The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Powerless Baguettes: Not pretty but quite tasty.

April 10, 2013

A couple days ago, my wife pointedly remarked that there were only two baguettes left in the freezer. This was a fair warning, so I built up a liquid levain and made a batch of SJ SD dough. This afternoon, I divided, pre-shaped, proofed, slashed and loaded 4 baguettes in the oven. The timing was perfect to have them out of the oven in time to get to the farmer's market when it opened and then to enjoy fresh-baked baguette with dinner.

Eight minutes into a planned 20-minute bake, our power went out. The oven is electric. What to do? Well, I removed the steaming skillet as usual at 10 minutes. At 20 minutes, the loaves were browned somewhat, but still pretty pale. I gave them another 7 minutes in the cooling oven, at which point they were still rather pale but had a nice hollow thump and were over 205ºF internally. So, I took them out and let them cool.

 

The oven spring seemed pretty normal. The bloom was a bit crazy, but I don't know whether that was my scoring or an effect of the cooling oven after the first 8 minutes. The crust was pale and kind of soft, but I can't say the crumb structure suffered.

 

The crust did have some crispness but was more chewy. The crumb was fully baked. It was chewier than usual. The flavor was excellent – about the same as the last SJ SD Baguette bake, currently featured on the home page. I ate half a loaf with dinner.

David

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Today's bake was the Pain au Levain from Hamelman's Bread. It is the "whitest" bread I bake - the opposite end of a spectrum from the 80% rye I recently posted - yet I also characterize it as a "real bread." 

For some reason, this 3-cut scoring of a bâtard is more challenging to me than the 5 to 7-cut scoring of a baguette. This is my best attempt yet.

These loaves sang long and loudly during cooling. The crust had some nice crackles.

A nice, open crumb, too.

The 1-cut loaf was gifted to friends, along with a big hunk of the 80% rye. We enjoyed the other pain au levain with our dinner of chicken fricasee and Swiss chard. The crust was crunchy, and the crumb was chewy. The flavor was nice, sweet, wheaty pain au levain with no perceptible sourness.

David

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It has been almost a year since I last baked this bread. (See Three-Stage 80% Sourdough Rye Bread from Hamelman's "Bread" for the formula and method.) It is very similar to the 70% rye in Bread and to "Hansjoakim's Favorite 70% Rye," both of which are delicious. I do believe that this bread, which uses the "3-stage Detmolder" technique for elaborating the rye sour, yields a slightly better flavor than any other high-percentage rye breads I have baked. The Brød and Taylor Proofing Box makes the necessary temperature control easy. 

I slightly over-proofed this loaf. By time I transferred it to the peel for loading, some of the dough stuck to the bottom of the brotform. The dough had a consistancy reminiscent of chocolate mouse. For fear it would stick to the peel, even with a heavy dusting of semolina, I transferred it to parchment paper. Miraculously, the loaf kept it's shape. It didn't have much oven spring, but it didn't collapse. I baked this 1800 g loaf at 490 dF for 10 minutes, the first 5 with steam. I then lowered the temperature to 410 dF and baked for another 60 minutes. This resulted in a darker crust than my previous bake and a better crust consistancy and flavor, to my taste. While the profile was lower than my previous bake, the end result was more than satisfactory.

After cooling for 4 hours, I wrapped the loaf in baker's linen and let it cure for about 40 hours before slicing it.

The crust was chewy and the crumb was tender and almost creamy. The flavor was sweet and earthy with the barest sour tang. It was just delicious plain and with a thin spread of sweet butter. I'm hoping I can get some cold smoked salmon to go with this tomorrow, if not, it's pretty darned good with pickled herring too.

I know the recipes for 3-stage Detmolder rye breads look rather formidable on first reading, but they are really not too demanding, if you plan the schedule of rye sour elaborations to fit other demands and you can get comfortable handling high-percentage rye doughs. (Shaping with a wet board and wet hands is highly recommended!) The results are certainly worth the challenge. If you asked for a few examples of "real bread" - the antithesis of supermarket, cotton wool, pre-sliced, packaged in plastic white bread - this would certainly be among them.

