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xaipete

I've been on a buckwheat kick lately and wanted to try Michel Suas' Buckwheat Pear Bread. Suas' book, Advanced Bread and Pastry, poses some problems for me in that its recipes all assume the baker knows what he or she is doing. While I generally know what I'm doing, I don't always remember to do what I know.


I made the levain yesterday, soaked the pears in riesling wine for an hour this morning, and then completed dough. The recipe didn't specify whether to dice the dried pears, but fortunately I was able to find some information about it on the SFBI site and figured out they were suppose to be diced. Still, I didn't know whether the weight of the pears was before or after soaking. I used the before soaking weight, and that was probably a mistake. The final dough was pretty sticky, and although not unmanageable, I think I would have been better off if the dough had been a bit firmer. Another thing that the formula doesn't tell you is how to assemble the final dough. After I had dumped everything in the mixer bowl, I thought, "I should have mixed the water with the levain before putting in the rest of the ingredients." That was a good thought but unfortunately I thought it a little too late. Anyway, I mixed everything up as best I could, but had trouble getting the pears and walnuts incorporated during the final minute of mixing and had to work them in by hand; the final dough was pretty sticky. The dough took about 2 hours to double. I shaped it into 3 rounds and let them rest 30 minutes, then formed them into loaves for my mini pans. I wasn't interested in making my loaves into the recommended pear shape--I'm way too utilitarian for that. I let my loaves proof for 1 hour and then baked them with steam at 400º for 35 minutes.


The crumb is a slightly spongy and a little wetter than I think it is suppose to be. Perhaps I under- or over-mixed the dough. You can see darker and lighter parts in the crumb; I think that is probably owing to my failure to incorporate the levain and water at the beginning. The pear taste is very prominent but not overwhelming; the buckwheat taste is very subtle. If nothing else, these little loaves will make great toast.


buckwheat pear bread


Levain:


39 g buckwheat flour


138 g bread flour


174 g water


1/8 t yeast


1/8 t salt


 


Final Dough:


280 g bread flour


135 g water


11 g salt


3 1/2 g yeast


39 g toasted walnuts


92 g dried, diced pears reconstituted for 1 hour in white wine


 


My interpretation of how to put this bread together:


Make the levain 12 hours beforehand. Mix the levain with the water for the final dough, add in the remaining ingredients except the nuts and pears, and knead on speed 2 until you achieve improved mix (window pane forms but breaks when stretched). Add the pears and walnuts on speed 1 after the dough has been developed.


Let ferment at room temperature until double, about 2 hours. Preshape into 3 pieces and let rest for 30 minutes. Form into mini-loaves and let proof for about 1 hour. Bake in a 400º oven with steam for about 35 minutes.


--Pamela

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xaipete


I've been lucky enough to travel to Paris a few times. One of the new foods I experienced there was buckwheat crepes or galettes. The little bistro I ate them in was just across the bridge from Notre Dame. These crepes were served flat with an egg and ham in the middle of them. You just break the egg on top of the cooked crepe with the heat on low and cook until the white is set and the yolk is very warm. (Quail eggs would be especially delicious here.) When you bite into the crepe, the egg yolk gets absorbed by the crepe. These were fun to make although I had to add some milk to the recipe this morning to loosen it up (it really thickened overnight). I found the recipe in the LA Times. I'm going to fill some of them with creamed spinach as a side dish for tonight's dinner.


buckwheat crepes


buckwheat crepes



1 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour


4 large eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 tablespoons butter, melted
Softened butter for the pan

1. In the jar of a blender, blend the flour, eggs, milk, salt and melted butter with three-fourths cup water at high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides midway with a spatula. Strain the batter through a fine-mesh sieve.

2. Cover and let rest, refrigerated, for at least an hour, or overnight.

3. Heat a crepe pan or nonstick sauté pan over medium heat until a sprinkle of water sizzles when you throw it on the pan. With a paper towel, spread butter over the pan, being sure to wipe most of it off.

4. Using a bowl or a measuring cup with a spout, pour enough batter to just cover the pan (for a crepe pan, a little less than one-fourth cup), immediately swirling the batter around until it covers the whole surface. The batter may be thicker than basic crepes once it has been resting and may need to be thinned a little; if so, add up to one-fourth cup water and stir until blended. It will have a different consistency than sweet crepes (more like honey than pancake batter) and will cook slightly differently, forming bubbles and lacier edges. Adjust the heat, if necessary, to medium-low. As with pancakes, the first one or two galettes are usually experiments.

