The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

varda's blog

  • Pin It
varda's picture
varda

When I was complaining the other day that I couldn't catch up with Andy, I didn't mean that I would never be a professional baker and turn out staggering numbers of authentic, healthy, artisan loaves, because of course I will never do those things.   I meant that I can't even catch up with trying to bake some of his formulas.   And he just keeps making the situation worse.    Back in November he posted wholemeal pain au levain.     I have been meaning to make it, but got distracted with mixed levains and other things and didn't get to it.   After my January croissant waistline debacle I decided that I have got to start baking more lean wholegrain breads, so that brought me back to Andy's formula.   Frankly I never expected such loft and lightness out of a 60% wholegrain bread.   But then I've never made a bread out of starter and soaker before which is what this is.  

True I was unable to follow the formula 100%.   I was a bit short of whole wheat flour so substituted in some whole rye to the soaker, and I didn't do the overnight retard immediately after the mix because it didn't fit into my schedule.   Short of those (hopefully not critical) deviations, I followed directions, and I'm glad I did.   This has a delicious crunchy, nutty flavor, and the crumb isn't the least bit gummy (ok that's how I tend to think of high percentage whole grain breads - it's my problem.)

  

 

Some baking notes: 

1. Andy's instructions call for mixing the starter, soaker, and additional flour.   Then retarding overnight.   Then Bulk Ferment for 3 hours which of course includes some warm up time.   I did not do the retard and was concerned at 1.5 hours into the bulk ferment that the dough would overferment.   I decided to end  after 2 hours, which seemed to work out.  

2. There was no call for additional water to be added to the final dough.   However, I was unable to mix the raw flour into the soaker, starter combo without a little bit of water.    Thus my hydration is 73% rather than Andy's 70%.    For a 73% hydration dough, it wasn't even slightly wet which I assume is attributable to the high percentage of whole grains.  

3. When I realized that I was short of whole wheat flour, I was scratching my head about what to add to the overnight soaker.   My husband strolled into the kitchen just as I reached this conundrum and suggested whole rye.  Despite my surprise (he's not a baker and doesn't like rye) I had to agree with his suggestion, as I thought the key point was having something that could stand up to an overnight soak without turning into gum.   Should I have done something else like whole spelt?

4.  I used King Arthur All Purpose to substitute for Carr's Special CC Flour and King Arthur Whole Wheat to substitute for Allinson's Strong Wholemeal. 

Formula and Instructions as Modified

Whole Wheat Pain Au Levain

 

 

 

 

following Andy's Wholemeal PAL formula

 

 

 

2/1/2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepare Starter day before - 2 feedings

 

 

 

1/31/2012

 

3:20 PM

9:00 PM

Total

Percent

 

Seed

50

 

 

 

 

 

KAAP

28

47

140

215

94%

 

Rye

2

3

8

13

6%

 

Water

20

34

83

137

60%

 

 

 

 

 

365

7.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepare soaker at 9:30 night before

 

 

 

KAWW

315

 

 

 

 

 

HM Rye

80

 

I added some whole rye to soaker since

Water

355

 

I ran out of whole wheat

 

Salt

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

762

 

 

 

 

 

dissolve salt in water, add ww flour, mix with paddle for 3 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final

Starter

Soaker

Total

Percent

 

KAAP

80

188

 

268

40%

 

Rye

 

11

80

91

14%

 

KAWW

 

 

315

315

47%

 

Water

17

120

355

492

73%

 

Salt

 

 

12

12

1.8%

 

Starter

320

 

 

 

 

 

Soaker

762

 

 

 

 

 

starter factor

0.88

 

 

 

 

 

prefermented flour

 

 

 

30%

 

Total

 

 

 

1179

 

 

Note: the 17g additional water was needed to incorporate the raw flour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix all ingredients - first incorporate the new flour and water

 

Then mix for 7 minutes in Kitchenaid at low speed

 

 

with a couple pauses to scrape down

 

 

 

Note that dough is very strong at this point

 

 

 

Bulk ferment on counter for 1.5 hours

 

 

 

Stretch and Fold on counter very gently

 

 

 

Bulk ferment for 30 more minutes

 

 

 

Note that dough seems very fermented at this point and

 

starting to slacken

 

 

 

 

 

Cut in two and preshape

 

 

 

 

Rest 20 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

Shape into batards and place in couche seam side up

 

 

Proof for 2 hours until dough starts to soften

 

 

Flip onto peel dusted with coarse rye and slash

 

 

Bake for 20 minutes in 450F oven with steam

 

 

22 minutes without

 

 

 

 

 

 

varda's picture
varda

Some time ago Franko did a great post on Tom Cat's Semolina Filone.   I pretended to make it but in fact I didn't because I used starter instead of poolish and whole durum instead of extra fancy.   Now following Karin's excellent no-discrimination policy I decided to cook from books lying under my nose, and what book could be greater (or more underutilized by  me) than Maggie Glezer's Artisan Baking.    This time I followed directions to the letter (see page 124.)  This bread is so good that someone should post on it every few months or so.   With this post, I've done my part.   

