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Pat's (proth5) baguettes have been my “go to” recipe for baguettes for quite a while. When she posted a new formula in November  - See Starting to get the Bear  - I promised myself to give them a try. I got around to it today.


These baguettes are made with both levain and a poolish and are spiked with some instant yeast. They still have a relatively long fermentation, for yeasted baguettes. Pat's description of her method included baking some of the dough the day they are mixed and retarding some to shape, proof and bake the next day.


Here is my interpretation of her formula a methods, with some modifications, as described below.


 


Poolish

 

Ingredients

Wt (oz)

AP flour

3.7

Water

3.7

Instant yeast

“generous pinch”

 

Levain

 

Ingredients

Wt (oz)

AP flour

1.7

Water

1.7

Ripe sourdough

0.35

 

Final dough

 

Ingredients

Wt (oz)

AP flour

31.35

Water

19.2

Instant yeast

0.05

Salt

0.55

Poolish

All

Levain

All

 

Total dough

 

 

Ingredients

Wt (oz)

Baker's %

AP flour

37.1

100

Water

25

67.25

Instant yeast

0.1

0.25

Salt

0.55

1.5

Starter

0.35

9

Total

63.1

178

     

  1. Mix the poolish and the levain and let them ferment at room temperature for 8-12 hours.

  2. Mix all the ingredients except the salt to a shaggy mass. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes. (I actually autolysed for 90 minutes.)

  3. Add the salt and hand mix in a large bowl or machine mix for 3-5 minutes at low speed. (I hand mixed the dough.)

  4. Bulk ferment for 4.5 hours with a stretch and fold at 2 hours. (Or, cold retard for up to some length of time, but surely less than 3 days. Or divide some pieces and retard the rest of the dough. This time, I divided the dough in two after the S&F and retarded half.)

  5. Divide into 10 oz pieces and pre-shape as logs. Rest the pieces, covered, for 20-30 minutes.

  6. Shape as baguettes.

  7. Proof en couche for 1.5 hours (Or until ready. Or retard shaped loaves.)

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

  9. Transfer loaves to peel. Score them and transfer them to the oven.

  10. Bake with steam for 5 minutes. Then lower temperature to 480ºF (convection, if you have it), and bake for another 12-13 minutes.

  11. Transfer to a cooling rack and cooling thoroughly before eating.

 

Because of the size of my baking stone, I divided half the dough into 4 pieces to make mini-baguettes.The dough handled really nicely, I thought. The baguettes were proofed and baked as above, according to Pat's directions. After 17 minutes, they were rather dark, especially the one at the back of the oven. They sang loudly when removed to cool. They came out of the oven just in time to eat with dinner, for a change, rather than just in time for bedtime snack.

Baguette crumb - torn, not cut

We ate one baguette with dinner – Sautéed petrale sole, leeks vinaigrette and warm Swiss chard salad with olive oil and lemon dressing.

The crust was very crunchy. The crumb was quite chewy and nicely aerated. The flavor was good, but I will use a bit more salt next time. I think I will also bake at a somewhat lower temperature for a slightly longer time. 460-480ºF for 20 minutes would be better for me, I think.

Addendum: I baked the second batch of baguettes today. I baked these at 470ºF for 20 minutes.

Baguettes with varied shaping and scoring

Compared to the first batch, the second had less dark crust. It was very crisp. The crumb was basically the same. The flavor was noticeably sweeter, but it still was under-salted to my taste.

These are very nice baguettes. I'll be following Pat's reports of her continuing bear hunt.

David

 

 

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A couple weeks ago, I posted my bake of the Whole Wheat Bread from Reinhart's BBA, made with fresh-milled flour. A reply by Karin (hanseata) prompted me to bake the “100% Whole Wheat Bread” from Reinhart's newer Whole Grain Baking book. I had made this bread once before leavened with sourdough starter and didn't particularly care for the combination of sourdough tang and whole wheat flavor, but I thought I really should make it again using instant yeast and with fresh-milled whole wheat.


The differences between the formulas for whole wheat bread in BBA and WGB are clearly evolutionary and illustrate where Reinhart has gone with his thinking about drawing the best possible flavor and performance from whole grain flours. In the WGB version, essentially all the flour is either in a biga or a soaker, with an optional additional small amount used to adjustment dough consistency, if needed.


