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast bread baking book is that a concerted study of it will teach you how the important variables of ingredients, time and temperature can be manipulated to produce different flavor profiles and how, keeping most methods constant, you can develop procedures that accommodate to your own schedule and still produce a variety of outstanding breads.

Well, that's the theory. In fact, most of us don't have complete control of ambient temperature, one of the most important variables controlling fermentation. That means results can be very different from those Forkish describes. Nonetheless, if you do understand the basic principles, you can juggle the variables you can control to obtain really outstanding breads using Forkish's formulas and methods.

 In my Central California kitchen, about 9 months of the year, the temperature is significantly higher than it was in Forkish's Portland, Oregon kitchen when he developed his formulas. As a result, fermentation proceeds very much faster than described in the book. An “overnight” bread from FWYS will get way over-fermented if left overnight at room temperature. I have successfully followed Forkish's times only in Winter, when my kitchen temperature runs 65-68ºF.

 On top of that, my personal time demands do not always fit with the schedules Forkish describes in any of his recipes. So, sometimes … well, almost always … , I end up using Forkish's basic approach, but use my ability to control time and temperature to make it work for me. For example …

Today, I baked a couple loaves based on Forkish's “Overnight Country Blonde” formula. It calls for a final levain feeding at 9 am, mixing the final dough at 5 pm, letting it ferment at room temperature overnight, shaping the loaves at 8 am the next morning and baking at noon. I kept the formula (ratio of ingredients) and most procedures the same but altered the time and temperature a lot. Here's what I actually did:

 Three days before baking, at 10 pm, I activated my refrigerated stock starter by mixing 30 g of starter (50% hydration) with 75 g water and 75 g flour (a mix of 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% medium rye).

 Twelve hours later, I fed the levain as follows:

 

Levain ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Mature liquid levain

50

50

AP flour

200

80

WW flour

50

20

Water

200

80

Total

500

230

 

  1. In a medium-size bowl, dissolve the levain the the water. Add the flours, and mix thoroughly.

  2. Transfer to a clean bowl. Cover tightly.

  3. Ferment until moderately ripe. (In my 78ºF kitchen, this took about 6 hours. The levain was tripled in volume. It had a domed surface. In the transparent, plastic container, bubbles could be seen throughout the levain.

  4. Cold retard at 40ºF until the next morning.

 

At about 8 am the next morning, I took the levain out of the refrigerator and let it warm up on the counter. At about 10 am, I proceeded to mix the final dough as follows:

 

Final Dough ingredients

Wt (g)

Levain

216

AP flour

804

WW flour

26

Medium Rye flour

50

Water (90ºF)

684

Salt

22

Total

1802

 

  1. In a 6 L Cambro(R) container, mix the water and flours to a shaggy mass. Cover and let stand for 20-60 minutes. (Autolyse).

  2. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with the salt and add the levain in chunks.

  3. Mix by folding the dough over itself while rotating the container, then complete the mixing by the “pinch and fold” method described by Forkish. Wet hands in water as necessary to reduce dough sticking to hands. (I wet my hands very liberally and frequently. My dough weighed 1820g at the time I divided it, implying that using wet hands added 18g of water to the dough. This increased the final dough hydration from 78% to 79.8%.)

  4. Bulk ferment until the dough has increased in volume to 2.5 times with stretch and folds 4 times at 30 minute intervals at the beginning of fermentation. (This took 2 1/2 to 3 hours, in my kitchen.)

  5. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Pre-shape as rounds. Cover with a damp towel and let rest 15-20 minutes.

  6. Shape as boules and place in linen-lined bannetons that have been well dusted with a mix of AP and Rice flours.

  7. Place bannetons in plastic bags and refrigerate overnight. (This was actually from about 4 pm to about 2:30 pm the next day.)

  8. Bake at 475ºF in Dutch ovens, as Forkish describes.

  9. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool before slicing.

 

In summary, I altered Forkish's procedures by drastically shortening the very long, room temperature bulk fermentation and adding a long, cold retardation of the formed loaves. And the levain was also cold retarded overnight.

