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Sunday, I baked a couple loaves of Hamelman's Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat. This is a wonderful everyday bread for me. It's a favorite player in a host of bread roles. (No pun intended.) I see that alfanso has nominated it for some prestigious post - I can't figure out which one, but we definitely share an admiration for this bread. Here's mine:

  

Monday, I baked a bread that is new to me - The Berliner Landbrot about which Stan Ginsberg blogged recently (See: Berlin Rye/Berliner Landbrot). This is a 90% rye with an extremely simple and fast procedure, especially if you already have a rye sour sitting in the fridge, waiting for gainful employment.

This came out of the oven early yesterday afternoon. After it had cooled, I wrapped it in baker's linen. I resisted cutting it for breakfast this morning, but I had some for lunch, spread with cream cheese and topped with gravlax. The crust was chewy. The crumb is cool, surprisingly light and creamy. The flavor is mildly sour, but very assertively RYE. I love it, and I am pleased to say that my wife has finally come around to enjoying high-rye percentage breads too.

This is very definitely a bread I will add to my long list of breads to bake often, which is clearly a prescriptive list, not a descriptive one.

Happy baking!

David

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Recently, some one posted a comparison of the Tartine breads and those of Ken Forkish. This reminded me how long it had been since I had baked a Tartine Basic Country Bread. I can't find that TFL entry now, but it doesn't matter ... even if it was just in my imagination. Here's what happened:

These loaves are still cooling. I will post a crumb photo and tasting notes when I slice one.

I also baked a couple of San Joaquin Sourdough bâtards. These were cold retarded 36 hours and have been frozen to eat later.

Looking through Tartine: Bread, I am reminded that there are a number of breads there that look wonderful and that I have never  made. I guess I will add them near the top of my "to bake list."

Happy New Year, and Happy Baking to the TFL community!

David

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Walnut-Fig Sourdough Bread: Variation on a favorite from SFBI Artisan II

David Snyder

7 December, 2015

This blog entry could have been titled “So many breads, so little time.” Or “time flies when you're having fun.”

One of my favorite breads from the San Francisco Baking Institute sourdough workshop I took in December, 2010 was a sourdough Raisin-Walnut bread. I made it at home a couple weeks after I got home from the workshop, and it was really delicious, even without a deck oven bake. I wrote about it back then and said I expected to make it often. Ha! I not only haven't made it since then, I couldn't even remember that I had made it at home. All I remembered was that brother Glenn and his wife particularly liked it.

Well, I suppose I could also title this entry “Better late than never,” because I made this bread again yesterday, only substituting diced dried figs for the raisins, and all I can say is, “I should have been making it often,” because it is truly a delicious bread – I think my favorite of the many combinations of sourdough-dried fruit/toasted nut breads I have made.

 

Total Formula

Baker's%

Wt. (g)

AP Flour (11.7% protein)

71.57

383

Whole Wheat Flour

19.77

106

Rye Flour (Medium rye)

8.66

46

Water

67.62

362

Yeast (Instant)

0.08

1

Walnuts (toasted)

15.81

85

Dried Calmyrna figs (diced)

19.77

106

Salt

2.13

11

Total

205.41

1100

 

Firm Levain

Baker's%

Wt. (g)

AP Flour (11.7% protein)

95

77

Rye Flour (Medium rye)

5

4

Water

50

40

Active firm starter

60

48

Total

210

169

  1. Dissolve the firm starter in the water.

  2. Add the flours and mix and knead until there is no visible dry flour.

  3. Shape into a ball. Place in a clean bowl. Cover tightly.

  4. Allow to ferment overnight (12 hours at room temperature).

  5. Toast shelled walnuts, broken or chopped coarsely, at 300ºF for 8 minutes. Allow to cool then place in a jar or bowl and cover.

  

Final Dough

Wt. (g)

AP Flour (11.7% protein)

275

Whole Wheat Flour

106

Rye Flour (Medium rye)

42

Water

305

Yeast (Instant)

1

Walnuts (toasted)

85

Dried Calmyrna figs (diced)

106

Salt

11

Firm Levain

169

Total

1100

Procedures

  1. Pour the water into the bowl of a stand mixer.

  2. Add the flours and mix with the paddle attachment at slow speed until a shaggy mass is formed. The dough should be medium soft.