I followed the recipe in WGB closely, with these choices where there were options: For the liquid in the soaker, I used about 2/3 Greek-style yoghurt and 1/3 2% milk. For the fat, I used canola oil. I added less than an ounce of additional WW flour during kneading.


After bulk fermentation, I shaped a single bâtard which was proofed on a linen couch then baked in a Le Creuset oval roaster (in which it barely fit).



I baked at 425ºF (convection bake) with the cover on the roaster. After 10 minutes, I reduced the temperature to 350ºF, and, after 10 minutes more, I removed the cover. I baked another 20 minutes with the roaster uncovered. At that point, I felt the crust should be darker and firmer, although the internal temperature of the loaf was 185ºF. I removed the loaf from the roaster, placed it on a sheet pan and baked for another 10 minutes. I left the loaf in the turned off oven with the door ajar for another 10 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack.



The crust is thin, slightly crunchy and chewy. The texture of the crumb is moist and chewy – hard to describe but very pleasing. The chewiness is from the larger particles of grain, rather than from the gluten in the crumb. The crumb is otherwise quite soft – almost cake-like. I milled the wheat to the second finest setting. Next time, I plan to mill it at the finest setting, at least for the biga. The flavor is very similar to that of the BBA whole wheat bread but even better. There is no grassiness or bitterness from the bran, just a little sweetness from the honey and the wheat itself and good wheaty flavors. I much prefer this yeasted version to the sourdough one. 


This bread does not need any spreads or other enhancements. It is very satisfying plain. But I'm anticipating it will be equally delicious with almond butter or with eggs.


I also baked a couple boules of sourdough bread today. I used one of the formulas from the SFBI Artisan II Workshop, which calls for a liquid levain fed twice a day. These were baked in Lodge Combo Cookers.



David


Submitted to YeastSpotting


 

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Chicken, brie and apple panino


My brother, Glenn, and his wife gave us a panini press a few years ago. I confess to using it infrequently. Every time I do use it I wonder why we don't use it more often, because we really love panini.


Last night, I took a huge loaf of Country Rye Bread made from the formula in Tartine Bread out of the freezer for this morning's breakfast. As I left for the office this morning, I suggested to my wife that we make panini for dinner, to use this delicious bread while it was relatively fresh. She concurred. We made them. They were good.


Ingredients (for 2 panini)



  • Two baked chicken thighs seasoned with salt, pepper and dried herbs. (You could also grill or broil them and season them to your taste). Bone the thighs.

  • 6 thin slices of a quartered tart apple, skin on (braeburn, granny smith).

  • 8 thin slices of good brie about 1 x 4" each.

  • Chopped parsley (or water cress).

  • 4 slices Country Rye Bread from Tartine Bread (or any good country bread)

  • Olive oil (or walnut oil or olive oil infused with garlic and/or herbs).


Assembly

  1. Lay out the slices of bread so the outsides of the sandwiches are up. Brush the slices with the oil and turn them over.

  2. Add the other ingredients atop each of two slices of bread, in this order:

    1. 2 slices of brie

    2. One of the boned chicken thighs.

    3. 3 slices of apple.

    4. A sprinkling of chopped parsley.

    5. 2 slices of brie.

    6. Top each sandwich with another slice of bread, oiled side up.



Grilling

  1. Pre-heat your panini press on high.

  2. Place the panini on the grill and close the top.

  3. Grill for 30 seconds with gentle downward pressure on the upper grill handle.

  4. Grill for 3-5 minutes more without pressure until the cheese is melted and the bread is crisped and well-marked by the grill


Serve with a green salad or side dishes of your choice.


Mis en Place
Panini, assembled and on the grill
Panini ready to serve. (Cheese is definitely melted!)
Enjoy!
David Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

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A couple days ago, I tested my new KitchenAid Grain Mill's output with a formula calling for about 30% whole grain flour. It was very good. In fact, the flavor of that bread has improved over two days. Even as I dipped my toe in the home-milled flour waters, I knew that the real test, for me, would be how the flour performed in a 100% whole wheat bread.


