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 Last week, I got a nice private message from a TFL member who had just made and enjoyed the Sourdough Italian Bread about which I blogged back in 2008. That bread was Peter Reinhart's Italian bread from BBA with the biga converted to a biga naturale, AKA firm sourdough starter.

That message reminded me that in 2011 I developed another “Italian Bread” formula that I actually preferred to the 2008 version. Coincidentally, my Italian class classmates have been harassing encouraging me to bring some of my breads to class for them to sample.

So, I decided to make the 2011 Italian Bread and San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with Figs and Walnuts (San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with Walnuts and Figs) to share with my class.

Sourdough Italian Bread

Those who have made my San Joaquin Sourdough may note the resemblance between the method outlined below and that for the SJSD. This is not coincidental. On the other hand, any resemblance between this bread and any bread actually baked in Italy …. Well, whatever, it is quite delicious.

 

Ingredients

Wt. (g)

Baker's %

AP flour

400

80

Fine durum flour

100

20

Water

350

70

Salt

10

2

Sugar

14

3

Diastatic malt powder

5

1

Active Liquid levain

100

20

Olive oil

14

3

Total

993

199

 Note: When I blogged about this bread in 2011, Andy (ananda) pointed out that the diastatic malt was probably unnecessary, since most American flour has some malted barley already, and it's redundant with the sugar. However, I did not review those comments until after the dough was mixed. Maybe next time I'll leave out the malt.

Method

  1. In a large bowl, disperse the levain in the water.

  2. Add the flours, sugar and malt to the liquid and mix to a shaggy mass.

  3. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 20-60 minutes.

  4. Add the salt and olive oil and mix thoroughly. (Note: I squish the dough with my hands until it comes back together, then do stretch and folds in the bowl until it forms a smooth ball and the oil appears completely incorporated.)

  5. Transfer the dough to a 2 quart lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl tightly.

  6. After 30 minutes, do 20 stretch and folds in the bowl. Repeat 3 more times at 30 minute intervals.

  7. Refrigerate for 12-36 hours.

  8. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape as rounds or logs. Cover with a clean towel or plasti-crap and let rest for one hour.

  9. Shape as boules or bâtards and proof en couche or in bannetons for about 45 minutes. (Note: Optionally, if proofing en couche, roll the loaves on damp paper towels then in a tray of sesame seeds. Alternatively, you can brush the loaves with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds. If proofing in bannetons, you would use the second method but after transferring the loaves to a peel, just before baking.)

  10. One hour before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  11. Transfer the loves to the baking stone. Steam the oven, and turn the temperature down to 460ºF.

  12. After 15 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus. (Note: What I actually do at this point is switch to convection bake and turn the oven down to 435ºF for the remainder of the bake.) Continue baking for another 12-15 minutes or until the loaves are nicely browned and the internal temperature is at least 205ºF.

  13. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.


The crust was crisp at first but became soft and chewy after a few hours. The crumb was moist and chewy with a complex sweet, nutty, tangy flavor accented by the sesame seeds on the crust.

This bread is delicious toasted with almond butter or un-toasted dipped in olive oil, but it might be best just plain right after cooling.  

Happy baking!

David

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As previously advertised, I turned to the rye side this week. I baked a couple loaves of Greenstein's Jewish Sour Rye, which is still a favorite, especially toasted. The loaf in the photo is a 4 lb loaf of Hamelman's 3-stage 80% Rye Bread. It was baked this afternoon and is presently cooled and wrapped in baker's linen, "curing." I will not slice it for at least 36 hours. Crumb photos will follow.

I really like this bread, but I don't make this type of high percentage rye very often. Each time i do, I am sure it is going to be a disaster. The dough never really comes together in the mixer, and the boule is molded more than shaped. The loaf, when it's ready to bake, has the consistency (and color) of chocolate mouse. Yet, even when clots of dough stick to the brotform, you can scrape them off and slap them back on the loaf. And it always bakes up into a gorgeous, rustic, crusty on the outside moist on the inside, delicious exemplar of "real bread." 

