The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

dmsnyder's blog

  • Pin It
dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


Biscotti di Greve in Chianti


 


Carol Field is probably best known as the author of The Italian Baker. While it was first published in 1985, twelve years after Beard on Bread, it was certainly at the leading edge of the artisan bread movement in America. It is still frequently cited as the best book on Italian baking ever published in this country. I have never seen The Italian Baker, and my searches for it found it to be out of print with used copies selling for high prices. I'm delighted to have discovered, just yesterday, that it has been revised and is currently scheduled to be released in November, 2011. (The Italian Baker, Revised: The Classic Tastes of the Italian Countryside--Its Breads, Pizza, Focaccia, Cakes, Pastries, and Cookies)


Carol Field has written several other cook books, an Italian travel book and a novel. I checked out her book, Italy in Small Bites, from the library this week. It is a book of Italian between meal snack foods, although many are considerably more substantial in both calories and nutritional value than what we think of as “snacks” in the US. Field's writing about the place of these foods in Italian culture is quite fascinating for anyone interested in food and culture. (DaisyA! If you haven't read this book, you must!) But, no more about that now.


I had the afternoon off and looked for something from Italy in Small Bites I could bake before dinnertime. I chose “Biscotti di Greve in Chianti.” I've never met a biscotto I didn't like, but my wife has a dislike of anise flavored cookies, so the type of biscotti with which I was most familiar was out. These biscotti, which Field had from a bakery in Greve are flavored with almonds, vanilla and orange zest, all of which we like. The recipe was also attractive in that it is mixed in a food processor and seemed quick and easy.


Biscotti di Greve in Chianti


Ingredients


2 cups (280 g) unbleached AP flour


1 cup sugar


1 tsp baking soda


Pinch salt


2 eggs, room temperature


1 egg yolk, room temperature


1 tsp vanilla extract


2 tsp grated orange zest


1 ½ cups dry roasted almonds


1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water for glaze


Procedure




  1. Measure the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt into the bowl of a food processor with the metal blade and pulse to mix thoroughly.




  2. Mix the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla extract and orange zest in a two cup measuring cup.




  3. With the processor running, pour the liquids over the dry ingredients through the feed tube. Mix to a shaggy mass, not until a ball forms.




  4. Pour half the almonds into the ball and pulse a few times. Repeat with the rest of the almonds.




  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and press it into a coherent mass. (This is the hardest step. I used my hands and a bench knife to fold the dough, which started out as discrete granules of dough mixed with nut fragments, into something that stuck together after folding and pressing repeatedly.)




  6. Preheat the oven to 325ºF.




  7. Divide the dough into 2 or 3 parts and form each into a log, 2 inches across. Brush each log with the glaze. Place the logs, at least 3 inches apart, on a buttered and floured sheet pan or on sheet pan lined with parchment.




  8. Bake 25-30 minutes until light golden brown.




  9. Remove from the oven to cool, but leave the oven on.




  10. Once the logs are cool enough to handle, slice each at an angle into ¾ inch thick cookies, using a serrated knife, and lay them on a lightly buttered cookie sheet.




  11. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes on each side until golden.




  12. Cool (and dry) before eating (If you can. I found that snacking on the log ends during the second baking assisted with this step.)








These biscotti are very tasty. They are less sweet than most, with a nice almond flavor. The orange flavor is very subtle. I haven't tasted them yet dipped in cappuccino or in wine, but I think that's how to enjoy them best.



David


 


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

This weekend, I returned to my roots, tweaked a new favorite and baked a new bread.


When I started baking bread again after a 25 year hiatus, my motive was to make two favorite breads I was unable to obtain locally – Jewish Sour Rye and San Francisco-style Sourdough. My initial achievement of these goals was with the Sour Rye formula from George Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker and with Peter Reinhart's Sourdough Bread from Crust & Crumb. These remain among my favorite breads.



Yesterday, I baked Greenstein's Jewish Sour Rye. The “authentic” NY-style deli bread is made with a white rye sour and first clear flour. As my taste for heartier rye breads developed, I began using whole rye flour rather than white rye and found I preferred it. For this bake, I used KAF Medium Rye though, and found it a very good.


