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mwilson

I made an enormous ciabatta weighing nearly 1 kilo. I used an 18hr-fermented biga starter and a combination of medium and weak flours. This thing was massive!

Biga:
400g '00' flour from Shipton Mill
160g cold water
1.3g Instant yeast

Final dough:
Fermented biga
320g cold water
200g plain flour (9.4% protein)
24g Extra virgin olive oil
12g Non-diastatic malt powder
12g Salt
2g diastatic malt powder 

olive oil for S&f.

Method:
To make the biga, first weigh all the ingredients. Put flour and yeast in the mixing bowl and turn on the mixer adding water gradually to form breadcrumbs and let run until you get a dry dough. Roll out the dough and fold up. Cover and leave overnight at cool room temperature for 18hrs.

Next day weigh all ingredients and cut the biga into pieces. Mix biga and 150g of water until combined. Then add flour, malts, salt and mix adding the rest of the water in stages. Once the dough begins to clean the mixing bowl add the olive oil and finish the mix to achieve a satin-smooth, slightly sticky dough.

Place dough in a well oiled flat and wide container. Cover and rest. Stretch and fold the dough at 20 minute intervals until the dough almost doubles in size. Rest for 20 minutes before shaping business letter style. Roll shaped dough in flour, give it a final dust of flour and leave to proof until doubled in size. Stone-bake with steam.

I had to shape and proof the dough very carefully being so huge already and not having a very big oven, stone or proofing tray/peel.

Baked ciabatta dimensions: 15"x9"x4.5".

Crumb - open and very, very light.

 

Probably one of the best ciabatta's I ever made. Subtle and moreish in flavour. Perfectly chewy and shreadable in texture.

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mwilson

This requires a lot of kneading to create a dough with strength. It starts out as a liquid soup. 40 mins kneading by hand. A messy job!

Recipe:

  • 200g white spelt
  • 200g water
  • 2g yeast
  • 4g salt

Mixed dough:
 

Baked:
 
The final dough was easily 4 times the size mixed dough and baked with a little spring. Slightly over-proofed consequently blew some bubbles at the side.

Crumb:

A fine even crumb due to the required intensive mix and the poor gluten properties of spelt.

I challenge anyone to mimic this recipe. I'm sure you will struggle!

Michael

Over and out.

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mwilson

This morning I was on the way to making some lovely artisan bread using a long-fermented Biga starter but unfortunately I over-mixed the dough! Over-mixing creates a horribly sticky mess and it took me half an hour to clean everything, including my hands. Hopefully those that have experienced this will sympathise.

Pressed for time I decided to make a quick loaf with some improving ingredients available in most kitchens.

The result: Ridiculous volume.
 
 

Ingredients:

  • 550g Flour (250g Hovis bread flour / 300g '00' flour)
  • 390g Water
  • 30g Rapeseed Oil
  • 1-large egg yolk ~18g
  • 11g Non-diastatic malt powder
  • 11g Salt
  • 5g Instant yeast
  • 5g Lemon juice
  • 5g Vinegar

Method:

I scaled the water (40C) and placed in a bowl along with, malt, lemon juice, vinegar, egg yolk, yeast and finally the oil. I added the flour and salt and mixed to a shaggy dough. I then turned out and kneaded à la bertinet for 10-15 mins to  reach full development. I left on the counter and balled up a couple of times. When doubled I shaped very, very tightly and plonked it in the tin. Let it rise until passed doubled. Slashed and baked with steam.

Notes:

Improvers: Acids are for tightening the gluten and therefore increasing dough strength. Egg yolk contains an abundance of lecithin - a natural emulsifier and along with the oil they soften the crumb. Malt is food for yeast.

Slashing was an absolute joy! I made cuts very deep with my ultra-sharp Japanese cooking knife. The dough, even though very highly risen didn't move - no loss of volume whatsoever. The cuts just opened slowly. All this can be attributed to the high degree of dough strength. It was amazing to see the detail of the exposed crumb being so voluminous!

Weight out of the oven: 834g. It will lose some more. I always aim for 800g.

Enjoy!

Update1:

A slice from the end:



You can see a centre circle where it's a tad denser. The rest of the crumb is feathery soft and ultra light.

Update2:

Centre slice: It's as light as a croissant.
 
It also toasts very well, due to the improving ingredients. 

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mwilson

I know Easter has passed but I needed yet another challenge...

Here I have made the richest Colomba Pasquale of all. One which comes from Italian master baker and Cresci co-author Achille Zoia.

This was even more challenging than the Iginio Massari Panettone I made recently as this has more fat, more sugar and less water!

I only just managed to pull this off! I had some technical problems along the way but it worked out in the end...

Original recipe calls for a pinch of added yeast but I left this out because my sourdough is so very powerful! As a result, the first dough rose bang on schedule at 12hrs. I also felt there wasn't enough salt, so I doubled it to 4grams instead of the 2grams originally called for.

First dough tripled:


Mixing the second dough was problematic. I think I developed too much strength too early which made incorporating all the butter very tricky and I ended up with a slightly greasy dough that lacked extensibility which made shaping a night-mare as you can see...


