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I baked Gérard Rubaud's pain au levain for the second time this weekend. For background and detailed procedures, see my previous TFL blog entry. Gérard Rubaud Pain au Levain


I altered my procedure in two major ways: First, I followed MC's suggestion that I try this bread with a single levain build, rather than the three builds used by Gérard. Second, rather than mixing the flours for each build, I weighed out the total flour mix and then used the necessary portions of it for the levain and the final dough. In addition, following Rubaud's lead, I scored these loaves very lightly, and I baked them at 450ºF, which yielded a lighter-colored crust.


When I made this bread a few days ago, I had problems with the proofed loaves sticking to the couche and to the transfer peel. MC said that Rubaud does not flour his couche. He dusts the bottoms of the loaves with a high extraction flour. I dusted my couche with some coarsely ground whole wheat flour, and this worked better than the AP flour dusting had. I also dusted the tops of the loaves with AP flour to prevent sticking to the covering folds of the couche. As a result, the baked loaves have a quite prominent flouring. I don't find this particularly attractive, so I'll try to avoid it in the future.


 



 


Levain

 

Ingredient

Amount (gms)

Ripe levain (stiff)

37

AP flour

35

Whole wheat flour

9

Spelt flour

4.5

Rye flour

1.5

Water

28

Total

115

 

Final dough

 

Ingredient

Amount (gms)

Ripe levain (stiff)

115

AP flour

322

Whole wheat flour

82.5

Spelt flour

41.5

Rye flour

14

Water

377

Salt

10

Total

962

 

This bake was essentially identical to the first in oven spring, crust consistency, crumb aeration and, most importantly, flavor. The flavor, as described before is simply astonishing.

 

This bread is highly recommended.

 

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

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Shiao-Ping's beautiful miches, based on MC's interviews with Gérard Rubaud, inspired me to attempt Rubaud's pain au levain myself.



 


Rubaud's bread is made with 3 very firm levain builds, the final being incorporated in his final dough. He uses a flour mix with 70% AP flour and the remaining 30% a mix of whole wheat, spelt and rye flours. Remarkably, he grinds the flours to feed his levain fresh for each build, and he uses the same flour proportions for each levain build as used in his final dough. Not having a grain mill, I used store-bought flours. I measured out each flour for each build. If I make this bread again, I would make one batch of mixed flour for all the builds and the final dough. This would save time and also be more precise, given the very small amounts of flour in the levain builds.


Note that MC's interviews also indicate Rubaud salts his levain builds at 1% of the flour weight, in order to control their speed of ripening. I did not do this.


My formula is taken from Shiao-Ping's calculations which were taken from MC's interviews. I divided her quantities in half and, rather than a miche, made two smaller (480 gm) bâtards. Rubaud mixes his dough by machine. Shiao-Ping mixed her dough entirely by hand. I started my mixing in a stand mixer, but continued developing the gluten by hand, as described below.


 


First build

 

Ingredient

Amount (gms)

Ripe levain (stiff)

3

AP flour

5

Whole wheat flour

1

Spelt flour

0.5

Rye flour

0.5

Water

4

Total

14

 

Second build

 

Ingredient

Amount (gms)

Ripe levain (stiff)

14

AP flour

10.5

Whole wheat flour

2.5

Spelt flour

1.5

Rye flour

0.5

Water

8

Total

37

 

Third build

 

Ingredient

Amount (gms)

Ripe levain (stiff)

37

AP flour

35

Whole wheat flour

9

Spelt flour

4.5

Rye flour

1.5

Water

28

Total

115

Notes for levain builds

  1. The first levain was made with my usual firm sourdough starter which I feed 1:3:4 (starter:water:flour) with a flour mix of 70% AP, 20% Whole wheat and 10% Whole rye flours.

  2. To mix each build, dissolve the firm starter in the water in a small bowl. (I use a small dough whisk.), then add the flours and mix thoroughly into a ball.

  3. The first build was fermented for 10 hours, the second and third for about 8 hours each. This was in a cool kitchen, so your times my vary with the activity of your starter and the ambient temperature.

