The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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dmsnyder

This bake followed my usual formula, except I increased the hydration slightly, adding an extra 20 g of water to the final dough. The formula and procedures can be found here: San Joaquin Sourdough: Update

This remains one of my very favorite breads for the texture of the crumb and for flavor. It is just delicious. I had a couple slices with dinner - plain, no topping or dipping. Susan prefers it dipped in olive oil with a bit of balsamic vinegar. We'll have more in the morning. I haven't decided yet whether to have some toasted with almond butter or made into French Toast. 

I have a couple loaves of Hamelman's Pain au Levain with Whole Wheat Flour retarding tonight to bake tomorrow. That's another favorite. 

Happy baking!

David

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dmsnyder

Susan and I have just returned from two weeks in Italy. We spent a week in Venice, a couple days in Lucca and 4 days in Liguria. We broke up our return trip with an overnight stay in Milan. I am happy to report that the bread we had was much superior to that of our last visit to Amelia-Romagna and Tuscany  three years ago. 

The bread we were served in restaurants was almost always made wholly with white flour.

Once, we had some bread that, from its color, I think had some durum flour in the mix. I did see a loaf called “Pane Altamura” in a bakery we walked into in Milan, and I saw “Pane Integrale” on another bakery’s list of its breads in Levanto (Liguria), but we didn’t taste any of those.  

 Industrially-produced bread was displayed in supermarkets, but so was a wider variety of flours for both bread and pizza-making. This was what I found in the largest grocery in Venice.

 There was a profusion of small, artisinal bakeries in all the towns we visited, as well as small produce markets, fish mongers, butchers and gelaterias.

My sense is that this was typical of small towns in Italy. I suspect it is less true in big cities, but even there, the neighborhood bakery is commonly encountered, at least everywhere I have been. 

 Pizza was originally associated with Naples and was unheard of in Northern Italy. Them days is gone forever. It is seen now on the menus of most restaurants except perhaps the spiffiest, but we didn’t go to any of those. Interestingly, in many restaurants, pizza is only served at dinner time. I wonder if this is related to a culture in which, at one time, the big meal of the day was served mid-day, not in the evening. I had low expectations of the pizza in the North, but was pleasantly surprised. It was pretty good in Lucca, although it was much, much better in Liguria. The typical local pizza was thin crusted. Most was baked in wood-fired ovens, but not all.

We most enjoyed what was most often called “Pizza vegetariana.”

This had some tomato sauce, cheese and slices of zucchini and eggplant. Some also had bell pepper. So, pizza was pretty ubiquitous.

I was not happy to find American fast food restaurants in the larger cities (Venice, Milan). I was a bit happier to see hamburgers on the menus of some restaurants and a bit happier yet to see “Pane da hamburger” displayed in a bakery window in Lucca. They looked pretty good, too.

 The specialties of the Ligurian coast are fish - especially anchovies -, pasta with shellfish and pasta or gnocchi with pesto. We ate very well. In the USA, when you say “anchovy,” people think of the salted anchovies most often used on pizza. In Liguria, the anchovy is called “The princess of the sea” and is prepared numerous ways - fried, “pickled” in lemon juice like ceviche, in a pasta sauce … I know I’ve forgotten some of the ways we saw anchovies prepared, and I’m certain there are others we didn’t encounter at all. 

Anchovies with potatoes, tomatoes and olives

 

Fried Anchovies

 

Taglierini verde with crab

We had a terrific time! I’ve focused here on the food, particularly bread and its “relatives,” but the areas we visited in Italy this trip were visually stunning. The art we saw was fabulous. And the people we encountered were delightful. I’m eager to return.

 

Manarola

David

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dmsnyder

There is a traditional type of test question in medicine called “visual diagnosis.” The student is shown a photo - it might be of a whole person, a face or just a piece of skin with a rash - and asked to make a diagnosis. The last time I took a test like that was for board certification in Pediatrics. That was in 1977, and I can still remember most of the photos I was shown - a young girl with an inguinal hernia, a teenage boy’s feet (They were flat.), a rash (Scabies), a child with a rare genetic condition (Progeria). I think there were a couple more. I can’t remember them right now, but I do remember I knew the correct diagnosis for every one of the photos. (Yay, me!)