  3. Remove the paddle. Scrape the dough together. Cover the mixer bowl and let it rest for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Cut the hard stems off the dried figs. Cut the figs into medium dice (about the size of raisins). Place the diced figs in a fine sieve and run water over them, mixing them with your fingers and separating the pieces stuck together. Place the sieve over a bowl to drain until ready to mix the figs into the dough.

  5. Sprinkle the salt and the yeast over the dough. Add the firm levain in several pieces. Mix with the hook attachment at slow speed for 1 or 2 minutes, then increase the speed to Speed 2 and mix for 5-8 minutes. D.D.T. is 78-80ºF.

  6. When moderate gluten development has been achieved, scrape down the dough. Add the figs and walnuts to the mixer bowl and mix with the hook at slow speed for 2 to 3 minutes.

  7. Transfer the dough to a floured board and knead it for a couple minutes to better distribute the nuts and figs. Then transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl and cover.

  8. Ferment for 2 hours at 76ºF with a stretch and fold at 60 minutes.

  9. Divide into two equal pieces and pre-shape as boules. Cover and let the gluten relax for 20-30 minutes.

  10. Shape as bâtards and place, seam-side up, in floured brotformen or onto a linen couche.

  11. Cover and proof for 90 to 120 minutes at 80ºF.

  12. Pre-heat oven to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place for 45-60 minutes before baking.

  13. Transfer loaves to a peel. Turn down oven to 460ºF. Score the loaves as desired. Steam the oven. Load the loaves onto the stone.

  14. After12 minutes, remove the steam source. If you have a convection oven, switch on the fan and reduce the temperature to 435ºF. Bake for 12-14 minutes more. The loaves are done when nicely browned, they sound hollow when thumped on the bottom and the internal temperature is over 205ºF.

  15. Optionally, leave the loaves on the baking stone with the oven turned off and the door ajar for another 8-10 minutes to further dry the crust.

  16. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.

The crust was quite crunchy. The crumb was light and quite tender. (I think the tiny bit of instant yeast really contributed to the nice crumb texture.) The flavor is complex with clear elements of sourdough, with a lovely, creamy lactic acid predominating, toasted walnuts and sweet, chewy figs.

This bread is probably a pretty well-balanced meal eaten plain, but it is wonderful with sweet butter, toasted or not, and with almond butter. All the sourdough breads with nuts I have made are great with cheese. Walnut breads with thin slices of Cotswold cheese is a great combination. I am thinking this bread might make extraordinary French toast. Breakfast tomorrow?

Yesterday, I also made a couple loaves of Hamelman's “Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat Flour.” They were retarded overnight and baked today.

Today, I made Hamelman's “5 Grain Sourdough” which is now retarding to bake tomorrow. (You know, I was out of town for Thanksgiving, which brother Glenn and his wife hosted this year. So my baking itch needed serious scratching this week. By the way, that “Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat Flour” makes pretty wonderful Thanksgiving dressing. My wife makes the 3-onion stuffing from a 1995 Gourmet magazine.)

Happy baking!

David

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Pain au Levain from Della Fattoria Bread, by Kathleen Weber

November 10, 2015

David Snyder

 

Introduction

My brother, Glenn, bought me a surprise present: A copy of Kathleen Weber's bread cookbook. When I called to thank him, he revealed his motive. He thought I'd like it. We Snyder kids do that sort of thing for each other.

I have had the considerable pleasure of sampling Della Fattoria's breads both at the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer's Market, where they come with breads and pastries on Saturdays, and also at their cafe in Petaluma, California. They make good stuff. But I believe I first heard of that bakery quite a few years before. It was the “Small Artisan Bakery” featured in Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking, an award winning book published in 2000.

Weber's book was published in 2014, and it is interesting to compare her methods and how they changed in the interval since she was interviewed by Ms. Glezer. Notably, she began using an autoyse step. She reduced the speed and duration of her mechanical mixing. And she added stretch and folds during bulk fermentation. All three of these changes reflect trends in Artisan baking nationally. All would be expected to enhance the flavor of the product.