Happy baking!

David

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San Joaquin Sourdough Baguettes

April 1, 2013

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.

Today's bake takes the San Joaquin Sourdough back to its roots, so to speak. I used my current formula and method to make San Joaquin Sourdough baguettes. I am very happy with the results.

 

Total ingredients

Wt (g)

Bakers %

AP Flour

479

89

WW Flour

33

6

Medium rye Flour

29

5

Water

392

72

Salt

10

1.8

Liquid starter

17

3

Total

960

176.8

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

 

Final dough ingredients

Wt (g)

AP Flour

450

WW Flour

25

Medium rye Flour

25

Water

350

Salt

10

Liquid levain

100

Total

960

 

Method

  1. Mix the levain by dissolving the liquid starter in the water, then add the flours and mix well. Ferment at room temperature, covered tightly, until the surface is bubbly and wrinkled. (8-12 hours)

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

  3. Add the salt and mix to incorporate.

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

  5. 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.

  6. Refrigerate the dough for 18-24 hours.

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

  8. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and pre-shape as logs or round.

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

  10. Shape as baguettes and proof for 45 minutes, covered.

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

  12. Transfer the baguettes to your peel. Turn down the oven to 480ºF. Score the loaves 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. (Note: After 10 minutes, I switched my oven to convection bake and turned the temperature down to 455ºF.)

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

 

 

When tasted about 2 hours after baking, the crust was crunchy and the crumb was soft. The flavor was complex, with a caramelized nuttiness from the crust and a sweet, wheaty flavor from the crumb. There was some mild acidity but no discernible acetic acid tanginess. These are among the best-flavored sourdough baguettes I have ever tasted. Very yummy fresh baked and with great sandwich, crostini, toast and French toast potential.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

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Miche made with High-extraction Flour

March 20, 2013

I have been meaning to bake another miche for some weeks. Yesterday, I made one. It is quite similar to the one on which I blogged in This miche is a hit!  All the flour in both the levain and the final dough was Central Milling T85 flour. The differences were: I did the initial mix in my Bosch Universal Plus, rather than by hand. I scaled it to 2 kg, and I omitted the toasted wheat germ.

The miche was baked with steam at 450ºF for 15 minutes, then at 425ºF convection for another 45 minutes. I left it in the turned off oven with the door ajar for another 30 minutes. After cooling on a rack for 3 hours, I wrapped it in baker's linen and let it rest for 24 hours before slicing it.

 

The crust was crunchy and the crumb was tender. The flavor was wheaty and sweet with a moderate sourdough tang. Very tasty. Highly recommended.

David 

 

 

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Jewish Sour Rye Bread

March 15, 2013

As some of the TFL old-timers may recall, I started baking bread again about 7 years ago, in part because I had a craving for Jewish Rye Bread, and I had no local source. One of the first baking books I bought was George Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker, and found that his recipe for “Jewish Sour Rye” produced just what I had hoped. However, Greenstein provided ingredients only in volume measurements. In October, 2008, after making this Jewish Sour Rye quite a few times, I weighed all the ingredients and have been using those measurements ever since.

Today, I baked this bread again. The formula I have been using makes two good-sized loaves of 750 g each. I am providing baker's percentages for the convenience those who might wish to scale up or down.

 

Total dough ingredients

Wt. (g)

Baker's %

Medium rye flour

375

44

Bread or First Clear flour

480

56

Water

615

72

Instant yeast

7

0.8

Salt

12

1.4

Caraway seeds

11

1.3

Altus (optional)

1/2 cup

 

Cornmeal for dusting parchment

1/4 cup

 

Cornstarch glaze

 

 

Total

1500

175.5

Notes: I have always used First Clear flour in the past. Today, for the first time, I used Bread Flour (14% protein). I did not use altus today.

Traditionally, Jewish Sour Rye is made with white rye flour. I found I much prefer the fuller flavor of medium rye flour.

If you have a rye sour, build it up to a volume of 4 cups or so the day before mixing the dough. If you do not have a rye sour but do have a wheat-based sourdough starter, you can easily convert it to a white rye starter by feeding it 2-3 times with rye flour over 2-3 days.