Bonus bread lessons:

1.  Different flour,  different bread.

2.  If you bake bread from a formula without following directions you haven't yet made that formula. 

 

varda's picture
varda

 

After several tries at croissants, I decided that for the sake of my waistline (and those of my family) I should give it a rest.   I was thoroughly frustrated with trying to sort through multiple approaches with multiple rationales, and decided that what I really needed to do was try something else that didn't require deep study.   So I pulled out my rye and wheat starters, built them up the way I wanted to - no books in sight - and the next day mixed up some dough.   I made enough for two big loaves but decided to refrigerate one of them after shaping so we could eat both fresh instead of one fresh and one day old.   I was also interested to see if there would be any difference between them.    The short answer is a little.  

The loaf pictured above was baked with no retard.   Even though I've been working hard at developing dough and I thought I'd got it after 25 minutes on low speed in the kitchen aid, some may say it is not quite there.

I don't know.   What say you?  

The second which was in the refrigerator for 20 hours before coming out for a three hour proof had a less appealing crust, but perhaps better crumb.   So development continues in the refrigerator?

In general I was very pleased with the taste and texture of this bread which is quite light and airy, with a crisp crust (both loaves.)   The retarded loaf has just a hint of sour while the one baked same day has none. 

Here is the formula:

Rye Sour

Seed

Feeding

Total

Percents

 

 

Seed

70

 

 

 

 

 

Rye  

37

107

144

 

 

 

Water

33

106

139

96%

 

 

 

 

 

283

 

 

 

Wheat Starter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seed

30

 

 

 

 

 

KABF

3

 

3

 

 

 

KAAP

14

100

114

 

 

 

Rye

1

 

1

 

 

 

Water

13

142

155

132%

 

 

 

 

 

272

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final

Rye Sour

 Wheat

   Total

  Percents

 

KABF

 

 

3

3

0%

 

KAAP

500

 

108

608

79%

 

Rye

 

138

1

139

18%

 

Whole Wheat

16

 

 

16

2%

 

Water

251

133

148

532

69%

 

Salt

14

 

 

14

1.8%

 

Rye sour

271

 

 

 

33%

 

Wheat starter

260

 

 

 

 

 

Rye factor

0.96

 

 

 

 

 

Wheat factor

0.96

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix all but salt and autolyse for 55 minutes

 

 

 

Add salt and mix on first speed of KA for 25 minutes including

 

 

several scrape downs

 

 

 

 

 

BF for 2.5 hours with 2 S&F on counter

 

 

 

 

Cut in half, preshape and rest for 20 minutes

 

 

 

Shape and refrigerate one loaf in brotform

 

 

 

Proof the other in couche for 2 hours 15 minutes until soft

 

 

Bake at 450 for 20 minutes with steam, 22 minutes without

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After 20 hours remove loaf from refrigerator and proof on counter for 3 hours.

Bake at 450 for 20 minutes with steam, 22 minutes without

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
    
   
      
     
    
    
   
   
       
 
   
       
varda's picture
varda

Today I was planning to make Vermont Sourdough with Whole Wheat as part of a return to good healthy eating, but it was not to be.    I had added the starter to the dough and mixed it up, when my nose was assaulted by something NOT RIGHT.   In the past I've ignored these warnings figuring that whatever was not right would disappear in the baking.   But I've learned.   So out with the old dough, in with the new.   I mixed up another liquid starter, but I really wanted bread today, so after 3 hours, I decided to improvise.   Instead of nice, lean Vermont Sourdough,   I started the year with something sweet:   Cinnamon Swirl. 

The last time I made something like this, both my husband and son informed me that I'd skimped unduly on the cinnamon, sugar, and butter.    So this time I didn't.    To say the least.   I threw in the unfinished starter, and then some yeast for good measure.   It rose like gangbusters.   Here is what I came up with. 