Since I am on the subject of Weber's methods in general, her other remarkable idiosyncrasy is that she includes her firm levain in her autolyse, withholding only the salt. And one trend she does not follow (unfortunately, in my opinion) is to not use baker's math in presenting for formulas.

Pain au Levain

Weber's Pain au levain dough is the base for several variations, recipes for which are given in the book. These include a “Potato Levain,” a “Walnut Levain,” a “Sausage-Sage Levain” and other equally tempting breads. For a first bake from this book, I selected the Pain au Levain without any of the additions.

Weber uses a firm levain. She gives clear instructions for making it from scratch. Her mature levain is a 50% hydration mix of 90% All Purpose flour and 10% Whole Wheat flour. She feeds her levain with 23% mature starter. My own customary firm starter isn't very different from this, and that is what I used to feed the levain.

 

Total dough

 

 

Ingredient

Wt (gms)

Bakers' %

Water (80dF)

606

82.5

AP flour

457

62.2

WW flour

209

28.4

Medium Rye meal+

68

9.3

Sea salt

16

2.2

Total

1356

184.6

+ Weber calls for pumpernickel flour. I have some, but I have some older rye meal that I thought would work well, and it needed using.

 

Levain

 

 

Ingredient

Wt. (gms)

Bakers' %

Mature firm starter

15

23

AP flour

57

90

WW flour

6

10

Water (80dF)

31

50

Total

109

173

  1. Disperse the firm starter in the warm water.

  2. Add the flours and mix very well.

  3. Form into a ball and place in a clean, covered container.

  4. Ferment in a warm place until at least doubled in volume. (4-6 hours, for me).

  

Final dough

 

Ingredient

Wt (gms)

Levain

109

Water (80dF)

551

AP flour

408

WW flour

204

Medium Rye meal

68

Sea salt

16

Total

1356

Procedures

  1. Place the levain and the water in the bowl of a stand mixer.

  2. With the paddle, run the mixer at low speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until the levain is dissolved.

  3. Add the flours to the mixer bowl and pulse a few times to start mixing (to prevent flour flying everywhere).

  4. Mix at low speed for 1-2 minutes until the dough forms a shaggy mass. Scrape it together.

  5. Cover the bowl and let the flour absorb the water and start gluten development for 20-30 minutes.

  6. Sprinkle the salt over the dough. Put the dough hook on the mixer.

  7. Run the mixer at low speed for 6 minutes, then at Speed 2 for another 2-3 minutes. (This is a very sloppy dough. It will have some gluten development but will not have cleaned the sides of the bowl. Resist adding more flour.)

  8. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled 8-10 cup bowl. Do a few “stretch and folds in the bowl.” Cover the bowl, and place it in a warm location. (I used a Proofing Box set at 76dF.)

  9. Perform stretch and folds in the bowl every 30 minutes three times (at 30, 60 and 90 minutes).

  10. Let the dough continue to ferment until it has about doubled in volume and is light and airy. (This was an additional 2 hours for me.)

  11. At this point, you can pre-shape the entire dough to make one large loaf or divide it in half to make two loaves. I divided it into two equal pieces.

  12. Pre-shape into a ball or a log. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 10-20 minutes.

  13. Shape as a boule or bâtard. Place in bannetons or on a couche to proof.

  14. Proof for about 1.5 to 2 hours or until the depression left when you poke a loaf fills very slowly or remains. (I proofed for about 2 hours at 80dF in the proofing box. I think I slightly over-proofed.)

  15. While the loaves are proofing, preheat your oven to 500dF with a baking stone and your steaming apparatus in place. (Weber recommends a 9” cast iron skillet preheated. She then puts a cooling rack with ice cubes on the skillet at the time she loads her oven.)

  16. When they are proofed, transfer the loaves to a peel. Steam the oven. Score the loaves and load them onto the stone. Turn the oven down to 450 or 460.

