The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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emkay

I've been craving a whole wheat loaf lately. After consulting Tartine Bread (aka book #2), I chose to make Chad's whole wheat complet which is 70% whole wheat flour. I increased the final dough's hydration from 80% to 85%. I used a not-so-young levain because I like it sour. Just for kicks I added some lightly toasted walnuts and walnut oil too. Mine didn't turn out as open and hole-y as the non-walnut WW one pictured in the book, but it sure tasted great. It was moist and hearty and filled with tons of walnut goodness.

tartine_ww_walnut_c

Tartine's 70% Whole Wheat with Walnuts

Grams (Baker's Pct)

350 (70%) Whole wheat flour (Whole Foods Organic)

150 (30%) All-purpose flour (Central Milling ABC)

425 (85%) Water

10 (2%) Salt

100 (20%) Levain (100% hydration)

150 (30%) Walnuts (lightly toasted)

10 (2%) Walnut oil

Final dough: 1195 grams

Overall hydration: 86.3%

Prefermented flour: 9.1%

My levain (10 g starter + 50 g water + 50 g flour) was fermented for 12 hours at 70F. Autolysed the flours and water at 70F for 1 hour, then mixed in the levain and salt. After the levain and salt were well incorporated, I mixed in the walnuts and walnut oil. Bulk fermented at 75F for 3.5 hours with stretches and folds every 30 min during the first 2 hours.

tartine_ww_walnut_mix

tartine_ww_walnut_fold

Scaled 850 g for my oval brotform and the rest of the dough for a 3x5-inch loaf pan. Shaped and proofed at 75F. 3 hours for the brotform and 2 hours for the mini loaf pan. Baked the oval at 450F for 40 minutes (with steam during the first 20 minutes).

tartine_ww_walnut_b

tartine_ww_walnut_a

Baked the mini loaf at 450F for 25 minutes.

tartine_ww_walnut_mini_a

tartine_ww_walnut_mini_b

I always seem to have egg whites stashed away in my freezer. I think it's because I use the eggs yolks to make pasta carbonara (which is quite often). All those egg whites give me a perfect excuse to make macarons. Nothing too fancy this time. Plain and simple with a vanilla bean Swiss buttercream.

vanilla_macarons_aug7a

vanilla_macarons_aug7c

vanilla_macarons_aug7b

:) Mary

PS: Submitted to Susan's Yeastspotting.

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emkay

Fennel has a very distinct, licorice-like flavor. Fennel, and its relative anise, tend to be polarizing. People seem to love or hate it. I am definitely on the side of loving it. My favorite way to eat raw fennel bulbs is thinly shaved and tossed with citrus segments and a citrus vinaigrette. I use the fennel fronds like any other fresh herb. A couple nights ago I combined fennel fronds, fresh rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and crushed fennel seeds to rub onto a pork shoulder for slow-roasting. I even make a sweet 'n savory shortbread cookie that has fennel seeds, parmesan cheese and Maldon sea salt. It sounds strange, but it's an absolutely delicious cookie.

I bought a 2-pound bag of dried organic black mission figs from Costco a couple weeks ago and have been looking for an excuse to use it. Dabrownman posted his fig and fennel bread and I knew what I would bake.

fig_fennel_jul29b

The starting point for my fig and fennel bread formula was the Tartine basic country bread. I used 20% whole wheat flour and a levain that has fermented for 12-15 hours as opposed to Chad's 4-6 hour levain. The levain was built from my rye starter. I soaked my dried figs for 30 minutes in warm water and then drained them. I saved the fig soaking water to use in my dough. I would say my water was half fig soaking water and half from the tap.

I mixed everything except the salt and figs, let the dough rest in the bowl for 30 minutes, and then squeezed in the salt. I bulk fermented at 73F for 3.5 hours with stretches and folds. The figs were added during the second S&F. Shaped and retarded at 40F for 14 hours. Baked at 450F for 35 minutes with steam during the first 15 minutes.