Most of my breads are made with levain, but my favorite whole wheat bread has remained the “Whole Wheat Bread” from BBA. This is made with a soaker of coarse ground whole grains and a “poolish” made with whole wheat flour. I have used bulgur for the soaker in the past. Today, I used coarsely ground fresh-ground hard red winter wheat, the same wheat was used finely ground for the poolish and final dough. The formula can be made as a lean dough (plus honey) or can be enriched with oil and/or egg. I used both.


The KitchenAid Grain Mill does a great job with coarse grinding. I found that, with the first pass, the particle size is rather variable. It seems to even out by putting the flour through the mill again at the same setting.


I ground the rest of the grain at the next to finest setting. I put it through 3 passes of increasing fineness, actually. The flour ends up somewhere between semolina and AP flour fineness, at least by feel. This slightly coarse flour, fresh-ground, seems to absorb a bit less water than the KAF WW flour I usually use. I ended up adding about an extra tablespoon of flour to adjust dough consistency during mixing.


Bulk fermentation, dividing, shaping and proofing showed no differences I noticed from the behavior of this bread made with KAF WW flour. However, there was a remarkable difference in the aroma of the bread during baking and cooling. It filled the kitchen with a wheaty smell that both my wife and I found absolutely lovely. (As I write this, the bread is cooling. I hope it tastes as good as it smells!)


Another remarkable difference is that the color of the loaves is quite a bit lighter than loaves made with KAF WW flour and exactly the same other ingredients and the same baking time and temperature. I thought this might be because the KAF WW has malt added, but it is “100% hard red whole wheat,” according to the ingredient list on the bag.





The flavor of the bread is just perfect, to my taste. It has a wonderful whole wheat flavor with not a bit of grassiness. It is very slightly sweet. I used a very mild-flavored clover honey, and I cannot find any distinct honey taste in the bread. The flavor is bolder and more complex than this same bread made with KAF WW flour. I'm sold!


As I've written, above, Reinhart's whole wheat bread from BBA has been my favorite. I've made other whole wheat breads from formulas in Hamelman's “Bread” and Suas' “Advanced Bread & Pastry” that I found less tasty. I am now wondering how they would be if made with fresh-ground flour. Hmmmm …. This is shaping up to be a project.


David


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I've read with great interest discussions of home milling flour since I first joined TFL, but not wanting to get into the more arcane techniques of grain tempering, multiple graduated sifters and the like put me off. My interest was boosted by MC's interviews with Gérard Rubaud, who uses fresh hand milled grains to build his levains. (See Building a levain "à la Gérard": step 1) My recent experience chopping rye berries by hand did it though. I ordered the grain mill attachment for my KitchenAid Accolade mixer.


I'd been looking at grain mills for some time. I considered the Nutrimill, but I don't need to grind pounds and pounds of flour, and, from what I've read, it does not grind as coarse as I'd like to make cracked and chopped grains. Hand-cranked mills look cool, but my tiled kitchen counters don't work with appliances attached by vises. So, the KitchenAid attachment was a nice solution. I used it today for the first time.



KitchenAid Grain Mill


Based on my reading of reviews of this device, I ground some hard red winter wheat and some spelt berries by putting each through three passes of increasing fineness. I just ground about 200 g of each. There was no indication that this strained my mixer motor in the least. Each pass took 30 seconds or less. The resulting flour was a tad coarser than what I buy already milled, but finer than, say, semolina.



Fresh ground spelt flour



Fresh ground hard red winter wheat flour


My formula and procedures take off from Chad Robertson's “Basic Country Bread” in Tartine Bread.


 


Total Dough

 

 

Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

KAF Sir Galahad (AP) flour*

800

73

Fresh-ground WW

200

18

Fresh-ground Spelt

100

9

Water

850

77

Salt

20

1.8

Total

1970

178.8

*Note: The small amount of WW and Dark Rye in the levain are not calculated separately in the Total Dough.

 

Levain

 

 

Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

KAF Sir Galahad (AP) flour

70

70

KAF WW

20

20

BRM Dark Rye

10

10

Water

100

100

Ripe levain

40

40

Total

240

240

  1. Dissolve the levain in the water. Add the flours and mix thoroughly.

  2. Ferment at room temperature for 12 hours (overnight).

 

Final Dough

 

Ingredients

Wt (g)

KAF Sir Galahad (AP) flour

700

Fresh-ground WW

200

Fresh-ground Spelt

100

Liquid levain

200

Water (80ºF)

750

Salt

20

Total

1970

Procedures

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve 200 g of the levain in 700 g of the water.

