The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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Hansjoakim recently showed us a Flax Seed Rye Bread he baked from a formula Jeffrey Hamelman published in Modern Baking in March, 2009.

I have baked a number of Hamelman's rye breads before and a number of his breads with seeds. I have enjoyed them all. This Flax Seed Rye is a new formula that is not in Hamelman's “Bread,” however. Yet its components are all familiar to anyone who has baked the ryes and multi-grain breads from that book. The combination of a 40% Sourdough Rye and a seed and “old bread” (altus) soaker sounded like a bread I'd really enjoy.

Hamelman's published formula for this bread is scaled for commercial bakery quantities. I scaled the formula to make a single 1 kg loaf.

 

Overall Formula

 

 

Ingredients

Wt (gms)

Baker's percentage

Flour (11.7% protein)

300

60

Whole rye flour

200

40

Water

402

80.3

Salt

10

2

Instant yeast

6.5

1.3

Flax seeds

50

10

Old bread

40

8

Total (approx.)

1 Kg

201.5

 

Sourdough (rye sour)

 

 

Ingredients

Wt (gms)

Baker's percentage

Whole rye flour

200

100

Water (cool)

166

83

Rye sour

24

12

Total (approx.)

390

195

 

Method: About 16 hours before the final mix, disperse the mature sourdough culture into the cool water. Add the whole or medium rye flour, and mix until it is incorporated. Sprinkle a layer of rye on top, and cover the bowl with plastic to prevent dehydration. Ripen the sourdough at about 70°F.

Soaker

 

 

Ingredients

Wt (gms)

Baker's percentage

Flax sees

50

100

Old bread

40

80

Water (cool)

150

300

Total

240

480

Method: Make the soaker at the same time you make the sourdough. Cut the old bread into cubes, and put it into a bowl along with the flax seed. Add the water and cover overnight.

Final dough

 

Ingredients

Wt (gms)

Flour (11.7% protein)

300

Water

85.5

Salt

10

Instant yeast

6.5

Sourdough

366

Soaker

240

Total (approx.)

1 kg

 

Method

  1. Remove a portion of the sourdough to perpetuate the culture.

  2. Dissolve the sourdough in the water, mix in the soaker, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. The dough will be rather loose. You can adjust by adding small amounts of water or flour, but avoid adding too much flour.

  3. Mix at Speed 2 (KitchenAid) to a moderate degree of gluten development. Desired dough temperature is 78F. (This dough, which Hamelman says is “tacky” was extremely sticky for me. I suspect the dough was over-hydrated. I would be inclined to reduce the water, use a more absorbent flour or both next time. I mixed for 25 minutes. There was better than “moderate” gluten development. It was just a very wet dough.)

  4. Bulk ferment in an oiled bowl for 45-60 minutes.

  5. Transfer the dough to the board and pre-shape into a round. Let it rest while you flour your banneton and pre-heat the oven to 480F with a baking stone and your steaming method of choice in place. (Note: Hamelman suggests baking 1.5 lb loaves. I chose to make one larger loaf. Also, you could shape this bread as one or more bâtards, if you choose.)

  6. Shape the dough into a tight boule. Optionally, press the dampened smooth side of the dough into a mix of seeds (Flax seeds 45%, sesame seeds 45%, caraway seeds 10% suggested by Hamelman. I brushed the smooth side of the loaf with water and sprinkled on some caraway seeds only.)

  7. Transfer the boule to a floured banneton. If you used the optional seeds, place it with the seeded side up. If you didn't seed it, place it with the seamed side up. Cover the banneton with a kitchen towel or plasti-crap, or place it in a food-safe plastic bag.

  8. Proof the boule for 45-60 minutes. (Hamelman specifies an ambient temperature of 80F.)

  9. Pre-steam the oven. Load the loaf on your baking stone, and steam the oven again.

  10. Bake at 440F for about 40 minutes with steam for the first third of the bake. (Note: Hamelman specifies about 38 minutes for a 1.5 lb loaf. For larger round loaves, a longer bake is needed, but be prepared to lower the oven temperature as the bake progresses if the crust appears to be getting too dark. Also note that, if you shape the bread as an oval loaf, the baking time may be less than for a round loaf.) The bread is done when the internal temperature reaches 205F and the loaf gives a “hollow” sound when thumped on the bottom.

  11. Cool completely before slicing.

The "supporting cast" is a couple loaves of Susan from San Diego's "Original" favorite sourdough. My timing was a bit off. The sourdough boules needed just enough more time in the oven to result in the rye over-proofing.

The rye had only modest oven spring and has a lower profile than hansjoakim's bake. In any event, it smells delicious!