Greenstein's recipes all use volume measurements. Some time back, I converted a couple of my favorites from his book to weights. (See Sour Rye Bread from George Greenstein's “Secrets of a Jewish Baker”) Although I'm a firm believer in weighing ingredients and do so even when feeding my stock sourdough starter, I have to confess I feed my rye sour by feel. The sour I built for this bake must have been firmer than usual or the medium rye thirstier than the BRM dark rye flour I've been using, because the dough ended up drier than usual. The effect was the cuts opened up much more than they usually do. The loaves were also under-proofed, and they had major bursting.



The flavor of this bread is wonderful. When tasted right after cooling, it was intensely sour. It was less sour on the second day. I believe I'll stick with medium rye for this bread for a while.


 


The miche we baked during the SFBI Artisan II workshop (This miche is a hit!)  is a new favorite. I've made it four times now, I think, each time with a different flour mix. Today, I picked up on brother Glenn's bakes using half Central Milling's “Organic Type 85” flour and half one of CM's baguette flours. I used CM “Organic Tye 85” flour to build the levain and KAF AP flour for the final dough. This results in 13% high-extraction flour and 87% white flour in the total dough. I scaled the miche to 2 kg for this bake.



I was inspired by Breadsong's scoring of her Teff miche (SFBI Teff Miche - 1.5kg) and attempted to do something similar. I bow to her superior artistry, but I'm not unhappy with my result.



SFBI Miche crumb



SFBI Miche crumb


I left the miche wrapped in baker's linen overnight before slicing. The crust remained crunchy. The crumb was moist. The aroma was quite wheaty. The flavor of the crust was dark and sweet. The crumb was moderately sour but with a complex wheaty, sweet flavor. 


Recall that all the high-extraction flour in this bread was pre-fermented. I really like the effect. The higher ash content results in more active fermentation and acid production, both of which I appreciate. The impact of the Type 85 flour on the flavor profile was greater than one might expect from its 13% presence in the total flour. In the original SFBI formula, the whole wheat flour is also in the levain, and constitutes only 3.33% of the total flour. This bread was very good made entirely with high-extraction flour, but, at least at the moment, I believe I like it best using the original formula. It's a hard call, because all the flour mixes I've used have made delicious breads.


 


The new bread I baked was the “Vienna Bread” with Dutch Crunch from BBA. The TFL members' bakes of this bread (Latest Bake: Dutch Crunch) really inspired me, especially the rolls, since we planned on making hamburgers for dinner.




Vienna Bread with Dutch Crunch Bâtard



Vienna Bread with Dutch Crunch Rolls


Reinhart's Vienna Bread formula makes a lovely dough, and the Dutch Crunch topping is visually striking on both larger loaves and rolls. I really had no idea how thick to apply the topping, so I “laid it on thick.” From the results, I think I got it about right.



Vienna Bread with Dutch Crunch at start of proofing



Vienna Bread with Dutch Crunch at finish of proofing



Vienna Bread crumb


As advertised, the crust is crunch and slightly sweet. The crumb is very light, delicate and tender with a lovely balanced flavor. The flavor is like brioche but much more subtle. Words like "delicate," and "finesse" come to mind. I anticipate that this will make outstanding toast and French toast. Actually, I think I could just sit down right now and eat the whole loaf as is.


So, would "delicate" and "subtle" bread be your choice for a hamburger bun? No?



Caramelized red onion with balsamic vinegar and roasted New Mexico Green Chile hamburger on Vienna Dutch Crunch roll


David


 


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder




The “Miche, Pointe-à-Callière” from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread has been one of my favorite breads and was my favorite miche for a long time. It's been quite a while since I last baked it. Since then, I've been doing more hand mixing of doughs I formerly machine mixed. I've found a new and wonderful high-extraction flour, Central Milling's “Organic Type 85.” And last, but my no means least, I've baked miches according to the formula we used in the SFBI Artisan II workshop last December. Many TFL members have baked this marvelous miche since I posted the formula, and they know what a wonderful bread this can be.


After these months of enjoying the SFBI miche, as well as Chad Robertson's somewhat similar “Basic Country Bread” from Tartine Bread, it seemed time to revisit the “Miche, Pointe-à-Callière.” I made it using Central Milling's “Organic Type 85” flour. I followed Hamelman's formula. I altered his procedures only by mixing the dough entirely by hand.