  17. Bake with steam for 15 minutes, then remove the steam source and continue baking for another 30 minutes (if baking 700g loaves) or 40 minutes (if baking a 1.3kg loaf.). The bread should be well-colored. It should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom. Internal temperature should be at least 205dF.

  18. Remove loaves to a cooling rack. Cool thoroughly before slicing.

 

The cuts didn't open up as much as I expected, but I think that was due to over-proofing. There was some tunneling under the top crust which suggests the same.

The crust was crunchy at first but softened by the next day. Not surprising in an 82% hydration bread. The crumb was well aerated but with small, regular holes. The flakes of rye bran were quite visible. I'm sure the whole grain flours determined the crumb structure.

The flavor of the bread was very nice. It had the wheaty and nutty flavors of the whole wheat and the earthy flavors of the rye, both very prominent. There was discernible sourdough tang, but it was very mild. The one negative is that it tasted too salty to me. Looking at the baker's math, you can see that, in fact, there is a much higher percentage of salt in this bread (2.2%) than in most.

This is a good sandwich bread. It is good with cheese and with almond butter. When I first tasted it, I had the thought that I could make a meal of it alone.

I like this bread. If you have a recently fed starter, and you get an early start, it could be done for dinner in one day. I expect to be including it in my regular rotation. But I to want to try a number of the other breads in Weber's book also. I will report on them, when I do.

Happy baking!

 David

 P.S. I made a couple loaves of San Joaquin Sourdough too.

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I have made a variety of sourdough breads with nuts and with nuts and dried fruits. For some examples, see:

San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with Walnuts and Figs

San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with Walnuts and Sour Cherries

Potato-Nut Bread from South Tyrol (Thanks, Salome!)

This weekend's breads (mountain dog's formula seen here: Cherry Pecan Pain au Levain.)

I have liked them all. For the past couple of years, when I bake these I have used just a bit less than 20% (baker's percentages, of course.) fruit and the same percentage nuts. Looking through some of my newer bread books, I noticed a number of sourdough breads with nuts and dried fruits that used 1.5 to 2 times the proportions of them as I had been using. So, I thought I would take one of my known formulas and simple double the nuts and fruit. How could it be bad? 

My base formula was the one for Walnuts and figs. (See the link, above.) But I had just bought some lovely pecans, so I weighed out 200g and toasted them for 6 minutes at 300dF and made Sourdough bread with pecans and dried figs.

The dough looked awful lumpy, even when the loaves were proofed and ready to bake. I dunno about this ....

The bake took about 10 minutes longer than usual for a bâtard this size, presumably because the extra figs evaporated more water, thus keeping the loaes cooler. Maybe. But, the loaves had better bloom than usual for this type of bread, the crumb looked pretty nice, and the taste was wonderful. (It passed the critical "Susan leaves the dinner table to cut herself another slice" test.)

I also baked a couple loaves of My San Francisco Sourdough Quest, Take 4.

A good baking weekend. I hope yours was too.

Happy baking!

David

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I had a hard time choosing a title for this blog entry. I thought about "SMSJSD," which you would eventually discover stands for "Senior Moment San Joaquin Sourdough." I thought about "Invulnerable Bread." I mostly thought about not posting anything about this bake. There is nothing new ... except that these loaves turned out so well in spite of my forgetting to ... Okay. Here's what happened.

On Tuesday, I mixed the dough for my "Italian" version of San Joaquin Sourdough following the formula and procedures I described in Sourdough Italian Baguettes. But I also had a few other projects in process at the same time. As I usually do, I set an alarm to go off when I needed to do something with the dough, but I must have ignored the last one. Instead of retarding the dough when it was ready, I kept working on other stuff. By time I left home for my 6:30pm Italian class, I had forgotten completely that there was dough fermenting. I didn't remember it until I got back home at 8:15pm and went to the kitchen to make a late dinner for me and my wife, and there was the dough, expanded to 4 times its original volume and ready to overflow the bowl! Yikes!

