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I can't believe six months have gone by since I made Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grains. (See Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain, from Hamelman's "Bread") I liked it so much the first time, I promised myself I would bake it again soon to see if was consistently so good. So, I forgot about it. I'll blame the NY Baker's test baking pre-occupation of the Summer.


A few days ago, I was thumbing through “Bread,” deciding what to bake this weekend, when I re-discovered this formula. A happy moment.


My second bake of the Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain confirmed the wonderfulness of this bread and my personal preference for it over the basic Vermont Sourdough.



OVERALL FORMULA

 

 

Bread flour

1 lb 11.2 oz.

85.00%

Whole Rye

4.8 oz

15.00%

Water

1 lb 4.8oz

65.00%

Salt

.6 oz

1.90%

TOTAL YIELD

3 lbs 5.4 oz

169.90%

 

LIQUID LEVAIN BUILD

 

 

Bread flour

6.4 oz

100.00%

Water

8 oz

125.00%

Mature culture (liquid)

1.3 oz

20.00%

TOTAL

15.7 oz.

 

 

FINAL DOUGH

Bread flour

1lb 8 oz

Whole Rye

4.8 oz

Water

12.8 oz

Liquid levain

14.4 oz

(all less 3 T)

Salt

.6 oz

TOTAL

3 lbs 5.4 oz

 

METHOD

  1. The night before mixing the final dough, feed the liquid levain as above. Ferment at room temperature overnight.

  2. Mix the final dough. Place all ingredients except the salt in the bowl and mix to a shaggy mass.

  3. Cover the bowl and autolyse for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix using the paddle of a stand mixer for 2 minutes at Speed 1. Add small amounts of water or flour as needed to achieve a medium consistency dough.

  5. Switch to the dough hook and mix at Speed 2 for 6-8 minutes. There should be a coarse window pane.

  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and ferment for 2.5 hours with one stretch and fold at 1.25 hours.

  7. Divide the dough into two equal parts and form into rounds. Place seam side up on the board.

  8. Cover with plastic and allow the dough to rest for 20-30 minutes.

  9. Form into boules or bâtards and place in bannetons or en couch. Cover well with plasti-crap or place in food safe plastic bags.

  10. Refrigerate for 12-18 hours.

  11. The next day, remove the loaves from the refrigerator.

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

  13. After 45-60 minutes, pre-steam the oven. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score them.

  14. Load the loaves onto the stone and pour ½ cup boiling water into the steaming apparatus. Turn the oven down to 460ºF.

  15. After 15 minutes, if you have a convection oven, turn it to convection bake at 435ºF. If you don't, leave the oven at 460ºF. Bake for another 25 minutes.

  16. Remove the loaves to a cooling rack.

  17. Cool completely before slicing.

I got the same crackled, crunchy crust and moist, chewy crumb as I did the first time. The flavor was more assertively sour than I remember, which is fine with me. The overall flavor was delicious. The sourness did not detract from the lovely complex wheat-rye flavor that is my favorite.

This is indeed a wonderful bread, and I promise to not let so much time go by between bakes again! I heartily recommend it to those seeking a “more sour sourdough.”

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

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In my continuing search for whole wheat breads to add to my list of favorites, today I baked the “Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread” from Michel Suas' “Advanced Bread and Pastry.” I had previously baked the Honey Whole Wheat from AB&P, but still prefer Peter Reinhart's 100% Whole Wheat from BBA to it.


Most of my bread baking is with sourdoughs, and I want to have a sourdough whole wheat bread that I really enjoy in my repertoire. The one I have made - I can't remember where I got the formula - was not to my taste. I just didn't like the combination of sourdough tang and whole wheat flavor. On the other hand, I have enjoyed other sourdough breads with a high percentage of whole grains, so the AB&P formula seemed worth trying.


 


Levain

 

 

Ingredients

Baker's %

Wt (oz)

Bread flour (KAF)

95

2 3/8 oz

Medium rye flour (KAF)

5

1/8 oz

Water

50

2 oz

Starter (stiff)

80

2 oz

Total

 

5 7/8 oz

 

Final dough

 

 

Ingredients

Baker's %

Wt

Bread flour

40

5 7/8 oz

Whole wheat flour

60

8 ¾ oz

Water

76.6

11 1/8 oz

Yeast (instant)

0.16

1/8 tsp

Salt

2.53

3/8 oz

Levain

40

5 7/8 oz

Total

 

2 lb

Yes. I know it's not “pure” sourdough, and it's not close to purely whole wheat, but if Chef Suas wants to call it “Sourdough Whole Wheat,” who am I to quibble?