Anyway, “visual diagnosis” is a valuable skill for bread bakers too, it seems to me. I think others agree. That is why we prefer to see photographs of a loaf’s crust and crumb structure before committing to a “diagnosis” of a problem’s cause. That’s by way of introduction to today’s visual diagnosis quiz.

Here are some photographs of two bakes of two loaves each. All loaves weighed the same (512g) before baking. Both bakes were at 460ºF for 12 minutes then 440ºF convection bake for another 18 minutes. The obvious difference is that one bake is of bâtards, the other of boules, but there is another obvious difference in their appearance. 

 

Bâtards and Boules, side-by-side

Boule Close Up

 Bâtard Close Up

If you choose to take the test, here are your questions:

  1. Describe (briefly) the significant difference you see.
  2. What are the possible causes of the difference?
  3. What is the specific cause you think responsible for the difference? And why do you think that?

Further instructions: Have fun, and Happy Baking!

David

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dmsnyder

I usually make this bread as  500g boules, but the beautiful large bâtards and miches I've seen  from Josh, Syd and others in the past week or so had me craving a larger loaf. So this 1kg bâtard was baked this afternoon, and it is good. I think it's kind of pretty, too.

The formula for this bread is in San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with increased whole wheat flour, except I boosted the hydration by about 30g or so. I've been doing that pretty regularly. I'll have to actually weigh the additional water and recalculate the hydration one of these days. I'm guesstimating it is about 81%.

I baked this loaf at 460dF with steam for 15 minutes, then at 435dF Convection for another 20 minutes.

Happy baking!

David

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dmsnyder

Yesterday, I baked the "Finnish Rye" from the SFBI for the second time. It is a delicious bread, although what makes it Finnish and why it's called a rye, since it has less rye than either white or whole wheat flour, remains mysterious. I described how I made it in my previous post ("Finnish Rye" from the SFBI

I also made a walnut bread. I have made walnut breads based on my San Francisco-stye Sourdough before, and it has been good. This time, I use my SFSD with increased whole wheat (San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with increased whole wheat flour) as the base, and I think it's even better.

Happy baking!

David

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dmsnyder

My wife and I have been taking Italian language lessons in a small group for about 2 years. Our teacher was born in Palermo and trained to be a teacher from 16 years old through University. She has lived in the US for about 15 years, and she misses Sicily a lot, including the bread. 

Tomorrow, the class is meeting at some one's home to view an Italian movie and have a potluck. Our teacher has given me a pretty clear idea over the past two years of the kind of bread she likes best, and I've concluded that the miche I learned to make at the SFBI fits the bill. So, that's what I will take, along with one of the Pane Valle del Maggia.

The formula and procedures for the miche can be found here: Miche from SFBI Artisan II - 2 kg. The only modification I made is to substitute 20% whole wheat for an equal weight of AP flour in the Final Dough.

This is a 2 kg loaf. It's about 3 times the size of the Pane del Maggia I also baked today. To give you an idea of their relative sizes, here's a side-by-side photo of the bannetons I used for each:

When sliced, the crumb was well-aerated but not very open. 

 

The crust was very crunchy, and the crumb was chewy. The flavor was moderately to severely tangy, like an old-fashioned San Francisco sourdough. I think the whole wheat's main contribution was to increase the acetic acid flavor. I enjoyed the first taste. I sliced the bread and took it to the potluck, when eaten 60 to 90 minutes later, it seemed much less sour. It was very good and was well-received as was the Pane Valle del Maggia that I also brought. (That's code for "Everyone loved them ") One of my classmates wanted to know where in Fresno I found it. The few slices that were not eaten with dinner were distributed by the hostess for others to take home. She assured me she kept enough for her breakfast.