  2. Add all the flours and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover tightly.

  3. Autolyse for 25-30 minutes. (Longer would be okay.)

  4. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and add 50 g of water.

  5. Knead in the bowl by squishing the dough between your fingers until all the water has been incorporated and the salt is well-distributed. Then, still in the bowl, fold the dough over itself a few times.

  6. Transfer the dough to a large clean, lightly oiled bowl or other container, such as a rising bucket. Cover tightly. If possible, place the dough in an ambient temperature of 75-80ºF.

  7. After 30 minutes, stretch and fold the dough in its container 15-20 times. (By the end of this, the dough should be smooth, and it should pull away from the container easily when you stretch it.) Re-cover the dough. Repeat this at 30 minute intervals for two hours, then one more time an hour later. (The dough should have expanded by 25-50% and be light and full of small bubbles which you can see if your container is transparent. If it has been fermented at a cooler temperature, give it another hour, or even 2 hours.)

  8. When the dough is fully fermented, transfer it to a lightly floured board and divide it into two equal pieces.

  9. Pre-shape the pieces as rounds. Cover with plastic or a towel and let them rest for 20-30 minutes.

  10. Shape as boules or bâtards. Place in bannetons or en couche and cover.

  11. Proof for about 90 to 120 minutes, depending on ambient temperature.

  12. Pre-heat your oven to 500ºF. If not baking covered, pre-heat a baking stone and prepare your oven for steaming. (I baked these boules in Lodge Combo Cookers.)

  13. If baking uncovered, bake at 460ºF with steam for about 40 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave the door ajar for another 10 minutes to dry the crust. If baking covered , bake at 480ºF for 15 minutes, then at 450-460ºF uncovered for another 25-30 minutes.

  14. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  15. Cool thoroughly before slicing.

Boules after baking 15 minutes, covered

Boule, cooling

Crumb

Chewy crust and tender crumb. Whole wheat dominates the aroma of the bread sliced still warm but the flavor is sweet and mellow without any perceptible sourness. I'm looking forward to tasting it toasted tomorrow morning.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

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Almost all the breads I bake are hearth loaves, but I've been tempted for some time to make one of the German-style ryes that Hamelman says should be baked in a pullman pan (AKA pain de mie pan).



Pullman or pain de mie pan


I purchased a pullman pan from KAF's Baker's Catalogue. It is from the new line of bakeware they are carrying, and it is a beautiful piece of metal. But this is not a review of baking pans, so back to bread …


Today, I baked the “70 Percent Rye with a Rye Soaker and Whole Wheat Flour” from Hamelman's Bread. It is made with medium rye, all pre-fermented. The rye soaker is in the form of rye chops – an equal weight to that of the medium rye. The remaining 30% of the flour weight consists of whole wheat flour. The dough is 78% hydration and has 2% salt and ¼ tsp of instant yeast.


Not having rye chops at hand, I hand-chopped the 390 g of rye berries needed for making 2 kg of dough, which is what is needed to fill my 13” pullman pan. (Did I tell you how beautiful it is?) Now, I believe that Andy (or was it MiniO?) claims the proper way to make rye chops by hand is to slice each berry into 3 equal pieces. I didn't do that. After trying to chop the berries on a cutting board with a chef's knife, which sent berries – whole and in fragments of varying sizes and shapes – flying everywhere, I turned to the chopping method I learned at my mother's knee. She never chopped rye berries, I'm sure, but she sure chopped a lot of fish for gefilte fish in the years before the coming of the Cuisinart. I still have her chopping bowl and hackmesser. (I believe that's what she called it.) 



Well, I made a lot of little pieces of rye, but I figure I ended up with a mix of coarse rye flour, cracked rye, rye chops and whole (and very smug) rye berries. So, I poured boiling water over the whole mess and ordered a grain mill.


This morning my rye sour was ripe and smelling wonderfully sour and fruity. My soaker was soaked. I mixed the dough.


Now this is a 70% rye, since the cracked rye is included as a flour in calculating baker's percentages. But, really, if you look at the flour, it's about 50% rye and 50% whole wheat. I've made several other 70 and 80% ryes before, and this was different. There was much less gluten development with mixing. I've not yet made a 100% rye, but I imagine it's not much different from this dough. Maybe it was the whole wheat flour, whereas the other ryes I'd made used high-protein white flours. This dough was completely like sticky clay. But not insurmountable.