 

Final dough

 

Ingredient

Amount (gms)

Ripe levain (stiff)

115

AP flour

322

Whole wheat flour

82.5

Spelt flour

41.5

Rye flour

14

Water

377

Salt

10

Total

962

 

Method

  1. Mix the flours and the water. Cover and let it sit to autolyse for 20-60 minutes.

  2. Divide the starter into about 6 pieces and add them to the autolyse. Sprinkle the salt over all and mix thoroughly.

  3. In a stand mixer, mix with the dough hook on Speed 2 for about 10 minutes. There should be some gluten development, but the dough will be very gloppy. It will not clean the sides of the bowl.

  4. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Cover the bowl tightly.

  5. After 20 minutes, stretch and fold in the bowl for 30 strokes. Cover the bowl tightly.

  6. Repeat Step 5. twice more.

  7. Transfer the dough to the board and stretch it to a large rectangle and fold it like an envelope. Replace it in the bowl and cover.

  8. After 45 minutes, transfer the dough to a floured board and do another stretch and fold.

  9. After another 45 minutes, transfer the dough to the board and divide it into two equal pieces.

  10. Pre-shape each piece into a round and let them rest, covered, for 15 minutes.

  11. Shape each piece into a bâtard.

  12. Proof en couche until expanded by 50-75%.

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

  14. When the loaves are ready to bake, pre-steam the oven.

  15. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score them, and then transfer them to the baking stone.

  16. Steam the oven again. Turn down the oven to 450ºF.

  17. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the internal temperature of the loaves is at least 205ºF, the bottom gives a hollow sound when thumped and the crust is nicely browned.

  18. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  19. Cool completely before slicing.

 

Although I got good gluten development, the dough remained very loose. This was expected, given its high degree of hydration. However, I did not expect how the loaves stuck to the “well-floured” couch and transfer peel. The loaves deflated significantly in the process of transferring them to the Super Peel ™. The latter handled the loaves beautifully in transferring to the stone. No additional sticking.

There was very good oven spring, and the cuts on the loaf which didn't stick to the transfer peel as much opened up reasonably well, suggesting that the loaves were not as over-proofed as their deflation on transferring had suggested.

By time the bread had cooled, the crust was chewy with just a bit of crunch. (I did not follow my customary practice of drying the loaves in the cooling oven for a few minutes after they are fully baked.) The crumb was very well aerated. It had an aroma that seemed whole-wheaty, yet different. The flavor was excellent – complex and wheaty with some sweetness and more sourdough tang than I expected.

 

Wonderful bread. I want to make it again, but next time I'll flour the couche more heavily.

David

 

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Today's bake:

I was asked by a TFL member who had already packed his copy of Advanced Bread & Pastry in preparation for a move for the formula for this bread. I have added it, below. Happy baking!

Boules

Levain

 

 

Ingredient

Amount (Lbs & Oz)

Bakers' %

Bread flour

2 1/2

95

Medium rye flour

1/8

5

Water

1 1/4

50

Starter (stiff)

2 1/8

80

Total

5.75

230

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

  2. Ferment 12 hours at room temperature (65-70ºF).

 

Final dough

 

 

Ingredient

Amount (Lbs & Oz)

Bakers' %

Bread flour

14 7/8

100.00

Water

10 7/8

72.80

Salt

3/8

2.53

Levain

5 3/4

40.00

Total

2 lb

215.33

Method

  1. Mix to medium consistency.

  2. Ferment 3 hours with 1 fold. (I did 2 folds at 45 minute intervals.)

  3. Divide into 1 lb pieces.

  4. Preshape as light balls.

  5. Rest 20-30 minutes.

  6. Shape as boule or bâtard.

  7. Proof 12-16 hours at 48ºF, 65% relative humidity.

  8. Score as desired.

  9. Bake 35 minutes at 450ºF with steam.

 

 

Crackly Crust

Crumb 

David

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Multigrain sourdoughs have a delightful complexity of flavor, wonderful texture and phenomenal keeping quality because of the moisture retained in the soaker, as well as the effect of the levain. They are delicious fresh-baked, but their flavor only fully develops after a day or two when the distinctive flavors of the grains and seeds have had a chance to meld.