Fig and Fennel Bread Grams (Bakers' Pct)

AP flour (Central Milling ABC) 480 (80%)

Whole wheat flour 120 (20%)

Water 450 (75%)

Salt 12 (2%)

Levain (100% hydration) 120 (20%)

Dried figs (soaked, drained & quartered) 200 (33%)

Fennel seeds (half ground, half crushed) 9 (1.5%)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Final Dough 1391 grams

Overall hydration: 77.2%

Prefermented flour: 9.1%

fig_fennel_jul29c

The bread was lovely. I thought that 33% figs would've been enough, but in hindsight I think I could have gone up to 50%. The crumb was not as open and hole-y as I wanted, but I guess if it was too open then the figs would fall out. The fennel seed flavor was quite assertive since I ground half the seeds into a powder before adding it to the dough. I left the other half crushed. The flavor was well distributed throughout the bread and I could taste it in every bite. Fennel and figs really work well together.

fig_fennel_jul29a

The other fennel bread I baked is a semolina, golden raisin and double fennel bread. I stole the flavor combination from Amy's Bread in NY. The dough is based on the semolina sesame bread (pane siciliano) that I learned at the San Francisco Baking Institute. There's a tiny bit of instant dry yeast in this dough. The instructor at the SFBI said it's a bit of insurance since a naturally leavened semolina dough can be a bit tricky.

I used some fennel bulb as well as fennel seeds. I sliced the bulb, blanched it for 2 minutes, drained and chopped it. I ground all the fennel seeds into a powder. I soaked the golden raisins for about 15 minutes in warm water and then drained them.

I combined everything except the raisins and chopped fennel and mixed for 2 minutes on speed 1 of my KitchenAid stand mixer. I added the raisins and fennel and mixed for 1 minute. I transferred the dough to a lightly oiled container and bulk fermented at 70F for 3 hours with a set of stretches and folds at 60 and 120 min. I divided the dough into two halves. I shaped six 100-gram rolls with one half and a boule with the other. The boule was proofed for 2 hours and the rolls for 1.5 hours (room temp ~70F). The boule was baked at 450F for 35 minutes with steam during the first 15 minutes. The rolls were baked at 425F for 20 minutes.

semolina_raisin_fennel

semolina_raisin_fennel_jul30c

Semolina, Raisin, and Fennel Grams (Bakers' Pct)

AP flour (Central Milling ABC) 250 (50%)

Semolina flour 250 (50%)

Water 340 (68%)

Olive oil 25 (5%)

Salt 12 (2.4%)

Instant dry yeast (SAF red) 0.5 (0.1%)

Levain (100% hydration) 125 (25%)

Golden raisins (soaked & drained) 115 (23%)

Fennel seeds (ground) 5 (1%)

Fennel bulb (sliced, blanched & chopped) 115 (23%)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Final Dough 1237.5 grams

Overall hydration: 71.6%

Prefermented flour: 11.1%

semolina_raisin_fennel_boule_jul30b

My boule stuck to the brotform and deflated quite a bit as I worked it out of the form. The ovenspring was not enough to overcome the deflation. The rolls came out perfectly.

semolina_raisin_fennel_jul30b

I loved the sweet golden raisins with the flavor of the semolina. The fennel seed was detectable, but not assertive. It was the perfect amount. The fennel bulb wasn't worth the effort. It was hardly noticeable and I would probably leave it out the next time I make this bread.

:) Mary

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Every June I eagerly await the arrival of John Driver's CandyCot apricots at the farmers' market. The apricots that he grows are unlike any other apricot I have ever eaten including the Blenheim. They are sweet and complex with a very concentrated flavor. According to their website, they measure between 26 and 32 on the Brix (sweetness) scale, while most supermarket varieties of apricots register in the low teens.

The growing season for these amazing apricots is short, and even shorter with this year's drought in California, so they're available for only 3 or 4 weeks. On their final market day, I got a great price on 25 pounds of "cosmetically challenged" apricots which are perfect for making pie, jam and ice cream. Here's a glimpse of what I did with all those lovely apricots.


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Fresh apricot pie (with an all butter crust).

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Refrigerator apricot jam (no pectin, no canning).

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Macaron (filled with apricot Swiss buttercream and a dab of apricot jam).

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Apricot sorbet.