I mixed the dough in my KitchenAid – about 2 minutes at Speed 1 and 6 minutes at Speed 2. Then, the dough was fermented for 60 minutes. (Hamelman says ferment for 30 minutes, but my kitchen was only about 67ºF today.) I formed the dough into a log and placed it in the pullman pan which had been lightly oiled and dusted with pumpernickel flour. After 60 minutes proofing with only a little expansion of the dough, the loaf was baked with steam for 15 minutes at 480ºF, then for another 60 minutes in a dry oven at 415ºF. The last 15 minutes of the bake was with the loaf out of the pan, on a baking sheet, to dry the sides of the loaf. There was really nice oven spring. The loaf crested well above the top of the pan. (Sorry, I neglected to photograph the baked loaf still in the pan.) In hindsight, I probably should have proofed more fully. There was some bursting of the loaf on one side, at the point it expanded over the top of the pan. 



Rye dough in pan, sprinkled with pumpernickel flour and ready to proof



Rye bread cooling


After cooling, I wrapped the loaf in baker's linen, as instructed. 



Rye wrapped in linen


The loaf was wrapped in baker's linen for 24 hours before slicing ... and tasting.



Pre-slicing (Big bread, isn't it?)



Coronal section with crumb



Crumb, close-up



Another close-up



Delicious plain. More delicious with smoked salmon!


The crust was firm but not hard. The crumb was soft and moist but slightly crumbly and less dense than I expected. The aroma is powerful with rye, yet the flavor is relatively mild. It is rye with no distinctive whole wheat tones, yet the whole wheat must have mellowed the rye flavor. There is a sweet note to the aftertaste. The rye "chops" are very chewy, which I like.


This bread has lots of character, and I enjoyed it unadorned. I had another slice with a thin schmear of cream cheese and a thin slice of Scottish smoked salmon, with some capers and drops of lemon juice. Fantastic! 


David


 

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Most of the breads we baked in the Artisan II workshop at the San Francisco Baking Institute (SFBI) are found in Michel Suas' “Advanced Bread & Pastry” (AB&P) textbook. A couple of the breads I and the other students enjoyed the most are not, and one of them was a delicious Walnut Raisin bread made with a firm levain and a small amount of instant yeast.


The following is my scaled down version which made two loaves of 563 gms each. (The 26 g by which the dough exceeded the ingredient weights must be due to water absorbed by the raisins.) I incorporated an autolyse in the procedure which we did not use at the SFBI.


 


Total Formula

 

 

Ingredients

Baker's %

Wt (g)

KAF AP flour

71.57

383

KAF Whole Wheat flour

19.77

106

BRM Dark Rye flour

8.66

46

Water

67.62

362

Walnuts (toasted)

15.81

85

Raisins (soaked)

19.77

106

Salt

2.13

11

Total

206.41

1100

 

Levain

 

 

Ingredients

Baker's %

Wt (g)

KAF AP flour

95

77

BRM Dark Rye flour

5

4

Water

50

40

Stiff Starter

60

48

Total

210

169

  1. Mix all ingredients until well incorporated.

  2. Ferment 12 hrs at room temperature.

     

Final Dough

 

 

Ingredients

Baker's %

Wt (g)

KAF AP flour

65

275

KAF Whole Wheat flour

25

106

BRM Dark Rye flour

10

42

Water

72

305

Yeast (dry instant)

0.1

0.4

Walnuts (toasted)

25

85

Raisins (soaked)

20

106

Salt

2.7

11

Levain

40

169

Total

259.8

1100

Procedure

  1. Mix the flours and the water to a shaggy mass. Cover tightly and autolyse for 20-60 minutes.

  2. Toast the walnuts, broken into large pieces, for 15 minutes at 325ºF. (Can be done ahead of time)

  3. Soak the raisins in cold water. (Can be done ahead of time)

  4. Add the salt and the levain and mix at Speed 1 until well incorporated (about 2 minutes).

  5. Mix at Speed 2 to moderate gluten development (about 8 minutes).

  6. Add the nuts and raisins (well-drained) and mix at Speed 1 until they are well-distributed in the dough.

  7. Transfer to a lightly floured board and knead/fold a few times if necessary to better distribute the nuts and raisins.