STARTER

 

Feed

        Total

        Percent

Ripe Starter

100

 

 

 

KAAP

57

100

157

 

Rye

3

 

3

 

Water

40

150

190

119%

 

 

 

350

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FINAL

STARTER

TOTAL

PERCENT

KAAP

550

153

703

100%

Rye

 

3

3

0%

WW

 

 

0

0%

Milk

164

 

164

23%

Water

127

187

314

44%

Butter

15

 

15

 

Yeast

10

 

10

 

Salt

12

 

12

1.7%

Starter

343

 

 

22%

 

 

 

1221

 

 

Take firm starter and build as above.    Leave at warm room temperature.    Scald milk in microwave for 1.5 minutes.   Add butter to it and let cool.    After starter has ripened for three hours, mix all ingredients.   Let double (this took 45 minutes.)   Press out into a long flat rectangle with short side in front.   Brush with melted butter.   Sprinkle very thickly with cinnamon sugar.   I used two sticks of cinnamon that I ground in a coffee grinder mixed with around 3/4 cups of sugar.   Roll up without pressing in the sides while shaping.   Place in bread pan with seam down.   Brush top with remaining melted butter and cinnamon sugar.  Let rise to over top of pan (this took around 45 minutes.)   Bake at 370 with no steam for 45 minutes.    Then remove from pan and bake for 15 more minutes.  Then enjoy and follow through on resolutions tomorrow. 

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
varda's picture
varda

The many nice bagel posts lately have spurred me on toward bagel making.    I was excited to see that In The Jewish Bakery has a recipe for Montreal bagels.   I grew up on New York Bagels which had made their way to St. Louis by the 1960s.    It was a revelation when I stopped for a snack in the Ottawa Airport one day to find a bagel that was completely different but quite delicious.   That was almost 20 years ago, and since I stopped working in Canada,  Montreal bagels have been few and far between.   That is set to change.

Ok.   My shaping needs work, but that doesn't interfere with breakfast for lunch. 

These are quick bagels - from mix to plate in around 2 hours, and so not as much flavor as their overnight retarded New York cousins.   But delicious all the same, a tasty treat. 

varda's picture
varda

Not quite two years ago, when I joined TFL, I had a simple goal:   I wanted to figure out how to make Tzitzel bread which was a favorite when I was growing up in St. Louis Missouri.   I had recently started baking bread, and I figured how hard could it be.   When I searched the web, I found nothing for Tzitzel, but plenty of recipes for rye bread - many of which I tried.  Nothing was even remotely like what I remembered, and given my level of expertise, it was pretty poor eating.   I joined this site where I had been lurking for awhile and asked the question.   Again, no one seemed to have heard of it.   I did get a lot of great advice for baking Jewish Rye, and settled on "Jewish Corn Bread" which was a combo of some points in a comment by Norm (nbicomputers) on a David Snyder post, and one of Greenstein's recipes from Secrets of a Jewish Baker.   This kicked up the quality several notches, but still wasn't right.   When I started my quest, I had emailed the retiring owner of the St. Louis bakery, Pratzels,  where my father had bought Tzitzel.   Early on she told me that it was "just" a Jewish Rye wrapped in corn meal.   Later, when I knew more, I asked her again, and she told me that it was made with medium rye and bread flour.   It wasn't until a few weeks ago, when I got my latest shipment of King Arthur flours, that I had some medium rye to play with.   At the same time, admiring a gorgeous Challah posted by dawkins, I gave up my resistance  and bought a copy of Inside the Jewish Bakery.   And there was the answer - I was off base using the corn bread recipe.   I should have been baking Jewish Deli Rye.   On page 74 the authors include a paragraph saying that to make Tzitzel one should modify their Jewish Deli Rye thus and so, and voila - Tzitzel.   And so ---- Tzitzel.   Thank you Norm and Stan!  

 

varda's picture
varda

 

Several months ago there were a slew of great posts on breads with rye starters - Khalid, Arlo, Syd, Lumos and I've probably missed some.   I didn't have a rye sourdough starter, so I bookmarked a bunch of these posts and forgot about it.  Then I made a rye sourdough starter so I could make Whitley's Russian Rye, but it was only when Joyfulbaker posted on Hamelman's mixed starter formula (p. 162 of Bread) that I realized I could make it with my new rye starter.   In doing so, I found I had extra high hydration wheat starter, which looked so nice I didn't want to throw it out.   So I adapted the Pugliese recently posted by Sylvia to use starter instead of poolish.  

Although it changes the character of the bread, I think the adapted version works pretty well. 

The Hamelman is a delicious, balanced formula.   I tweaked it by swapping out a little of the bread flour for whole wheat.   Other than that I followed instructions.  