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Make ahead pie filling. Quartered apricots tossed with lemon juice, flour and a tiny bit of sugar and then frozen in the shape of a pie tin. Peel off the plastic bag and the frozen filling is ready to be dropped into the rolled out pie crust.

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Of course I had to use some of them in a bread too. I bought some pressed barley (oshimugi) at the Asian supermarket earlier in the week, so I baked a barley porridge bread with fresh apricots.

barley_apricot_formula

Flours, water and levain were mixed into a shaggy mess. I let it rest for 40 minutes and then squeezed in the salt. Bulk fermentation was at room temperature (68F) for 4 hours with stretches and folds during the first 3 hours and undisturbed during the last hour. The barley porridge was added to the dough during the second S&F. The apricots were added during the third S&F.

barley_apricot_stretch


barley_apricot_3rdF

Final proof of the batard was done at room temperature for 3 hours. Sadly, the dough stuck to the brotform so I had to pry it out. The top of the loaf was a bit wonky and wavy, but I tried to hide the damage with some creative snipping and scoring.

barleyporridge_apricot_july5b


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I shape retarded my boule in the refrigerator for 15 hours and the dough came out of the brotform easily. No crumb shot of the boule since I gave the loaf away.

IMG_8961


barleyporridge_apricot_july5_boule

There were nuggets of barley and apricot throughout the bread, but I think the dough could have handled even more barley. The apricots paired well with the earthiness of the barley.

barleyporridge_apricot_july5f


barleyporridge_apricot_july5c

The apricots chunks were soft, but not mushy, and bursting with flavor. It was almost like having dried apricots in the bread, but the fresh were super moist and without the chewiness or hardness of dried. I probably wouldn't use supermarket varieties of apricots in this bread as they tend to be a bit too watery, bland, and fibrous. But if you have some excellent apricots, then I highly recommend adding fresh apricots to your dough.

candycot_june28b


barleyporridge_apricot_july5a

Mary

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Baking naturally leavened bread requires a bit more planning on my part now since I've been storing my starter in the refrigerator. My cold starter likes to wake up by being fed at least twice over 24 hours before being used to build a levain. Sometimes I will feed it only once, then do a three stage levain build (using dabrownman's build ratios and schedule). Either way, I have to plan to refresh my starter, build the levain, and make the dough. Even though there is very little active hands-on time, it still takes a minimum of 36 hours from cold starter to hot bread.

So what's a gal to do when there's no more homemade bread in the freezer and she wants fresh bread fast? The answer is commercial bakers' yeast which, in my case, is instant dry yeast. I am not a fan of lean breads made with bakers' yeast. Even the long cold retarded ones lack the flavor, texture and character of those naturally leavened. But I do like enriched breads made with bakers' yeast. So I usually go with enriched when I want bread fast. [Since we're talking about homemade bread, fast is a relative term.]

I made the softest and fluffiest enriched bread a couple nights ago using Floyd's Hokkaido milk bread with tangzhong recipe found here. The only change I made was to decrease the sugar. I won't go into detail about the tangzhong method (aka water roux) since it's well documented on TFL, but I will say that it makes a difference in the bread's keeping quality. Today is day 3 and the bread is still soft and moist. I'm sure the butter, milk, sugar and eggs helped too, but I want to believe that tangzhong is magic.


hokkaidoTZ_jun27a

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One last thing...

This loaf is the opposite of what a German knight in the 1500s would have. Even if he did have something like this, it's so soft and fluffy that he would crush it with his iron hand.

:) Mary

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emkay

David's (dmsnyder's) San Joaquin sourdough is my new go-to bread. I've made it on four separate occasions over the past 2 weeks. I love the convenience of the method that David developed based on Anis Bouabsa's baguettes. My only change is to use more rye. I use about 15% whole rye in the final dough and in my levain. My hydration is usually around 76-77%.

I mix my levain in the morning (or the night before) and the dough in the evening. I stretch and fold the dough to develop the gluten over a 3 hour period and then bulk retard in the refrigerator for 18 to 24 hours. The next evening, I do a quick preshape of the cold dough and a 60 minute bench rest. The final proof is about 45 minutes. Hot and fresh sourdough for dinner!