David

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dmsnyder

I have made the Pane Valle Maggia (or "Pane Maggiore") 3 previous times. I have decided I actually liked the first version the best, so I made it again today. The procedure was substantially the same. See Pane Valle del Maggia.

I found the dough much gloppier than I remembered it being. I didn't come up with a good explanation until just now. I was checking my blog entry for this bread to make sure I had included the formula, and I discovered I had left out an ingredient - 63g of Medium Rye Flour. That turned an 86% hydration, sticky dough into a 92% hydration gloppy dough that needed to be treated like a ciabatta - heavily floured and stretched into rectangles rather than shaped into boules. Of course, I didn't do that. Using lots of flour on the board and on my hands and using the bench knife to tighten up the loaf, I shaped boules and transferred them to heavily floured, linen-lined bannetons. 

After spending the night in the fridge and about 2 hours proofing at room temperature, to my relief, the loaves released super-easily from the bannetons, didn't spread much on the peel, sprang up in the oven and came out looking really good.

The crumb was significantly more open than the previous bake, as would be expected, given the higher hydration. 

I let the bread cool for 60 to 90 minutes before slicing. It was still a bit warm, but the crumb was cool on the tongue and tender. It had the mouth feel of a ciabatta, in fact. The flavor was sweet and wheaty with only the slightest sourdough tang and more of a lactic acid creamy flavor. It is really good!

I am wondering if I would make this bread again at 92% hydration. It is so delicious, I just might, but, if I do, I would be inclined to use it for ciabatta or ciabatta rolls. Hmmm ... That sounds like a plan!

David

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dmsnyder

In my opinion, the formula for 5-Grain Levain by itself fully justifies the price of Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread. This is just one of several formulas for multigrain breads in the book. I believe I have made all the levain-based ones, and I haven't found one that wasn't scrumptious. I think my very favorite is actually the one that uses a rye sour for leavening. 

I looked it up. I first  blogged on this bread December 21, 2007. I was inspired to make it by a couple things. First, it was highly recommended by Fleur-de-Liz, a very active TFL member in those days who was an adventuresome and accomplished baker and a great photographer. When I was first learning to bake, I wanted to be her when I grew up. Unfortunately, she disappeared from TFL not long after that. The second thing was that Jeff Hamelman described this bread as "the most delectable tasting bread" he'd ever had. Considering the source, how could you not make it?

The first two times I baked the 5-Grain Levain, I found that this is a bread one really should cold retard after the loaves are formed. It makes an enormous difference in the flavor. I baked it the first time without retardation and thought it was good but nothing special. The second bake, with overnight retardation, I discovered what the fuss was about. It really is incredibly delicious.

This formula calls for a liquid (125% hydration) levain and a multi-grain soaker. The soaker is supposed to include cracked rye, but I've never had any. This time, I substituted a very coarsely milled rye flour. Otherwise, I followed Hamelman's instructions, including omitting the instant yeast. I did let the loaves warm at room temperature for about 90 minutes before baking. I've found that baking this bread right out of the fridge results in explosive oven spring and bursting cuts. I prefer it a bit more controlled.

 

Every time I've made this bread, the flavor surprises me. It is so good. This time, the first flavor hit was sweetness, although the bread has no sweetener, other than what is generated by amylase. The crunchy, nutty, caramel crust is fabulous.

Okay. That's enough. Time to heat the soup, dress the salad and slice more bread!

David

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dmsnyder

After the last bake of this bread, I wondered if I could get a more open crust by doing all the mixing by hand, rather than some by machine. So, that's what I did. The formula was the same as that used in Pane Valle Maggia, ver. 2 3/7/2014, except I did not take the time to grind fresh whole wheat flour. I used Giusto's Organic Fine Whole Wheat flour instead.

My procedure was as follows:

1. The two levains - rye sour and whole wheat - were mixed the night before mixing the final dough and fermented at room temperature for 13 hours.