Shoddy shaping!

Glazed:
 

Inverted overnight:
 

Finished and ready for wrapping. This will mature for a few days to develop its flavours.
 

Adapted recipe:

First dough:

  • 63g Lievito Naturale (Italian sourdough)
  • 200g '00' Flour
  • 80g Water
  • 75g Sugar
  • 50g Egg Yolks
  • 75g Butter

Second dough:

  • 50g '00' Flour
  • 50g Egg Yolks
  • 38g Sugar
  • 25g Honey
  • 75g Butter
  • 5g Cocoa Butter
  • 4g Salt
  • Aroma Veneziana
  • Seeds from half a Vanilla pod
  • 125g Candied Orange Peel

Total Ingredients:

Flour 100.0% 292
Water 34.6% 101
Sugar 38.7% 113
Honey 8.6% 25
Yolks 34.2% 100
Fats 53.1% 155
Fruit 42.8% 125
Salt 1.4% 4

 

 

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mwilson

Those who know me understand that Panettone is my thing! I have baked this wonderful bread-like cake countless times and I have pretty much dedicated myself to the art that is making Panettone. The technical ability required to produce Panettone is the pinnacle of understanding bread dough. It forces you to understand all aspects, including; controlling sourdough fermentation to achieve the desired acidity and yeast activity. And most challenging for me, understanding dough rheology, to be able to successfully mix this heavily rich dough. I believe anyone that can make real (sourdough) Panettone can truly make any bread.

I'm still on a high as recently I managed to make what I consider to be the most difficult recipe, entitled 'Modern Panettone'  this comes from master pastry chef Iginio Massari via his wonderful book "Cresci - The Art of Leavened Dough". This is the richest one of all. 40% sugar + another 4% honey. 53% butter and 48% egg yolks.

Making this particular Panettone was no easy feat. I have experienced many moments of despair trying so hard and not understanding why it hasn't worked. Often I would chuck an over-mixed dough in the bin. So many times I declared "I am never baking again" and yet here I am. Baking is clearly an obsession. Even those things that seem impossible at the time can be achieved with endeavor!

These shots don't do it justice but here are some close ups:


Other than uneven fruit distribution and a wild and uncontrolled oven spring this Panettone is perfect. It's so light and yet firm at the same time. Sweet, feathery soft, buttery and just delicious. This truly is a celebratory cake and not just for Christmas!

Many thanks to those that follow my work and to those that have supported me. 

If there are any bakeries out there that are interested in making Panettone, I would be happy to offer my services as a consultant.

Now, where to go from here... A new path / career awaits.

Goodbye all.

Michael

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mwilson

This week I have cooked up a couple of breads to test my skills using my powerful sourdough and 00 flour.

Sourdough / Natural Leaven:

I spent a few days refreshing this firm starter for the panettone. Feeding 4 times a day, every 4hrs.

 

San Francisco SD:

 I converted my firm natural leaven into a 70% hydration starter and fed a few times, keeping at 28-29C. At the end of fermentation it was quite soupy. From this I made a 60% hydration dough.

This was the nicest all white sourdough I have ever tasted! Crisp and yet chewy crust. Delicate and smooth flavour. But unexpectedly just a hint of sour.





 

Fruitless Panettone:

Beautifully yellow, soft, light and shreddable crumb.



 

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mwilson

Flavoured Ciabatta made using traditional methods. Suitable for sandwiches.

Traditional Biga - left to ferment for approx 15hrs at cool room temp.
300g '00' Flour, medium strength
150g cold water
1.1g Instant yeast

Final Dough - kept warm at 28c.
420g Biga
70g '00' Flour, medium strength
4g Malt Powder
7g salt
140g water
28g good quality extra-virgin olive oil.
sun-dried tomatoes to taste

Method
Mix biga by hand using downward pressure to a smooth, dry dough. Leave at room temp overnight for about 15hrs.
Next day, cut the big into pieces add malt powder, flour and an equal amount of water. Mix until smooth. Continue mixing adding the remaining water in stages.  Add salt with the last of the water. Finally add the oil and mix to full gluten development before folding in the  tomatoes.

Place dough in a well oiled flat and wide container. Leave to rise at warm temp (~28C). Stretch and fold at 30 min intervals until the dough is strong enough to sit high. Wait until almost double in size (~3hrs) before dividing in two.

Leave pieces to rest for 20 mins before shaping like a business letter. Dust with more flour and proof until double with cracks in the flour (~2hrs)
Bake.

Proofed:

Total dough volume is approx 4 times that of the mixed dough.

Baked:

Oven spring was great as with any well made ciabatta, rising vertically, swelling like a balloon. 

Crumb:

Extremely soft and porous crumb.


Michael

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mwilson

Anyone who has seen my blog knows I make naturally leavened panettone often. I have tried a new recipe by Massimo Vitali which includes cocoa butter. The recipe also calls for milk powder which I don't keep, so I left it out. I made a few other adjustments with water and flavourings but other than that it's as described in the formula.

Finished dough.
 

 

Baked. The dough surface was very tight and ruptured in the oven. More water next time!
 

 

Crumb.
 

 

Formula.
 

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