I can wait to slice it, because I know how much better it will be in a couple of days. Meanwhile, the cream cheese and pickled herring are standing by. I'll go fishing for some smoked salmon tomorrow. (My sister, Ruth, says you can always find the best fishing spot for smoked salmon by watching for the circling bay gulls.)

I also made a batch of San Joaquin Sourdough baguettes this week. In contrast to the rye, these are delicious 20 or 30 minutes after they have come out of the oven.

These have been turning out so reliably good the past few months, they have become a staple. They make great sandwiches, good toast and the second best French Toast (after challah). 

Next week, I am teaching, but, if time allows, I need to make some sort of whole wheat or multi-grain breads. 

Happy baking!

David

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Brother Glenn and I so often seem synchronized. Get this: I'm still baking bread too! But, then, I am not going to Scotland any time soon. 

This week, I took a break from my adventures in Forkishland and baked some old favorites.

San Francisco-style Sourdough with diamond scoring

 

San Francisco-style Sourdough with "tic-tac-toe" scoring 

 

San Francisco-style Sourdough crumb

 

Pain au Levain from Hamelman's Bread

 

Pain au Levain from Hamelman's Bread crumb

My next baking will be back to rye breads, I think.

Happy baking!

David

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Continuing my explorations of Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast, yesterday I baked his "Pain de Campagne" again, but with a difference. Forkish's formula for Pain de Campagne is, basically, a white bread. It has about 10% whole wheat. However, in his introduction to this bread, Forkish encourages the reader to experiment with increased whole wheat and rye and says that his own favorite version of this bread has 70% white flour, 20% whole wheat and 10% rye. Well, that sounded pretty good to me, so I did it. 

For the 800% g of flour in the final dough, I used 100g KAF Medium Rye, 200g Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat flour and 500g of KAF AP flour. 

This dough was quite sticky, and I was concerned whether I could develop enough dough strength. But the boules shaped up pretty nicely. They didn't expand much during proofing but had satisfactory oven spring.

I had some of this bread for dinner last night when it was almost completely cooled. It tasted okay, but with a lot of grassiness. The sourdough tang was quite mild.  Today, the flavors had melded,  and the bread was really delicious, both toasted for breakfast and un-toasted for lunch.  The flavor was similar to the "Field Blend #2," not surprisingly. 

I will happily make this bread again when I want a Pain de Campagne.  I will try to remember to make it a day before I want to eat it though. It really improved a lot with an overnight rest.

David

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I thought about titling this entry "With failures like these, who needs success?" This morning, I baked another new-to-me bread from Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast. It is called "75% Whole Wheat Levain Bread," and it is a 75% whole wheat sourdough bread with a little instant yeast but otherwise just - You guessed it! - Flour, water, and salt.

This bread is supposed to bulk ferment for 5 hours and then cold retard overnight after shaping. My dough was mixed at 5 pm. At 6:15 pm, I left home for a class. When I returned at 8:40 pm, the dough had almost quadrupled in volume. It was so fluffy, I thought it was a lost cause. After a moment's consideration of tossing it, I went ahead and shaped it, placed it in a banneton which went into a plastic bag which went into the fridge. This morning, after preheating the oven, I took the loaf out of the fridge and baked it with no further proofing.

I had put the boule in the banneton smooth side up, which is what Forkish recommends. That way, it bakes with the seams created by shaping facing up and no scoring. The seams open up with oven spring and can make a pleasing, chaotic pattern, when everything works as it is supposed to.

Because the dough had over-fermented, I planned on no room-temperature proofing. The loaf coming out of the fridge showed no noticeable expansion but the poke test suggested it was only slightly under-proofed. Before baking, again, I heated the top of the combo cooker. The boule was transferred to the cool bottom, covered with the pre-heated top and placed in the oven. Bake time was 30 minutes covered, then 20 minutes uncovered.

Note: The true color of this bread's crumb is a much darker brown than it appears on my computer screen.

