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News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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It's been a while since I have blogged here, but I have been baking. In the past couple weeks, I have actually baked some new stuff that I think is worth sharing.

First, I am still stuck on Ken Forkish's "Field Blend #2." This is a mixed grain sourdough with about 40% whole grains. I have been home-milling the whole grains since I got my MockMill and appreciating the results. Forkish's formula calls for some whole wheat and more whole rye. I love this particular mix, but I have substituted Kamut for some or all of the rye at times. All the breads have been good. So far, I like the original blend best. Here is one of the most recent bakes:

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At the end of last month, I had made a 90% rye bread. I had rye sour left over, and I hadn't made Jewish Sour Rye for a while, so I did. I think they came out well.

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I have been sharing some loaves with neighbors and with a committee I am on that meets weekly. The loaves I keep for my wife and myself may not get completely consumed before they get a bit dry. We have a number of favorite uses for dry bread. One of them is Salmon Cakes that my wife makes. They are super-delish, both hot out of the pan and cold out of the fridge the next day. 

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I have been wanting to make pizza for weeks, but it just wasn't happening. One morning, I decided I had to "just do it." I had been making sourdough pizza crust with varying results for the past few years. This time, I decided to go in somewhat the opposite direction. I made the dough using Ken Forkish's "Same Day" pizza dough from FWSY. I used 25% Caputo 00 and 75% "Bread flour." Okay ... I am passionate about sourdough baking, but, I must say, this made one of the best pizzas I've had not made in a wood-fired oven.

The toppings were our current favorite combination: Tomato sauce with garlic and oregano, mozzarella, caramelized red onions finished with balsamic vinegar, Italian sausage and mushrooms. Parmesan, fresh basil leaves, pepper flakes and EVOO after baking.

I made enough dough for 4 pizzas. My wife and I ate one. Another was frozen for future lunches. The other two dough balls sat in the fridge for a couple day, just growing and growing. So, I made a focaccia with fresh rosemary and garlic and coarse sea salt. It was awfully good for white bread and made a nice sandwich with Adell's smoked chicken/apple sausage.

Although I have been home milling at least some of the flour in almost all of my baking for the past few months, I had yet to make a bread with the majority of the flour fresh-milled until today. Today's baked was, again, from FWSY - a 75% whole wheat levain. Now, many of the FWSY breads I like call for spiking with instant yeast. I typically leave it out. For this bake, the formula called for just a tiny bit of instant yeast, and I thought "why not?" Well, even with no proofing except at 40ºF in the fridge, the loaves over-proofed. So oven spring and bloom were modest. The crumb structure remained good, and the flavor is lovely. I'll be making this bread again, but leave out the IY next time for sure!

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That's what I've been baking for the past few days. We're planning to spend most of the rest of July - the hottest month of the year where we live - in cooler climes. (Bach Festival in Carmel and Giant's games in San Francisco.) Hope you all are coping well with the weather where you live!

Happy baking!

David

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A couple more of my current favorite multi-grain sourdough breads. These were baked in cast iron Dutch ovens.

Happy baking!

David

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dmsnyder

“White-Wheat Blend” from Chad Robertson’s “Tartine No. 3” Book

David Snyder

January, 2018

 At the time I was taking workshops at the San Francisco Baking Institute, almost 10 years ago now, the founder and director of the institute, Michel Suas, gave an interview for some periodical. He was asked what he thought the next trend in bread baking would be. As I recall, his confident answer was “ancient grains.” Back then, the SFBI was using whole wheat in a few breads and high-extraction flours in miches, at least. I don’t recall any West Coast bakers selling breads with spelt, Kamut, emmer or einkorn at that time. I first heard of spelt from janedo onThe Fresh Loaf. Of course, I subsequently learned that spelt (“épeutre” in French, “dinkel” in German), at least, was in fairly common use in France and Germany. Time has proven Michel Suas correct. Chad Robertson’s second bread baking book describes his quest to learn more about using whole grains and ancient grains to make bread that exploits their unique flavors and nutritional advantages. 