The crust was quite hard when the loaf came out of the oven. By time it had cooled, the crust was soft. I left it on the counter, wrapped in a cotton cloth for about 20 hours. By the time I sliced it, the crust had firmed up again and was chewy. The texture of the crumb is drier than I expected, given the hydration level of the dough. I wonder how much impact my long mixing had on the dough structure and mouth feel.

The flavor of the bread is like that of other 40% sourdough rye breads, which is to say very nice. There is a subtle overtone  from the flax seeds which is not as pronounced as that in some of the other 5-grain breads in "Bread." 

I am thinking of ways I might modify the formula for future bakes. For example, I might use First Clear flour rather than AP. I would make the dough drier - more like what I think Hamelman describes. I might make Hamelman's "5-grain sourdough rye" with some old bread added to the soaker. 

Thanks again, hansjoakim, for bringing this bread to our attention!

David

Submitted to Yeast Spotting

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dmsnyder

 


I made this bread from Salome's formula a couple months ago. At that time, I couldn't get good quality hazelnuts, so I made it with walnuts only. It was very good tasting, had amazing keeping quality and was excellent after having been frozen.


A new crop of very good tasting hazelnuts finally appeared in my local Whole Foods Market, so it was time to make this bread again. Salome has posted this bread on her own TFL blog since I first made it. She made her bread using a rye sour rather than a wheat flour levain. This sounded like a great idea, so I did it.



 


 


Ingredients

Amounts (grams)

Baker's percentage

Bread flour

600

100

Roasted potato

400

67

Toasted hazelnuts & walnuts

200 (100 gms each)

33

Water

250

42

Active rye sour

200

33

Salt

10

1.7

Ground coriander

2 tsp

 

 

Notes on Ingredients

You may note that I have increased the flour for this bake. Maybe my potatoes had more water content or my flour had less. (Or my water was wetter?) In any case, the dough was even gloppier than previously as I mixed it, so, after giving it a good chance to develop but still having medium-consistency batter in my mixer bowl, I added 100 gms more flour. The ingredient list reflects this.

At this point, I'm not sure what to recommend to others except to not add “too much” flour. This is supposed to be a very slack dough. Alternative methods I would consider would be to hold back some of the water and add water as needed (rather than flour) during mixing. This has the advantage of not throwing off the percentages of other ingredients relative to the flour. Another related solution would be to plan on using the “double hydration” technique often recommended for very slack doughs. This entails initially mixing with only 2/3 to ¾ of the total water until the dough has developed some (gluten) strength, then adding the remainder of the water and mixing until it is incorporated.

Procedures

  1. The night before baking, activate the rye sour by mixing 20 gms starter with 100 gms of water and 80 gms of whole rye flour. Cover and ferment for 8-12 hours.

  2. The next day, roast, steam or boil the potatoes. Peel them.

  3. In a large bowl (or the bowl of your mixer), dissolve the rye sour in the water. Add the flour and potatoes, mashed or put through a ricer and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover and let rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.

  4. Add the salt and coriander and mix to moderate gluten development. (10-13 minutes at Speed 2 with a KitchenAid)

  5. Transfer the dough to a floured board and, with well-floured hands, stretch it to a 14” square. Distribute the nuts over the dough, roll it up and knead for a few minutes to evenly distribute the nuts throughout the dough.

  6. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover the bowl tightly.

  7. Ferment the dough until doubled in volume with stretch and folds at 30, 60 and 90 minutes.

  8. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board. Divide it in two equal pieces and pre-shape each into a log. Dust with flour and cover. Let the dough rest for 10-20 minutes.

  9. Shape each piece as a bâtard and place them, seam side down, on a linen or parchment paper couche.

  10. Cover the loaves and proof them until they have expanded to 1.5 times their original volume.

  11. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 430F with a baking stone and your steaming method of choice in place.

  12. Transfer the loaves to the baking stone and bake with steam for 10 minutes, then another 20 minutes without steam. If the loaves are browning too fast, turn the oven down 10-20 degrees.

  13. Bake until the internal temperature of the loaves is 205F.

  14. When the loaves are done, leave them on the baking stone with the oven off and the door ajar for an additional 5-10 minutes to dry the crust.

  15. Remove the loaves to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing

I sliced the bread and tasting it after it was completely cooled. The crust had softened somewhat but was still crisp. The crumb is moist but pleasantly chewy. The nuts are soft but provide little pops of nuttiness. This is particularly true of the hazelnuts, which I roasted longer than I usually do. The overall flavor is outstanding. There is more of a sour flavor than my previous bake of this bread, presumably due to the rye sour. There is no discernible rye flavor, but it does add to the overall complexity of the flavor as well as to the sourness.

I do prefer this version with the walnuts and hazelnuts and with the rye sour. 