I thought about tossing it and starting over the next day but decided to refrigerate the dough and decide what to do the next morning. Well, the next morning I dumped the dough on my board, and, you know, it felt okay. So, I pre-shaped it and continued with my normal procedure. I considered the possibility I should shorten the proofing because of the prolonged bulk fermentation, but the dough didn't act over-proofed. And you know what, it turned out no differently than usual, except the crumb was less yellow than usual. 

I thought that the really long fermentation would result in a more sour flavor, but the flavor was no different than usual for this bread. It was really good!  I can't account for why my drastic over-fermentation didn't ruin the bread, but I'm certainly not complaining.

We had a nice sunset, too.

Happy baking!

David

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Nothing new this week, but two of our current favorites, baked yesterday and today.

San Joaquin Sourdough Baguettes. The left-most as an Epi.

We had finished off the last batch of these for dinner the night before - Sandwiches of Smoked Chicken/Apple Sausages with spicy brown mustard. Last night, we had some of the Epi, still warm, with a beet, fennel and blue cheese salad and cold roast chicken.

Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat Flour from Hamelman's Bread

If I could have only one bread to eat the rest of my days, this one would certainly make the final four. Tonight, fresh out of the oven, it was particularly delicious with a thin spread of very fresh Point Reyes Blue Cheese. Yum!

Happy baking!

David

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Multi-grain Levain – August 14, 2015

Today's bake is based on the “75% Whole Wheat Levain Bread” formula in Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast. I have made this bread a couple of times before, most recently in November, 2014. I modified the formula today by adding 180g of "Harvest Grains Blend" produced by King Arthur Flour, which I soaked in warm water for a few hours and then mixed it into the autolyse at the time I added the salt and levain. The blend has about 8 different seeds and grains. This started out a very nutritious bread. The added whole oats, flax seeds and other goodies in the multi-grain blend just "kicked it up a notch" in both flavor and health benefits.

This made a very wet dough that did develop some strength with the stretches and folds and, especially, with rather tight pre-shaping and shaping. Still, with the high percentage of whole wheat flour and the additional seeds and flaked grains, loaf volume was less than most of the FWSY levains.

 

 

I tasted the bread after it had cooled for a couple hours. The crust was crunchy-chewy. The crumb was very moist and somewhat chewy. The aroma of whole wheat predominated. The flavor was similar to previous bakes of this bread with a prominent whole wheat flavor and moderate sourdough tang. The seeds added a bit of a crunch. The only specific ingredient I could taste was the sunflower seeds, but the flavor of the basic bread dominated. We'll see how the flavors evolve. Forkish says this bread's flavor develops and improves over two to three days.

 

I had some of this bread with dinner. It was delicious both with a thin spread of sweet butter and with a thin slice of aged Gouda cheese. It is so moist, I expect it to be fresh-tasting without toasting for several days.

Happy Baking!

David

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July is the hottest month of the year in Fresno. For the past couple years, since I retired from practice, we have tried to get to cooler areas for as much of the month as possible. Being away from home more than usual, I do less baking than usual in July.

My baking for the first half of July has had an Italian theme. 

 First, here is a sandwich roll version of my Sourdough Italian Bread (Sourdough Italian Baguettes) which is an Italian version of my San Joaquin Sourdough. The dough was mixed and fermented as described previously. Then 4.25 oz pieces were made into balls, rested for an hour, then re-shaped, seeded and proofed for 30 minutes. They were baked on a sheet pan at 480dF for about 15 minutes.

 

Rolls proofing

Rolls Cooling

My favorite pizza dough is still Forkish’s “Overnight Pizza Dough with Levain” made with 00 flour (Pizza Bliss). I made a full batch and used two 350g balls for pizzas one night and one 350g and one 700g ball for focacce.

  

 

The smaller, round focaccia has olive oil, slivered garlic, chopped fresh rosemary and thinly sliced zucchini. I learned (from this experience) that zucchini has a lot of water in it, and the top of the dough will be gummy, if the zucchini are applied too densely. The rectangular focaccia has olive oil, rosemary and a very sparse spread of the tomato sauce I made for pizzas. Very yummy. I froze most of the second focaccia, and I will try using it for grilled panini, maybe in a week or two.

