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News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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My wife and I have always enjoyed whole wheat bread. For many years, our favorite one has been Peter Reinhart's "100% Whole Wheat Bread" from BBA. Although a lot of my breads have 10 to 30% whole grain flour, I've really been thinking I need to be baking higher percentage whole grain breads, both for health reasons and because that's the way our taste is trending. So, I've been thinking about making Reinhart's WW bread for weeks. But I just finished reading Sam Fromartz's "In Search of the Perfect Loaf" (Highly recommended!), in which he reviews, among many other issues, the health benefits of sourdough breads and the increased health benefits of whole grain breads when made with pre-fermented flour, specifically, as sourdough bread.

Now, my experience with sourdough whole wheat breads has been mixed. Some - generally those that turn out very sour - have been unpleasant to my taste. I have made several sourdough breads with about 50% whole grain flour that I liked a lot, but I wanted to go for 75 to 100% whole grain. My search of TFL revealed that I had, in fact, baked Ken Forkish's "75% Whole Wheat Levain Bread" in September, 2013, and found it very good. (See: 75% Whole Wheat Levain Bread from FWSY) I am amazed and chagrined that I have not made it even once since! 

I did make it again today. I altered Forkish's procedure to fit my schedule. I did the final feeding of the levain the day before mixing the final dough and refrigerated the levain overnight.  This time, I was able to  monitor the bulk fermentation more closely. I did let it go to a full 2.5X volume expansion before dividing and shaping. (But not to 4X expansion, as I did the last time!) I retarded the shaped loaves for about 16 hours, then let them complete proofing at room temperature for about 90 minutes before baking.

We had a few slices with our dinner, after the breads had completely cooled. It was just as delicious as I described my first bake of this bread. It was moderately tangy, but the dominant flavor was sweet, nutty wheatiness. I had it with a very tasty, winey beef stew and, after, with a slice of Gorgonzola Dolce. This bread stood up to those assertive flavors and held its own. I was pleasantly surprised how well the forward whole wheat flavor of this bread complemented that of the gorgonzola.

I expect to enjoy this bread toasted for breakfast in the morning too. And I hope I don't let another year go by before I bake this one again!

Happy baking!

David

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Modena Mountain Bread

Pane Montanaro

from

The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food

by

Lynn Rossetto Kasper

 

The Splendid Table is a wonderful book for anyone who loves to prepare and eat Italian food, as I do. Others apparently agree, as it won both the James Beard Foundation Cookbook of the Year award and the IACP Cookbook of the Year award. The author's aim was to collect and preserve the culinary heritage of this region before it disappears due to the encroachment of modern industrial food production and the accelerated pace of modern life. The book has a chapter on breads of the region, which is very interesting. This recipe was the one that appealed to me. Most of the other breads she described have been included in other books I already have, such as Carol Field's The Italian Baker. And when she introduces the recipe by writing, “If I could make only one bread for the rest of my life, it would be this loaf.” How could I not make it, at least once?

Ms. Kasper reports that, until quite recently, most homemade breads in Emilia-Romagna were made with what we would call pâte fermentée (a piece of dough saved from the prior day's baking. The Italian term for this is pasta di riporto, or “dough that is carried over.”) However, all her bread recipes are made with a yeasted pre-ferment she calls a “sponge,” which is equivalent to a French poolish, actually.

After consideration of various approaches, I decided to make this bread with a biga naturale, figuring that would be closer to the original bread than Ms. Kasper's recipe. I kept the proportion of pre-fermented flour and the total dough hydration the same. I would assume that, in the past, a higher extraction flour or even whole wheat flour predominated. For this first bake, I kept to Ms. Kasper's formula. Pretty much. I did increase the percentage of whole wheat flour a bit. I have also modified her procedures somewhat. For example, I do an autolyse, specify a shorter mix and add a Stretch and Fold during bulk fermentation.

I converted the “English” weights Ms. Kasper provides to grams, calculated the bakers' percentages (after my slight modifications in proportions and switch in pre-ferments) and scaled the formula to make a one kilogram loaf.