The breads in “Tartine No. 3” are made using the same basic techniques as described in “Tartine No. 2.” Most are made with high-extraction and whole grain flours and with blends of three or more flours. There are a couple changes in technique, or at least emphasis from Tartine No. 2 to Tartine No. 3. First, Robertson has  become a fan of prolonged autolyse. He specifies a minimum of 30 minutes but clearly prefers a longer time - overnight for many breads. This is even more interesting when you realize he includes the levain in his "autolyse" mix. Second, he has increased the preferred bulk fermentation temperature from 78-82 dF to 80-85 dF. 

I have blogged about my first bake from this book - the 60% Kamut bread. This blog entry is about my second bake: The first recipe in the book, which Robertson calls “White-Wheat Blend (Ode to Bourdon).” Bourdon being Richard Bourdon, the Berkshire mountains baker with whole Robertson apprenticed after graduating from culinary school and before moving to California.

This bread is made with a blend of 50% high-extraction wheat flour, 25% whole-grain wheat flour and 25% White whole wheat flour. The flours I used were Central Milling Organic Malted T70 flour, home-milled Red Turkey Wheat flour and King Arthur Flour White Whole Wheat flour. It also includes 7% wheat germ. The dough is 86% hydration (calculated by including the flour and the water in the levain). For this bake, I bulk fermented the dough at 85 dF in my Brød & Taylor proofing box. It developed quickly and well. Bulk fermentation was about 3 1/2 hours. It was cold retarded for about 10 hours and baked in a Lodge Combo Cooker.

Because of the high percentage of whole grain flour, the dough is just a bit sticky - rather well-behaved, if the gluten is well-developed. With gentle handling, the resulting crumb is quite open for a bread with so much whole wheat. The flavor is delightful - wheaty, nutty, mildly sour and not at all grassy. 

 

Happy New Year and Happy baking!

David

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This is my first venture into baking with Kamut. It won't be my last. Kamut is a copyrighted name for Khorasan wheat which is an "ancient grain" - one of the ancestors of modern durum wheat. Like durum, it is a large berry that is yellowish in color and, when used in high percentages, gives a yellowish color to the bread's crumb. It is claimed that individuals who cannot tolerate the commonly available modern hybrid wheat can tolerate breads made with ancient grains (eikorn, emmer, khorasan).

Kamut is very high in protein, but not in gluten. It absorbs a lot of water, particularly when used as a whole grain flour. The resulting dough benefits from high hydration and from a longer than normal autolyse.

This bread is said to be 85% hydration. In fact, because Chad Robertson does not account for the water in his liquid starter when calculating baker's percentages, the hydration is a bit higher. This dough is 60% whole grain Kamut. (I used freshly milled flour.) It also calls for another 20% high-extraction flour. (I used Central Milling's T85 Organic flour). Yet, the dough was delightful to handle. It was tacky but not sticky and very extensible. The loaf's crumb is airy, light, cool and tender. The flavor when freshly cooled was not very different from a bread made with common red hard Winter wheat, to my taste. My experience with similar breads is that their flavor evolves over the first 2 or 3 days, though. So, we'll see.

How about some photos?

The bread was very nice for lunch with a lettuce salad with Point Reyes blue cheese, toasted pecans and comice pear.

When I was working on my Pane di Altamura, I made several loaves with 100% fine durum flour and a durum-fed starter. I plan on trying a bread with 100% Kamut. I'm thinking a Greek Pan di Horiadeki.

Happy baking!

David

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Sourdough Italian Bread: A SJSD Variant 

David M. Snyder

October, 2017

 

 This is one of my favorite breads. It uses the San Joaquin Sourdough method but a different flour mix and enrichment with a bit of sugar and olive oil. The dough is lovely to work with, and the flavor is scrumptious - both very tangy and rich. I have made a variety of breads with differing proportions of fine durum flour - from 10% to 100%. So far, I like the breads with 20-40% durum best, and this one best of all.

 One warning: I have fed this bread to family members and to attendees at an Italian community potluck. Every time, I have observed many individuals coming back repeatedly for "just one more slice." It does not seem truly addictive. I have not observed any abstinence syndrome ("withdrawal"), but I would exercise caution when offering it to others - reserve a loaf for yourself. 