Formula for Sourdough Pugliese:

 

Final

Starter

Total

Percent

KAAP

120

71

191

66%

Durum

100

 

100

34%

Water

145

89

234

80%

Salt

6

 

6

2.1%

Starter

160

 

 

 

 Method:

Mix all but salt and autolyse for 40 minutes.   Add salt.   Mix for several minutes in the bowl by scooping dough from the edges to the middle.  Stretch and fold on counter 3 times in half hour intervals.   Continue bulk ferment for 1 hour after last stretch and fold.    Shape into boule and proof upside down in bowl.   Bake at 450 for 15 minutes with steam, 30 minutes without. 

 

varda's picture
varda

White sandwich bread may not be as exciting as many but it sure is delicious.   Especially following Syd's poolish formula.    I have made this several times but never felt I had the proper pan for it.   Fortunately my  husband came through for my birthday.    I completely stopped buying bread and bagels from the supermarket after I started baking two years ago, with the exception of sandwich bread - industrial varieties of which can be quite good.    That may have to stop.   This bread is bursting with flavor unknown even to Pepperidge Farm.   Syd's instructions are clear and simple.   Thank you Syd (wherever you are.)  

 

 

 

varda's picture
varda

A few weeks ago, I gave up on the starter I'd been tending and using for over a year, and made a new one from scratch.  Instead of trying to nurse my old starter back to health, I reminded myself that despite the considerable mystique attached to it, it's really not that hard to get a starter going - particularly a wheat one - assuming a sufficient degree of attention and patience.   I finally got it going and I've been baking with it for around 2 weeks.   I have not been disappointed, as I think I had just got used to an underperforming starter and had forgotten how a healthy starter behaves.  

At the same time I've been trying to shed same old same old practices and develop a formula that everyone in the family liked, that was repeatable, and relatively easy, so I could use it as daily bread.    I borrowed from this and that and here and there, and thank gods (I've been watching Battlestar Galactica) I think I've got it.  

The formula has a bit of spelt, a bit of rye, and the rest wheat.   I used wheatgerm and malt powder (Thank you Lumos) which seem to have a good effect but I'm not sure which does which.    The resulting bread bridges the difficult gap between light and substantial, has a light crispy crust, keeps for a few days (assuming it doesn't get eaten first) has a mild balanced flavor and isn't too holey for sandwiches.   I've made it a couple times, and it seems to be repeatable. 

But now, my biggest problem - how to keep from fiddling this to death.   I think the best way to do it is to name it but Sourdough with Spelt and Rye just seems boring.    Ergo Lexington Sourdough which is pretty boring as well.   Any tips on how to name breads?  

And now it's time to switch focus to biscuits, cornbread and pie.   Thanksgiving is nigh!

The formula:

Starter

Seed

Feeding

Total

Percent

Seed

168

 

 

 

Bread flour

92

95

187

95%

Whole wheat

2

 

2

1%

Whole rye

4

4

8

4%

Water

69

130

199

101%

 

 

 

397

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final

Starter

Total

Percent

Bread flour

450

135

585

84%

Whole rye

 

6

6

1%

Whole wheat

 

2

2

0%

Medium rye

50

 

50

7%

Spelt

50

 

50

7%

Water

310

143

453

65%

Salt

13

 

13

1.9%

Starter

286

 

 

21%

Malt powder

10

 

 

 

Wheat germ

15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Method:

Take ripe sourdough - around 70% hydration - from refrigerator (should be domed and pitted) and feed as above to 100% hydration.   Ferment on counter (around 69degF) for around 7 hours until very active and bubbly.  

Mix flour and water by hand and autolyse for 30 minutes.   Add the rest of the ingredients and mix in stand mixer for 5 minutes starting at low speed and working up to highest speed.   Dough should adhere into a smooth mass during the mix.   Stretch and fold on counter twice during 2.5 hour bulk ferment.    Cut and preshape into two rounds.   Rest for 20  minutes.   Shape into batards and place in couche seam side up.   Refrigerate for 10-15 hours.   Place on counter and proof for 1.5 hours until dough starts to soften.   Bake at 450F for 20 minutes with steam, 20 minutes without.  

varda's picture
varda

Detmolder stage 2, Russian Rye production sourdough, new wheat starter, 200% rye starter