 

Rye sour ingredients

Wt. (g)

Baker's %

Medium rye flour

365

100

Water

365

100

Active rye sour

20

20

Total

750

220

  1. Dissolve the rye sour in the water in a large bowl.

  2. Add the rye flour and mix well.

  3. Cover the surface of the sour with a thin layer of rye flour.

  4. Cover the bowl and ferment until the dry flour forms widely spread “islands.” If necessary, refrigerate overnight.

 

Final dough ingredients

Wt. (g)

Bread or First Clear flour

480

Water (80ºF)

240

Salt

12

Instant yeast

7

Caraway seeds

11

Rye sour

750

Altus (optional)

1/2 cup

Total

1500

 

Method

  1. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the yeast in the water, then add the rye sour and mix thoroughly with your hands, a spoon or, if using a mixer, with the paddle.

  2. Stir the salt into the flour and add this to the bowl and mix well.

  3. Dump the dough onto the lightly floured board and knead until smooth. If using a mixer, switch to the dough hook and knead at Speed 2 until the dough begins to clear the sides of the bowl (8-12 minutes). Add the Caraway Seeds about 1 minute before finished kneading. Even if using a mixer, I transfer the dough to the board and continue kneading for a couple minutes. The dough should be smooth but a bit sticky.

  4. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

  5. Transfer the dough back to the board and divide it into two equal pieces.

  6. Form each piece into a pan loaf, free-standing long loaf or boule.

  7. Dust a piece of parchment paper or a baking pan liberally with cornmeal, and transfer the loaves to the parchment, keeping them at least 3 inches apart so they do not join when risen.

  8. Cover the loaves and let them rise until double in size. (About 60 minutes.)

  9. Pre-heat the oven to 500F with a baking stone in place optionally. Prepare your oven steaming method of choice.

  10. Prepare the cornstarch glaze. Whisk 1-1/2 to 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch in ¼ cup of water. Pour this slowly into a sauce pan containing 1 cup of gently boiling water, whisking constantly. Continue cooking and stirring until slightly thickened (a few seconds, only!) and remove the pan from heat. Set it aside.

  11. When the loaves are fully proofed, uncover them. Brush them with the cornstarch glaze. Score them. (3 cuts across the long axis of the loaves would be typical.) Turn down the oven temperature to 460F. Transfer the loaves to the oven, and steam the oven.

  12. After 15 minutes, remove any container with water from the oven, turn the oven temperature down to 440F and continue baking for 20-25 minutes more.

  13. The loaves are done when the crust is very firm, the internal temperature is at least 205 degrees and the loaves give a “hollow” sound when thumped on the bottom. When they are done, leave them in the oven with the heat turned off and the door cracked open a couple of inches for another 5-10 minutes.

  14. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Brush again with the cornstarch glaze.

  15. Cool completely before slicing.


The crust was chewy as was the crumb. I have never been able to get the classic crackly crust that Sour Rye should have. The flavor was very good, with a mild sour tang and just enough caraway flavor to my taste. However, there was a flavor note missing, again, to my taste, because of my having substituted bread flour for first clear. Although KAF sells first clear flour, Hamelman never prescribes its use, even in his formula he likens to Jewish Rye. I prefer this bread made with first clear, based on today's experience, but it is really good with bread flour too.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

Addendum: On March 7, 2014, I amended the baking temperatures and timing. The higher temperature and shorter baking time yield a darker, crisper crust which I prefer. There also seems to be less frequent bursting of the loaves.

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San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with Walnuts and Dried Sour Cherries

March 12, 2013

On March 3, 2013, I blogged about the San Francisco-style bread with Walnuts and Figs I had baked. More recently, SallyBR tried that formula, substituting dates for the figs and found it to be very good. Today, I baked another version this time substituting dried sour cherries for the figs. The formula was otherwise the same. The procedures were different only in my treatment of the levain which was adapted to my scheduling needs.