 


Overall Formula

Wt.

Baker's %

High-extraction whole-wheat flour

2 lbs

100.00%

Water

1 lb, 10.2 oz

82.00%

Salt

0.6 oz

1.80%

Total

3 lb, 10.8 oz

183.80%

 

Levain Build

Wt.

Baker's %

High-extraction whole-wheat flour

6.4 oz

100.00%

Water

3.8 oz

60.00%

Mature culture (stiff)

1.3 oz (3 T)

20.00%

Total

11.5 oz

 

 

Final Dough

Wt.

 

High-extraction whole-wheat flour

1 lb, 9.6 oz

 

Water

1 lb, 6.4 oz

 

Salt

0.6 oz

 

Levain

10.2 oz (all less 3 T)

Total

3 lb, 10.8 oz

Procedure

  1. Make the levain about 12 hours before you want to mix the dough. Dissolve the mature culture in the water, then mix in the flour.

  2. On the day of the bake, mix the Final Dough flour and water to a shaggy mass and autolyse in a large covered bowl for 20-60 minutes.

  3. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and add the Levain in several chunks. Mix thoroughly.

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

  5. Ferment the dough for 150 minutes, with stretch and folds on a floured board at 50 and 100 minutes.

  6. Form the dough into a tight boule and transfer it, seam side up, to a floured banneton. Place the banneton in a large plastic bag or cover with a towel or plasti-crap. (Note: Hamelman recommends the usual pre-shaping and resting before the final shaping. I did not do this, since the dough was rather slack, and the gluten did not require “relaxing,” in my judgement.)

  7. Proof for 2-2 ½ hours.

  8. One hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  9. Transfer the miche to a peel. Score it with a single square, “tic-tac-toe” pattern or diamond pattern. Load the miche onto the baking stone.

  10. Steam the oven and turn it down to 440ºF. After 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 420ºF, and bake for about another 45 minutes.

  11. When the miche is fully baked (internal temperature is 205ºF), turn off the oven. Leave the miche on the baking stone with the oven door ajar for another 10-20 minutes to dry the crust.

  12. Transfer the miche to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly. Then wrap it in baker's linen and let it rest for at least 12 hours before slicing.

Note: All times are approximate. Watch the dough, not the clock.

Miche, Pointe-à-Callière: Profile

Miche, Pointe-à-Callière: crumb

I rested the loaf for about 18 hours before slicing. The crumb structure was similar to that pictured in “Bread,” but I think I slightly under-fermented the dough and over-proofed the loaf.The crust was chewy. The crumb was rather dense and chewy. The flavor was not really sour but was very wheaty – more intense than I recall from other bakes with this flour.

Next time I make this miche, if I hand mix it, I'll add some S&F's in the bowl during the first part of the bulk fermentation and lengthen the fermentation, hoping to increase flavor complexity.

David

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

This weekend, I baked a couple of breads I have enjoyed, but both were made with variations.


I have made the 100% whole wheat bread from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Baking a couple of times before with fresh-milled flour (100% Whole Wheat Bread from WGB, made with fresh-milled flour). I think it makes a delicious bread. This weekend, I wanted to make it with finer-milled flour and with a whole wheat starter, rather than a yeasted "biga."


The flour was milled from hard red winter wheat using the KitchenAid grain mill attachment. I milled the berries once on a medium setting and then twice on the finest setting. The result was a fairly fine flour, but still not as fine as KAF Organic Whole Wheat flour, for example. The levain had a somewhat gritty consistency. It ripened quite a bit faster than the yeasted biga does for this bread. The dough was quite soft and very manageable, but while quite extensible, had little elasticity. It was difficult to judge the proofing because the dough never was really springy. The modest oven spring I got suggests I may have over-proofed somewhat. The crumb was quite a bit more open than I got with previous bakes of this bread. I attribute this partly to the finer-milled flour and partly to the levain.



100% Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread from WGB, made with fresh-milled flour



Loaf profile



Crumb close-up


My wife liked the flavor of this bread. It has a rather pronounced sourdough tang over a sweet, wheaty flavor. It confirmed my aversion to this combination of flavors, sadly. I will make this bread again, but I will stick to the yeasted version.


