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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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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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Some of the breads I baked on Day 2



The second day of the Artisan II workshop was spent mostly baking the breads for which we had fed the levains and scaled the ingredients yesterday. We also mixed levains and scaled for tomorrows bakes. Classroom time was bits and pieces between dough foldings and during fermentation, but the content was very good.


The instructional goal of today's baking was to see the effects of different types and proportions of levains on flavor. We baked four breads which differed only in these respects.




  1. Bread made with a levain fed once a day. (All the others were made with levain fed twice a day.) This bread was notably more sour than any of the others.




  2. Bread made with liquid levain at 100% hydration. (All the others were made with firm levain at 50% hydration.) This bread had notably less acetic acid tang and a noticeable milky lactic acid flavor – very pleasant.




  3. Bread made with 40% firm levain.




  4. Bread made with 70% firm levain.


     




The last two were not very different from each other in sourdough tang, but the 70% levain bread had a less pleasant, “metallic” after taste, according to some. I didn't perceive the after taste myself. The main take away lesson was that the frequency of starter feeding has more impact on bread flavor than the amount of levain used in the final dough and that the use of liquid versus firm starter really does make a difference in the balance of acetic versus lactic acid flavor in the bread.



Preparing to taste the breads


In the classroom today, Frank reviewed the application of baker's math to breads made with levains and the SFBI's recommendations for levain maintenance for home bakers. I won't go over the baker's math topic, but I'm sure the recommendations for levain maintenance are of interest to many.


The SFBI staff clearly favors keeping liquid levains and twice a day feedings. They also favor keeping your mother/stock starter at 400-500 g. They say smaller amounts result in poorer flavor. However, they also favor feeding your starter in a manner which minimizes the amount of starter you end up discarding. This is accomplished by determining exactly how much starter to feed to get the amount of levain you need to make your dough and not making too much excess.


For a liquid levain feeding, the recommended formula is:


Flour 100% (75% AP flour + 25% WW)


Water 100%


Starter 40%


Again, it is recommended that you feed every 12 hours and that you do two feeding prior to mixing your final dough.


For a firm levain feeding, the recommended formula is:


Flour 100% (same mix as above)


Water 50%


Starter 50%


For the weekend baker, it is recommended that you feed your levain (liquid or firm) as follows:


Flour 100%


Water 50%


Starter 25%


And refrigerate this immediately after the feeding. Activation prior to baking should done with 2 feedings (as described above) at 12 hour intervals. In other words, to mix a dough on Saturday morning, the refrigerated starter should be fed Friday morning and Friday evening.


Frank told us that all of these recommendations derived from extensive experimentation with different formulas and schedules. SFBI staff believes that they result in the best tasting bread. (Need I say that, if your taste differs, you come out of this workshop knowing just what you need to change to get the flavor you prefer?)


At the lunch break, I asked Frank about the formula for miche in AB&P which violates almost all these recommendations. I have described this previously in my TFL blog. He thought this was interesting enough to provide the answer in the next class session.


Michel Suas' intension with his miche formula was to reproduce a bread as close to the traditional miche as possible, and that required knowledge of traditional French village home baking. In the old days – say 150 or more years ago – home made bread was mixed at home but taken to a communal oven or to the village baker to bake in a wood fired oven. The loaves were huge, by today's standards, because baking was a once-a-week chore. So, after the dough was mixed (before adding salt), a portion was removed to perpetuate the culture. This was fed through the week every day, without discarding any of the growing levain. On baking day, some additional flour and water were added, as well as the salt. But, the bulk of the dough consisted of the built up levain. Little additional fermentation was needed. The resulting loaf was very large, very dense and very, very sour. (Frank describes this with a look of disgust on his face.)


While today's breads were baking, we mixed the levains and scaled ingredients for tomorrow's bakes. We will be baking a variety of breads with levain that were made with commercial yeast during the Artisan I class: A whole wheat bread, multi-grain bread, rye bread and challah. We also fed our “from scratch” starters with which we will make breads Friday.


David


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The Artisan II Workshop at The San Francisco Baking Institute is all about sourdough bread. The first day of the SFBI Artisan II workshop is spent mostly in the classroom. The instructor reviewed the content of the Artisan I workshop and then introduced basic concepts of sourdough baking with emphasis on starter elaboration and maintenance. At the end of the first day, there is a quick review of baker's math.