5. When the edges of the galette begin to turn golden and move away from the pan, about 3 minutes, lift the edge nearest to you using a spatula (an offset spatula works best). Flip the galette over. Cook the second side of the galette only long enough for it to set, less than a minute. Remove from the pan and start a stack of galettes, using wax paper to layer between each galette as you cook more. Add more butter when needed with a paper towel.

Each of 24 galettes: 71 calories; 3 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 3 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 41 mg. cholesterol; 65 mg. sodium.

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xaipete

I've been experimenting with various method of making San Francisco Sourdough for some time now. Suas' SF Sourdough loaf came out pretty well. I baked it with steam instead of under a cloche and didn't get as much oven spring as I hoped for. This loaf underwent bulk fermentation on the counter and was proofed in the refrigerator. It isn't quite as sour as I would like. I achieve the degree of sourness I'm looking for only when I do both the bulk fermentation and proofing in the refrigerator.


Suas San Francisco Sourdough


                      The crumb of this loaf is medium open and doesn't have a glisteny wet look about it.


Levain:


2 1/2 oz. bread flour


1/8 oz. rye flour


1 1/4 oz. water


starter (stiff) 2 1/8 oz. (50% hydration)


Mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Allow to ferment 12 hours at room temperature (65º - 70º).


 


Final Dough:


14 7/8 oz. flour (I used bread flour)


10 7/8 oz. water


3/8 oz. salt


6 oz. levain (all of the levain)


My Method: mix water and levain in mixer with paddle to loosen levain (about 1 minute). Add remaining ingredients and mix for an additional minute. Let mixture rest for 5 minutes so flour can hydrate. Resume mixing with dough hook for about 4 - 5 minutes to achieve a medium consistency (gluten structure is developed, but not fully--window pane forms but breaks upon stretching). Put dough into an oiled container with a lid. Let ferment for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. Do a stretch and fold. Let ferment for another 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. Form into a ball and let rest 20 minutes. Shape into batard, put into a banneton, cover with a plastic bag sprayed with pan-spray and refrigerate for 12 to 16 hours. Turn out onto pan-sprayed parchment and bake on a stone in a 450º preheated oven for about 25 minutes with steam.


Makes a single two pound loaf (weight before baking).


Below is a picture of a loaf I baked several days ago. This loaf underwent overnight bulk fermentation in the refrigerator after the stretch and fold, overnight proofing in the refrigerator, and was baked with a cloche; it got much better oven spring and had better sour flavor. I'm sold that this is the way to go. I don't think it is so much the particular formula as the method. Additionally, in my experience, loaves that undergo this much refrigeration, tend to be pretty wet (slack, extensible, whatever you want to call it), but seem to bake up well in spite of this characteristic. I'm not sure how you go about successfully scoring such a wet loaf, but perhaps that isn't as important as the taste. Yesterday I read in Local Breads that wetter doughs have bigger holes. Based on my experience, I'm a believer.


San Francisco Sourdough


                      The crumb of this loaf is very open and has a glisteny wet look about it.


--Pamela

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xaipete

My main motivation in making Pain de Beaucaire was that it could be completed in one day! I refreshed my starter early yesterday morning and made the levain for this bread from the discard. The bread took me only twelve hours to complete.


I broke off a piece of the finished loaf last night so I could taste it warm and was surprised by the prominent burst of sour on my upper palate.


This morning I had a closer inspection of these cooled, rough looking, free-form loaves. They have a someone soft texture and a medium crumb, and I liked the look of the vein of bran running through their middles! I toasted a piece for breakfast and was struck by how similar it tasted and looked to ciabatta--no surprise here really; this area of France is very close to Italy.


I think this bread is best served warm with a regional dish from southeastern France, e.g., coq au vin or a fish stew. I would make it again.


pain de beaucaire


pain de beaucaire



Named after Beaucaire, a region in Southeastern France, the Pain de Beaucaire is one of the first breads to be made "free-form" or not formally shaped. The bread is produced by placing two layers of dough on top of each other and then cutting with Râcle a Beaucaire, strips of dough that are baked side by side, giving this bread the unique appearance. Pain de Beaucaire was very popular until people started to prefer the lighter and crunchier baguette. However, this authentic regional bread is currently enjoying a resurgence as a new generation discovers its many appealing characteristics (Suas, p. 220).