I'm taking one of the loaves up to San Francisco tomorrow to nourish 3 of my siblings who otherwise would be suffering with only bread from Acme, Boudin, Semifreddi, Arizmendi, Tartine, Noe Valley, etc. to eat. <sniff>

 

David

 

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dmsnyder

 


Today's sourdough bread is a continuation of the experiment from last week with my modified steaming method of pouring hot water over pre-heated lava rocks in a cast iron skillet both before and after loading the loaves in the oven.


I had two new goals: In addition to trying to replicate last weeks good results, I wanted to increase the sourness of the bread and I wanted to see if I could get a “crackly” crust.


In the interest of increased sourness, I elaborated a firmer levain than what I customarily use. I fed the levain two days before mixing the dough, fermented it overnight and then refrigerated it for 18 hours. I also doubled the percentage of the levain in the formula.


I have read that lower protein flour will produce a more crackly crust, while higher protein flour produces a more crunchy, harder crust. Therefore, I used AP flour (11.7% protein) rather than the high-gluten flour (14.2% protein) I had used last week.


Since I was using a lower protein flour, I reduced the hydration of the dough to 70%. Note that the effective hydration is even a bit lower, since the levain was less hydrated also. I used the same procedures as last week except I baked the loaves slightly longer, since they were slightly larger (because of the additional levain).



 


Ingredients

Amount

Baker's percentage

Giusto's Baker's Choice flour

450 gms

90

Whole rye flour

50 gms

10

Water

350 gms

70

Salt

10 gms

2

Levain (50% hydration)

200 gms

40

Total

972 gms

212

Procedures

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

  2. Add the salt and levain and mix to moderate gluten development.

  3. Transfer to the bench and do a couple of folds, then transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover it. Note the volume the dough will achieve when doubled.

  4. After 45 minutes, do another stretch and fold, then allow the dough to double in volume.

  5. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape into rounds. Let the pieces rest, covered, for 10-20 minutes.

  6. Shape each piece into a boule and transfer to well-floured bannetons, seam side up. Place each in a food-grade plastic bag, seal the openings.

  7. Allow to proof for 30-60 minutes (less in a warmer environment), then refrigerate for 8-14 hours.

  8. Remove the loaves from the refrigerator 2-4 hours before baking (depending on how risen they are and how warm the room is). Allow to warm up and expand to 1.5 times the loaves original volume.

  9. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500F with a baking stone on the middle shelf and a cast iron skillet filled with lava rocks on the bottom shelf. (I suggest moving the stone ove to within one inch of the oven wall on your non-dominant side. Place the skillet next to the wall on your dominant side.)

  10. When the loaves are ready to bake, pour 1/3 cup of boiling water over the lava rocks and close the oven door fast. (Strongly suggest holding the kettle wearing an oven mitt!)

  11. Transfer the loaves to a peel or to parchment paper on a peel, and load them onto your baking stone.

  12. Immediately pour ½ cup of boiling water over the lava stones and quickly close the oven door.

  13. Turn the oven temperature down to 460F and set a timer for 12 minutes.

  14. After 12 minutes, remove the skillet. Reset the timer for 20 minutes.

  15. The loaves are done when nicely colored, thumping their bottoms gives a “hollow” sound and their internal temperature is at least 205F.

  16. When the loaves are done, turn off the oven but leave the loaves in the oven with the door ajar for 7-10 minutes to dry the crust.

  17. Cool thoroughly (2 hours) before slicing and serving.

Comments:

I autolysed the flours and water for about 30 minutes. I then added the levain and salt and mixed with the paddle in my KitchenAid for about 2 minutes. As I was switching to the dough hook, I was surprised how much gluten development had already occurred. I mixed with dough with the dough hook at Speed 2 for just a couple minutes more and already had moderate gluten development.

To what could I attribute this? The only possibilities were the increased percentage of levain and the different flour. My hypothesis is it was mostly the flour. We hear that higher-gluten flours require more mixing to develop the gluten. I was using a lower gluten flour than usual for this type of bread.

The dough consistency (Thank you, MC for this useful distinction from the SFBI!) was almost identical to that of last week's dough, so my guesstimated hydration adjustment seemed spot on.

These boules were proofed for a bit over an hour before they were refrigerated. The next morning, they sat at room temperature for about 2 hours before baking. When I transferred them to the peel, they spread some. This could be because of the lower gluten flour effects, slight over-proofing or a combination of factors.

The loaves had reasonable but not great oven spring, and they had less bloom than the previous bake. This suggests they were probably over-proofed a bit. I baked them for 22 minutes at 460F. They then sat in the turned off oven for 7 minutes to dry the crust.