I had made Jeffrey Hamelman's 5-grain Levain from “Bread” a number of times. Hamelman describes the flavor as “delectable,” which is not an over-statement. So, although my original intent was to make the Sourdough Whole Wheat Bread from Michel Suas' “Advanced Bread and Pastry” this weekend, when I saw his formula for “Sourdough Multigrain Bread” a few pages later, I couldn't resist it.


 



 


 


Levain

 

 

Ingredient

Amount (Lbs & Oz)

Bakers' %

Bread flour

2 5/8

95

Medium rye flour

1/8

5

Water

1 3/8

50

Starter (stiff)

2 1/8

80

Total

6 1/4

230

  1. Mix all ingredients well with a DDT of 70ºF. (Tip: First mix the water and starter completely. I find a dough whisk is great for this. Then add the flours and mix thoroughly.)

  2. Ferment 12 hours at room temperature.

 

Soaker

 

 

Ingredient

Amount (Lbs & Oz)

Bakers' %

Flax seeds

1 1/2

39.13

Sunflower seeds

1 1/2

39.13

Rolled oats

1 1/2

39.13

Sesame seeds

1 1/2

39.13

Water

3 7/8

100

Total

9 7/8

256.52

  1. Toast the Sunflower and Sesame seeds for 4-6 minutes at 350ºF to bring out their flavor.

  2. Suas says to soak the seeds and oats for at least two hours. I soaked them overnight.

 

Final Dough

 

 

Ingredient

Amount (Lbs & Oz)

Bakers' %

Bread flour

10 1/8

65

Whole wheat flour

3 7/8

25

Medium rye flour

1 1/2

10

Water

11 3/8

72.8

Yeast (instant)

1/8

0.16

Salt

3/8

2.53

Soaker

9 7/8

59

Levain

6 1/4

40

Total

2 lb

274.49

 

Method

  1. Make the levain the night before baking and ferment it overnight, as above.

  2. Mix the flours, water, yeast and salt.

  3. Add the levain and mix thoroughly.

  4. Mix to medium gluten development, then add the soaker and mix only until incorporated. DDT is 75-78ºF (24-25ºC).

  5. Ferment for 2 hours.

  6. Divide into two equal pieces and pre-shape into loose balls.

  7. Rest the pieces, covered, for 20-30 minutes.

  8. Shape as bâtards. (Gently pat each ball of dough into a disc. Fold the right and left sides to meet in the middle. Then, roll the pieces up, away from you. Make sure the seam is sealed as you roll the loaves into bâtards and place in well-floured bannetons or on a floured couche.)

  9. Cover tightly and proof f

    or 60-90 minutes at 80ºF.



  10. One hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and your preferred steaming method in place.




  11. When the loaves are expanded by 75%, transfer them to a peel and to the baking stone.




  12. Immediately steam the oven and turn the temperature down to 460ºF.




  13. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 205ºF and the bottom sounds hollow when thumped.




  14. When the loaves are fully baked, turn off the oven, but leave the loaves on the stone with the oven door ajar for 5-10 minutes to dry the crust.




  15. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack, and cool thoroughly before slicing.


     





This bread has a crunchy crust and chewy crumb. There is a distinct but mild sourdough tang, and the flavor of the oats and seeds is very present. Compared to Hamelman's 5-grain Levain, Suas' bread has a higher proportion of seeds, and I toasted the sesame and sunflower seeds darker than I had for Hamelman's bread. Suas also uses a firm starter while Hamelman uses a liquid starter, which accounts for the relative sourness of Suas' bread.


While the comparisons are interesting, I can't say either is “better.” Both are outstanding breads and highly recommended.  


David


Submitted to YeastSpotting

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The Honey Whole Wheat pan loaf from Advanced Bread and Pastry is made with a white levain, more as a pre-ferment for flavor than for leavening. It also uses instant yeast. It is otherwise 100% whole wheat. I used KAF Organic WW.