 Forkish describes the flavor of this bread as having a mild tang that mellows over the first couple days after baking. My bread had a sweet, wheaty flavor and a moderate tang, tasted when just cooled to room temperature. The crust was crunchy, and the crumb was quite chewy. Pretty good stuff.

 

Happy baking!

 

David

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dmsnyder

This past weekend, I restocked the freezer (and my tummy) with three of my four ... No, it's five. Or six. No, .... Anyway, some of my favorite breads.

First, Greenstein's Jewish Sour Rye:

I call this "Greenstein's Jewish Sour Rye," but it has been modified little by little. A few years ago, I converted Greenstein's volume-based recipe to weights. I use medium rye and whole rye rather than white rye. I use bread flour rather than first clear flour. I bake at 460 for 15 minutes, then 440 for 20-25 minutes rather than at 375 dF. This gives a darker crust which, while not traditional, I prefer. The bread is altogether tastier with these modifications but still has the character of Jewish Sour Rye. 

The formula can be found at Jewish Sour Rye

This bread is very good for the usual sandwiches, but also toasted dark and buttered, and it is fabulous for grilled cheese sandwiches. 

Next, a couple boules of my San Francisco-style Sourdough with 30% whole wheat flour:

The formula can be found at San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with increased whole wheat flour

And, then, a couple large bâtards of Hamelman's Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat Flour:

These cooled with very crackly crusts. It's a really delicious and versatile bread.

A good baking weekend!

Happy Baking!

David

 

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dmsnyder

Yesterday, I baked a bread based on Ken Forkish's "Pain de Campagne" from Flour Water Salt Yeast. Forkish's is basically a white bread. Mine is made with 500g AP, 200g WW and 100g Rye in the final dough. (The levain contains 160g AP and 40g WW flours.) I also omit the instant yeast. We really like this bread.

 

 

Today, I made a German-style rye bread. 

This 70% rye was inspired by Hansjoakim’s “Favorite 70% Rye.” It is basically the same as his formula which I first baked in September, 2009. The baking protocol has been modified slightly and gives a better result, I think.

 

Total formula

Amount

Baker's percentage

Medium rye flour

436 g

70

All purpose flour

187 g

30

Water

467 g

75

Salt

11 g

1.8

 

Rye sour final build

Amount

Baker's percentage

Medium rye flour

218 g

100

Water

218 g

100

Ripe rye sour

11 g

5

  

Final dough

Amount

Baker's percentage

Medium rye flour

218 g

54

All purpose flour

187 g

46

Water

249 g

61.5

Salt

11 g

2.7

Rye sour (all of the above)

447 g

110

Note: 35% of the total flour is from the rye sour.

Procedures:

  1. The day before baking, mix the final rye sour build. This should ferment at room temperature for 14-16 hours. 
  2. Mix all the ingredients in the final dough in a large bowl. If using a stand mixer, mix for 3 minutes with the paddle at Speed 1. Switch to the dough hook and mix for 2-3 minutes more at Speed 2. The dough at this point is a thick paste with little strength (gluten development providing extensibility and elasticity). Optionally, after mixing, you can knead briefly on a floured board with well-floured hands.
  3. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it tightly, and ferment for 1 hour.
  4. Transfer the dough to a floured board and pre-shape it into a single round. Cover with plasti-crap or a damp kitchen towel and rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Shape the dough into a boule and transfer to a well-floured brotform or banneton. If you want the rustic look of this bake, place the boule seam-side down in the brotform, so, when you flip it on to the baking stone, the seam-side will be up and will open with oven spring. If you want a less rustic look, place the boule in the brotform seam-side up. Then, just before baking, flip it onto a peel and dock the loaf.
  6. Cover the boule with plasti-crap or a damp towel and proof for two hours. (My loaf was fully proofed in 1 hr and 45 min.)
  7. One hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 250dC/480dF with a baking stone and your steaming method of choice in place.
  8. When ready to bake the bread, turn the oven down to 460 dF. Then transfer the boule to a peel. Score or dock it. if you proofed seam-side up. Otherwise, don’t.  Transfer the boule to the baking stone. Steam the oven.
  9. After 10 minutes, remove your source of steam from the oven.
  10. After 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 225C/440dF.
  11. Bake another 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 205dC/400dF and bake yet another 20 minutes.
  12. The loaf is done when the crust feels firm, it gives a “hollow sound” when the bottom is thumped and the internal temperature is 205F or greater.
  13. When the loaf is done, turn off the oven, but leave the loaf in it with the door ajar for an additional 10 minutes.
  14. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly. Leave it 24 to 36 hours, loosely wrapped in linen, before slicing.