 

Total Dough Ingredients

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

AP flour

76

416

WW Flour

8

46

Bread flour

14

78

Medium rye flour

0.7

4

Water

69

378

Salt

2

11

Stiff starter

12

66

Walnuts

18

98

Dried sour cherries

18

98

Total

217.7

1195

  

Stiff levain

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

Bread flour

95

78

Medium rye flour

5

4

Water

50

41

Stiff starter

80

66

Total

230

189

  1. Dissolve the starter in the water. Add the flour and mix thoroughly until the flour has been completely incorporated and moistened.

  2. Ferment at room temperature for 6 hours.

  3. Refrigerate overnight.

 

Final dough

Wt (g)

AP flour

416

WW Flour

46

Water (80ºF)

337

Salt

11

Stiff levain

189

Walnuts

98

Dried sour cherries

98

Total

1195

 

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. Coarsely chop or break apart the walnut pieces and toast them for 8 minutes in a 300ºF oven. Allow to cool.

  4. 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.

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

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

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

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

  9. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.

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

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

  12. Proof at room temperature (68-70º F) for 1-2 hours.

  13. Cold retard the loaves overnight.

  14. The next morning, proof the loaves at 85º F for 2-3 hours.

  15. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480º F with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.)

  18. Bake for another 15 minutes.

  19. Turn off the oven, and leave the loaves on the stone, with the oven door ajar, for another 15 minutes.

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

The crust was crunchy, and the crumb was chewy. The bread is moderately tangy. It is delicious with bursts of tartness when you bite into a cherry. This is a very good bread. Personally, I prefer the version with figs, but your taste my be different.  My wife likes the cherry version better, but she says, "I like them both. Yummmm..." My recommendation: Try both. 

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

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San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with Walnuts and Figs

March 3, 2013

I like sourdough breads with nuts and dried fruit, but not very often. They are enjoyed as something special and “different,” but I much prefer an unadulterated San Francisco-style sourdough or Pain au Levain as my daily bread. Well, it has been quite some time since I made a sourdough bread with dried fruit and nuts, and I have developed a craving.

This year, the quality of locally grown dried Calmyrna figs has been outstanding. I've been going through a pound of them every 10 days or so for the past several months. I would eat even more, but my gut wouldn't take it. (Let's just point out that dried figs are an excellent source of soluble fiber.)

I have made walnut bread with my San Francisco-style sourdough several times, and it has been delicious. Therefore, I decided to make a bread based on my San Francisco-style Sourdough with walnuts and dried figs. I took the baker's percentages of the nuts and figs from Hamelman's formula for Hazelnut-Fig Levain.

 

Total Dough Ingredients

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

AP flour

76

416

WW Flour

8

46

Bread flour

14

78

Medium rye flour

0.7

4

Water

69

378

Salt

2

11

Stiff starter

12

66

Walnuts

18

98

Dried figs

18

98

Total

217.7

1195

 

Stiff levain

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

Bread flour

95

78

Medium rye flour

5

4

Water

50

41

Stiff starter

80

66

Total

230

189

  1. Dissolve the starter in the water. Add the flour and mix thoroughly until the flour has been completely incorporated and moistened.

  2. Ferment at room temperature for 16 hours.

Final dough

Wt (g)

AP flour

416

WW Flour

46

Water

337

Salt

11

Stiff levain

189

Walnuts

98

Dried figs

98

Total

1195

 

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. Coarsely chop or break apart the walnut pieces and toast them for 8 minutes in a 300ºF oven. Allow to cool.

  4. Coarsely chop the dried figs, rinse in cool water, drain and set aside.

  5. 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.

  6. Add the walnuts and the figs to the dough and mix at low speed until well-distributed in the dough. (About 2 minutes)

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

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

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

  10. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.

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

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

  13. Proof at room temperature (68-70º F) for 1-2 hours.

  14. Cold retard the loaves overnight.

  15. The next morning, proof the loaves at 85º F for 2-3 hours.

  16. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480º F with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.)