2. Around 11 AM, I mixed the levains with 500g of water and the AP and WW flour. This was left on the counter for a 3 hr. "autolyse" while I raced to the hospital and taught a class for pediatric residents. (How you spend your autolyse time is your choice.)

3. The salt was added and mixed into the dough with a spatula. Then about 60g of additional water was added. This was mixed in by hand, using the pinching maneuver recommended by Ken Forkish in FWSY.

4. Bulk Fermentation was done at room temperature for about 3 hours with stretch and folds every 30 minutes for 2 hours.

5. The dough was then divided into two equal pieces and pre-shaped as rounds. These were allowed to rest while I washed the container I had used for bulk fermentation and floured my linen-lined bannetons.

6. The pieces were shaped as boules and placed, seam-side up, in the bannetons which were then placed in food safe plastic bags and refrigerated. 

Note: This was one of the stickiest doughs I have ever worked with. Not surprising given the combination of lots of rye and lots of water. Shaping was a real challenge!

7. After about 12 hours, the oven was preheated to 500 dF with a baking stone and my usual steaming apparatus in place. 

8. The loaves were transferred to a peel and scored. 

9. The oven was steamed and the loaves were transferred to the baking stone.

10. The loaves were baked for 13 minutes with steam and then another 20 minutes. Note: Inadvertently, the whole bake was done with the convection fan on.

The loaves sang loudly as they cooled, and nice crust crackles developed.

I sliced the loaves after 3 hours. The crust was crunchy. The crumb was somewhat more open and, overall, less dense-seeming than the last 2 bakes. It was tender and chewy. The flavor of the bread was mildly tangy with a nice wheaty flavor. I really can't say it was noticeably different than the bake using fresh-milled whole wheat flour.

Bottom line: This is a delicious bread. It is similar to several of the breads I have been making from FWSY since last Summer with mixed flours, except that this bread has the highest percentage of whole grain flours. It is a type of bread that has become our favorite.

My next variations may be to add mixed seeds and cracked or flaked grains and to try a version with added dried fruit and nuts. I have also though about baking this bread in the Lodge Combo Cookers, as I bake Forkish's breads and the Tartine Basic Country Bread.

David

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dmsnyder

Pane Valle Maggia, ver. 2

March 7 , 2014

 

Last month, I made Pane Valle Maggia, inspired by Josh's “Pain Maggiore.” It was a very good bread, but I wanted to make it again using freshly milled whole wheat flour. Also, I thought it would be improved by pre-fermenting the rye component. So, I made both changes for today's bake. The Total Dough ingredients were basically unchanged.

The whole wheat flour was milled with the KitchenAid mixer's Grain Mill attachment. I put Hard Red Winter Wheat Berries purchased in bulk at Whole Foods Market through 4 passes, starting with the coarsest setting and progressing to the finest setting.

The rye sour was elaborated in 3 builds from my refrigerated rye sour.

  

Whole Wheat Levain

Wt. (g)

Baker’s %

Active liquid levain (70% AP; 20% WW; 10% Rye)

16

48

Fresh-milled Whole Wheat flour

33

100

Water

36

109

Total

85

257

 

Rye Sour

Wt. (g)

Baker’s %

Active Rye Sour (100% hydration)

54

50

KAF Medium Rye flour

109

100

Water

109

100

Total

272

250

 

Both levains were mixed in the late evening and fermented at room temperature for about 14 hours.

 

Final Dough

Wt. (g)

Fresh-milled Whole Wheat flour

141

KAF AP flour

544

Water

566

Salt

17

Both levains

357

Total

1625

 

Total Dough

Wt. (g)

Baker’s %

AP flour

550

64

Whole Wheat flour

175

20

Rye flour

137

16

Water

746

86

Salt

17

2

Total

1625

188

 

Procedures

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle installed, disperse the two levains in 500g of the Final Dough Water.