The crust was not as shiny as the last ones, but by no means “dull.” They were singing already when I took them out of the oven. It seemed to me, that the “tune” was higher pitched than the song my boules generally sing. Could this be because of the lower gluten flour? Thinner crust? And … Woohoo! Cracks began to appear in the crust as the bread cooled!

The crust has a crunchy bite. As can be seen from the crumb shot, below, it is relatively thick. I think that, to get a thin  crackly crust like a classic baguette, one must have a shorter bake at a lower temperature.

The crumb appearance was typical for my sourdoughs of this type. However, it was chewier than I expected. Very nice. The flavor was indeed more sour than last week's sourdough, as expected. I would still categorize it as mild to moderate sourness. It is not as sour as the "San Francisco Sourdough" in Reinhart's "Crust and Crumb," which uses an extremely firm levain in even higher proportions.

 

Conclusions:

  • Increased sour flavor with firmer levain and increased levain percentage: As expected, this loaf was more sour but not dramatically so. To get a super-sour flavor, the techniques used must be pushed further.
  • Crackled crust with lower protein flour: Today's bake seems to support this hypothesis. Is this effect desirable? That's a matter of taste, but, for me, it's at least nice to know how to get the effect when I want it.
  • The benefits of the double steaming technique: Today's results were certainly satisfactory, but they also demonstrate that steaming is just one among several variables that contribute to oven spring and bloom.

 

David

Submitted to Yeast Spotting

 

 

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dmsnyder

 


Last week, hansjoakim's blog included a gorgeous rye bread that he referred to as his “favorite 70% rye.” I asked him for his formula, and he generously provided it. I baked “hansjoakim's favorite 70% rye” today.



I grew up eating rye bread, but it was what is commonly called “Jewish Light Rye” or “Jewish Sour Rye.” We just called it “rye bread.” I had no exposure to breads made with whole rye flour or those made with a preponderance of rye flour. I was aware that there were countries where rye breads had a long history and an important place in the culture – Russia, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Scandinavian countries. But I had no experience with these breads. It was only when I started baking rye bread myself and started reading bread baking books – notably Hamelman's “Bread” and Leader's “Local Breads” - that I began to appreciate the rich diversity of rye breads and the technical differences between making great mostly-wheat flour sourdoughs and great mostly-rye flour breads. I'm also just starting to get a sense of the cultural differences in taste that determine “what is great rye bread” to some one who grew up eating these rye breads.


So, being endlessly curious about culture and values, including the aesthetics of food, how could I not want to see what hansjoakim, a man with quite evident refined aesthetic sensibilities, judged to be his “favorite 70% rye?”


The following formula is that provided by hansjoakim. The procedures are also his but with additional details. Any errors introduced by my extrapolations are, obviously, mine.


 


Total formula

Amount

Baker's percentage

Medium rye flour

436 gms

70

All purpose flour

187 gms

30

Water

467 gms

75

Salt

11 gms

1.8

 

Rye sour final build

Amount

Baker's percentage

Medium rye flour

218 gms

100

Water

218 gms

100

Ripe rye sour

11 gms

5

 

Final dough

Amount

Baker's percentage

Medium rye flour

218 gms

54

All purpose flour

187 gms

46

Water

249 gms

61.5

Salt

11 gms

2.7

Rye sour (all of the above)

447 gms

110

Note: 35% of the total flour is from the rye sour.

Procedures:

  1. The day before baking, mix the final rye sour build. This should ferment at room temperature for 14-16 hours, so figure backwards from when you want to mix the the dough. For example, I wanted to mix the dough at around 2 pm today, so I mixed the final rye sour build at 8 pm yesterday evening. In fact, I started the process two days ago by activating my white rye sour by feeding it, fermenting it 8 hours and refrigerating it for a day.

  2. I used a KitchenAid stand mixer, but these procedures could be done by “hand.” Mix all the ingredients in the final dough in a large bowl. If using a stand mixer, mix for 3 minutes with the paddle at Speed 1. Switch to the dough hook and mix for 2-3 minutes more at Speed 2. The dough at this point is a thick paste with little strength (gluten development providing extensibility and elasticity). Optionally, after mixing, you can knead briefly on a floured board with well-floured hands.

  3. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it tightly, and ferment for 1 hour.

  4. Transfer the dough to a floured board and pre-shape it into a single round. Cover with plasti-crap or a damp kitchen towel and rest for 5 minutes.

  5. Shape the dough into a boule and transfer to a well-floured brotform or banneton.

  6. Cover the boule with plasti-crap or a damp towel and proof for two hours. (My loaf was fully proofed in 1 hr and 45 min.)

  7. One hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 250C/480F with a baking stone and your steaming method of choice in place.