 

And last but not least, a couple loaves of San Joaquin Sourdough (San Joaquin Sourdough: Update) just came out of the oven.

I hope all of you (in the Northern Hemisphere) are keeping cool, and Happy baking!

David 

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Back in April, Khaled let me know he had enrolled in the Sourdough Bread workshop at the San Francisco Baking Institute. I volunteered to meet him there and, after he had a night to recover a bit from the 15 hour flight from Dubai, take him on a tour of San Francisco bakeries and show him some of the city sights. I also volunteered brother Glenn, who lives in San Francisco, to act as native guide. 

So, Khaled and his friend and business associate, Jamal, arrived last Friday. My wife and I picked them up at their hotel Saturday morning and drove to downtown. We parked in the Mission Street Garage, because we expected to leave the car most of the day, and I thought Khaled and Jamal would enjoy the walk to the Ferry Building, where Glenn joined us. I had warned Khaled that July can be chilly in San Francisco. Even though, it turned out to be unseasonably warm (68 dF), coming from the UAE, the visitors said it seemed quite chilly to them.

There is a fabulous Farmer's Market at the San Francisco Ferry Building on Saturday mornings. In addition to wonderful produce and other foods, there are three bakeries that come: Acme (Acme Bread Company - Ferry Building Marketplace), which has a permanent stall inside the Ferry Building, Della Fattoria (Della Fattoria Homepage), from Petaluma and Downtown Bakery (Downtown Bakery & Creamery | Home - Healdsburg), from Healdsburg. We tasted samples and bought various pastries and breads at each.

Glenn's office is on the 22nd floor of one of the Embarcadero Center towers, a couple hundred yards from the Ferry Building, so he took us up for a panoramic view of the Bay. By then, it was time for lunch. We walked over to California Street and up to Tadich Grill (Tadich Grill | San Francisco, CA), which, for those of you who don't know, is the oldest restaurant in the City (founded during the Gold Rush era) and still one of the best, especially for fish.  Hmmmm ... If you take into account the delicious, very much old-style San Francisco Sourdough that Boudin custom bakes for Tadich Grill, we actually "visited" 7 (seven) bakeries.

We then hopped on the Muni and headed down Market to the Castro. We got off the trolly close to Thorough Bread Bakery (Thorough Bread and Pastry), one of my favorites, but Khaled was very focused on visiting Tartine (Tartine Bakery), so we walked there first. He said he just needed to see it. As usual, the line was half a block long. I stood in line, "just in case," while Susan and Khaled squeezed past the line, into the bakery/cafe, so Khaled could see their offerings. He came back to the end of the line with this really intense, serious look and announced he "had to get something," no matter how long we had to wait. So, another of those really tough sacrifices one makes for a friend, we had coffee and (too many) pastries at Tartine. Everything was amazingly wonderful.

So, we walked back to Thorough Bread Bakery. Their breads and Pastries looked wonderful as they always do, but we were already suffering from a mixture of butter intoxication and hyper-caffeination, so we just looked. Then we took the Muni back downtown to retrieve our cars and met again at B Patisserie (b. patisserie) on California and Divisadero. 

Now, it occurs to me that you might get the idea this was some sort of self-indulgent carbohydrate orgy. I want you to understand, Khaled and Jamal are serious businessmen, in San Francisco for professional training. They have very high standards and are both clearly committed to producing an authentic product of the highest quality to their clientele. They have an exceptional challenge: They aim to introduce French-style, artisanal pains au levain in several varieties to a country that has no prior exposure to these foods. Moreover, neither man has personally traveled in France, Italy or other countries where the breads they will be baking are "native." They know what they have read about and seen photos of here on TFL and in their cookbooks and what they have baked themselves. One of their goals for this trip was to taste as many of the types of breads they anticipate baking as possible at as many excellent bakeries as possible. I do think that the bakeries they visited would be hard to beat, setting a standard of quality for which to strive for any baker.

 

Jamal and Khaled performing intensive product assessment at b. patisserie

Susan, Glenn and I had great fun facilitating Khaled and Jamal's investigations. 

David

 

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