The loaf had great oven spring. It did not achieve the volume of the other boules I have baked from FWSY, but I attribute that to the high percentage of whole wheat flour. I really saw no evidence of damage from the over-proofing.  The crust was crunchy, and the crumb was well-aerated (for a 75% WW loaf). It was moist and tender.

The aroma was just wonderful - very whole wheaty. The flavor was good whole wheat with no bitterness or grassiness. The sourdough tang was on the high end of moderate, by my standards. A delicious bread. I'm expecting it to make outstanding sandwiches and toast.

The breads from this book continue to amaze me - on the one hand by their accelerated fermentation and on the other by how incredibly delicious they are.  I am seriously considering abandoning my planned attempts to bring their fermentation rate down in favor of just keeping an eye on the dough and enjoying the ride.

David

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Overnight Country Brown with modifications

September 8, 2013

My exploration of Ken Forkish's breads from Flour Water Salt Yeast continued this week. Hoping to get my timing closer to the ones he describes in the book, I needed to slow down fermentation. I made another large loaf of Forkish's “Overnight Country Brown.” I used filtered water at 63 ºF rather than at 80-90 ºF which Forkish prescribes, and I used 8% pre-fermented flour rather than the 12% called for in the published formula.

I fed my levain at 11 AM. By 5 PM, it was quite mature. I mixed the dough at 6 PM. Now, this dough is supposed to ferment at room temperature for 12-15 hours and expand by 2 to 2.5 times. My kitchen temperature was running in the high-70's. Even using the cool water and decreasing the levain by 25%, the dough had doubled by 11 PM, that is, in 5 hours. So, before going to bed, I refrigerated the dough. 

At about 8 am, I removed the dough from the refrigerator and shaped it as a boule about a half-hour later.

While the dough rests ...

I proofed it in a floured, linen-lined banneton placed in a plastic bag. To my amazement, it was fully proofed by the “poke test” criterion an hour later, but it had to wait while I baked some baguettes.

By time I could get it in the oven about 40 minutes later, it was very gassy. It deflated somewhat when scored, and I was really afraid it was so seriously over-proofed it would collapse. Because of this concern, I baked it in a cast iron combo cooker that had not been pre-heated as usual, except for the lid which got about 10 minutes at 455 ºF (convection), during the last part of the baguette bake. However, the loaf sprung like crazy and turned out pretty darn good. I just had to bake it about 5 minutes longer than last time, presumably because of the cold cooker.

 

Compared to the last bake, I'd say the crust and crumb are about the same. The flavor had significantly more acetic acid tang than my last bake of this bread. In other words, it is a really good bread, but I really don't know how closely it resembles, in flavor, Forkish's intention.

The San Joaquin Sourdough baguettes turned out really well, too.

 

 Happy Baking!

David

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Ken Forkish's “Pain au Levain” and “Overnight Country Brown”

September 2, 2013

I continued my test baking of the formulas in Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast last weekend. I baked two new (to me) formulas. One calls for an overnight bulk fermentation and the other for overnight cold retardation of the shaped loaves.

I have yet to bake anything from this book that works according to the prescribed schedule. This is so different from my experience with any other bread baking book, and I still haven't figured out exactly why there is this systematic difference. On the other hand, I do understand what Forkish is after and how he adjusts his formulas to achieve a long fermentation, either in bulk at room temperature or of formed loaves under refrigeration. And, on the third hand, even though it's frustrating to not be able to bake according to the author's intentions, every single bread or pizza I have baked from Forkish's formulas has been outstanding. Except, if the timings are so far off, they are really not his anymore. <sigh>

Forkish's take on pain de campagne is a 10% whole wheat pain au levain, spiked with instant yeast. 20% of the flour is pre-fermented. After an autolyse, the dough is meant to be fermented in bulk for about 5 hours, then divided, shaped and cold retarded for 12-14 hours before baking in a hot oven.

My dough had doubled in 3 1/2 hours, so I shaped it and retarded it overnight at that point.