The GOOD...

Glorious simplicity.

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sjsd_unadorned

With a tiny bit of kalamata and castelvetrano olives.

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sjsd_olive

The BAD...

Here's the same batch of olive dough but underproofed. I circled the blown out portion that is typical of an underproofed loaf.

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And the UGLY...

Failed attempt at shaping a blunt baguette. Looks ugly, but the taste and texture were amazing. It made the best sandwich roll.

sjsd_june17a

sjsd_june17b

A big shout out to David for sharing his wonderful Central-Valley-meets-Paris sourdough. Thanks!!!!!

Mary

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emkay

I've been in a porridge bread mood lately. The thing to note with porridge breads is that the water in the porridge can lead to a very wet and slack dough that can be hard to handle. Two months ago I tried to make an oat porridge bread. The dough was so wet that I wasn't able to shape it. After struggling with it I finally just scooped the dough into the brotform. After cold proofing, the dough stuck and I had to scrape it out of the form. The resulting baked loaf was very flat and very sad.

tartine_oat_porridge_0402d

Since the failure of my oat porridge bread, I've learned a lot and I've practiced a lot too. I've learned to not rush the dough and to make sure the gluten is developed and properly fermented. Regardless of the hydration level, if the gluten isn't developed properly, I won't be able to shape the dough. I've learned to handle high(er) hydration doughs without adding too much flour. But I've also learned that if the dough feels too wet, it might be just that. Too wet. And it's okay to add more flour. It's okay to do another set of stretches and folds. It's okay let the bulk fermentation go another 30, 60 or 90 minutes. With each loaf I bake and with each week that passes, I feel my bread baking confidence grow.

I baked a couple breads with corn polenta porridge recently. I started with a lower hydration dough (70%) and added a small amount of porridge (17%). I was able to handle that dough so for the next bake I increased the hydration to 77% and the amount of porridge to 25%. The hydration including the porridge was around 89%. That bake seemed to go pretty well too and I had no issues handling that dough.

So it was time for me to tackle the oat porridge bread again. I used the Tartine basic country bread as my base recipe. I used 20% whole wheat and added 50% (baker's pct) oat porridge.

formula

The oat porridge consisted of a 1:4 ratio of rolled oats to water which I cooked over medium heat until it was porridge-like. I let it cool while I mixed the dough. After some gluten was developed, I mixed the oat porridge into the dough. Bulk fermentation was done at room temperature (about 74F) with stretches and folds.

tartine_oat_june7_fold

If my math was correct, the hydration was 102% including the oat porridge. The dough was pretty slack when I was preshaping, but I managed to loosely shape it for the bench rest.

preshape_rest

I shape retarded in the refrigerator for 15 hours. I went a little overboard with the oatmeal flakes because I wanted to make sure the dough came out of the brotform without sticking. It did stick a little bit, but I got them both out without too much damage.

oat_porridge_june7_pans

I baked them in enameled cast iron pots. 450F for 20 minutes with the lids on and 25 minutes without lids. The batard was a bit pale compared to the boule since the high sides of the oval pot seems to shield the loaf from the heat. So I left the batard in for 5 more minutes with the oven turned off.

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The crumb was very moist and it wasn't dense at all. But I think it was on the verge of gummy, but toasting the bread before eating removed all trace of that. You wouldn't know that there were oats in the loaf. They seemed to have disintegrated.

oat_porridge_june7_f

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I never thought that I would be able to handle a 102% hydration dough. I think I've come a long way.

oat_porridge_june7_a

:) Mary

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I was pretty happy with my first attempt at a polenta sourdough (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/38701/polenta-sourdough). The hydration in that first loaf was 70% without taking into account the water in the polenta porridge. But I wanted a loaf with higher hydration, a more open crumb and more polenta. I decided to go with the tried and true Tartine basic country bread.

"Tartine Bread" has a recipe for a polenta bread from which I took inspiration. But I left out the corn oil and herbs and used lightly toasted sunflower seeds instead of pepitas (pumpkin seeds). I cooked my polenta into porridge instead of doing a soaker.