 

Total Dough

 

 

Ingredient

Amount (gms)

Bakers' %

AP flour

334

60.7

Fine Durum flour

200

36.4

WW flour

11

2

Whole Rye flour

5

1

Water

415

75

Salt

10

1.8

Sugar

14

2.5

EVOO

14

2.5

Total

1003

181.9

  

Liquid Levain

 

 

Ingredient

Amount (gms)

Bakers' %

Liquid starter

40

40

Water

100

100

AP flour

70

70

WW flour

20

20

Whole Rye flour

10

10

Total

240

240

  1. Disperse the liquid starter in the water.

  2. Add the flours and mix thoroughly.

  3. Ferment at room temperature until expanded and bubbly (8-12 hours). If necessary, refrigerate overnight and let warm up for an hour before using.

Note: You will only use 100 g of the levain for this recipe. I usually make enough for more than one use. You can, of course, scale down the levain ingredients if you only want enough for this recipe.

 

Final Dough

 

Ingredient

Amount (gms)

AP flour

300

Fine Durum flour

200

Water

365

Salt

10

Sugar

14

Active liquid levain

100

EVOO

14

Total

1003

Procedures

  1. In a large bowl, disperse the levain in the water.

  2. Add the flours and sugar to the liquid and mix to a shaggy mass.

  3. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Add the salt and olive oil and mix thoroughly. (Note: I squish the dough with my hands until it comes back together, then do stretch and folds in the bowl until it forms a smooth ball and the oil appears completely incorporated.)

  5. Transfer the dough to a 2 quart lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl tightly.

  6. After 30 minutes, do stretch and folds in the bowl.

  7. After another 50 minutes, do a stretch and fold on a lightly floured board. Repeat after another 50 minutes.

  8. Continue bulk fermentation for another 30-90 minutes, until the dough is puffy. If fermented in a glass bowl, you should see lots of little bubbles throughout the dough. Volume of the dough may have increased by 50% or so.

  9. Refrigerate for 12-36 hours.

  10. Divide the dough into 2 to 4 equal pieces and pre-shape as rounds or logs. Cover with a clean towel, baker's linen or plasti-crap and let rest for one hour.

  11. Shape as Bâtards, Demi-Baguettes or Ficelles.

  12. Roll the loaves on damp paper towels, then in a tray of sesame seeds. Alternatively, you can brush the loaves with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  13. Proof for about 45 minutes seam-side up on parchment paper or seam-side down on linen, pleated to separate the loaves and supported at both long sides by rolled-up dish towels. Cover with a damp towel, baker's linen or plasti-crap.

  14. One hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  15. When ready to bake, uncover the loaves. Pull the parchment (or linen) from both long sides to flatten out the pleats and separate the loaves.

  16. Transfer the loaves, on the parchment, to a peel, or, if proofed on linen, transfer using a transfer peel. Seam side should now be down. Score them as baguettes or bâtards, according to their shape. Transfer them to the baking stone. 

  17. Steam the oven, and turn the temperature down to 460ºF.

  18. After 12 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus. (Note: If you have a convection oven, switch to convection bake and turn the oven down to 435ºF for the remainder of the bake.) Continue baking for another 8-15 minutes or until the loaves are nicely browned and the internal temperature is at least 205ºF.

  19. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool completely before eating.

 

Enjoy!

David

 

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San Joaquin Sourdough Two Ways

David Snyder

September 28 and October 2, 2017

 

Background

My San Joaquin Sourdough originated in Anis Bouabsa's baguettes which had won the prize for the best baguette in Paris in 2008. Bouabsa's baguettes departed from convention in utilizing a 21 hour retardation after bulk fermentation and before dividing and shaping. Jane Stewart (Janedo on TFL) and I initially modified Bouabsa's formula by adding a bit of rye flour and some sourdough starter for flavor. I then omitted the commercial yeast altogether and began using the modified formula to shape as bâtards. Over time, I have tweaked the formula and method in various ways, but have settled on the current one as providing the best product.

I most often make my San Joaquin Sourdough as bâtards of about 490 g, but I have used the same dough for baguettes quite often. I have also modified the formula in minor ways to make an “Italian bread,” and have used it for pizza too.

This week, I made two batches of San Joaquin Sourdough. One I used for bâtards. The other I made as “pains rustiques.”