His Overnight Country Brown contains 30% whole wheat and 12% pre-fermented flour. It is supposed to be bulk fermented at room temperature for 12 to 15 hours (overnight), then divided, shaped and proofed at room temperature for about 4 hours.

My dough had grown 2.5 times in volume and was very gassy after 5 hours. It clearly wasn't going to survive an overnight at room temperature. I shaped a boule at that point and retarded it overnight.

 In summary, both doughs fermented much faster than Forkish's procedures called for. They ended up being treated very similarly. I was not surprised, from my previous experience, but I did want to see what kind of bread the very long bulk fermentation would produce. I think the only way I am going to be able to stick with Forkish's times is to radically reduce the levain.

The breads that were produced were quite similar. I would generally expect the bread with more whole grain flour to be more sour, especially with the long bulk fermentation called for, but the much greater amount of levain in the pain de campagne made it significantly more sour than the Country Brown. I would rate the latter as mildly sour and the former as mild to moderately sour. Both breads had a crunchy crust and soft, tender-chewy crumb. The flavor was delicious, especially the boldly baked crust.

 

Overnight Country Brown and Pain de Campagne from FWSY 

 

Overnight Country Brown crumb

 

Pain de Campagne

I am delighted with the eating quality of both these breads. They are wonderful. But I sure would like to be able to taste them as Ken Forkish meant them to be. Maybe in Winter when my kitchen temperature runs in the mid-60's (Fahrenheit) I will.

David

 

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Pizza Bliss Redux

August 26, 2013

 My first batch of Ken Forkish's “Pizza Dough with Levain” (See Pizza Bliss) produced the best pizza crust and, after freezing, some of the worst I've had. But I did learn a tremendous amount from the comments and the information generously shared by other TFL members, and my second batch will exploit what I have learned.

One thing I've learned is that Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast has some great ideas about how to approach baking, but you shouldn't take his times and temperatures too literally. They are “sample schedules.” My experience with, I think, five or six bakes from this book book strongly supports the “Watch the Dough, Not the Clock” dictum.

So, using the same formula as last time but scaled back to half of what's in the book, here are my timelines for a second mix of this formula:

 

Aug 27, 2013

11:00 AM

 

Mix levain

04:30 PM

Levain is ripe. Refrigerate it. (Had a conference call scheduled.)

05:30 PM

Take levain out of fridge.

06:00 PM

Mix flour and water for autolyse.

06:40 PM

Mix salt and levain into final dough.

07:10 PM

Stretch and fold dough.

09:30 PM

Dough has expanded by 50% and has lots of bubbles. Divide dough into 3 balls. Freeze one. Refrigerate two.

Aug 28, 2013

06:00 PM

 

Remove dough balls from fridge. Allow to come to room temperature and continue fermentation.

07:00 PM

Turn on oven to pre-heat the baking stone.

08:00 PM

Bake pizze!

 

MENU

Pizza with wild and domestic mushrooms sautéed with garlic and parsley, deglazed with Pinot Grigio. San Marzano tomatoes. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Assembled, ready to bake

Baked and ready to enjoy

Slice of pizza

Pizza with caramelized onions and garlic. Mixed fresh herbs. San Marzano tomatoes. Shaved Parmesan cheese. Fresh basel.

Assembled, ready to bake

Baked, ready to slice and enjoy

Green salad with mustard vinaigrette.

 The dough was lovely to handle. It was a bit less elastic than the first mix. In the oven, there was dramatic oven spring (Yay!). The crust was delicious. It was significantly less sour than the first mix but had a wonderful sweet, complex flavor and was thin and crisp. The joy is back!

We will see how the third ball bakes up, after 2 or 3 days in the freezer.

I so appreciate all the great problem-solving advice I received after my disappointing post-freeze pizza dough bake.

 David

 

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Sourdough Honey Whole Wheat Multi-grain Bread with PEF

August 26, 2013

 

About three months ago, I baked a multi-grain sourdough bread based on my San Francisco-style Sourdough that we really liked. (See Sourdough Honey Whole Wheat Multigrain Bread) That bake used the last of the multi-grain mix I had ordered from King Arthur Flour. I waited for one of KAF's “free shipping” deals and, last week, got a new supply of “Harvest Grains.”