 

Total Dough

Wt. (g)

Bakers %

All purpose flour

440

80

Whole wheat flour

110

20

Water

275

50

Red-skinned potatoes

110

20

Wheat berries

55

10

Salt

11

2

Total

1001

182

Pre-fermented flour = 27% of total flour

 

Biga Naturale

Wt. (g)

Bakers %

DMS Sourdough feeding mix*

175

100

Water (100ºF)

87

50

Firm (50% hydration) starter

35

20

Total

297

170

  1. Dissolve the firm starter in the water. Add the flours and mix thoroughly.

  2. Cover tightly and ferment at room temperature for 12-16 hours.

* My sourdough feeding mix is 70% AP, 20%WW and 10% Whole or medium rye flour.

 

Final Dough

Wt. (g)

All purpose flour

265

Whole wheat flour

110

Red-skinned potatoes

110

Wheat berries

55

Salt

11

Potato water

188

Biga naturale

262

Total

1001

Procedures

  1. Boil the unpeeled potatoes in water to cover until very tender. Cool and peel.

  2. Reserve 188g of the water in which the potatoes were boiled, cooled to room temperature, and purée the potatoes in it. (I mashed the potatoes with a fork, added the reserved water and stirred.) Reserve.

  3. Put the wheat berries in a sauce pan and cover well with water. Bring it to a boil and boil for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain and cool. Use a blender, food processor or mortar and pestle to lightly crush the berries. Set aside at room temperature.

  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the potato purée, whole wheat flour and the all purpose flour. Mix at low speed for a couple minutes to combine the ingredients well. Cover the bowl and let it stand for 20-60 minutes. (Autolyse)

  5. Switch to the dough hook. Add the salt and the biga and mix at Speed 2 to achieve good gluten development (about 6 minutes). The dough should clean the sides and the most of the bottom of the mixer bowl. It should be elastic but still soft and tacky.

  6. Add the wheat berries to the bowl and mix at Speed 1 for 1 to 2 minutes to distribute the berries evenly. If needed, transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and knead an additional minute or so to better distribute the berries.

  7. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  8. Ferment at room temperature until the dough has increased to 2.5 to 3 times the original volume (2-3 hours). Do a Stretch and Fold at 1 hour. (It was 68ºF in my kitchen – a bit cool – and the fermentation was moving slowly, so, after an hour, I put the dough in my proofing box, with the temperature set at 76ºF.)

  9. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and pre-shape round. Cover the dough with a towel and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

  10. Shape the dough as a boule and proof at room temperature on a peel coated with polenta, on a linen couche or in a lined banneton. Cover with a towel or place in a plastic bag. Proof fully (until doubled in volume). This should take about 90 minutes. Note: Kasper calls for proofing on the peel. The other options (couche or banneton) are my suggestions.

  11. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat your oven to 480ºF with a baking stone and your steaming apparatus in place.

  12. Transfer the loaf to a peel. Turn down the oven to 400ºF. Steam the oven. Transfer the loaf to your baking stone. Note: Kasper does not mention scoring the loaf. With the very full proof, this may not be needed, as there will be less oven spring than in a less fully proofed loaf. (For this first bake, I proofed the loaf to the point that a finger poke resulted in the dough springing back very slowly. I chose to score the loaf with a simple cross, and got exuberant oven spring.)

  13. After 15 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus. Continue baking for another 45-60 minutes or until the loaf is fully baked. (The loaf sounds hollow when thumped on its bottom. The internal temperature is at least 205ºF.) Note: If you have a convection oven, after the first 15 minutes, you can switch to convection-bake and reduce the oven temperature setting 25ºF. This will result in a crisper crust and more even browning.

  14. Remove the loaf to a cooling rack and cool completely (90-120 minutes) before slicing.

 

Note: My wife's persimmon cookies photobombed my crumb photo!

The crust developed some nice crackles. It was very crunchy, and when you bite into a wheat berry you get a pronounced nutty flavor hit! Yum! The crumb is not as soft as expected and rather chewy. A shorter mix next time, perhaps. The wheat berries within the crumb are nice and chewy. The flavor of the crust was sweet and nutty. The crumb was wheatier than expected, given the low percentage of whole wheat. Perhaps the wheat berries contribute more flavor than expected. I think I would still increase the percentage of whole wheat the next time I bake this bread. The bread was moderately sour.

This is a delicious bread, and I expect it will be even better tomorrow. I think it's a keeper! I'll be making it again.

Happy Baking!

David

Submitted to yeastspotting

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dmsnyder

It's been a busy week. I baked these loaves Monday and took some to my Italian class Tuesday evening where it was appreciated. I have tried this bread untoasted plain and with butter and with goat cheese and toasted with butter and with almond butter. All were very nice. The formula is from Hamelman's Bread.