Procedure

  1. Mix levain ingredients and ferment at room temperature for 12 hours.

  2. Mix all ingredients to medium gluten development. The dough should be quite tacky.

  3. Bulk ferment for 2 hours.

  4. Divide into 2 equal pieces and preshape for boules or bâtards.

  5. Let the pieces rest, covered, for 20-30 minutes.

  6. Shape as desired.

  7. Proof en couche or in bannetons for 60 to 90 minutes.

  8. Bake at 450ºF for 35 minutes with steam for the first 12-15 minutes.

  9. Cool completely before slicing.

I mixed the dough in a KitchenAid stand mixer for 3 minutes on Speed 1 and about 7 minutes on Speed 2. After bulk fermentation, the dough was still tacky but very extensible. I rested the loaves seam side down after pre-shaping. This was a mistake. There was enough flour on the seam side to interfere slightly with final shaping. (See my boule tutorial.) I recommend proofing seam side up.

I think I slightly over-proofed (90 minutes) and got less oven spring than I thought I should get with this bread.

The crumb was quite chewy. The flavor was rather simple – A very slight sourdough tang and a straight ahead whole wheat flavor with no grassiness or bitterness. I look forward to tasting the bread as toast in the morning and as a sandwich for lunch tomorrow.

David

 

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Today, I baked Hamelman's "5-grain Levain" from "Bread."


Various TFL blogs have featured this bread. They can be found by searching the site. The recipe was posted by fleur-de-liz here: Eric: Hamelman's Five-Grain Levain. She was a very active contributor to TFL at the time I joined and an inspiration to me. She encouraged me to bake this bread for the first time way back when. It is, indeed, among the most delicious breads I've ever made or tasted.




David

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I have read so many bread baking books and viewed so many videos on shaping boules, but I didn't really "get it" until I saw our instructor, Miyuki, do it in the SFBI Artisan I workshop I attended a couple weeks ago.


I will attempt to show what I learned in still photos with descriptions. I hope that viewing these and then reviewing some of the excellent videos available might help others who are struggling with this technique.


Mis en place







You will need:



1. a batch of fully-fermented dough



2. a lightly floured "board" on which to work.



3. a scale, if you are dividing the dough.



4. a bench knife or other cutting implement, if you are dividing the dough



5. prepared bannetons or a couche on which to rest the formed boules for proofing



 



 





Procedure



 





1. Weigh your dough






2. Divide it into equal pieces.



3. Pre-shape each piece gently, incorporating any small pieces of dough on the inside. 



4. Rest the pre-shaped pieces, seam side down and covered with plastic or a towel  on the board for 20-30 minutes.







5. Prepare your bannetons or couche for receiving the shaped boules.




 




6. After the pre-shaped pieces have rested, shape each as follows:






* Pick up the piece and turn it smooth side down.



* Gently fold the long ends together under the piece.



* Rotate the piece 90º in your hands, and fold the other two sides together.




* Place the piece on an un-floured board, smooth side up.



 



 




* Cup your hands around the piece, and gently drag it 3 inches or so towards you in such a way that the edge closest to you sticks to the board and is dragged under the dough, thus stretching the top of the piece into a tight sheath containing the dough.




 



Note the position of the markers before stretching



After the stretching, the marker at the apex of the boule is unmoved, but the one that was at about 40º North, is now about at the equator.




* Rotate the dough 90º and repeat. Do this 3-4 times until the bottom of the boule is relatively smooth and the whole boule has an unbroken, smooth sheath.




Note that there are no visible seams on what will be the bottom of the boule, after the procedure described.


 




* Place the boules in bannetons, smooth side down, spray with oil and place each banneton in a food-grade plastic bag to proof. (Alternatively, place the boules seam side down on a couch and cover with a fold of the couche, plasti-crap or a towel.)



 



 


Well, there it is. For me, being able to visualize the stretching of the "skin" of the boule between a fixed North Pole and a point on the side, using the board to "grab" the bottom of the boule as I dragged it towards me was the "aha moment." I hope it makes sense to others.




The goal (to form a tight gluten sheath) in forming other shapes is fundamentally the same, but the method is entirely different.



Comments and questions are welcome.





Happy baking!