Franko's gorgeous 80% rye with rye flour soaker ( See 80% Sourdough Rye Bread- adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman's 'Bread') reminded me how much I loved this bread from Hamelman's Bread (See Sweet, Sour and Earthy: My new favorite rye bread). I had expected to make it again sooner, but got distracted by other baking projects. Franko's bake in a Pullman pan was so lovely, I thought I'd use mine, but, at the last minute, decided to bake it as one large, almost 2 kg boule.


For this bake, I omitted the instant yeast. The dough was raised by the rye sour only. Also, for this bake, I used fresh-milled rye, milled as described above.



80% Rye with Rye Flour Soaker from Hamelman's Bread, made with fresh-milled rye flour


After cooling, I wrapped the loaf in baker's linen to rest for 24 hours before slicing.



80% Rye crumb (Note: The uneven color is an artifact of the lighting.)


After unwrapping the loaf, the crust felt very hard, but it was delightfully crunchy. The crumb was soft and moist. The flavor had a nice caramelized tone from the crust. The crumb flavor was mildly sour, sweet and very earthy - just a good whole rye flavor. Delicious. I had some with dinner, without any topping. I have some cream cheese and smoked salmon to eat with this for breakfast. 


This remains my favorite high-percentage rye bread. I just love the flavor and the texture of the crumb.


David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


 


Horst Bandel's Black Pumpernickel


Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread – a Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes is highly esteemed by TFL members. Which of his formulas is most commonly baked is unknown, although the Vermont Sourdough would be my guess, especially if you include SusanFNP's “Norwich Sourdough” version of it. There is little question regarding which of his several stories from the bakery is the favorite. It has to be the story of Horst Bandel's Black Pumpernickel, found on page 221 of my printing. This tale has an almost mythic quality that truly touches the heart, as it says so much about the age in which we live, the culture of the artisan baker and the character of the pastor, Horst Bandel, and that of Mr. Hamelman himself.


Hamelman's “Home” formula for this bread makes 3 lb, 12 oz of dough. The bread is to be baked in a covered Pullman/Pain de Mie pan. Hamelman specifies 4.4 lbs of dough for the most common (13 x 4 x 4 inch) size Pullman pan, so the formula needs to be re-calculated accordingly. I decided to bake in a 9 x 4 x 4 inch Pullman Pan, which I figured would take 3 lbs of dough. The weights in the following tables are for a quantity of dough just under this.


 


Overall Formula

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Rye meal (pumpernickel flour)

206

30

Rye berries

137

20

Rye chops

172

25

High-gluten flour

172

25

Old bread (altus)

137

20

Water

481

70

Yeast (instant)

4.6

1.3

Salt

14

2

Molasses, blackstrap

27

4

Total

1350.6

197.3

 

Sourdough

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Rye meal

206

100

Water

206

100

Mature sourdough culture

10

5

Total

422

205

Note: I used KAF Pumpernickel flour.

 

Rye-Berry Soaker

Wt (g)

Rye berries

137

Water

Enough

Total

137

 

Old Bread Soaker

Wt (g)

Old bread (altus)

137

Water

Enough

Total

137

Note: I used Hamelman's “80 percent Rye with a Rye-Flour Soaker” as altus. I did the soaking the day before the bake, wrung out the altus, saving the water, and refrigerated them. I believe it was George Greenstein from whom I learned that altus will keep refrigerated for a few days.

 

Final dough

Wt (g)

Sourdough

412

Rye berry soaker

137

Rye chops

172

High-gluten flour

172

Old bread (altus) soaker

137

Water

275

Yeast (instant)

4.6

Salt

14

Molasses, blackstrap

27

Total

1350.6

Note: I made the rye chops by coarsely grinding rye berries with the grain mill attachment to a KitchenAid mixer.

Procedures

This bread has multiple components, and the sourdough and the two soakers require advance preparation. Counting the minimum rest time between baking and eating, the procedures can easily stretch over 4 days. They did for me. I weighed out the ingredients and fed my starter on Day 1, milled the grain, made the altus, fed the sourdough and soaked the soaker on Day 2, mixed and baked the bread on Day 3 and 4 (overnight) and let the bread rest on Day 4.