In the bakery, we started elaborating a new sourdough culture with which we will be making bread on Friday. We also scaled the dry ingredients and mixed the levains for 4 different breads we will be making on Day 2


Our instructor for Artisan II is Frank Sally. My classmates are a different mix from that of the Artisan I workshop I attended in August. This group is almost entirely professional bakers who have come from Australia, New Zealand and New Jersey, among other exotic places.



Frank (in the center) and some of my classmates



A couple of my bench mates, both professional bakers from Australia (on the left) and New Zealand (on the right)



Mixing levains and scaling dry ingredients for mixing final doughs tomorrow



Our scaled ingredients awaiting tomorrows mixes


Much of the material presented today was familiar, but Frank touched on a few concepts which, while not completely new to me, I'd never thought much about.


He spoke of the “mass effect,” which occurs during bulk fermentation. He could not tell us the mechanism, but said that there is improved flavor development when the dough weighs more than 2 kg. Most of us home bakers generally work with batches of dough smaller than this most of the time. Evidently, we are missing out on some flavor enhancements by doing so.


Frank described the differing rates of growth of homofermentative and heterofermentative bacteria during sourdough elaboration. The former develop earlier. Moreover, it takes longer for the acetic characteristics to develop in the starter due to the greater volatility of acetic acid compared to lactic acid. This is a factor in the well-known improvement in flavor complexity as a new starter is fed over the first weeks. It takes about 3 weeks for a good stable balance of yeast and the various lactobacilli to develop


These differences also effect the balance of acetic versus lactic acid one can manipulate through differences in feeding schedules. More frequent feedings result favor lactic acid production. So a once a day feeding schedule yields a more tangy starter than a twice a day schedule.


The first set of breads we will be baking will provide comparisons between 1) once a day versus twice a day levain feedings, 2) liquid versus firm starters and 3) breads made with different proportions of starter (relative to the amount of dry flour in the final dough).


Stay tuned!


David


 

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This is the Miche from Peter Reinhart's “The Bread Baker's Apprentice” (BBA). I followed the instructions Reinhart provides, with the following modifications:


 



  1.  I used “Organic Type 85”flour from Central Milling as the high-extraction flour.

  2.  Rather than using 100% high-extraction flour, I substituted 10% Whole Spelt flour in the final dough.

  3.  I did two S &F's at 1 and 2 hours into a 3 1/2 hour bulk fermentation  

  4.  I pre-heated the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and the oven steaming apparatus recommended by the San Francisco Baking Institute. I bake with steam at 450ºF for 25 minutes, then turned the oven to convection bake, set the temperature to 425ºF and baked for another 40 minutes. (This is a higher effective temperature than Reinhart calls for, because of the convection setting.)


 



 


It produced a boldly baked, high risen loaf with a dark, crackled crust. It has a wonderful aroma.





The crust stayed crunchy as the bread cooled. The crumb was dense, which was not surprising at this hydration level, but it was not as well aerated as I had hoped. The crumb was somewhat chewy, and the flavor was wheaty and moderately sour. There was no grassy-bitter flavor.


Poilâne said that the flavor of his bread was best on the third day after baking. I'm taking some of this loaf to San Francisco for a taste comparison to the Miche that brother Glenn baked today, and we'll see how the flavor develops over a day.


David


Submitted to YeastSpotting


 

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I have made miches from Peter Reinhart's BBA, from Daniel Leader's “Local Breads” and the Miche, “Pointe-à-Callière” from Jeffrey Hamelman's “Bread.” All were good breads. Reinhart's was the closest to the Pain Poilâne I remember from my single tasting in Paris some 25 years ago.


This weekend, I baked the miche from Michel Suas' “Advanced Bread and Pastry” for the first time. Suas references Pain Poilâne as the best known miche, but he does not say his formula is an attempt to replicate it. His “miche” is a 2 lb boule. This is smaller than my notion of a miche, but what do I know? I'll ask M. Suas the week after next when I'm at the SFBI for the Artisan II class and report back.


