The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dmsnyder

 

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

Pullman or pain de mie pan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rye bread cooling

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

Rye wrapped in linen

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

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

Coronal section with crumb

Crumb, close-up

Another close-up

Delicious plain. More delicious with smoked salmon!

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

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

David

 

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dmsnyder

 

 

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

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

 

Total Formula

 

 

Ingredients

Baker's %

Wt (g)

KAF AP flour

71.57

383

KAF Whole Wheat flour

19.77

106

BRM Dark Rye flour

8.66

46

Water

67.62

362

Walnuts (toasted)

15.81

85

Raisins (soaked)

19.77

106

Salt

2.13

11

Total

206.41

1100

 

Levain

 

 

Ingredients

Baker's %

Wt (g)

KAF AP flour

95

77

BRM Dark Rye flour

5

4

Water

50

40

Stiff Starter

60

48

Total

210

169

  1. Mix all ingredients until well incorporated.

  2. Ferment 12 hrs at room temperature.

     

Final Dough

 

 

Ingredients

Baker's %

Wt (g)

KAF AP flour

65

275

KAF Whole Wheat flour

25

106

BRM Dark Rye flour

10

42

Water

72

305

Yeast (dry instant)

0.1

0.4

Walnuts (toasted)

25

85

Raisins (soaked)

20

106

Salt

2.7

11

Levain

40

169

Total

259.8

1100

Procedure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  9. Ferment for 2 hours at 80ºF.

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

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

  12. Proof for 1.5 to 2 hours.

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

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

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

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

  17. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  18. Cool completely before slicing.

Notes

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

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

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

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

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dmsnyder

 

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

Olive breads loaded and scored

Raisin-Walnut breads, scored on loader

Miche, scored on loader

Miche, baking in the deck oven

Miche crumb


Some of the breads I baked today

Miches, Olive breads, Raisin-Walnut breads


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

Frank demonstrating French Country Shapes

Dough pre-shaped for various French Country Shapes

Couronne Bordelais

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

Pain d'Aix

Charleston

French Country Shapes on the loader.

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

Some of the French Country Shapes I made

 

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

Today's tidbits

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

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

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

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

David

 

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dmsnyder

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

Scaling water for the miche mix

Hand mixing dough for the miches

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

Challah pieces ready to be rolled into strands fro braiding

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

Frank's challot, baked

Challah crumb

My Ciabattas and Challot 


Stretch and fold

Dividing ciabatta dough

Placing ciabatta on the proofing board

Ciabatta baking in the deck oven

Ciabatta crumb

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

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

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

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

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

David

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dmsnyder

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

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

Some of my breads from today's bakes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

David

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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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dmsnyder

 

 

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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dmsnyder

 

 

 

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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