Professor Raymond Calvel, the renowned French baking teacher and bread scientist, was the man who taught Julia Child to bake “French Bread,” the author of “Le Gout du Pain” and the inventor of the autolyse. Shortly before his passing in 2005, Professor Calvel visited the United States and taught at the Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York. The C.I.A. and the Bread Baker's Guild of America produced a series of videos which included interviews with Professor Calvel and documentation of his baguette formula and methods. These were available for downloading and also as VHS tapes at one time. Now, they are available on youtube. They are well-worth viewing for any serious baker.

On one of the tapes, almost as an aside, the narrator said Professor Calvel's personal favorite bread was what he called “Pain Rustique.” He made this with baguette dough, but, rather than shaping it in the traditional manner, the dough is simply cut into rectangular pieces with a bench knife, proofed and baked. I made this bread once a number of years ago, and it was very nice. It was similar to ciabatta in that it was very puffy with large air pockets.

Today, I made a variation on pain rustique, using San Joaquin Sourdough dough and methods, except for the shaping. Note: The formula used for these pains rustique was actually only 72% hydration. Based on my results, I would increase the hydration to 76% hydration (as in the formula below) or even higher for my next bake of this bread.

Formula 

Total ingredients

Wt (g)

Bakers %

AP Flour

479

89

WW Flour

33

6

Medium rye Flour

29

5

Water

412

76

Salt

10

1.8

Liquid starter

17

3

Total

990

180.8

9.2% of the flour is pre-fermented


Liquid Levain ingredients

Wt (g)

Bakers %

AP Flour

29

70

WW Flour

8

20

Medium rye Flour

4

10

Water

42

100

Liquid starter

17

40

Total

100

240

 1. Mix the levain by dissolving the liquid starter in the water, then add the flours and mix well.

2. Ferment at room temperature, covered tightly, until the surface is bubbly and wrinkled. (8-12 hours)

 

Final dough ingredients

Wt (g)

AP Flour

450

WW Flour

25

Medium rye Flour

25

Water

370

Salt

10

Liquid levain

100

Total

990

 

Method

  1. Dissolve the levain in the water, add the flours and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover and autolyse for 30 minutes.

  2. Add the salt and mix to incorporate.

  3. Transfer to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  4. Bulk ferment for 3-4 hours with stretch and folds in the bowl every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours, then a stretch and fold on the board after 2.5 hours. The dough should have expanded by about 50% and be full of small bubbles.

  5. Refrigerate the dough for 18-24 hours.

  6. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and transfer it to a lightly floured board.

    For Pains Rustiques

  7. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and pre-shape as logs or round.

  8. Cover the pieces and allow them to rest for 60 minutes.

  9. Stretch each piece to a rectangle 8-12 inches long, depending on the weight of each piece.

  10. Proof for 45 minutes, covered.

  11. Pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  12. Transfer the loaves to your peel. Turn down the oven to 480ºF. Score the loaves, if desired, and load them onto your baking stone.

  13. Bake with steam for 10 minutes, then remove your steaming apparatus and continue to bake for another 10-12 minutes.

  14. Remove the loaves to a cooling rack, and cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

 

For Bâtards

  1. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.

  2. Pre-shape as rounds, cover and let rest for 1 hour.

  3. Shape as bâtards.

  4. Proof on linen or parchment, smooth side down for 45 minutes.

  5. Pre-heat oven to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  6. Turn down oven to 460ºF.

  7. Transfer loaves to peel.

  8. Steam oven and transfer loaves to th baking stone.

  9. After 12 minutes, remove steaming apparatus.

  10. (If you have a convection oven, turn switch to convection bake and turn the temperature down to 435ºF). Bake for 18 minutes more in a dry oven.

  11. Transfer loaves to a cooling rack and let cool thoroughly before slicing.

Photo Gallery

San Joaquin Sourdough Pain Rustique

 

SJSD dough, fully fermented and ready to divide

Dough divided for Pains Rustiques

Pre-shaped

Shaped and proofed, ready to bake

SJSD Pains Rustique - some unscored, others scored in various ways.

 

San Joaquin Sourdough Pain Rustique crumb

San Joaquin Sourdough Bâtards

Pre-shaped piece

Shaped loaves proofing

Loaves proofed and ready to bake

San Joaquin Sourdough Bâtards

San Joaquin Sourdough Crumb

Enjoy!