  8. Round up the dough and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly.

  9. Ferment for 2 hours at 80ºF.

  10. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Pre-shape as boules. Let the pieces relax for 20-30 minutes, covered.

  11. Shape as bâtards or boules and place, seam side up. In bannetons or en couche. Cover well.

  12. Proof for 1.5 to 2 hours.

  13. An hour before baking, pre-heat oven to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  14. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score them. Transfer to the baking stone.

  15. Turn the oven down to 450ºF and bake for 15 minutes with steam, then another 15 minutes in a dry oven. (Boules may take a few more minutes to bake than bâtards.)

  16. When the loaves are done, turn off the oven but leave the loaves on the baking stone with the oven door ajar for another 8-10 minutes.

  17. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  18. Cool completely before slicing.

Notes

Because of the water in the soaked raisins, The dough was wetter than expected from the 67% hydration given for the total dough. It felt more like a 70-72% hydration dough.

The crust was thinner and got soft faster with this bake than that done in the deck oven at SFBI. I might try baking at 460ºF and also leaving the loaves in the turned off oven for longer. Perhaps a shorter period baking with steam would help get the crunchier crust I would like with this bread.

This bread has a delicious flavor which is exceptionally well-balance between the grains, nuts and raisins. There is a very mild sourdough tang. Definitely a bread I'll be baking frequently.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

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Today, we baked the three breads that we had shaped yesterday and retarded overnight – olive bread, raisin-walnut bread and miche. We also mixed and baked francese, French “country shapes” and baguette made with both pâte fermentée and liquid levain.



Olive breads loaded and scored



Raisin-Walnut breads, scored on loader



Miche, scored on loader



Miche, baking in the deck oven



Miche crumb




Some of the breads I baked today



Miches, Olive breads, Raisin-Walnut breads




Frank provided detailed instruction and demonstrations of shaping all the breads, but spend most time on the French Country Shapes, which are seldom baked commercially. They are intentionally innovative and decorative.


Frank demonstrating French Country Shapes



Dough pre-shaped for various French Country Shapes



Couronne Bordelais



Fleur. I have also seen this shape called "Marguerite" (Daisy)



Pain d'Aix



Charleston



French Country Shapes on the loader.


I have not posted photos of all the individual shapes Frank demonstrated, for example the Tordu, the Fendu, the Viverais, the Tabatier, and the Avergnat.



Some of the French Country Shapes I made


 


As I'm sure you all appreciate, there is no way to share everything I've learned. I have selected a few bits of information each day that either provided me with new insights or suggestions for techniques that violate conventional wisdom.


Today's tidbits


We spent some time this afternoon reviewing all the formulas, methods and theory we had covered during the entire week. In discussing autolyse, Frank recommended holding back the levain from the autolyse, even when using a liquid levain, except when the hydration in the final dough is extremely low – say, less than 60% - when the levain really would have a very large percentage of the total water in the dough. His reason is that one chief purpose of autolyse is to develop gluten with less mixing. The acid in the liquid levain inhibits gluten formation, thus defeating the purpose of the autolyse.


Michel Suas re-joined our class for the “graduation ceremony.” He made a plea for us to do “artisan baking” and, as much as possible, avoid mechanization and the use of artificial ingredients. He also shared a “hot tip” that the coming fashion in artisan baking is the use of “ancient grains” such as kamut, teff, etc. He told us that the SFBI staff have been actively experimenting with these grains to develop formulas that use them to produce great breads. I certainly had noticed the immense quantity of flour made with ancient grains on racks and palettes in the bakery, although we did not use them in Artisan II.


This week just flew by for me. The quality of Frank Sally's instruction was just outstanding, as was his skill demonstrations. The opportunity to try new breads and learn new techniques is wonderful, as is gaining a better understanding of the baking process, especially fermentation itself.


Especially for the home baker, the chance to spend so much time with other serious bakers, whether they be other home bakers, serious professionals in training or seasoned professionals, is a rare and wonderful experience.  