I think a râcle a beaucaire is a type of pastry scraper.


Levain:


2 3/8 oz. bread flour


1/8 oz. rye flour


2 1/2 oz. water


1 1/2 oz. stiff starter (50% hydration)


Mix all the ingredients until well incorporated (DDT of 70º). Allow to ferment 8 hours at room temperature (65º - 70º).


 


Final Dough Formula:


1 lb. 1/8 oz. bread flour


9 oz. water


1/8 tsp. instant yeast


1/8 oz. salt


6 1/2 oz. levain (all of the levain)


wheat bran


My method:


Mix water and levain with paddle attachment to soften up levain (about 1 minute). Mix remaining ingredients, except wheat bran, with paddle (1 minute), turn off mixer and let sit (5 minutes). Resume mixing with dough hook at speed 2 until dough has a medium consistency--window pane starts to form but breaks upon stretching (about 4-5 minutes). Put into an oiled, lidded container and bulk ferment at 75º for 1 1/2 hours. Shape into a ball and let rest 20 minutes. Make a paste of 1 tablespoon flour and 5 tablespoons of water. Pat ball out into a rectangular shape about 1 inch thick. Cut rectangle in half both length- and cross-wise. Apply paste to rectangle and sprinkle with bran. Place one length-wise strip on top of the other, bran sides facing inward. Move loaves keeping bran seams horizontal to a couche and let proof 2 hours. Preheat oven with stone to 450º, remove loaves from couche and place on pan-sprayed parchment paper with bran seams vertical (seams will hold because they have been pasted together)--in other words, you bake the loafs sideways. Bake on stone for about 25 minutes.


-Pamela


 

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xaipete

This is a very tasty bread with a light crumb and nice crunch from the soaked seeds. I would make it again. In spite of the German rye sourdough incorporated in it, which was very sour tasting, I don't really taste any sour. It is a lovely, soft sandwich-type bread with only a hint of rye flavor. I can't imagine anyone, including children, disliking it. There are a number of errors in the recipe. I have pointed those out below, and indicated my experience when making this recipe in case someone else wants to try it.


Leader's Flax, Sesame, and Sunflower Rye



This sunflower-crusted rye gets great chew from the flax, sesame, and sunflower seeds inside. Flax isn't familiar to most people, but it is one of my favorite bread-baking ingredients. The glossy, tiny golden brown seeds have a wonderful sweet nuttiness. Until I saw this bread at Tobias Maurer's bakery in Stuttgart, I wouldn't have believed it was possible to put so many seeds into one loaf. I had seen how an abundance of seeds can draw moisture from dough, drying out the bread as it bakes. Tobias showed me how an overnight soak softens the seeds, turning them into a gelatinous mass that does the opposite, moistening the dough as it bakes (Local Breads, p. 282).



From Leader's Local Breads:


50 g German rye sourdough


28 g flax seeds


28 g raw, white sesame seeds


28 g raw sunflower seeds


525 g water* (I will probably either reduce the water by 50 g the next time I make the bread)


5 g instant yeast


300 g unbleached bread flour (I used KA Bread flour)


200 g whole grain rye flour (I ground my own)


10 g salt


Topping: 28 g raw sunflower seeds


Soak seeds, except topping, in 175 g water and make German rye sourdough 12 to 24 hours before mixing dough. (I did not find that these formed a gelatinous mass after soaking overnight, but whatever they formed seemed to work perfectly.)


On baking day: Pour remaining 350 g water in mixer bowl and stir in yeast, soaked seeds, bread flour, rye flour, salt, and German rye sourdough. Using the dough hook, knead the dough on speed 2 for 8 minutes, let rest in bowl for 10 minutes, resume kneading for another 8 minutes. I had to incorporate a substantial amount of extra bread flour during the final kneading time owing perhaps to errors in the amount of water* specified in Leader's recipe, which is different in the ingredients column than in the text.


Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container with a lid and let rise until double, about 2 hours.


Divide the dough in half, shape, and place in two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch pans. (I got two, 1-1/2 pound loaves out of the recipe, but Leader indicates there would be two 17 ounce loaves.) Mist the loaves with water or brush with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining sunflower seeds. Cover loosely and let proof for about an hour until nearly double (mine were doming the pans).


Preheat the oven to 400º twenty minutes before baking and place the oven rack at the lower middle position.