  8. When ready to bake the bread, pre-steam the oven. Then transfer the boule to a peel. Score or dock it. (hansjoakim proofed his boule seam-side down and did not score or dock it, resulting in a lovely chaotic pattern of cracks on the loaf surface. I proofed my boule seam-side up and docked it using a bamboo chop stick.) Transfer the boule to the baking stone. Steam the oven.

  9. After 10 minutes, remove your source of steam from the oven.

  10. After 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 225C/440F.

  11. Bake another 45 minutes. Monitor the loaf color, and, if it is darkening too quickly, turn the oven temperature down further. It would be well within the rye baking tradition to do this planfully in steps, ending up as low as 205C/400F for the last 10-15 minutes.

  12. The loaf is done when the crust feels firm, it gives a “hollow sound” when the bottom is thumped and the internal temperature is 205F or greater.

  13. When the loaf is done, turn off the oven, but leave the loaf in it with the door ajar for an additional 10 minutes.

  14. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly before slicing. It will be best to leave it 24 hours, loosely wrapped in linen, before slicing.

Comments:

I baked this loaf at 460f convection-bake for 15 minutes, then 440F bake for 30 minutes, then 400F bake for 10 minutes. I believe I should have turned down the temperature from 440F sooner.

I got less oven spring than hansjoakim. I believe this is due to over-proofing. In hindsight, I should have baked 15-30 minutes sooner. I suspect my kitchen environment was near 80F which accelerated the proofing.

The bread smells lovely while cooling – a characteristic, earthy rye aroma.

The profile of the cut loaf was better than I had expected, although I didn't get the oven spring hansjoakim did.

hansjoakim's Favorite 70% Rye crumb

The crust was substantial and crunchy-chewy. The crumb was tender. This bread is very similar to the Detmolder 70% Rye from Hamelman I made a few weeks ago. It has a very nice hearty rye flavor with a touch of sweetness and a touch of sour when tasted about 20 hours after baking. I expect the flavor to evolve over the next several days.

Because hansjoakim's procedures are so straightforward and the bread is quick to make, I would recommend it to anyone, but especially those wanting to make a high percentage rye bread but not ready to tackle the time and temperature rigors of the Detmolder 3-stage method.

This is a wonderful rye bread! Thanks, hansjoakim!

David

 

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dmsnyder

This bread is a rye with 66 percent rye flour and the remainder high-gluten flour. A rye sour is elaborated using whole rye. The sour is 80% hydration, which ends up being a very thick paste, due to how much water the whole rye absorbs. This is fermented for 14-16 hours and is then mixed with Medium rye flour, high-gluten flour, more water, salt and instant yeast.


The resulting dough is very loose. Hamelman says to mix it (in a professional spiral mixer) for only 3 minutes at first speed and 2 minutes on second speed. He says you should have "a bit of gluten strength, but ... not much." I aimed for "a bit" of gluten development but had to mix for 16 minutes in my KitchenAid. The dough was extremely sticky and still rough and pasty. It had enough elasticity after fermenting to form into loaves, using more flour dusting on the bench and my hands than is necessary with lower-percentage rye doughs.


Fermentation was only 45 minutes and proofing was 50 minutes. Proofing is tricky with this type of rye. Under-proofing contributes to excessive oven spring and blow-outs. Over-proofing leads to the loaf collapsing when it is scored or when it is loaded into the oven. I think I hit it about right. <whew!>


I wasn't sure about scoring a bread like this. I considered not scoring at all or making rounds and docking them. In the end, I decided to make oval loaves and score one in the "sausage" cut and the other in the "chevron" cut.



Hamelman prescribes a 24 hour rest after baking before slicing. I wrapped the loaves in linen and left them on the counter overnight.



When sliced, this rye has a fairly thick, chewy (but not hard) crust. The crumb is fairly dense and quite moist. It is tender to chew. The aroma is assertively rye, as is the flavor with a mild sourdough tang.


The taste is good when eaten plain. It is strong enough to come through when eaten with a slice of aged gruyère cheese. Just as a light rye seems to call for corned beef, this rye calls for stronger cheeses and fatty fish such as herring or salmon. I wish I could get some smoked sable. 


David

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dmsnyder

 


I made a couple of sourdough boules today. I'm quite happy with them. I used a slightly different formula, but the exciting thing to me was the effect of a modification of my oven steaming method I've been meaning to try for some time.



 


Ingredients

Amount

Baker's percentage

High-gluten flour

450 gms

90

Whole rye flour

50 gms

10

Water

362 gms

72

Salt

10 gms

2

Levain (1:3:4 - S:W:F)

100 gms

20

Total

972 gms



194


I used KAF Sir Lancelot flour and Bob's Red Mill “Dark Rye” flour.