Suas' formula and procedures are quite unusual in several respects. It uses 3 builds and specifies a mixture of high-extraction, bread and medium rye flours. The final dough has 50% pre-fermented flour from the levain, and almost all the water comes from the 120% hydration levain. Even more remarkable is the very brief bulk fermentation of 15 minutes. I assume this works because of the very high percentage of pre-fermented flour. After shaping, the miche is retarded overnight before baking.


 


First levain feeding

Wt.

Baker's %

High-extraction flour

1 3/8 oz

100

Water

1 ¾ oz

120

Salt

1/8 tsp

0.6

Starter (stiff)

1/8 oz

10

Total

3 ¼ oz

230.6

  1. Mix all ingredients well with a DDT of 70ºF

  2. Ferment 16 hrs at room temperature.

 

Levain formula

Wt.

Baker's %

High-extraction flour

8 1/4 oz

100

Water

9 7/8 oz

120

Salt

1/4 tsp

0.6

First feeding

3 1/4 oz

40

Total

21 5/8 oz

260.6

  1. Mix all ingredients well with a DDT of 70ºF

  2. Ferment 8 hours at room temperature.

Note: I fermented at room temperature for 6 hours, then refrigerated overnight. I allowed the levain to warm up and ferment another 2 hours before mixing the final dough

 

Final dough formula

Wt.

Baker's %

Bread flour

5 5/8 oz

60

High-extraction flour

1 7/8 oz

20

Medium rye flour

1 7/8 oz

20

Water

7/8 oz

10

Salt

3/8 oz

3.8

Levain

21 5/8 oz

230.6

Total

21 5/8 oz

344.4

Note on ingredients: I used "Organic Type 85" flour from Central Milling for the high-extraction flour, KAF Bread Flour and KAF Medium Rye flour.

Process

  1. Mix water and Levain

  2. Mix flours and salt. Add to water/levain mixture and mix to medium gluten development. (I mixed this dough in a Bosch Universal Plus for 3 minutes at first speed and 6 minutes at second speed.)

  3. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and ferment for 15 minutes.

  4. Pre-shape the dough into a light ball and rest it for 20-30 minutes.

  5. Shape into a boule. Place it in a banneton and cover well with plastic or place in a food grade plastic bag.

  6. Retard overnight in the refrigerator. (Suas specifies a temperature of 48ºF, actually.)

  7. The next morning, pre-heat your oven to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  8. Pre-steam the oven. Transfer the miche to a peel. Score the miche. (Suas specifies a diamond pattern.) Transfer it to the baking stone. Stem the oven. Turn the oven down to 440ºF. (See Note, below.)

  9. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the internal temperature is 205ºF and the bottom gives a hollow sound when thumped. (Note: I baked this in a Lodge Combo Cooker – Convection bake for 20 minutes covered at 460ºF, covered then 25 minutes at 440ºF, uncovered.)

  10. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.

Suas doesn't mention it, but most authors recommend waiting 12 to 24 hours before slicing this type of bread.

The miche

Miche crumb

I sliced and tasted the bread after it had cooled for about 4 hours. The crust was crunchy. The crumb was chewy. The aroma and flavor were unlike any bread I've ever tasted. It did have a mild sourdough tang, but the flavor was uniquely wonderful. It had some nuttiness I associate with wheat germ and sweetness I've only tasted before in some baguettes that have had a long, slow fermentation or were made with pâte fermentée. I assume the wonderful flavor can be credited to the combination of the "Type 85" flour and the unusual process commented on above.

I'm looking forward to baking some other miches using this flour. It's wonderful.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

 

 

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Brother Glenn coerced me into making Challah over Thanksgiving. Prior to that, the only Challah I'd made in recent years was Maggie Glezer's sourdough challah, which I like a lot, but it does have a distinct tang. So, we made the yeasted version of Glezer's own challah, and it was good. Trying a different formula prompted me to try others.


Today, I made the Challah from Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread." It is made with high-gluten flour. I mixed this very stiff dough in a Bosch Universal Plus. The mixer rocked and rolled, but it didn't "walk." I don't think my KitchenAid could have handled it. The ropes were a challenge to roll out. They required several rests to relax the gluten enough to permit sufficient lengthening. It braided nicely. I wish I could say the same for the braider! I'm sure I didn't lay out the ropes correctly. Back to the books.