In the meantime, I was intrigued by Franko's bake of a beautiful bread that used a sprouted spelt flour product from British Columbia. (See Local Flours) I was surprised and delighted to find that my local Whole Foods Market carried both sprouted whole wheat and sprouted whole spelt flours from the same source.

 

Today I baked a couple boules of SD Honey Whole Wheat Multi-grain breads using sprouted whole wheat flour from One Degree Organic Foods. Oh, what does “PEF” mean? It is an abbreviation for “performance enhancing flour.” I'm sure if bread baking followed the same rules as sports, it would be banned.

I used exactly the same formula as I had on my last bake of this bread, except that I substituted the One Degree sprouted whole wheat flour for the Giusto's Fine Whole Wheat Flour I used previously. I found that the sprouted wheat flour absorbed less water than the non-sprouted WW flour, and it fermented much, much faster. These differences were entirely predictable from the caveats provided by Andy (ananda on TFL) in Franko's topic, cited above. Flour made from sprouted grain has less protein (because protease enzymes  are activated) and generates free simple sugars from starch faster (because amylase enzymes are also activated).

 It was clear, once the final dough started mixing, that what had been a “rather slack” dough was now downright gloppy. I gave it some thought but decided not to add more flour. I did mix the dough for 10 minutes rather than 6 minutes to get partial gluten development. I had planned on fermenting for 2 1/2 or 3 hours, but, by 1 hour in my 75 dF kitchen, the dough was gassy and expanded by over 50%. I did one more S&F in the bowl, gave the dough another 30 minutes and then divided it, shaped two boules and retarded them overnight to bake the next morning. I baked the loaves 5 minutes longer than previously to make sure the wet dough was well-cooked inside and because the crust color was not as dark as I expected after 30 minutes baking.

 

Total dough

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

AP flour

34

192

Bread flour

14

79

Medium Rye flour

2

14

Sprouted WW Flour

50

281

Water

93

528

KAF “Harvest Grains”

18

100

Honey

3

17

Salt

1.9

11

Total

194.9

1222

 

Stiff levain

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

Bread flour

95

79

Medium rye flour

5

11

Water

50

45

Stiff starter

80

66

Total

230

201

 

  1. Dissolve the starter in the water. Add the flours and mix thoroughly until the flour has been completely incorporated and moistened.

  2. Ferment at room temperature for 6-12 hours, depending on starter vigor, room temperature, etc..

 

Soaker

Bakers' %

Wt (g)

KAF “Harvest Grains”

100

100

Water (Boiling

100

100

Total

200

200

  1. Just before mixing the autolyse, put the “Harvest Grains” blend in a medium-sized bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Cover.

  2. Allow to soak during the autolyse (see below).

 

Final dough

Wt (g)

AP flour

169

Sprouted WW Flour

274

Water

350

Salt

11

Honey

17

Soaker

200

Stiff levain

201

Total

1222

Method

  1. In a stand mixer, mix the flours and water at low speed until they form a shaggy mass.

  2. Cover and autolyse for 30 minutes

  3. Add the salt, honey, soaker and levain and mix at low speed for 2-3 minutes, then increase the speed to medium (Speed 2 in a KitchenAid) and mix for 10 minutes. The dough should be very slack.

  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  5. Ferment at 70º F for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (or until expanded 75% and gassy) with a stretch and folds in the bowl every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours.

  6. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.

  7. Pre-shape as rounds and rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

  8. Shape as boules or bâtards and place in bannetons. Place bannetons in plastic bags.

  9. Proof at room temperature (68-70º F) for 30-60 minutes.

  10. Cold retard the loaves overnight.

  11. The next morning, proof the loaves for 1 1/2 hours.

  12. 45-60 minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 480º F with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  13. Transfer the loaves to a peel. Score the loaves as desired, turn down the oven to 460º F, steam the oven, and transfer the loaves to the baking stone.