Procedures

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

  2. Add the salt and levain and mix to moderate gluten development.

  3. Transfer to the bench and do a couple of folds, then transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover it. Note the volume the dough will achieve when doubled.

  4. After 45 minutes, do another stretch and fold, then allow the dough to double in volume.

  5. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape into rounds. Let the pieces rest, covered, for 10-20 minutes.

  6. Shape each piece into a boule and transfer to well-floured bannetons, seam side up. Place each in a food-grade plastic bag, seal the openings.

  7. Allow to proof for 30-60 minutes (less in a warmer environment), then refrigerate for 8-14 hours.

  8. Remove the loaves from the refrigerator 2-4 hours before baking (depending on how risen they are and how warm the room is). Allow to warm up and expand to 1.5 times the loaves original volume.

  9. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 500F with a baking stone on the middle shelf and a cast iron skillet filled with lava rocks on the bottom shelf. (I suggest moving the stone ove to within one inch of the oven wall on your non-dominant side. Place the skillet next to the wall on your dominant side.)

  10. When the loaves are ready to bake, pour 1/3 cup of boiling water over the lava rocks and close the oven door fast. (Strongly suggest holding the kettle wearing an oven mitt!)

  11. Transfer the loaves to a peel or to parchment paper on a peel, and load them onto your baking stone.

  12. Immediately pour ½ cup of boiling water over the lava stones and quickly close the oven door.

  13. Turn the oven temperature down to 460F and set a timer for 10 minutes.

  14. After 10 minutes, remove the skillet. Reset the timer for 20 minutes.

  15. The loaves are done when nicely colored, thumping their bottoms gives a “hollow” sound and their internal temperature is at least 205F.

  16. When the loaves are done, turn off the oven but leave the loaves in the oven with the door ajar for 7-10 minutes to dry the crust.

  17. Cool thoroughly (2 hours) before slicing and serving.

The crust was remarkably shiny when it came out of the oven. This effect, due to starch that is gelatinized early in the bake, I have only achieved before with breads baked under a stainless steel bowl for the first half of the bake. I also got quite satisfactory oven spring and bloom in these loaves which I had feared were a bit over-proofed.

It is evident that using the skillet with lava rocks for both pre- and post-loading steaming is superior to either a) pre-steaming by throwing ice cubes in a hot metal loaf pan or b) compensating for insufficient pre-loading steam by over-steaming post-loading. Some methods of steaming, when used to excess, actually interfere with the cuts opening and produce pale-colored loaves.

The bread I tasted has a delightfully crunchy crust and a chewy crumb with what I would regard as medium-strong sourness – just how I like it best.

As far as I'm concerned, this experiment was a success.

David

Submitted to Yeast Spotting

 

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dmsnyder

Getting home an hour earlier than expected + The best blueberries I've had in years in the fridge = 



The recipe is from "The Best Recipe" by the "Cooks Illustrated" folks. These are "Lemon-Blueberry Muffins." I made 3/4 of a recipe. (That's the real "math.")



And for the rest of the "crumb shot" obsessed:



It was hard to decide what to have for dessert - fresh out of the oven muffin or a slice of ....



My wife's Plum Cake (inspired by the recent postings about this).


I went with the muffin. There's always bedtime snack.


David

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dmsnyder

 


The “Miche, Pointe-à-Callière” from Jeffrey Hamelman's “Bread” is one of my favorite breads. I've made it a great many times. But I have a confession to make: I've never made it with the proper hydration level.


It started out by my finding one of the very rare errors in this marvelous book. Hamelman's ingredient list in the “Home” version of the Final Dough calls for “1 lb., 6.4 oz (2 ¼ cups)” of water. Now, 2 ¼ cups of water weighs less than this. I initially assumed the volume measurement was correct, and I used 1 lb., 2 oz. of water. You know, this made an outstanding bread. It did have more oven spring and a higher profile than expected, but the crumb was nice and open with large holes, and it tasted great, so I kept using my “corrected” formula.


Now, “Bread” has been such a reliable book, I always doubted my solution. Finally, I compared the ingredient quantities in the 3 listings Hamelman gives with the baker's percentages he gives. It turns out that the error was really in the volume measurement, not the weight. The home recipe should call for 2 ¾ cups of water, which is 1 lb., 6.4 oz.


So, today, for the first time, I made the Miche at the 82% hydration called for in Hamelman's formula.