David

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This week, I baked another dried fruit and toasted nut sourdough bread. I really like the combination of eathiness from the nuts and the sweet tanginess of the pieces of dried fruit. The nut flavors seem to permeate the crumb while the fruit yields surprising little explosions of tartness when you bite into a bit.

I have baked cherry-pecan sourdoughs several times, but this is the first time I based one on Hamelman's "Fig-Hazelnut Levain." It is very good and was a big hit at a pot luck to which I took it. I think it could be improved though with a bit more hydration and the addition of some rye and more whole wheat. 

Here are some photos:

Happy baking!

David

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I baked two breads this week (so far). It wasn't until I was well into the process that I realized both were originally posted by Hansjoakim a few years ago. Both are leavened with rye sour.

"Hansjoakim's Favorite 70% Rye"

"Hansjoakim's Favorite 70% Rye" Crumb

 

Pain au Levain with Rye Sour

The Pain au Levain is still cooling and hasn't been sliced.

Both of these breads are uncomplicated to make yet fabulously delicious. The formulas for both can be found on TFL. They are highly recommended.

Happy baking!

David

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This week, I have baked two batches of Forkish's "Field Blend 2." The whole rye and whole wheat flours in both batches were milled in my Mock Mill KitchenAid attachment (Highly recommended!)

One batch was baked in Lodge Dutch Ovens at 475 dF for 50 minutes (30 covered, 20 uncovered). The other batch was baked on a baking stone with my usual oven steaming method at 460 dF with steam for 15 minutes, then at 435 dF convection bake for 30 minutes. The DO loaves are the boules. The hearth loaves are the bâtards.

The following crumb photos are from one of the DO bakes. From past experience, I would say the hearth bakes' crumb structure is pretty much identical. (I'm not showing it, because those loaves are going to a family barbecue at a nephew's house in Oakland.)

At least in my electric home oven, these two methods yield very similar, equally satisfactory results. I would not say there is much difference in oven spring, crust consistency, crumb structure or bread flavor. 

Happy baking!

David

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Having heard the stories home-millers tell about the superior flavor of their breads, I finally bought a Mock Mill attachment for my KitchenAid mixer. I have milled both rye and wheat flours with this mill and used them in breads with around 30% whole grain flours. The breads were very good, but I honestly couldn't say they were superior to those made with commercial flours of good quality.

For the first time today I baked a loaf that is 75% whole wheat. This is a bread from Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast. My only modification to the formula was to leave out the instant yeast.

The wheat used was a Hard Red Winter Wheat from Palouse Farms in Washington State. The mill was set to a very fine setting, and I was pleased at how fine it mills. The dough, as it bulk fermented, was surprisingly soft and extensible - much more so than the KAF and Central Milling WW flours I have used. I emailed Palouse to ask for the Protein content of this wheat, and they promptly replied that it was 11%. I was also amazed to observe that fermentation seemed to proceed much faster than with other flours. This is a bread I expect to take 4-5 hours to bulk ferment. It was fully fermented in 3 hours.

Although Forkish calls for this bread to be baked in a Dutch oven, I baked it as a hearth loaf - 15 minutes at 450 dF with steam, then 30 minutes at 435 dF convention-bake.

The crust was crunch and nutty-flavored. The crumb was moist and tender - amazing light and airy for a 75% Whole Wheat loaf. The flavor was wheaty with a bit of sweetness. It was delicious plain and also with a thin spread of sweet butter. 

I have made this bread before with Central Milling Fine Organic Whole Wheat, and it was very good. I do think it is a bit better with the fresh, home-milled flour, but not dramatically better. Again, the bread made with CM flour set a pretty high bar.

The Mock Mill is easy to use, and I am impressed with how fine it grinds. I'm looking forward to baking other breads with other home-milled grains. I have also bought a No. 40 flour sifter, and will be making some high-extraction flours. Lots of new bread baking adventures ahead!

By the way, I also make a couple loaves of San Joaquin Sourdough with home-milled rye and whole wheat. It was also maybe a bit tastier than usual, but I am not really sure.

Any comments or pointers from more experienced home millers would be very much appreciated.

Happy baking!

David

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