Denial is more than a river in Egypt.   When I came back from vacation at the beginning of September, my starter of over a year was only clinging to life after having lived through a power failure of indeterminate length due to a hurricane.   I slowly nursed it back to life only to lose interest while exploring baking with 100% durum.  The breads I made from time to time with my trusty wheat starter were getting weaker and weaker until finally they stopped rising altogether.   I was forced to admit the sad truth: my starter died of neglect.   I decided to start over again with a new wheat starter.   Meanwhile I got Andrew Whitley's book - Bread Matters - and was onto a new project - getting a 200% hydration rye starter going and raising bread.    Fortunately Juergen stepped in with a tutorial on how it's done.  I had hope that with patience I could do it too.   Then a Noreaster paid an unexpected visit and there I was with two new starters sitting on the counter with no light, no heat, and a very bored and upset eleven year old with no school to go to since the power was out there too.   This would have been a good time to let the new starters die as well, but somehow I fit in a few feedings during the four day power outage, and lo and behold when the lights turned on yesterday afternoon they were both not only alive but doing well.   In fact the rye starter was frothing - the state I've been awaiting for a few weeks.    I decided to try again (#5?) with Whitley's Russian Rye.   At the same time, I decided to go back to a formula I had tried almost a year ago,  Detmolder's 3 Stage 90% Rye in Hamelman (p. 201) because I was interested in the contrast between the Russian and German ryes.   So I mixed up stage 2 of the Detmolder (I went straight to stage 2 because I was making only one loaf which would have called for just 2 g seed starter in stage 1)  and the production sourdough for the Russian Rye and was ready to go today.   The Russian Rye went exactly as directed.   The recipe calls for 200% hydration rye starter, and 103% total hydration so it isn't a dough in any sense but rather a paste as Andy terms it.   The German Rye has a bit of high gluten flour (10% of total) in the final dough, but is also high hydration  - 79% - so not much doughier and sorta kinda shapable but not really.   Since so much fermentation takes place during the starter stages bulk ferment is only 10  minutes and proof is an hour, whereas for the Russian Rye, there is no bulk ferment and proof is according to Whitley anywhere from 2 to 8 hours.   Mine took 3 hours.

German is round, Russian is rectangular

Formulas:

Russian Rye

 

 

 

 

Andrew Whitley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11/2/2011

 

8:00 PM

 

 

Production Sourdough

 

 

 

Seed

50

 

Total

 

Whole Rye

17

150

167

100%

Water

33

300

333

200%

 

 

 

500

 

11/3/2011

8:30 AM

 

 

 

 

Final

Starter

Total

Percent

Medium Rye

330

 

330

69%

Whole Rye

 

147

147

31%

Water

200

293

493

103%

Salt

5

 

5

1.0%

Prod SD

440

 

 

31%

 

 

 

975

 

Mix production sourdough at least 12 hours in advance.   Mix final dough and place in bread pan.   Proof until it softens (3 hours for me.)   No docking or scoring.  Bake at 480F for 10 minutes with steam, 50 minutes without at 410.

 

3-Stage 90% Rye

 

 

 

 

Hamelman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11/2/2011

11/3/2011

 

 

 

 

8:00 PM

9:30 AM

 

 

Starter

 

 

 

 

 

Seed

12

 

 

Total

Percent

Whole Rye

6

50

 

56

29%

Medium Rye

 

135

135

71%

Water

6

39

135

180

94%

 

 

 

 

371

 

11/3/2011

1:00 PM

 

 

 

 

 

Final

Starter

Total

Percent

 

Medium Rye

261

135

396

79%

 

Whole Rye

 

56

56

11%

 

High Gluten

50

 

50

10%

 

Water

215

180

395

79%

 

Salt

9

 

9

1.8%

 

Starter

371

 

 

38%

 

 

 

 

906

 

 

Please read Hamelman for starter directions - they're complicated.   Mix final dough and bulk ferment for 10 minutes.   Transfer to oiled bowl for proof.   Proof until dough softens.   Flip (and coax out of bowl) to parchment paper on peel.   Bake at 480F for 10 minutes with steam, 40 minutes at 410F without. 

Frustratingly, I have to wait to cut for a day.   Crumb shots to follow.

And here they are:

Russian Rye

German Rye

As for taste, the Russian Rye is very moist.   It has a slightly tart flavor and in general is packed with flavor.   I just had a slice without anything on it, and it was so flavorful it didn't need anything.   The German Rye is more what I'm used to as far as rye goes.   I grew up on Jewish Rye, and it tastes very similar to that, even though Jewish Rye has much lower percentage of Rye than this.    It is a very tasty bread, but I would not eat a slice without a topping of some sort.    If someone stuck a gun to my head and I had to choose (who would do such a thing - a crazed baker?)  I would pick the Russian hands down.   It is so good that I am very reluctant to fiddle with it.   It tastes like a rye pudding only in bread form.   Really incredibly delicious.  

And finally the storm:

It's January in October

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - varda's blog