At the higher hydration level, this dough is not just slack. It is truly gloppy. Hamelman says to mix it 2 to 2 ½ minutes (in a professional spiral mixer) to get “moderate gluten development.” I mixed it in a Bosch Universal Plus for 17 minutes to get something less than “moderate” gluten development. Hamelman then calls for 2 or 3 folds during a 2 ½ hour bulk fermentation. I implemented the “stretch and fold in the bowl” approach and did 30 folds at 30 minute intervals over 2 hours, then I let the dough proof for another 45 minutes. (This is much like the method McGuire uses in his “Pain de Tradition,” as Shiao-Ping has shared with us. Since the Miche, Pointe-à-Callière is also a McGuire bread, according to Hamelman, using this method seemed entirely reasonable.)


I “shaped” the miche by dumping the dough onto a heavily floured board and folding the edges to the center. I made 6-8 folds. The loaf was then transferred to a linen-lined, floured banneton and proofed for 2 hours and baked with steam.



 


I am cooling the miche overnight before slicing. 



Miche profile


This miche still has a higher profile than those pictured in Hamelman.



Miche crumb


The crumb is about right, but, interestingly, I've gotten more open crumbs on previous bakes using somewhat lower hydration. My hunch is that the difference is related to how I did the bulk fermentation.


David


 

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dmsnyder

 


George Greenstein's “Secrets of a Jewish Baker” is a wonderful source for traditional New York-style Jewish baked goods. It has been criticized for giving ingredients in volume measurements only, though. I have previously provided Greenstein's formula for Jewish Sour Rye with ingredient weights, but I realized today that I had never done this for another of my favorite Greenstein breads – Pumpernickel. So, here is Greenstein's pumpernickel formula converted to weights.


This is Jewish pumpernickel. It is moist and chewy. It is not the dry, dense German-style pumpernickel. I make it generally as long loaves, as pictured. However, you can also make it as round loaves, in which case you should "dock" the loaves by making 6-10 holes in the top with a skewer or ice pick, rather than scoring them across with 3 slashes. You can also make this bread in loaf pans, in which case I would score them with a single slash along the center of the long axis.





The recipe that follows is taken from Secrets of a Jewish Baker, by George Greenstein. The ingredient amounts are both those Greenstein specifies and the ingredient weights I actually used. The procedures are adapted from Greenstein's.



Ingredients

Volume (per Greenstein)

Amount (per dmsnyder)

Warm water

1 cup

240 gms

Yeast

1 pkg active dry

7.5 gms instant

Rye sour

1 cup

250 gms

Altus (optional)

1 cup

1 cup

Pumpernickel color

4 tablespoons

1 tablespoon caramel color

Common (First Clear) flour

2 ½ to 3 ½ cups

350-400 gms

Pumpernickel flour

1 cup

115 gms

Salt

1 tablespoon

8 gms

Caraway seeds (optional)

1 tablespoon

Not used

Cornstarch solution

(see below)

 

Notes on ingredients:

1. Rye sour: This is a rye sourdough starter. You can make it from scratch. You also can easily convert a wheat flour sourdough starter to a rye sour by feeding a small amount of your existing starter with rye flour and refreshing it a couple of times.

2. Altus: This is “old” rye bread cut into small pieces, soaked in water until saturated and wrung out. It was originally a way for bakers to re-use bread they hadn’t sold. "Waste not. Want not." However, it does make for a more tender and flavorful bread and has become traditional. It is optional. I keep hunks of leftover rye bread in a plastic bag in my freezer to use as altus.

3. Pumpernickel color: This is really optional but is necessary to give the "black" color expected of pumpernickel. It also gives the bread a subtle bitter undertone without which it just doesn't taste "right." You can use 1 tablespoon of powdered caramel color, instant espresso cof

fee or cocoa powder. I use powdered caramel coloring from King Arthur’s Baker’s Catalogue.


4. Pumpernickel flour: This is whole grain, coarsely ground rye flour. You can use dark rye flour, but it won’t be quite the same. I get pumpernickel flour from King Arthur’s Baker’s Catalogue. Like other whole grains, it will spoil in time. I keep it in my freezer in a 1 gallon Ziploc bag.


5. Common flour: This is also known as first clear flour. Its definition gets into esoteric grain milling stuff, but it is necessary for authentic Jewish rye breads, including pumpernickel. It also makes wonderful sourdough breads as a substitute for bread flour or a mix of white and whole wheat flours. I get First Clear flour from King Arthur’s Baker’s Catalogue.


6. Cornstarch solution: Mix 1 ½ tablespoons of cornstarch in 1/4 cup cold water. Pour this into 1 cup of gently boiling water in a sauce pan, whisking constantly. Boil until slightly thickened. Set aside. It can be kept refrigerated for a few days in a sealed jar or covered bowl.


7. Caraway seeds: I don’t use them in pumpernickel, myself. You can add other things to pumpernickel, though, such as flax seeds (soaked overnight), sunflower seeds, raisins, minced onion.