Anyway, this formula makes about 3 1/2 lbs of dough. I made two Challot. They had huge oven spring, and I think they turned out pretty well, in spite of my ineptitude in braiding. Most important, they have a delicious flavor. This challah is less sweet than Glezer's. The crumb is more open but much chewier - no surprise given the high-gluten flour. I'm betting it makes wonderful toast and French toast!


Addendum: The challah did make wonderful toast. The crumb was quite tender. The chewiness is no longer there.




David

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Today I baked in the Lodge Combo Cookers for the first time. I debated what bread to bake and decided on the San Joaquin Sourdough. The results pleased me.



The boules weighed 510 g each before baking. The oven was pre-heated to 500ºF. When proofed the loaves were transferred to the shallow half of the combo cookers which were not pre-heated, scored, covered and baked at 480ºF for 20 minutes covered, then another 15 minutes uncovered.



Boules proofed



Ready to bake



Uncovered after 20 minutes at 480ºF



Out of the oven after another 15 minutes baking uncovered




Crumb


I'm happy to find that the Combo Cookers work well with smaller loaves that do not cover the base. I did shape these with a very tight gluten sheath, so, even though this is a pretty high hydration bread, the loaves did not spread when transferred to the Cooker bases.


David

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Thanksgiving day 2010



Rotisserie barbecued turkey (okay, so it's not bread)



Glenn (on the left) meets turkey (on the right). 


Day after Thanksgiving breakfast



San Joaquin Sourdough Baguette



Cinnamon rolls & Pecan rolls (made in muffin tins using NY Baker's Babka dough)



Cinnamon rolls, for kids who don't eat nuts



Pecan rolls, for the rest of us


Glenn makes challah



He's on a roll!



You should have seen the one that got away!



Here's the proof



Ready to bake



Cooling



Challah c rumb


The challah made fantastic turkey sandwiches!


And, for dessert, the much anticipated Apple Crostada, inspired by trailrunner!



Apple Crostada!


Delicious! It had the flakiest, best tasting crust ever!


For better or worse, as I was enjoying a second slice while mentally reviewing the recipe, I realized a stick of butter actually is 8 tablespoons, not 4 tablespoons. That means I used 9 tablespoons of butter rather than the 5 T Caroline's recipe specified. No wonder the crust was so flakey!


David

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The recent discussions regarding baking breads in hot versus cold Dutch ovens - those from "Tartine Bread" in particular - prompted today's experiment.


I made two boules of the Country Rye from "Tartine Bread." One I baked starting in a room temperature enameled cast iron Dutch oven. The other I baked in the same Dutch oven, pre-heated. The breads were identical in weight. They were cold retarded overnight in bannetons and then proofed at room temperature for 2 hours before the first bake. The loaf baked in the pre-heated dutch oven proofed for 45 minutes longer, while the other loaf was baking. The second loaf was baked for 7 minutes longer than the first loaf, to get a darker crust.



Boule baked in cool Dutch oven on the left. Boule baked in pre-heated Dutch oven on the right.


In spite of the fact that the loaf baked first was relatively under-proofed, the loaf baked second, in a pre-heated Dutch oven, got slightly better bloom and oven spring. I won't be slicing these until next week. They are for my Thanksgiving guests. So, I don't know if there is any difference in the crumb structure.


Overall, I'm happy with both loaves. The differences are very small - arguably of no significance. While pre-heating the Dutch oven does appear to result in slightly better oven spring, the convenience of not having to pre-heat the Dutch oven may be more advantageous for many bakers.


Addendum: Okay. So, I'm weak. I had to try the bread, since it was the firs time I'd baked it.


The crust is crunchy-chewy. The crumb is less open than the "Basic Country Bread," as expected. The 17% (by Robertson's way of doing baker's math) whole rye does make a difference. The crumb is very cool and tender. The aroma is rather sour, but the flavor is less so. The surprise was the prominent whole wheat flavor tone, even though all the WW is in the levain, and it only amounts to 50 g out of a total of 1100 g (my way of doing baker's math). I expect the flavors to meld by breakfast time tomorrow. I think this will make great toast with Almond butter and apricot preserves.



Country Rye, cut loaf



Country rye, crumb


David


Submitted to YeastSpotting

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