Suas' formula calls for a "double hydration" method, where most of the water is mixed with the other ingredients and the remainder is added gradually, after the gluten is moderately developed. The dough is rather high hydration - quite gloppy at the finish of mixing. Suas doesn't call for any stretch and folds during fermentation, but I added some to strengthen the dough. By the time it was ready to shape, it was surprisingly manageable.


This dough was so different from the whole wheat breads I had made before from Reinhart's BBA and whole grain baking book. His doughs are quite dry in comparison. This dough had me kind of spooked until after fermentation was complete. But the results were quite satisfactory, some cosmetic issues aside.



The spots on the crust are from oil I sprayed on the loaf before proofing it. Not pretty.



The crumb was not dry, but less moist than I expected. It was somewhat chewy. It has a wonderful wheaty flavor with none of the grassiness that I find in some 100% whole wheat breads and even in some white breads with as little as 10% whole wheat. It was slightly sweet, but not so sweet as to detract from the wheaty flavor. 


This is pretty close to my personal ideal for a whole wheat sandwich/toast bread. I'll be making it again, probably with a bulgur soaker and maybe some sesame seeds.


David

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Fresno Sunrise January 11, 2010


When I was a little boy, my mother sang me a song. My understanding is that it was learned from a Scottish tenor who was performing when she was very young ....



Ohhhhh, it's nice to get up in the mornin'


When the sun begins to shine


At four or five or six o'clock 


In the good ol' summer time.


But when the snow is snowin'


And it's murky overhead,


Ohhhhh, it's nice to get up in the mornin',


But it's nicer to lie in your bed.



Just to keep it on fresh loaves, here's my San Joaquin Sourdough baked last night, when I should have been in my bed:




Made with 5% dark rye and 5% whole wheat. Crispy, crackly crust and chewy crumb. Quite delicious with almond butter and orange blossom honey for bedtime snack.


David

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A couple weeks ago, I made Greek bread (Horiatiko Psomi) for the first time (See: Greek Bread - I finally make it with my Greek daughter-in-law). I based it on this recipe, which my Greek daughter-in-law said seemed closest to the bread she had had in Greece. It was good, but I felt it could be improved. I had intended to make the bread with some durum flour, but forgot to use it. Although everyone enjoyed the bread, I felt the crumb suffered from slight under-development of the gluten. Everything I'd heard or read said this was supposed to be a dense bread, but I felt it would be better, even if less authentic, with a more aerated crumb.


Today, I made another batch. I remembered to use some durum flour this time. I used a combination of mechanical mixing and stretch and fold to develop the gluten. I had planned on making it as a sourdough, but, because of time constraints, I did spike it with some instant yeast. I think it turned out well.



Horiatiko Psomi (pronounced hoh-ree-AH-tee-koh psoh-MEE)


 


Liquid levain

 

Ingredients

Amounts

Mature sourdough starter

28 gms (2 T)

Bread flour

85 gms

Water

113 gms

 

Final Dough

 

Ingredients

Amounts

Durum flour

200 gms

Bread flour

775 gms

Water

600 gms

Milk

2 T

Olive oil

2 T

Honey

2 T

Salt

1 T

Levain

All of above

Instant yeast (optional)

½ tsp

Sesame seeds

About 1 T

 

Method

  1. To make the liquid levain, in a medium bowl, dissolve the mature starter in the water. Add the flour and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl tightly and ferment at room temperature for 8-12 hours.

  2. To make the final dough, mix the water, instant yeast (if used), milk, oil, honey and levain in the bowl of a stand mixer.

  3. Mix the salt with the flour and add 2/3 of it to the liquids. Mix until smooth. Add the rest of the flour and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover and allow to rest for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Mix at 2nd speed until you have an early window pane. (About 4-6 minutes in a Bosch Universal Plus mixer.)

  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board and do one stretch and fold. Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Roll the dough in the oil. Cover the bowl.

  6. Ferment the dough until doubled in bulk with one stretch and fold after an hour. (About 2-2 ½ hours)

  7. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape as balls.