The procedures as listed below assume you have already gathered the ingredients and have a mature sourdough culture. Where my procedures deviated from those specified by Mr. Hamelman, I have added parenthetical comments or notes.

  1. Feed the sourdough and ripen it for 14-16 hours at 70ºF.

  2. Soak the whole rye berries overnight. The next day, boil them in about 3 times their volume of water until they are soft and pliable, about an hour.

  3. Cut the “old bread” into cubes, crust and all, cover in hot water and let soak for at least 4 hours. Squeeze out as much water as possible, and reserve the water for use, if needed, in the final dough. The bread can be sliced, dried and browned in the oven before soaking, which Hamelman says provides a “deeper flavor.”

  4. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a mixer. Hamelman says to not add the reserved altus soaker water unless needed, but it is not clear whether the Final Dough water includes this or not. The dough description is “medium consistency but not wet, and it will be slightly sticky.” Mix at Speed 1 for 10 minutes. DDT is 82-84ºF. (I mixed the dough for about a minute with the paddle without adding any additional water. The ingredients mixed well and formed a ball on the paddle. I felt the dough was about the right consistency, but I did add 10 g of the altus water. I then attempted to mix with the dough hook. The dough just went to the side of the bowl, leaving the hook spinning without grabbing the dough. After about 5 minutes of this, with multiple scrape-downs of the dough, I gave up. I tried kneading on a floured board with little effect. This was the stickiest dough I've ever encountered. I finally formed it into a ball and placed it in an oiled batter pitcher.)

  5. Ferment in bulk for 30 minutes.

  6. Prepare your pullman pan by lightly oiling the inside, including the lid, and dusting with whole rye or pumpernickel flour. (I'm not sure this was necessary, since my pan is “non-stick.”)

  7. Form the dough into a cylindrical log and place in the pan. Slide the lid onto the pan.

  8. Proof for 50-60 minutes at 80ºF.

  9. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. If you have a baking stone, pre-heat it, too. You will be doing most of the bake with the oven turned off. The baking stone will act as a heat buffer, so the oven temperature falls more slowly.

  10. When the dough has risen to within about ¾ inches from the top of the pan, place it in the oven, covered.

  11. Bake at 350ºF for one hour. Then, turn the oven down to 275ºF, and bake for another 3-4 hours. Then, turn the oven off, and let the bread continue to bake for another 8-12 hours. The range of times given is due to the variability in ovens, specifically how well they retain heat, and how quickly their temperature falls once they are turned off. Hamelman says, “You will know when this bread is baked: The aroma will fill the entire room.” (The aroma of the baking bread was very present 2 hours into the bake. At about 4 hours into the bake, I turned the oven off. The next morning, the aroma in the room was not discernible. When I took the pan out of the oven, it was still warm, but not so hot I couldn't hold it in my bare hands. When I opened the pan, the bread was very aromatic, with the molasses smelling most strongly but the rye very much there as well.)

  12. When the bread is baked, remove it from the pan, and let it cool completely. It should then be wrapped in baker's linen and let rest for a minimum of 24 hours before slicing.

As you can see from the domed top of the loaf, it did not spring enough to fill the pan. I don't know if there was not enough dough, not enough water or whether it was inadequately mixed or proofed. Comments on this would be more than welcome.

Addendum: I sliced the pumpernickel about 36 hours after it was baked. It was very firm and sliced well into thin slices without any of the crumbling I feared. The crust is very chewy. The crumb was moist but extremely dense. The flavor was molasses and rye - very strong flavors.

Discussion and comments by more experienced pumpernickel bakers convinced me that I should have added much more water to the dough, but this bread is not bad as baked. Here are a couple crumb photos:

David

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


 


One of the breads we baked at the SFBI Artisan II Workshop last month was a miche. Everyone thought it was one of the best breads we baked. I made it at home for the first time two weeks ago, but used “Organic Type 85” high-extraction flour from Central Milling rather than the mix of white and whole wheat with the addition of toasted wheat germ we had used at SFBI. (See This miche is a hit!)