David



 



 



 



 


 

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Ruth (our sister) left her sourdough starter in the refrigerator at Pelican Way (vacation home).  I plan to use it when we're back here in a few weeks.  Where shall I start?



 


Dear Glenn,


I'm so happy that you have decided you are mature enough to enter into a long term commitment to a levain. You have, no doubt, heard the expression "starter marriage." I assume, like most, you have the impression this refers to the failed marriage of two people at a young age, but, as the Egyptians first discovered some 5000 years ago, it really refers to the successful long-term relationship between a baker and his or her wild yeast culture.


This can be one of the most rewarding experiences anyone can have, but it only works if there is mutual respect, an understanding of the partner's needs and a willingness on the baker's part to be patient and flexible, especially in the first months of the relationship. There will be disappointments, inevitably. You must accept these adversities and work through them together. If you do, your starter will reward you with nourishment for your body and soul. It will become resilient and forgiving. It will provide an endless variety of pleasures - pain au levain, pain de campagne, sour rye, challah, even croissants! 


As you feed your starter, it will awaken and come alive. It's yeast and lactobacilli will grow and multiply and produce the CO2 that raises your dough and the alcohol and acids that strengthen your gluten and lend complexity of flavor to your bread. But, if you neglect it, it will weaken and ooze liquid (hooch) as it's strength fades to nothingness. Yet, if you feed it again and again, it will revive and forgive you, time after time. Who cannot but treasure such loyalty?


The material requirements for a successful relationship are minimal: Your starter, water, flour and salt. Bowls and spatulas and ovens you have. You will need a scale to accurately measure ingredients. It should measure to 1 g (1/4 oz) and have a tare function. The most inexpensive but very acceptable one I know is made by Escali and costs less than $30. 


Your levain can be fed all purpose (AP) flour, but it really likes its feeding spiced up with a bit of rye and/or whole wheat (WW). The mix I use for feeding my starter is 70% AP, 20%WW and 10% rye. (All measurements are by weight, not volume.) So, I advise you to mix up a batch of starter food, say 210 g AP, 60 g WW and 30 g rye and keep it in a quart jar.


I generally keep my starter at 75% hydration. (This means 4 parts flour to 3 parts water.) And when feeding it, I mix together 1 part starter with 4 parts flour and 3 parts water. For example, mix 15 g starter with 60 g flour (the flour mix described above) and 45 g water. This makes 120 gms of starter. Mix this in a medium sized bowl (3-4 cup size), cover the bowl and let it ferment for 12-16 hours. It should double in volume and be all bubbly with a domed top. I like to do this in a glass or clear plastic container. Before using the starter to make bread, repeat the feeding. Discard all but 20 g of starter and feed the starter with 80 g of flour and 60 g of water. You now have 160 g of starter. It may now double in 6-8 hours. It is now ready to use to make bread.


I would start with a simple San Francisco-type sourdough bread. I would plan on making the same bread several times before you feel you "know it." Then, choose a variation or another type of sourdough bread. I know you like my Sourdough Italian Bread, so you may want to work on that. It is a little trickier, in that it is a wet, sticky dough. I can send you formulas for these or other types of sourdough bread.


There is a wealth of information online. You know TFL. Read Sourdough Lessons which has links to a number of sources. Mike Avery's Sourdough Home - An Exploration of Sourdough also has a lot of good information and tips. You may also want to explore Susan Tenney's Wild Yeast blog for inspiration. If you read my blog on TFL, you will find many formulas, most of which contain detailed instructions for procedures. I'll be home next weekend (making bread, no doubt) so feel free to give a call.


 


Love,


David


 

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SFBI Artisan I, day 5


 


Today, we baked 3 batches of baguettes - with poolish, sponge and "pre-ferment" (like biga). The didactic portion covered baker's math for doughs with pre-ferments. We reviewed a lot of material on mixing and dough handling. As a "bonus lesson," Miyuki demonstrated special baguette scoring techniques.


 



Miyuki called this a "Dragon Tail."


 



Dragon Tail baguette


 



Bend the baguette into a curve and cut as for an epi, except fold all the pieces to the convex side of the baguette


 



These are all Miyuki's - ready to load


 



 



These are mine - baked


 



Loading baguettes 


 


I don't think I've mentioned that there were wonderful pastries available with coffee when we arrived, and we were served delicious lunches each afternoon. Lunch today was two kinds of pizza - margarita and 5 spices chicken, mango and scallion - really delicious. Today, we were also served wine - a very nice pinot grigio. The desserts were lemon macarons and "nouveau linzer," a layer of flourless chocolate cake spread with raspberry jam under chocolate mousse. Ooooooh my!