Bake the loaves for about 35 minutes. (I got a lot of oven spring.)


German rye-sourdough: mix 50 g liquid levain, 100 g water, and 75 g rye flour. Let stand at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. It is ready when it has doubled and tastes very tangy. It is alright to use if it has deflated (this was the case with me). This makes more sourdough than you need. According to the recipe, you can store the unused portion in the fridge until you are ready to use it again.


 

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xaipete

I completed a batch of Leader's Sourdough Croissants from Local Breads today. I used the metric weights and had no problem with the recipe; everything seemed to be correct as written. I baked one tray at the recommended 350º for 18 minutes but thought they weren't browning enough, so upped the temperature to 375º for the remainder.


They baked up fine--light, flakey and layered--, but have almost no flavor, being neither sour, nor sweet, nor buttery, nor anything else. I knew something was wrong when I couldn't smell anything when they were baking. What a disappointment! It's almost like the levain canceled out the flavor of the dough. I've tried at least 6 different croissant recipes over my lifetime and all have come out well except this one. I think they are destined for the trash.


If anyone has had experience with this recipe or has an idea as to their lack of flavor, please let me know.


Leader's Sourdough Croissants


 


Leader's Sourdough Croissants


--Pamela

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sprouted wheat bread


I've been feeling a little guilty about all of the refined flour breads we've been eating lately, so on Friday, I decided to make a batch of our old standby, 100% Sprouted Wheat Bread. I've made this bread dozens of times but not once in the last four months. I began soaking the grains on Friday and sprouted them this morning. After they were sprouted, about 6 hours, I ground them with the meat grinder attachment to my KA. I had had the brilliant idea that if I knew the weight of the KA bowl, I could add the ingredients to the bowl and save myself a little clean up. So I proceeded merrily along. When I got to the adding the water, the last ingredient, the scale read "err" but I didn't worry. After all I've made this recipe so many times. Well that was my second mistake (the first was thinking my scale could handle the weight). To make a long story shorter--or day of cleaning up a whole bunch of devices--I put way to much water in the bowl. I don't usually add more than a few tablespoons of whole-wheat flour to this bread and that is solely for the purpose of getting my "C" hook to pick up the dough and knead it properly. I also don't usually keep much whole-wheat flour around since I grind my own as needed. Well 3 cups of whole wheat flour and 2 cups of bread flour later, having now made a mess of my KA, my kneading counter, and my large capacity food processor, I finally got enough flour in the mix and got it kneaded. I ended up using my food processor to knead it in two batches.


I knew it would come out OK because it looked like bread dough after being processed. It is a pretty warm day here today, so its first rise went pretty fast and its second, even faster. One batch of dough normally makes three 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaves, but because I had to put so much flour in the dough, I opted for four loaves. Everything looked pretty good so I popped them in the oven. Why I thought they should be on a rack positioned in the middle of the oven is now a mystery to me but that was my third error for the day. When I checked them at 20 minutes I didn't notice that they were browning too fast, but it was pretty evident when I pulled them out of the oven at 40 minutes.


These are not the tastiest or prettiest loaves of sprouted wheat to come out of my kitchen, but in spite of everything they taste fine--perhaps a little more like whole wheat than sprouted this time--with a crumb that's not bad considering what they've been through. I eventually got all the paraphernalia that I used cleaned up too. Well so much for trying to save having to wash a bowl!


The recipe is here.


sprouted wheat bread

 

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xaipete

Thank you, David, for the title (AKA the little SD starter that could); it really was a long series of events! It began Friday night when I was trying again to finish part one of Little Dorrit, but, alas, I fell asleep again. When I awoke, with my neck aching, I stumbled into the kitchen and began throwing together the levain for Leader's sourdough rye loaves. Earlier in the day I had calculated that I needed to get this going just before bed if I wanted to bake the loaves the following day. When the levain was accomplished, I stashed it in the water heater closet, which maintains a nightly temperature of about 73º F, for overnight fermentation.


At about 9 AM the next morning I pulled the levain and from its incubator and began mixing the dough. By 9:30 AM with the flour and water hydrated and the levain and salt mixed, I began the machine knead, which needed a lot of manual help in my 1976 KA--there was much stopping and starting, and repositioning, wet bowl scraper in hand, until the battle of woman over machine was won, and dough decided it would after all sit on the "C" hook. Leader said to knead on "2" for a minutes and then on "4" for 8 to 9 minutes, but at about 6 minutes in on speed "4" the dough that had been behaving nicely all of a sudden melted off the hook and lay in the bottom of the bowl, so I decided it was probably kneaded enough. I stopped the machine, scraped it into the proofing bowl and let it rest for an hour.