 


Procedures


Mixing (by hand. See Note below for mixing with a stand mixer.)


In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water to soften; stir to dissolve. (If using instant yeast, mix it with the flour, don’t dissolve it. Add the water to the rye sour and mix.) Add the rye sour, altus (if desired), pumpernickel color, pumpernickel flour, 2 ½ cups of common flour, and salt. Mix thoroughly until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.


Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead, adding small amounts of flour as needed. Make the dough a bit stiffer than normal, since this dough softens as it is kneaded. Knead the dough until it feels smooth and silky (5-8 minutes).


Note: I mix in a KitchenAid mixer. I put all the ingredients in the bowl and, using the paddle, mix well at Speed 1. Scrape the dough off the paddle and replace it with the dough hook. Knead at Speed 2 for about 8-10 minutes. If you do not use altus, the dough should form a ball on the hook and clean the sides of the bowl. With altus, even when an additional 50 gms of flour is added, the dough does not clean the bowl. I then hand knead until the dough is smooth and silky.


Fermenting


Shape the dough into a ball, place in a large oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.


Shaping & Proofing


Punch out all the air, cut in half and shape into rounds, and let rest for 10 minutes.


Shape into round loaves, long loaves or pan loaves. If baking free form, place the two loaves on a baking sheet sprinkled with coarse cornmeal. (Or on parchment paper if baking on a stone, which I prefer.) Cover and proof until doubled in size. (About 90 minutes, or more depending on room temperature). Brush with cornstarch solution. Score the loaves across if long dock them if round. If using caraway, sprinkle seeds on the top of the loaves.


Baking


Bake with steam in a preheated 375F oven until tapping the bottom of the loaf produces a hollow sound (30-45 minutes). The internal temperature should be at least 190F. If the crust seems soft, bake 5-10 minutes more. (The crust should be very firm when you take the loaves out of the oven. It will soften as the bread cools.)


Note: I use a pizza stone for baking free form loaves. I heat it at least 1 hour before baking. I produce steam by preheating a cast iron skillet filled with lava rocks in the oven along with the stone and, right after putting my loaves in, pouring 1 cup of boiling water into the skillet. Be careful you don’t scald yourself with the steam!


Cooling


After baking, place on a rack to cool and brush again with the cornstarch solution. Let cool thoroughly before slicing and eating.


This type of pumpernickel is one of the breads we always had in the house when I was a child. I usually ate it un-toasted, spread with cream cheese. My grandmother ate it spread with sourcream. I think this pumpernickel is especially good with smoked fish or herring, and it is my favorite bread to eat with scrambled eggs.


Unfortunately, my wife isn't as fond of pumpernickel as I am, so I also made one of her favorites – the Cinnamon-Raisin-Walnut Bread from BBA.




David


Submitted to Yeastspotting 


 

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dmsnyder


A bowl of cherries


Hi, loafers!


I just returned from a week on the Oregon coast vacationing with our sons and their families. <sigh> It always seems too short.


I took along some previously baked breads - a Miche, Pointe-à-Callière, a Susan from San Diego's Ultimate Sourdough and Salome's Sourdough Potato-Walnut Bread. I also baked a couple loaves of San Joaquin Sourdough while there, again hazarding an unfamiliar oven and no baking stone. The breads I baked there suffered most from the scoring not opening up well. One I baked under a stainless steel bowl to steam. The other loaf was steamed by pouring boiling water into a heated skillet. The magic bowl technique worked better, I think.




I believe my older (3 years old) granddaughter ate the lioness' share of this loaf as PB&J sandwiches!


I also made AnnieT's Sourdough Pancakes with local blueberries twice. One time, I made some with roasted pecans. Yum! Highly recommended.


I took along starter in two forms: I dried some starter, and I made a very firm ball of starter about the size of a golf ball. I only ended up using the latter. It traveled for two days at room temperature without appreciable expansion. (No problems with Homeland Security.) I cut it up into very small pieces and soaked them in water for a while, then mixed the slurry well and added enough water to make an intermediate starter of about the consistency of my usual 1:3:4 (S:W:F) starter. This fermented overnight and was reasonably happy the next morning.


The other essential equipment I took along included a large Silpat mat for stretching and folding and forming loaves, an instant read thermometer, a plastic scraper and some instant yeast. I purchased a couple of large stainless steel bowls and a large cookie sheet in Oregon before heading to the beach. 


There was nothing I didn't take along that I wished I had. I think this is a good, minimal equipment list for bread baking on vacation.


My only regret is that my vacation coincided with Shiao-Ping's SFBI adventure. It would have been so neat to have met her face-to-face while she was in California! And tomorrow, I start Jury Duty. Not my choice for how to ease back into the real world after a wonderful vacation.


David

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