 

70% Rye, cooling

This loaf is now cooled and wrapped in bakers linen. It was "cured" for 36 hours before slicing and eating.

Rye in Linen

 

70% Rye profile

 

70% Rye Crumb

 

My idea of a proper Sunday breakfast

Happy baking!

David

P.S. If a medieval German knight had a very good baker, he might be lucky enough to have a bread like this on his table. 

 

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dmsnyder

Today's bake was Hamelman's Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat Flour. This is one of a series of versions of Pain au Levain in Bread. I have baked all of them - several, like this one, many times. My favorite is whichever one just cooled enough to eat. This one was pretty yummy. Crunchy crust, chewy crumb. Complex wheaty flavor.

Pretty loaves, too, if I do say so myself.

 

I've quite a bit of discard starter accumulated, so, tomorrow, it will be pizza with dough made with the sourdough starter you are supposed to throw out when you refresh your starter. Poo Bah!  I say, "Let them eat pizza!"

Happy baking!

David

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This bake followed my usual formula, except I increased the hydration slightly, adding an extra 20 g of water to the final dough. The formula and procedures can be found here: San Joaquin Sourdough: Update

This remains one of my very favorite breads for the texture of the crumb and for flavor. It is just delicious. I had a couple slices with dinner - plain, no topping or dipping. Susan prefers it dipped in olive oil with a bit of balsamic vinegar. We'll have more in the morning. I haven't decided yet whether to have some toasted with almond butter or made into French Toast. 

I have a couple loaves of Hamelman's Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat Flour retarding tonight to bake tomorrow. That's another favorite. 

Happy baking!

David

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Susan and I have just returned from two weeks in Italy. We spent a week in Venice, a couple days in Lucca and 4 days in Liguria. We broke up our return trip with an overnight stay in Milan. I am happy to report that the bread we had was much superior to that of our last visit to Amelia-Romagna and Tuscany  three years ago. 

The bread we were served in restaurants was almost always made wholly with white flour.

Once, we had some bread that, from its color, I think had some durum flour in the mix. I did see a loaf called “Pane Altamura” in a bakery we walked into in Milan, and I saw “Pane Integrale” on another bakery’s list of its breads in Levanto (Liguria), but we didn’t taste any of those.  

 Industrially-produced bread was displayed in supermarkets, but so was a wider variety of flours for both bread and pizza-making. This was what I found in the largest grocery in Venice.

 There was a profusion of small, artisinal bakeries in all the towns we visited, as well as small produce markets, fish mongers, butchers and gelaterias.

My sense is that this was typical of small towns in Italy. I suspect it is less true in big cities, but even there, the neighborhood bakery is commonly encountered, at least everywhere I have been. 

 Pizza was originally associated with Naples and was unheard of in Northern Italy. Them days is gone forever. It is seen now on the menus of most restaurants except perhaps the spiffiest, but we didn’t go to any of those. Interestingly, in many restaurants, pizza is only served at dinner time. I wonder if this is related to a culture in which, at one time, the big meal of the day was served mid-day, not in the evening. I had low expectations of the pizza in the North, but was pleasantly surprised. It was pretty good in Lucca, although it was much, much better in Liguria. The typical local pizza was thin crusted. Most was baked in wood-fired ovens, but not all.