  14. After 15 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus, and turn down the oven to 435º F/Convection. (If you don't have a convection oven, leave the temperature at 460º F.)

  15. Bake for another 15-20 minutes.

  16. Leave in turned off oven with the door ajar for 15 minutes.

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

  

The loaves had rather little oven spring. Since I do not think they were over-proofed, I wonder if they were over-fermented. This would also explain the lighter crust color than when un-sprouted whole wheat flour was used. With a slightly longer bake, they did develop the nice reddish-dark brown crust color I favor in sourdough hearth loaves. 

Addendum 8/27/2013: The morning after they were baked, I sliced and tasted one of the loaves.

The bread was tasted un-toasted and toasted, with almond butter and almond butter plus apricot preserves, by two independent jurors. 

DMS: On slicing, the crumb was denser than expected, although still reasonably open for a 50% WW with all those seeds, flakes and cracked grains. The crust was pretty thick and crunchy. The crumb was moist. Un-toasted, my first impression of the aroma and of the flavor was "sour rye." I would never have identified this as a whole wheat bread on a blind tasting. When toasted, the bread had an unique flavor - no longer really reminiscent of sour rye, but not of whole wheat either. There was a moderate sourdough tang. There was less sweet flavor than with non-sprouted WW. With almond butter and preserves, it was pretty good but didn't knock my socks off.

SGS: First impression on slicing: "Whoah! Substantial." On first tasting un-toasted, she commented on some un-identifiable flavor which she didn't really like. She thought it might be the sunflower seeds in the Harvest Grains mix. When toasted with almond butter, she remarked on the sourness, which was more than she liked. When she added apricot preserves, she pronounced it improved. "Okay, but I'd prefer it less dense. ... Don't stop making it!"

Conclusion: This bread has a really unique flavor that is quite different from breads made with un-sprouted whole wheat flour. Whether this flavor is really from the sprouted grain or is partly from the Harvest Grains, I'm not sure. There are other whole wheat breads we prefer to this one, but it may be worth tweaking.

I am thinking that, if I bake this bread again using sprouted WW flour, I will use a smaller levain inoculation to prolong the bulk fermentation and substitute a stronger bread flour for the AP flour. But before that I should  make a yeasted 100% whole wheat bread with the sprouted WW flour to see how that tastes. And before that, I should see what I can find out from other's experience with this product.

David

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I have wanted to make a potato pizza ever since I first saw a picture of one in Daniel Leader's Local Breads. I'm good at delaying gratification. So, several years later, here I am with balls of the best pizza dough I have ever made and no plans for dinner. I made potato pizza. It did not disappoint.

Since reading Leader's recipe, I also acquired Maggie Glezer's Artisan Breads, which also has a recipe for potato pizza. The pizza dough recipes are different, but the potato topping ingredients are essentially identical. 

Ingredients for one quarter sheet pan (9x13") of Potato Pizza

  • 400 g of fully fermented pizza dough (I used this one: Pizza Bliss)
  • 750 g Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly
  • 120 g Onion, sliced very thinly.
  • 1 T finely chopped fresh rosemary.
  • Coarse sea salt to taste
  • 2-3 T Olive oil

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 dF
  2. Lightly oil a 9x13" rimmed baking pan.
  3. Put the dough in the pan, and, with oiled hands, stretch it to fill the pan. If it becomes too elastic to stretch, let it relax for 10 minutes, then continue stretching. Let this proof while you prepare the topping.
  4. Prepare the potatoes, onions and rosemary. In a large bowl, toss them together along with salt to taste (my taste is for very little).
  5. Brush the dough with more olive oil and spread the potato/onion/rosemary mix evenly edge-to-edge.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender when pierced with a knife and nicely browned.
  7. Eat hot out of the oven or cooled to room temperature.

This pizza could be served as an antipasto, as a meal with a nice salad or as a side dish with almost any meat, poultry or fish dish.

Enjoy!

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

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