 



 



 


At the end of the day, Michel Suas met with the class, which is a long story for another time. We tasted the different baguettes we made and also some hand-mixed baguettes Miyuki made and baked in a home-type oven. We took some photos and went home with a couple half-pints of ice cream the interns had made. I got strawberry and cassis.


 



Michel Suas


 



Class photo (3 students had to catch planes prior to this, unfortunately.)


 


I would certainly recommend this course to any serious home baker or any professional baker. For the home bakers: It really helps if you have studied modern bread making concepts beforehand. The workshop covers a lot of material, and it moves fast. You do not want this to be your very first exposure to baker's math or scaling ingredients or using pre-ferments, just to give a few examples. 


On the other hand, the class was about half professionals, some with many years experience as bread bakers in restaurant or bakery environments. There was no one who didn't learn a lot. I think I heard every one of them talking excitedly at one or more points about concepts and procedures they were eager to apply in their own workplaces.


Now, to go home and try to apply everything I've learned. 


 


David




 

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SFBI Artisan I, day 4




 


Yesterday, we looked at the effects of two variables - pâte fermentée and high-gluten flour - on one kind of bread - baguettes. Today, we used pâte fermentée as the constant, and made 5 different breads with it. They were:


1. Pan Bread. An enriched sandwich loaf.


2. Rye Bread: A French-style pan de seigle.


3. Whole Wheat Bread 


4. Egg Bread. Very enriched with sugar, eggs and butter and braided.


5. Multi-grain Bread. With a soaker of 3 seeds, rye, whole wheat and AP flour.


 



Plan for the day


 



Ripe Pâte Fermentée. (Incidentally, a good illustration of the chaotic pattern of un-organized gluten resulting from a short mix.)


 


We made multiple loaves of each. We made the pan bread using 3 different shaping methods. We used multiple scoring patterns with the the rye bread and  the whole wheat bread. So, we did 7 shapes, 12 scoring patterns, 5 kinds of dough and 20 loaves, in all. I was truly wiped out by the end of the day. 



My breads from today (absent the 3 pan loaves). Front to back: Multi-grain, Whole Wheat, Egg Bread and Rye Bread.


 



One of my Whole Wheat boules


 


Miyuki squeezed in a couple classroom sessions on different pre-ferments.


As a very special treat for me, Susan Tenney (SusanFNP) came over to SFBI to chat and stuck around helping Miyuki with racking the baked loaves. It was such a pleasure to meet her face to face. She is such a pillar of the home artisan baking world!


At the end of the day, before tasting all the types of breads we baked today, we mixed pre-ferments - pâte fermentée, poolish and sponge - for tomorrow, when we return to baguettes.


The "aha moment" of the day for me was finally really learning how to pre-shape and shape a boule correctly. It's about time, eh? Again, having Miyuki show me once was all it took. Having to then shape 10 boules help consolidate the technique. I learned more in an hour today about this technique then I've learned in the past 3 years. As Leadbelly said, "It's so easy when you know how." 


 


David



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SFBI Artisan I: day 3


 


On day 3 of the Aritisan I Workshop at SFBI, the didactic sessions covered "flour technology" with discussion of the different kinds of wheat, milling and other processes used by millers. In the lab, we again mixed 3 kinds of baguettes in order to compare the consequences of modifying the straight dough method by using high gluten four or by using an autolyse. In each case, while the formula was kept constant, mixing was varied as one would with these variations - longer mixing when using high-gluten flour and much shorter mixing when using an autolyse.


 



 



 


On Days 1 and 2, Miyuki did all the mixing. Today, we all got to use the big spiral mixers with much more (literally) hands on dough-feeling periodically to judge when the dough was adequately mixed.


 



 



Transferring proofed baguettes to the loader


 



Scoring baguettes before loading


 


Just to clarify: When different methods were used, I made 5 baguettes with each dough, even though my photos only show (the best) 3 of each batch.


We were able to actually experience the different dough handling of each mix when stretch and folding, dividing, pre-shaping, shaping, scoring, etc. We could also see the consequences of these variations for loaf volume, crust color, cuts opening, crumb structure and color, aroma and flavor. Miyuki repeatedly quizzed us on the reasons we got the results we did for each of these variables.