  2. Add the flours and mix at low speed to a shaggy mass.

  3. Cover and allow to autolyse for 1-3 hours.

  4. Add the salt and mix at low speed to combine.

  5. Switch to the dough hook and mix to medium gluten development.

  6. Add the remaining 66g of water and continue mixing until the dough comes back together.

  7. Transfer to a well-floured board and stretch and fold into a ball.

  8. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover.

  9. Bulk ferment for about 3-4 hours with Stretch and Folds on the board every 40 minutes for 3 or 4 times. (Note: This is a rather slack, sticky dough. It gains strength as it ferments and you stretch and fold it, but you still have to flour the board and your hands well to prevent too much of the dough from sticking. Use the bench knife to free the dough when it is sticking to the bench.)

  10. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape round.

  11. Cover with a damp towel or plasti-crap and allow to rest for 15-30 minutes.

  12. Shape as tight boules or bâtards and place in floured bannetons, seam-side up.

  13. Put each banneton in a food-safe plastic bag and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.

  14. Pre-heat the oven for 45-60 minutes to 500 dF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  15. Take the loaves out of the refrigerator. Place them on a peel. Score them as you wish. (I believe the traditional scoring is 3 parallel cuts across a round loaf.)

  16. Transfer the loaves to the baking stone.

  17. Bake with steam for 13 minutes, then remove your steaming apparatus/vent the oven.

  18. Continue baking for 20-25 minutes. The loaves should be darkly colored with firm crusts. The internal temperature should be at least 205 dF.

  19. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.

 

The whole wheat flour particle size was much larger than that of the Giusto's fine whole wheat flour I had been using. It had a sandy consistency, not unlike Semolina flour. When mixed, the dough was slack but also soft like an semolina semolina dough. It did pass an early window pane test after mixing. The dough gained strength during bulk fermentation with 3 stretch and folds on the board, but it remained more extensible and less elastic that the dough made with fine whole wheat flour. I was concerned that the crumb would be too dense.

I baked these loaves right out of the refrigerator.

 

The crust was thinner and less crunchy than the last bake of this bread. The crumb was less open than last time and had fewer large holes than ordinarily expected of a dough at this high-hydration level. I really can't attribute the denser crumb to the coarser whole wheat flour. This bread is 20% whole wheat, while the San Francisco Sourdough I made with the same flour has 30% whole wheat. I really am unable to nail any of the other "usual suspects" at the moment. I'll just have to make this bread again and see. Oh, the sacrifices we make! 

This bread had a wonderful aroma. It was very tender and less chewy than the last bake.The flavor was extraordinary. When first sliced after cooling, the bread was very sour, which I attribute particularly to my use of rye sour. It was not so sour as to mask the delicious, complex flavor. A wonderful sweet, wheaty flavor predominated. I could not discern a distinct rye contribution to the flavor. In fact, the flavors were well-balanced and integrated. I am accustomed to this kind of mixed flour bread needing at least 24 hours for the flavors to meld. It will be interesting to see what this tastes like tomorrow.

I found myself wanting to keep tasting the bread while cleaning up after lunch. It occurred to me that this is a bread I could easily make a meal of, no butter, cheese or other distractions necessary. This is definitely a bread I will want to make frequently.

Since I was going to be milling flour anyway, I figured I might as well mill enough to make a couple loaves of San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with increased whole wheat. (See: San Francisco-style Sourdough Bread with increased whole wheat flour)

 

I was pleasantly surprised when I sliced the SF SD. The crumb was really nice and open. Moreover, the crumb was moderately chewy. Obviously, there is more going on than the difference in the whole wheat flour. The flavor had in common with the Pane Valle Maggia a moderate sour tang and a lovely, wheaty flavor. 

And, since I was feeding my rye sour anyway, I figured I might as well build enough for a couple loaves of Jewish Sour Rye.

 

 

 This rye, like the last ones, was baked at the higher temperature - 460 dF for 15 minutes, then 440 dF for another 20 minutes. I do like the results better than those I got baking at 375 dF. Very good when first sliced and delicious toasted  for breakfast.

All in all, a very good couple of baking days. 

Happy baking!

David

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