We most enjoyed what was most often called “Pizza vegetariana.”

This had some tomato sauce, cheese and slices of zucchini and eggplant. Some also had bell pepper. So, pizza was pretty ubiquitous.

I was not happy to find American fast food restaurants in the larger cities (Venice, Milan). I was a bit happier to see hamburgers on the menus of some restaurants and a bit happier yet to see “Pane da hamburger” displayed in a bakery window in Lucca. They looked pretty good, too.

 The specialties of the Ligurian coast are fish - especially anchovies -, pasta with shellfish and pasta or gnocchi with pesto. We ate very well. In the USA, when you say “anchovy,” people think of the salted anchovies most often used on pizza. In Liguria, the anchovy is called “The princess of the sea” and is prepared numerous ways - fried, “pickled” in lemon juice like ceviche, in a pasta sauce … I know I’ve forgotten some of the ways we saw anchovies prepared, and I’m certain there are others we didn’t encounter at all. 

Anchovies with potatoes, tomatoes and olives

 

Fried Anchovies

 

Taglierini verde with crab

We had a terrific time! I’ve focused here on the food, particularly bread and its “relatives,” but the areas we visited in Italy this trip were visually stunning. The art we saw was fabulous. And the people we encountered were delightful. I’m eager to return.

 

Manarola

David

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dmsnyder

There is a traditional type of test question in medicine called “visual diagnosis.” The student is shown a photo - it might be of a whole person, a face or just a piece of skin with a rash - and asked to make a diagnosis. The last time I took a test like that was for board certification in Pediatrics. That was in 1977, and I can still remember most of the photos I was shown - a young girl with an inguinal hernia, a teenage boy’s feet (They were flat.), a rash (Scabies), a child with a rare genetic condition (Progeria). I think there were a couple more. I can’t remember them right now, but I do remember I knew the correct diagnosis for every one of the photos. (Yay, me!)

Anyway, “visual diagnosis” is a valuable skill for bread bakers too, it seems to me. I think others agree. That is why we prefer to see photographs of a loaf’s crust and crumb structure before committing to a “diagnosis” of a problem’s cause. That’s by way of introduction to today’s visual diagnosis quiz.

Here are some photographs of two bakes of two loaves each. All loaves weighed the same (512g) before baking. Both bakes were at 460ºF for 12 minutes then 440ºF convection bake for another 18 minutes. The obvious difference is that one bake is of bâtards, the other of boules, but there is another obvious difference in their appearance. 

 

Bâtards and Boules, side-by-side

Boule Close Up

 Bâtard Close Up

If you choose to take the test, here are your questions:

  1. Describe (briefly) the significant difference you see.
  2. What are the possible causes of the difference?
  3. What is the specific cause you think responsible for the difference? And why do you think that?

Further instructions: Have fun, and Happy Baking!

David

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dmsnyder

I usually make this bread as  500g boules, but the beautiful large bâtards and miches I've seen  from Josh, Syd and others in the past week or so had me craving a larger loaf. So this 1kg bâtard was baked this afternoon, and it is good. I think it's kind of pretty, too.

The formula for this bread is in San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with increased whole wheat flour, except I boosted the hydration by about 30g or so. I've been doing that pretty regularly. I'll have to actually weigh the additional water and recalculate the hydration one of these days. I'm guesstimating it is about 81%.

I baked this loaf at 460dF with steam for 15 minutes, then at 435dF Convection for another 20 minutes.

Happy baking!

David

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dmsnyder

Yesterday, I baked the "Finnish Rye" from the SFBI for the second time. It is a delicious bread, although what makes it Finnish and why it's called a rye, since it has less rye than either white or whole wheat flour, remains mysterious. I described how I made it in my previous post ("Finnish Rye" from the SFBI

I also made a walnut bread. I have made walnut breads based on my San Francisco-stye Sourdough before, and it has been good. This time, I use my SFSD with increased whole wheat (San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with increased whole wheat flour) as the base, and I think it's even better.

Happy baking!

David

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