 



Our baguettes from today, cooling


 



Comparing crumbs


 


Of course, we also worked on improving our dough handling skills. I felt pretty good about my improvements in consistent baguette shaping. My scoring was, overall, improved. My best scoring was, in Miyuki's words, "almost good."  But I think I know what I need to do to improve my scoring.


 



My baguettes (left to right: Improved mix, High-gluten flour and Autolyse). My baguettes today had more even thickness and length. Scoring still needs work.


 



My best-looking baguette of the day.


 



Intermediate mix baguette crumb


 


Tomorrow, we make 5 kinds of bread, none of which is baguettes!  


 





 

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SFBI Artisan I day 2


 


Today's emphasis was on the differences between Short, Intermediate and Intensive mixing. Each of us baked 5 baguettes with each type of mix. The formulas for each batch was slightly different - the shorter the mix, the longer the fermentation, the greater the number of folds, the higher the hydration and the less yeast.


 



Our lab, aerial view


 



Today's project


 



Stretching and folding the Improved Mix dough (Miyuki demonstrated, then each of us did it on our own batch.)


 



Our breads, cooling


 



Assessing the breads


 



Comparing crumbs (from left to right, short, improved and intensive mix)


 


Of course, the practice handling the dough with personal critique from Miyuki continued. I was amazed that, with 16 students, she clearly remembered what she had told each of us yesterday and compared today's production to yesterday's in incredible detail. (I chatted with one of the SFBI interns at a break. He clearly worships Miyuki as a very highly skilled baker and teacher. It's like she knows everything and does everything better than anyone - not just breads, but also pastries, cakes, venoiserie … everything. I can see it.)


 



Assessing each student's baguettes


 



My baguettes


 



Miyuki cutting one of my baguettes


 


After all the breads were baked, we assessed each one that Miyuki had made. Then, she evaluated the breads each of the students had made. I need to work on shaping and scoring consistency. She really liked the crumb of my Improved Mix baguette. Her comment after looking at it was, "You have really good dough handling." Ooooooh. That felt good!


 



My intermediate mix baguette crumb


 


David




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Wow! There is no way possible to describe today in full, even with photos. I'll try a summary.


The day started with coffee and fabulous raspberry muffins and meeting some of the other students. Once the class convened, after a brief but very warm greeting by Michel Suas (hisself!) we each introduced ourselves. About half the class are culinary professionals - some professional bakers. They came from Portland, Seattle, Pittsburg (PA) and elsewhere. Other students were chefs who wanted to add bread making skills. The other half were home bakers, some of whom sold their bread on a small scale.


The teacher was not one of the regular faculty. Miyuki is a graduate of Johnson & Wales and has worked in production at SFBI for 4 years. She occasionally fills in as an instructor. She was knowledgable, organized, responsive and clearly expert.


About half the day was spent in the classroom reviewing "the basics." It was like an executive summary of the chapters on the baking process, dough handling and ingredients in Advanced Bread & Pastry, except we could ask questions when we didn't understand or wanted more information. The other half was in the "lab." We worked today with a straight baguette dough Miyuki scaled and mixed. (Tomorrow we do it all.) The hands-on part was scaling, pre-shaping, shaping, proofing, transferring, scoring and baking. For every step, Miyuki demonstrated for the class then wandered among us to monitor our own attempts, correcting errors and answering questions. At the end of the day, when we all had our 5 baguettes, she assessed each student's shaping, scoring and crumb structure. If something was not perfect, she told us exactly how to correct the problem tomorrow. She instructed us in the criteria by which baguettes are judged in competition, including how to taste them.


It was wonderful to see Miyuki handling dough and shaping, but the biggest surprise was feeling the dough at various stages of an improved mix. Miyuki did use the window pane to demonstrate the degree of gluten development. The surprise was how low a level of gluten development she took as her end point for mixing.


My greatest pleasure was being able to shape full-sized baguettes rather than the demi-baguettes I must shape at home because of the narrowness of my baking stone and oven.


My biggest challenge (so far) has been in scoring, but I'll have plenty of opportunity to practice over the remainder of the workshop.


Here are a few photos of people, equipment and product. The baguettes pictured are the ones I made. They had the best flavor of any baguettes I've every tasted anywhere, but I'm promised improvement as the week progresses.


 



The Front Door


 



Our instructor


 



Loader and deck oven


 



Some of my classmates


 



My first full-sized baguettes, waiting for judgement


 


David




 

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