This bread was delicious, but I did want to make it at least once using the formula we had used at the SFBI, just to see how it turned out at home compared to baked in a commercial steam injected deck oven. Certainly the several TFL members who have baked this miche in their home ovens since I posted the formula have found it to be good. Also, at the SFBI, we had found that miches scaled at 2.5 to 3 kg somehow had an even better flavor than those scaled at 1.25 kg. So, today I baked a 2 kg miche using the original SFBI Artisan II formula.


For those who would like to make this larger version, here is the formula for a 2 kg miche:


 


Total Dough

Bakers %

Weight (g)

AP Flour

96.67

1087

WW Flour

3.33

38

Water

73.33

824

Salt

2

23

Wheat germ toasted

2.5

28

Total

177.83

2000

 

Pre-ferment

Bakers %

Weight (g)

AP Flour

75

112

WW Flour

25

38

Water

100

150

Salt

0

0

Liquid starter

50

75

Total

250

375

 

Final Dough

Bakers %

Weight (g)

AP Flour

100

975

Water

69

675

Salt

2

23

Wheat germ toasted

2.5

28

Levain

31

299

Total

204.5

2000

The procedure used was the same as in my previous blog entry about this bread with one exception – shooting for a slightly lighter crust, I baked with steam for 20 minutes at 450ºF, then turned the oven to convection bake at 425ºF for another 40 minutes. I did not leave the miche in the turned off oven to dry out before removing it to the cooling rack. I did leave it in the oven while I heated the oven back up to 460ºF conventional bake for the next loaves (about 5 minutes).

I was concerned about over-proofing this loaf, and it was lined up ahead of a couple San Joaquin Sourdough breads waiting to bake.

Miche after baking 20 minutes with steam at 450ºF

The blowout I got suggests the loaf was a bit under-proofed. I also shaped the boule really tight, which may well have been a second factor.

The miche sang loud and long while cooling. The crust had some crackles, but not like the last miche.

Crust crackles

Loaf profile, cut through the middle

Crumb

Crumb close-up

2 kg miche beside 514 g San Joaquin Sourdough bâtards

The crust was crunchy-chewy - much thinner than the last bake. It was much less caramelized, and this was apparent in the less wonderful crunch and flavor. The crumb was nice. It was quite noticeably denser in the center of the loaf. I think this is expectable with a miche of this size. I thought the crumb structure was pretty consistent from the center of a slice to the crust.

6 hours after baking: The aroma of the crumb had a pronounced whole wheat grassiness. The crumb was moderately chewy. From past experience, I expect it to be softer tomorrow. The flavor was good - mildly sour with a nice wheaty flavor - but I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the miche made with Central Milling's "Type 85" flour. I think the flavor would have been better had I used fresh-milled whole wheat. That's what I will do the next time I bake this miche.

24 hours after baking: The aroma and flavor have mellowed and melded. The grassy aroma is gone. It just smells like a good sourdough country bread. The flavor is now delightful - very complex - nuttier and sweeter. A very thin smear of unsalted butter makes this bread ambrosial.

I froze half the miche. The other half will be croutons for onion soup gratiné tonight, breakfast toast with almond butter and crostini with ribollita for dinner tomorrow. (The ribollitta was my wife's all-morning project.) That should leave another quarter loaf for sandwiches, panini, French toast ... 

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder



One of my favorite uses for several days old sourdough bread is crostini. These little open-faced sandwiches can be topped with all sorts of meat spreads or vegetable combinations. They are very traditional in Tuscany as antipasti. I am usually prompted to make them when I get a chicken that includes the giblets. A spread of chicken liver, generally sautéed and mashed with diced vegetables, wine and herbs is among the most common topping for crostini, although I often flavor mine more in a French style with shallots, dry white wine, thyme and tarragon than in the Italian style.


Another traditional Italian topping for crostini is cavolo nero. This is a very dark green, curly-leafed kale which has a wonderful flavor. It is also delicious mixed with crumbled Italian sausage in a sandwich, on pizza or with pasta. This time of year, there is lots of cavolo nero in our local farmer's market, and tonight I made crostini di cavolo nero as an appetizer to eat while the trout and fennel gratin were finishing baking. I adapted the recipe from Flavors of Tuscany, by Maxine Clark.