  19. Bake for another 15 minutes.

  20. Turn off the oven, and leave the loaves on the stone, with the oven door ajar, for another 15 minutes.

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

 

The crust was crunchy. The crumb was stained by the walnuts and, perhaps, somewhat by the figs. The flavor was very good, mildly sour sourdough with hits of nutty and figgy yumminess. The nuts and figs are sparse enough so the good bread flavor still comes through. This is a bread I could make a meal of. I think it will also be great with a thin spread of butter or cream cheese or with a tangy gorgonzola or sharp cheddar.

 This bread is delicious and highly recommended.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting 

 

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In October, 2011, I baked a bread I called “pugliese capriccioso.” The formula was based on my best understanding derived from reading formulas in American books of what typical breads from Apulia are like. I baked another version, differing in the use of a firm starter (biga), in February, 2012. I remain unbiased by personal experience of the authentic bread, but the breads were good. Several other TFL bakers have made these breads, and all those reporting found them good as well.

More recently, I baked Hamelman's “Durum Bread,” which is 100% durum flour. I didn't like it as well as my pugliese, but my posting stimulated some interesting discussion regarding this type of bread and has prompted me to try a re-formulated pugliese capriccioso, using a higher percentage of durum flour.

My new formula uses a stiff biga made with bread flour (12.7% protein). Fifty percent of the flour is “fancy (finely milled) durum.” Forty percent of the flour is pre-fermented. Hydration is 80%

 

Total Dough Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Bread flour

180

36

AP flour

70

14

Fine durum flour

250

50

Water

400

80

Salt

10

2

Active starter (50% hydration)

36

7

Total

946

189

 

Biga Naturale Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Bread flour

180

100

Water

90

50

Active starter (50% hydration)

36

20

Total

306

170

  1. The day before baking, mix the biga.

  2. Ferment for 8 hours at 70ºF.

  3. Refrigerate overnight

Final Dough Ingredients

Wt (g)

AP flour

70

Fine durum flour

250

Water

310

Salt

10

Biga naturale

306

Total

946

 

Method

  1. Take the biga out of the refrigerator and let it warm up for about an hour.

  2. Mix the water and flours to a shaggy mass, cover and autolyse for 20-60 minutes.

  3. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and add the biga in chunks.

  4. Mix at Speed 1 for 1-2 minutes until the ingredients are well-mixed.

  5. Mix at Speed 2 for about 10 minutes. The dough will be quite slack. It will almost clean the sides of the bowl and form a ball on the dough hook, but a large portion of the dough will still be on the bottom of the bowl.

  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl with a tight-fitting cover.

  7. Ferment at 76ºF for 2 1/2 to 3 hours with a stretch and fold at 40, 80 and 120 minutes.

  8. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Pre-shape into balls and let the dough rest for 10 minutes to relax the gluten. (This wasn't much of an issue. The dough was extremely relaxed and extensible.)

  9. Shape the pieces as tight boules and place them seam-side down in floured bannetons.

  10. Place the bannetons in a food-safe plastic bag or cover with a damp towel. Proof the boules at 85ºF until the dough springs back slowly when you poke a finger into it. (About 2 hours)

  11. 45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  12. Transfer the loaves to the baking stone, seam-side up, steam the oven and turn the temperature down to 460ºF.

  13. After 12 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus. Bake for another 14 minutes or until the loaves are done. The crust should be nicely colored. The internal temperature should be at least 205ºF.

  14. Leave the loaves on the baking stone with the oven turned off and the door ajar for another 10 minutes to dry the crust.

  15. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

These loaves are about half the size of my previous pani pugliesi. One will be gifted to my Italian language teacher who grew up in Palermo and loves bread, I am told. I'm eager to hear her assessment of my pugliese's authenticiy.

These smaller loves have the appearance of miniature versions of the larger ones, with similar crust color and texture. The crust was firm when they were first taken out of the oven, but it softened as the breads cooled. I was hoping the folds would open some with oven spring. That's why I baked them seam-side up. They opened up a bit on one loaf. They probably would have opened more if I had under-proofed a bit.

 

Slicing revealed the crumb was moderately open – less so than the pugliesi made with 25% durum, more so than the 100% durum loaf, although that had lower hydration also. The dough had been quite yellow, but the baked crumb was less yellow.