David


 

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Today, we mixed and baked ciabattas and challah, neither of them sourdough. We mixed and shaped olive bread, walnut raisin bread and miche to be retarded tonight and baked tomorrow. We also scaled ingredients and mixed pre-ferments for baguettes to make tomorrow. The baguettes will be made with two pre-ferments – a pâte fermentée and a liquid levain. The doughs for the ciabatta and for the miche were hand mixes, and all the levains were mixed by hand.



Scaling water for the miche mix



Hand mixing dough for the miches


Frank had us make 6-strand challah but he also demonstrated a variety of other braids. His challot are pictures of perfection. (Mine are pictures of squid who ate some special mushrooms.)



Challah pieces ready to be rolled into strands fro braiding



Frank's challot, ready to be egg washed prior to proofing



Frank's challot, baked



Challah crumb



My Ciabattas and Challot 





Stretch and fold



Dividing ciabatta dough



Placing ciabatta on the proofing board



Ciabatta baking in the deck oven



Ciabatta crumb


Both the ciabatta and the challah are delicious. I'm looking forward to the breads we are baking tomorrow.


We spent all day in the bakery and only were in the classroom to list our tasks for the day, first thing in the morning. Most of Frank's teaching dealt with dough handling issues, but I picked up a couple pearls worth sharing.


I asked him about how levain is calculated differently from other pre-ferments. (See my blog entry for Artisan II-Day 3.) Here's the answer: It's a matter of convention. Levain and other pre-ferments can be calculated either as a percent of dry flour weight in the final dough or in terms of the percent of pre-fermented flour in the total dough. No big deal. Your choice.


Frank also made two interesting comments as we were scaling and shaping the miches. The first was that long loaves like bâtards have a more open crumb structure than boules made with the same dough. I have found that to be true but attributed it to my shaping skills. The second was that the size of the loaf has a significant impact on flavor. I had also observed this with the miche from BBA which I made once as two 1.5 lb boules, which had a different flavor from the 3 lb miches I usually make. Again, I didn't generalize from that one experience at the time. Interesting, eh?


I am anxious to get home and practice some of the skills I've acquired before I lose them.


David


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dmsnyder


Today, we mixed and baked four types of bread – whole wheat, rye, multi-grain and semolina. We also scaled ingredients for tomorrow's breads – ciabatta, challah (non-sourdough), olive, raisin-walnut and miche, some of which will be retarded overnight and baked Friday.


The educational goal of today's bakes was to demonstrate the impact of different ingredients such as whole grains and seeds on fermentation rates, dough consistency, crumb structure, etc.



Some of my breads from today's bakes


Personally, I found the sourdough whole wheat and rye rather un-exceptional. The multi-grain made with levain was much superior to the one we made with commercial yeast in Artisan I. (It's going to be my breakfast bread tomorrow.) The semolina bread was difficult to handle – a very slack, sticky dough that fermented and proofed really fast – but was the best bread of this type I've tasted. It was very similar to the semolina bread in Maggie Glezer's “Artisan Breads,” for those of you familiar with that wonderful bread.


In the classroom, most of the time was spent discussing retardation of the 3 types covered in AB&P – basically, retardation during bulk fermentation, retardation of formed loaves and retardation and proofing in a cabinet which allows you to warm the product after a period of cold retardation. The advantages and disadvantages of each were covered, as was the types of breads for which each is best suited.


I think I learned the most in the bakery today. The highlights for me were a better grasp on a way to shape bâtards and how to make a chevron cut correctly, two techniques of which I had a poor understanding, in retrospect.



Frank's breads. He made these to demonstrate pre-shaping and shaping. At the end of the day, we sliced one of each type for our tasting and discussion.



Some of the other students' ryes with creative scoring patterns, on the loader ready to bake.



Frank's rye breads, with various scoring. (The rye breads were scored prior to the final proof.)


The whole wheat breads were dusted with flour prior to scoring. Some had a cooling rack placed over them as a sort of template before dusting which makes an pleasing design on the loaves.





 


Frank also discussed more about using baker's math with levains and spoke to a question that Pat raised in a reply to my blog of yesterday. He said that, when you work with preferments like poolish, you think in terms of the percent of prefermented flour in a formula. When working with levains, you think of the levain as a percent of the final dough's dry flour. He didn't go into detail regarding the reason for this difference. I could speculate, but I'd rather try to get him to explain his reasons tomorrow.


David


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