  8. Cover the pieces and let them rest to relax the gluten for 10-15 minutes.

  9. Shape the pieces into boules and place them in floured bannetons.

  10. Proof the boules until they have expanded to 1.5-1.75 times their original size.

  11. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and your steaming method of choice in place.

  12. Pre-steam the oven.

  13. Transfer the loaves to a peel or to parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Brush the loaves with water and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Score the loaves with 3 parallel cuts about ½ inch deep.

  14. Transfer the loaves to the baking stone. Immediately steam the oven. Close the oven door, and turn the temperature down to 450ºF.

  15. After 12 minutes, remove the steam source. Continue baking for another 20-25 minutes. Check the loaves every so often, and, if they appear to be darkening too fast, turn the over down to 430-440ºF. (Note: I did not turn the oven down from 450ºF, and the loaves turned out a bit darker than I wanted.)

  16. The loaves are done when the bottom sounds hollow when thumped and their internal temperature is 205ºF.

  17. When the loaves are done, turn off the oven but leave the loaves on the stone with the oven door ajar for 10 minutes to dry the crust.

  18. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  19. Cool thoroughly before slicing and serving.

As noted above, the breads turned out a bit darker than I had wished. Next time, I'll bake at a lower temperature or turn the oven down a bit half way through the bake.

The crust was thin and chewy with a nice flavor from the sesame seeds. The crumb was quite open, considering the low hydration. It was very pleasantly chewy but did not have a dense mouth feel. The flavor was marvelous! It had a mildly sweet flavor from the honey and nuttiness from the durum flour.

I'm not sure I'd change anything, other than baking at a lower temperature and having my daughter-in-law here to tell me how far I'd strayed from Greek authenticity.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting.

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Two old friends ...



Vermont Sourdough


My scoring was inspired by Shiao-Ping's most recent miche.



Vermont Sourdough Crumb



San Joaquin Sourdough



San Joaquin Sourdough crumb


Now, the difficult decision: Which to use for our dungeness crab sandwiches for dinner. Aha! My wife has spoken: "Both!"


David

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In addition to the Greek bread, about which I wrote yesterday, I made a couple of pizzas while visiting with family this week. I used the pizza dough formula in Hamelman's bread, but used Pivetti typo 00 flour from nybakers.com, made the dough with sourdough rather than commercial yeast, and did all the mixing by hand. 



Ham & Pineapple Pizza 



Chanterelle, Crimini, Leek, Olive, Mozzarella and Parmesan Pizza



Slice



Jonathan & Glenn watching Pizza TV


The chopped veggies were for the fab barbecued turkey gumbo brother Glenn made for dinner. The pizzas were just an appetizer.


David

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My wife and I are spending a few (too few!) days with my brother and his wife at their get-away home near Fort Bragg, California. My older son, his wife and our grandson were able to come down from Portland. 



Our room with a view


I brought along sourdough starter and bread making paraphernalia, and three recipes for Greek bread. My daughter-in-law and I chose the recipe that seemed to her closest to the bread she remembered from Greece. We converted it to sourdough rather than a yeasted sponge, and I used mixing and fermentation techniques I thought would yield a better result than those in the recipe.


Did I say we made bread to go with a barbecued turkey and fixings for 11? Or that we had a Vermont Sourdough with Walnuts with the cheese and wine before dinner?


Stephanie had never made bread before, but she's a really good cook and a quick study. After watching me form one boule she proceeded to form one better than mine.



Stephanie with boules ready to proof


I had ordered a baking stone, kneading board and some other bread essentials from nybakers.com, and Stan shipped them directly to Fort Bragg, kindly arranging that they arrive at exactly the right day. We baked the loaves on the stone, with steam.



Greek Breads 



Greek Bread crumb


Stephanie said the bread was a pretty good approximation of bread she had had in Greece. (It would have been closer, if I had remembered to use the durum flour I brought along.)  It was a very good white sandwich bread flavor and texture with the added flavor of the sesame seeds. It was enjoyed by all, but, I think, most of all by the new bread baker.



Greek bearing Greek Bread


David

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