The crust was thin and chewy. The crumb was tender and cool-feeling. The flavor was not as sweet as the previous pugliese versions, but the crust in particular had a nuttier flavor. This bread was more enjoyable eaten with other foods than alone, in my opinion. I am curious how the flavor will develop over the next couple days.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

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Durum Bread from Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman

The second edition of Hamelman's Bread includes 40 new recipes. This is the first of the new recipes I have made. Hamelman writes that this formula for “Durum Bread” is the best of a series of “test batches” he made some years ago. He does not describe it further and does not identify it as an Italian-style bread, although it does bring to mind Italian breads made with durum flour.

To me, the most remarkable features are that Hamelman's “Durum Bread” is 90% durum flour. (Bread flour is used in the liquid levain feeding.) It is a high-hydration dough at 80%. It uses both a yeasted biga and a liquid levain. Hamelman recommends a bassinage technique (“double hydration") be used for mixing.

 

Overall formula

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Durum flour

900

90

Bread flour

100

10

Water

800

80

Salt

20

2

Yeast

5

0.5

Total

1825

182.5

 

Biga

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Durum flour

300

100

Water

195

65

Yeast

0.3

0.1

Total

495.3

165.1

 

Liquid levain

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Bread flour

100

100

Water

125

125

Mature liquid culture

20

20

Total

245

 

 

Final dough

Wt (g)

Durum flour

600

Water

480

Salt

20

Yeast

5

Biga

495.3

Liquid levain

225

Total

1825.3

 

Procedures

  1. Mix the biga and ferment for 12-16 hours. It is ripe when domed and just starting to recede in the center. Note that, because of the great ability of durum flour to absorb water, this biga is firmer than the usual “firm levain.”

  2. Mix the liquid levain at the same time as the biga and let it ferment for the same time. Note: My levain ripened faster than the biga, so I refrigerated it for a couple of hours to let the biga “catch up.”

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all but 1/3 cup of the final dough water along with the liquid levain and mix to disperse the levain. Then, add the biga cut in 5 or 6 pieces, and mix at slow speed to dissolve it somewhat. Then add the remaining durum flour, yeast and salt. Mix at slow speed for 2 or 3 minutes to combine the ingredients then at Speed 2 for about 6 minutes to develop the gluten. Scrape the dough off the hook and make a well in the middle of it. Pour the reserved water in the well, lower the hook, and mix at low speed until the water if fully incorporated. The dough will be quite loose.

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

  5. Ferment the dough for about 2 hours with stretch and folds at 40 and 80 minutes.

  6. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape them as balls. Let them rest, covered, for 20 minutes or so to relax the gluten.

  7. Shape the pieces as boules or bâtards and place in bannetons or en couche. Proof, covered, for about 1 hour.

  8. Pre-heat the oven to 500ºF for 1 hour with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  9. Turn down the oven to 450ºF. Transfer the loaves to a peel, score the loaves, steam the oven and transfer the loaves to the baking stone.

  10. After 15 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus and continue to bake for another 23 minutes or so. (After the first 15 minutes, I continued baking at 425ºF with convection for the remainder of the time.) The loaves are done when the crust is nicely browned, the loaves sound hollow when thumped on the bottom and the internal temperature is over 205ºF.

  11. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack and cool for 1-2 hours before slicing.

 

The loaves had a somewhat crisp, chewy crust. The crumb was less open than I expected, but I think this may be characteristic of bread made with mostly durum flour. Maybe it has to do with the quality of gluten in this flour.

The flavor of the bread was distinctive. I don't know how to describe it, but it was like that of the other breads I have made with durum flour. I was thinking it was not a flavor I especially like, until I tried it dipped in olive oil with a little balsamic vinegar. That was spectacular! It was a magical combination of flavors that was delightful. It made me wonder about using this bread in other characteristic Italian ways – as garlic bread or toasted and eaten with a hearty ribollito soup.

I gave one of the loaves to a friend who grew up in a village near Rome. I am awaiting her assessment with the greatest interest.

David 

Submitted to YeastSpotting

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