10:45 AM: After performing one stretch and fold on the dough and being pleased with its structure, I returned the nice little ball to its proofing bowl, stashed in back in the water heater closet and set my timer for 3 hours.


1:45 PM: After checking on its progress, or in my case lack of progress, over the course of the previous hour I began to get a little worried. Which starter had I used last night, the weaker bread flour or the stronger whole wheat flour one? I couldn't recall exactly. I had meant to use the whole wheat flour starter, but doubt was setting in. And, there were also considerations about the cheese. I had made a special trip to acquire the precise cheese needed, bleu d'Auvergne, on Friday and didn't want to waste it on something that might be a flop. What does a person do in these circumstances? Put a cry for help out on TFL and make soup. I posted my cry, and started two pots of soup: the lentils with smoky ham that I had especially selected for dinner as a perfect foil for my little loaves and an old stand-by, chicken stock.


Four hours past, then five. Somewhere between the four and five hour mark I thought that I might be seeing signs of growth but it was painfully slow and who knew if or for how long it would continue. Still I held out hope and prepared the cheese, just in case.


At six hours, soups simmering away, I checked again and saw definite growth. Would it continue? I just didn't know but said "patience" to myself and tried to keep busy. Jim was now watching March Madness, even though it is April, drinking Orangina and vodka, and calling me "Marge". I wasn't amused and told him to make his own drink if he wanted another!


I served the soup somewhat disappointedly with Vermont Sourdough.


Lentils with Smoky Ham


Somewhere between seven and eight hours, I checked on the dough's progress and determined it had, indeed, probably doubled. I decided to risk the price of the cheese and complete the loaves. All rolled up and nestled in little bread pans also especially acquired for this bread, I returned them to the water heater closet.





After another painful hour I positioned the racks, placed a cast iron skillet in the lowest position, and on turned on the oven. I also checked on the loaves. Much to my amazement, they were rising in their tiny pans. My worry was fast turning around: I concluded there was reasonable cause for success.



An hour later, I loaded the ice-cubes in the hot skillet and bread pans in the oven. I looked through the window after 10 minutes and was positively elated to see a lot of oven spring.


I removed my lovely little, bubbly and fragrant parcels after 35 minutes. The entire house smelled divine (no doubt the chicken stock that was still simmering also aided the ambience of the evening).




Another 45 minutes past, and there was just 15 minutes more to go of part one of Little Dorrit, but I couldn't wait any longer. I sliced into one loaf, ate several pieces with gusto and we retired, I feeling very victorious and the chicken soup still simmering. It was pleasant dreams here for all. I awoke at 4 AM, turned off the soup and returned to dream of breakfast for a few more hours.





--Pamela

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xaipete

OK, so I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but it works! Baguette dough is one of my favorite pizza doughs because it is easy to handle, has just a hint of sweetness, and bakes up as a sturdy, crisp, and thin platform (no sagging) that works no matter whether the topping be light or heavy. I baked this in the oven on my new stone (I didn't want to risk repeating last Friday's BBQed-beyond-all-recognition pizza). I had planned to top it with some pesto and fresh basil, but the pesto had molded and the basil, shriveled, so I just went with sauce and fresh mozzarella.


Neapolitan style pizza


--Pamela

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xaipete

This bread worked great for me. I used the starter from WGB instead of Hamelman's. I started the levain yesterday afternoon and this morning it looked and smelled just like it was suppose to. I was out of bread, so I finished the recipe, baked one loaf today and have one left that I retarded at noon in the refrigerator. (Let's see now, it's suppose to be good for 18 hours in the fridge at 42ºF. Now that was really good planning on my part because now I've got to get up at 5 am!)


I'm very pleased with the results. I did 2 stretch and folds and let the loaf proof for 3 hours, then baked it under a cloche on a stone for 10 minutes. It took 30 minutes total. I got a lot of oven spring, it has a nice open crumb structure and a pleasant sourdough flavor. I'm hoping tomorrow's loaf will be a little more tangy because I enjoy the sour taste.


Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough


Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough


--Pamela

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