 


Ingredients


6 thin slices of crusty sourdough bread


3 T EVOO, plus more for brushing the bread


10 oz (more or less) Cavolo nero, leaves cut from the tough central stem and cut into thin shreds.


2-3 garlic cloves, sliced thin


Sea salt and fresh-ground pepper


1 T balsamic vinegar


Fresh herbs to garnish (optional)


Procedure


Pre-heat oven to 375ºF


Brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil, place the bread on a baking pan and bake for 10 minutes, turning once. They should be browned somewhat. Keep them warm.


In a 10-12 inch sauté pan or in a wok, sauté the garlic in 3 T olive oil on medium heat until they just start to color (about 1 minute).


Turn up the heat to medium-high. Add the cavolo nero and a dash of water. Season with salt and pepper. Toss and stir continuously.


When the cavolo nero is limp (1-2 minutes), add the balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook and stir until the vinegar has evaporated.


Place generous portions of the cavolo nero on the toasts and serve immediately.



Slices of bread (SFBI Artisan II Miche), ready to brush with olive oil and toast



De-stemming cavolo nero



Mis en place - balsamic vinegar, sliced garlic, shredded cavolo nero



Buon appetito!


David


Submitted to YeastSpotting


dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


 


I am continuing my exploration of fresh-ground flour this week with another bake of Peter Reinhart's “100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread” from Whole Grain Baking. I baked this bread three weeks ago and found the flavor marvelous, but the crumb was somewhat dense and cakey. I had ground the flour from hard red Winter wheat at the second from the finest setting. I did like the chewiness from the coarser ground grains. So, looking for a lighter loaf overall but maintaining the chewiness, I modified the formula and procedures somewhat.


Reinhart's formula calls for half the flour in a soaker of flour, milk product and salt. For the liquid, I used ¾ non-fat Greek-style yoghurt and ¼ water. The rest of the flour is in a biga made with flour, water and instant yeast. The biga is mixed, kneaded and refrigerated overnight.


I ground the wheat for the biga at the finest setting of my KitchenAid Grain Mill. This resulted in flour that was still a bit coarser than KAF WW flour, for example. I ground the wheat for the soaker at a medium-coarse setting.


I thought that I could get a lighter crumb and higher rising loaf if I developed the gluten in the biga portion before adding the soaker to the mix. So, I added all the other ingredients (salt, yeast, honey and canola oil) to the biga in the mixer bowl. I mixed for a couple minutes with the paddle at Speed 1, then with the dough hook for 11 minutes at Speed 2. The dough was rather sticky, but it cleaned the sides of the bowl, almost cleaned the bottom and had window paning. I then added in the soaker, which was quite crumbly, and mixed with the dough hook until it was incorporated into the dough.


After a 5 minute rest, I briefly kneaded the dough on the board, incorporating another couple tablespoons of fine ground whole wheat in the process, then transferred the dough to an oiled batter pitcher for bulk fermentation. Fermentation, proofing and baking were according to Reinhart's instructions. Note that, three weeks ago, I baked this bread in a Le Creuset oval Dutch oven. Today, I baked on a baking stone and steamed the oven using the SFBI method I've described in earlier postings.




The crust was crunchy, especially from the coarser pieces of wheat. The crumb reminds me of a 100% rye with rye chops. It's not what I was aiming for, but it is interesting. The crumb has two distinct textures from the different grinds of grain - tender and chewy-crunchy. The flavor is delicious.


I'd count this a worthwhile learning experience, but it's still not my ideal crumb for this bread. 


The other bread that I baked today was my San Joaquin Sourdough. I fed the levain with a 50/50 mix of KAF Sir Galahad and fresh-ground whole wheat. The final dough had 5% fresh-ground rye.



San Joaquin Sourdough breads with Julia Drayton Camelias



San Joaquin Sourdough Crumb


David


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


 


We baked a miche the last day of the SFBI Artisan II (sourdough baking) workshop. This was one of the breads we mixed entirely by hand. The students' miches were scaled to 1 kg, as I recall, but our instructor baked a couple larger ones, using the same dough.


These miches were among the favorites of all the students for the wonderful texture of their crust and crumb and their flavor. I gave one of mine to brother Glenn, who has stopped reminding me in the past few days that I promised him the formula.


