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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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As most of you are aware, Thanksgiving is celebrated in the U.S. of A. next Thursday. Family gatherings and big dinners are traditional, although the foods that are traditional vary considerably by region and from family to family. These traditions usually involve a lot of cooking, but they make menu planning relatively simple, unless you have family members with a variety of food allergies or other aversions. 


There are also traditions regarding foods eaten, not on Thanksgiving, but on the surrounding days. I'm not aware of a lot of these. The one that comes to mind is going out for Chinese food the Friday after Thanksgiving. This is an American Jewish tradition. I have no idea what Chinese-Americans traditionally eat the night after Thanksgiving.


These days, with the increased mobility of American families, the Thanksgiving gathering often involves relatives traveling great distances in order to be together for the holiday. This also means the gathering is more than a one day affair. And that means meal planning and cooking need to be done for much more than the one big Thanksgiving dinner.


We will have family starting to arrive next Tuesday, and the last will leave the Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving. We want to have time to play with the grandchildren and visit with the grown-ups. So, we're spending this weekend preparing food to be frozen, so we don't spend all next week in the kitchen.


I started 2 days ago (Wednesday), feeding 2 different starters. Last night, I mixed the dough for San Joaquin Sourdough. This will be baked tomorrow as baguettes to make into French toast. Susan made a vegetarian stock to use for our Thanksgiving stuffing and for a potage. (One daughter-in-law is a vegetarian.)


Today, I built up a starter which will be used tomorrow to make Country Rye Breads from "Tartine Bread." I have the flour for this pre-weighed on the counter.


I also made a batch of NY Baker's babka dough and made up the cake crumb/sugar/cinnamon filling too.Tomorrow, I'll make up pecan rolls, but stop before cutting the rolls and freeze the logs to cut, proof and bake while company is here. 


I then made pasta dough for fresh tagliatelle for Tuesday night's dinner. The bolognese sauce is simmering now. I'll stir in some pesto before serving. (No pesto for the kosher daughter-in-law. It has cheese in it.) Tomorrow, I'll roll out, cut and dry the noodles.


I'd planned to also make a batch of the pie crust using trailrunner's recipe, but my wife hijacked the Cuisinart to grind hazelnuts for a Frangipani-Pear Cake. So, that's added to tomorrow's fun.



Sufficient excuse for not making pie crust today


Let's see ... That just leaves making Turkey stock (for brother Glenn's best ever gravy) and a big pot of Potage (from Patricia Wells. HIGHLY recommended!) for lunch or dinner one day, baking two kinds of bread, making the pie crust dough and putting together the pecan roll logs for the next two days. All this in between other necessary errands, naturally.


Hey! I forgot the bagels! Maybe we'll make them along with the Challah, rye bread, Apple Crostada and knotted rolls Glenn wants me to show him how to make ... next Friday. 


Happy getting ready for Thanksgiving to everyone!


David

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It's been quite a while since I've made a rye bread, and I've been missing it. I've been admiring the ryes other TFL members have been making, especially those with a very high percentage of rye. I've also noted the comments about the special sweet flavors reported when hot rye soakers or mashes have been included.


This weekend, I made Hamelman's “80% Rye with a Rye-flour Soaker” from “Bread.” This is the first time I've made a bread with over 70% rye flour and the first time I've used a hot rye soaker. The results were just astonishing. This is my new favorite rye bread.


I proofed the loaves seam side down, so the seam side was up when the breads baked. I did not score or dock the loaves but let them “burst” willy nilly. As occurred the last time I did this, I'd sealed the seams too well, and the loaves didn't burst as much as I'd hoped. None the less, I got really good oven spring, and the loaves had a high profile when sliced.




After the loaves were baked and cooled, I wrapped them in a spare raw linen couche for about 24 hours before slicing. The crust had softened and was nice and chewy. The crumb was pretty much as expected.



The flavor was notably sweet but with a nice tang and earthy rye flavor. It is delicious just plain and made a wonderful sandwich with smoked turkey breast. I'm anticipating great enjoyment when I have some with cream cheese and smoked salmon for breakfast tomorrow.



David


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I have made the Basic Country Bread from Chad Robertson's “Tartine Bread” twice before. (See: Tartine Basic Country Bread as Bâtards and Oven steaming using the SFBI method) However, I did not bake the loaves in the cast iron “cloche” that Robertson prescribes. I baked them on a pre-heated baking stone and used the SFBI oven steaming method or the "magic bowl" technique.


Caroline (“trailrunner” on TFL) recently blogged on Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain from Hamelman's “Bread” which she baked in Dutch Ovens – one cast iron and the other enameled cast iron. Her beautiful loaves finally pushed me to try this method with the Basic Country Bread. (See: David's Vermont SD w/ increased rye ---response to cast iron bake)


Caroline used an heirloom cast iron Dutch oven and a Le Creuset Dutch oven. There was no difference in her results. I decided to try a similar experiment with two other cloches: A 5 qt Copco enameled cast iron pot that was a wedding present (which means we've had it for going on 44 years) and a 4 qt Calphalon anodized aluminum all purpose pan.



Copco enameled cast iron on the left and Calphalon Anodized Aluminum Dutch Ovens


I made the dough according to Robertson's instructions. I followed Carolyn's well-described method for baking, except that I placed my cloches right on the oven rack, rather than on a baking stone.



Loaves uncovered after baking 20 minutes covered at 460ºF.


I baked the loaves for an additional 25 minutes after uncovering them to achieve the crust coloration seen below. I think I could have baked a bit longer to get as dark a crust as those in pictured in "Tartine Bread."



Loaf baked in Copco, on the left, and loaf baked in Calphalon, on the right


Both loaves had great oven spring and bloom. The one baked in the Copco oven had significantly great height, but I don't know whether this had anything to do with differences in thermal properties between the two "cloches" or simply reflects differences in their shape and/or volume. Certainly, there was no significant difference in the crust appearance.


The prolonged high heat did discolor the handles of the Calphalon pan. The Copco interior discolored quite a lot. I don't know if this was from the heat or, possibly, from the parchment paper. Anyone who can share experience with this would be appreciated.



The crust is staying crisp as the bread cools. The crumb is well aerated but less open than that of the bâtards I made. It is tender and has a lovely wheaty-sweet flavor with a mild but definite sourdough tang.


I must say I am very favorably impressed with the results of baking this bread in the Dutch ovens. I think the oven spring and bloom are remarkable and much more dramatic than what I have seen with baking on an oven stone covered with a stainless steel bowl. I'll have to try this technique with other breads, but trailrunner's results with the lower hydration Vermont Sourdough certainly suggest my experience will be repeated.


Thanks for the prompt, trailrunner!


David


Submitted to YeastSpotting


 


 

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