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So here's my polenta sourdough version 2.0 which is just the Tartine basic country with 25% cooked polenta and 12% sunflower seeds added into the dough.

 Baker's Pct

90% AP flour

10% Whole wheat flour

75% Water

2% Salt

20% Levain

25% Cooked polenta*

12% Sunflower seeds

[*I added 60 g Bob's Red Mill polenta (corn grits) to 240 g boiling water and cooked it over low heat until the water was just absorbed. I let the porridge cool overnight in the refrigerator. Then I scaled out what I needed (25% = 250 grams for 1000 grams flour). ]

Overall hydration is 77% including the levain. I didn't include the cooked polenta in the hydration level calculation since I'm treating it like an add-in. The oven spring I normally get with the Tartine basic country bread is pretty good. My 1 kg boule ends up about 4.5-inches tall. This polenta boule was about 3.75 inches tall.

tartine_polenta_sunflower_jun1d

tartine_polenta_sunflower_jun1f

Mary

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emkay

I've seen a few posts showcasing polenta sourdough breads lately, so here's my take on it.

I cooked more porridge than I needed for the dough because it's hard to cook less using my smallest pot. I added 30 g Bob's Red Mill polenta (corn grits) to 120 g boiling water and cooked it over low heat until the water was just absorbed. I let the porridge cool overnight in the refrigerator.

polenta_cooked

My polenta sourdough formula is loosely based on Hamelman's Vermont sourdough. Overall hydration was 70%. I included the levain in the calculation, but didn't include the cooked polenta.

Polenta Sourdough

Grams (Baker's Pct)

AP Flour 410g (88.17%)

Whole rye flour 55g (11.83%)

Water 305g (65.59%)

Salt 10g (2.15%)

Cooked polenta 80g (17.2%)

Levain 168g (36.13%)

Total 1018g

I made one batard and one boule. Final proof on the batard was 2.5 hrs at room temperature. Here's the batard's crumb:

polentaSD_may28_batard

The shaped boule was retarded in the refrigerator for 19 hours. Here's the boule's crumb:

polentaSD_may28c

The batard's crumb was definitely better than the boule's crumb. The boule was most likely overproofed, but it still tasted great. Live and learn!

polentaSD_may28a

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emkay

Every once in a while I buy a loaf of bread from Tartine for "research purposes". Here's their buckwheat porridge bread. It's a large loaf weighing 1130 grams.

 

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emkay

My husband and his friends were having a peach sour beer tasting party and he asked me to bake something that could pair well with those beers. I considered baking something peachy, but peach season is not quite in full swing yet, so the ones available at the farmers' markets are still a bit too pricey and not quite at their best.

I decided to bake him a chocolate sourdough bread. I used the formula found on the SFBI website, but I think there's a similar formula in "Advanced Bread and Pastry". It's a hybrid bread using both a levain and instant dry yeast which worked out well for me since my starter is acting lazy and won't raise bread sufficiently right now. (See this thread about it: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/38563/not-enough-yeast-starter).

The recipe called for chocolate chips, but I used chopped chocolate instead. Chopped chocolate had the added benefit of staying soft even after the bread cooled off. It's easier to slice when a hard chocolate chip isn't tearing through the crumb. I added 27% dried sour cherries which along with the chocolate gave me an add-in percentage of 20%. The dough is low hydration (64%) so it's easy to handle.

chocSD_1c

Others (elsewhere on the 'net, not on TFL) that have made this bread mentioned that it was not sweet at all. So I was taken by surprise that it was sweeter than I expected. Maybe other people expected something like a chocolate cake? Well, in that case I can understand the bread was not sweet when compared to cake. I expected less sweet and felt it was more sweet. It's all about expections.

Perceived levels of sweetness aside, I would not call the bread overly sweet. The honey played very nicely with the Dutch-processed cocoa. I didn't detect any tang from the levain. Overall, the flavor of the bread was very well-rounded. The smokey bitterness of the cocoa and the bright tartness of the cherries paired perfectly with all those sour beers.

Formula: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_LRDZo4BL--OHNENlpyQnRxeTA


chocSD_1a

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