This formula is substantially different from the miche formula in Advanced Bread and Pastry. I blogged about the background of that miche last month. This one is more similar to contemporary versions such as that of James McGuire, Hamelman's adaptation of which is found in Bread.


The formula we used at the SFBI calls for mostly white flour, with a little whole wheat in the levain refreshment and a little toasted wheat germ in the final dough. From my reading, a high-extraction flour is preferred for miches. I had some of Central Milling's “Organic Type 85” high-extraction flour on hand, so that is what I used.


 


Total formula

 

 

Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

High-extraction flour

702

100

Water

515

73.33

Wheat germ (toasted)

18

2.5

Salt

15

2.08

Total

1250

177.91

Notes

  • The SFBI formula used 96.67% “Bread flour” and 3.33% Whole wheat flour. All the whole wheat flour is used in the levain. I used Central Milling's “Organic Type 85 Flour” for both the levain and the final dough

  • I did not use wheat germ since I was using high-extraction flour, but this ingredient did contribute to the great flavor of this bread as we made it in Artisan II.

 

Levain

 

 

Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

High-extraction flour

93.7

100

Water

93.7

100

Liquid starter

50

46.8

Total

237.4

246.8

  1. Dissolve the starter in the water and mix in the flour. Desired Dough Temperature: 78ºF.

  2. Ferment for 8-12 hours.

 

Final Dough

 

 

Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

High-extraction flour

586

100

Water

398

68

Wheat germ (toasted)

18

3

Salt

15

2.5

Levain

234

40

Total

1251

213.5

Procedure

  1. Dissolve the levain in the water. Add the other ingredients and mix thoroughly by hand. DDT: 75-78ºF.

  2. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl.

  3. Ferment for 3-4 hours with 4 folds at 50 minute intervals. (I did this by the “stretch and fold in the bowl” technique.)

  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board. Pre-shape as a tight boule.

  5. Cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes to relax the gluten.

  6. Shape as a tight boule and place, seam side up, in a floured banneton.

  7. Cover with plastic and retard overnight in refrigerator.

  8. Remove the boule from the refrigerator and allow to warm and complete proofing for 1-3 hours. (Watch the dough, not the clock!)

  9. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the over to 500ºF with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  10. When the loaf is proofed, transfer the boule to a peel. Slash the boule as desired, and transfer it to the baking stone. Steam the oven and reduce the temperature to 450ºF.

  11. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove any water remaining in your steaming apparatus.

  12. Continue baking for another 40-50 minutes. (If you have a convection oven, switch to “Convection Bake” and reduce the oven temperature to 430ºF at this point. But see my tasting notes.)

  13. Remove the boule to a cooling rack, and cool thoroughly before slicing.

Notes on procedure

  • Traditionally, we were told, this bread is scored in a diamond pattern, but any scoring pattern that pleases you is fine. Just be aware that the diamond pattern tends to yield a flatter profile loaf than a simple square or cross.

  • This bread benefits from a very bold bake. The crust should be quite dark. It may look almost burned, but the flavor and crunchiness that is desired requires this.

  • This type of bread often improves in flavor very substantially 24 hours after baking.

    Crust

    Crumb


    Crumb close-up

Tasting notes

I sliced and tasted the bread about 4 hours after removing it from the oven. The crust had crackled nicely and was very thick and crunchy – the kind that results in crust flying everywhere when you slice it. The crumb was well-aerated, but without any really large holes. The crumb structure is similar to that I got with the miche from BBA made with this flour, but a bit more open. The crumb is chewy-tender.

The flavor of the crust is very dark – caramelized-sweet but with a bitter overtone where it is almost black. The crumb is sweet, wheaty, nutty and absolutely delicious. My note above notwithstanding, it's hard to imagine the flavor getting any better in another day.

I am enormously impressed with the flavor of the breads I have baked with Central Milling's “Organic Type 85” flour. I want more of it, and I want to try some of their other specialty flours, including those they mill for baguettes.

I will definitely be baking this bread again. I would like to make it as a larger miche, say 2 kg. Next time, I will lower the oven temperature to 420 or 425ºF when I switch to convection bake for the crust to be slightly less dark.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

 



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

 

 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - dmsnyder's blog