Although my wife and I both enjoyed this bread a lot, among the various dried fruit/toasted nut sourdough breads I've made, I think we liked the sour cherry-pecan San Francisco-style Sourdough the best. But all have been really enjoyable.

Happy Baking!

David

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dmsnyder

Yesterday, I baked a couple loaves of my version of the Pain de Campagne from Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast. I increase the whole wheat flour proportion and also substitute some medium rye for AP flour. And then, of course, my timing of the various steps is quite different from Forkish's. Anyway, it's really good bread.

 I also made a couple loaves of San Francisco-style Sourdough with dried sour cherries and toasted hazelnuts. I used Forkish's standard levain for both of these breads.

Here is the formula and procedures for the Cherry-Hazelnut Sourdough:

 

Final dough

Wt (g)

AP flour

416

WW Flour

46

Water (80ºF)

350

Salt

11

80% hydration levain

200

Roasted & peeled hazelnuts, wholes and halves

100

Dried sour cherries (rinsed & drained)

100

Total

1223

 

Method

  1. In a stand mixer, mix the flour and water at low speed until it forms a shaggy mass.

  2. Cover and autolyse for 30 minutes

  3. Add the salt and levain to the autolyse, and mix at low speed for 1-2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium (Speed 2 on a KitchenAid) and mix for 5 minutes. Add flour and water as needed. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl but not the bottom.

  4. Add the nuts and the cherries to the dough and mix at low speed until well-distributed in the dough. (About 2 minutes)

  5. Transfer to a lightly floured board, do a stretch and fold, and form a ball.

  6. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  7. Ferment at 76º F for 2 1/2 to 3 hours with a stretch and fold at 50 and 100 minutes.

  8. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.

  9. Pre-shape as rounds and rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

  10. Shape as boules or bâtards and place in bannetons. Place bannetons in plastic bags.

  11. Proof at room temperature (68-70º F) for 30 minutes or so.

  12. Cold retard the loaves overnight.

  13. The next morning, proof the loaves at room temperature while the oven pre-heats.

  14. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480º F with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  15. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score the loaves as desired, turn down the oven to 460º F, steam the oven, and transfer the loaves to the baking stone.

  16. After 15 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus, and turn down the oven to 435º F/Convection. (If you don't have a convection oven, leave the temperature at 460º F.)

  17. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until nicely browned and the loaves sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

  18. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack, and cool thoroughly before slicing.



This bread has a nice San Francisco-style sourdough flavor. The Hazelnuts have a mild, nutty flavor, but the cherries are the star of the show with a hit of intense fruity tartness. 

We took a loaf of each bread to some friends house for dinner. The Cherry-Hazelnut sourdough was pretty yummy with cheeses and an Orvieto, which they had brought back from Orvieto.

Happy baking!

David

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This past weekend, I attended a conference in Portland, Oregon, so I wasn't home to bake. I want to assure you my suffering was not intolerable. Susan and managed a long-deferred visit to Ken's Artisan Bakery. 

After checking the hours and offerings online, we went to Ken's for lunch on Sunday, before heading to PDX for our flight home. The bakery was in active production, and new batches of breads and pastries were being brought out for sale and consumption more or less continuously. Ken's offered about a half dozen different breads, a variety of viennoiserie and a few pastries and cookies. They offer sandwiches, salads and soup to eat in or take out. Oh, also Stumptown coffee, including espresso. The work areas are open to the ordering line and tables. There are huge windows on two sides of the corner building which were wide open where we sat on a gorgeous, sunny day.

Here are a few photos:

I had a tuna sandwich on Ken's Multigrain Bread, and we shared a salad that came with some sliced baguette. The multigrain bread was very good. I'm quite sure it was a sourdough bread spiked with some commercial yeast. It had a really crunchy crust and nice tender crumb with some mixed seeds. The baguette was super classical Parisian baguette. I'd bet anything it was sur poolish. It had a thin, crackly crust with a very sweet, wheaty crumb that was quite open. Here's a crumb photo of Ken's "Parisian Baguette:"

I (sort of) shared a Canelé and a cherry and strawberry crostata. Both pastries were very good. We'll have to return - hopefully soon - to try Ken's croissants, which have a stellar reputation and did look delicious. 

So, I'm back home ... with the levain ripe and ready to make Pain de Campagne. From FWSY, of course.

David

 

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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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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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