The Fresh Loaf

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mauiman's picture
mauiman

 I have formed a loaf and set it aside to rise. But once risen, how do I transfer this slightly sticky body to a baking stone which I've left pre-heating in the oven?  Is there a time tested way to do this?

wassisname's picture
wassisname

 


Bagels, the perfect antidote to an overdose of sticky, tempermental sourdough ryes.  They may not be the prettiest bagels to ever come out of the kettle, but YUM!  I don't know why I didn't try these sooner.  These are going to replace english muffins as my "easy, little, single-serving bread" of choice... at least for a while.  The simple fact that there is nothing sticky going on makes them a breath of fresh air.


They are 100% whole wheat, straight out of Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads.  I didn't have any barley malt syrup, so I used dark, local honey, but I will definitely be picking some up for the next batch.


I'm eager to try different additions to the boiling-water.  For this batch I used baking soda and a little molasses just for the heck of it, but that didn't seem to get me a very bagel-like crust.  Not that I'm going for any kind of serious authenticity here!  Not really in my nature to stress about that, and besides, I wouldn't know an authentic bagel if it jumped out of the oven and sang "New York, New York."


-Marcus


breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

8/30/10 - 2 Stage Liquid Levain Sourdough Boules



So this is an interesting bread for me.  It's the first full sourdough bread of my official baking season.  It's still quite hot here in NYC, around 90F, so my kitchen is in the 80's...  I wasn't sure what to bake, but my sourdough starter needed feeding, so I figured what the heck.  So the starter was fed at 7:00pm, and it doubled in 2 hours.  I took out 200g of the refreshed starter, and fed it again as below, and it doubled in a little over 2 hours to my surprise...  So I made my dough as below, and fridged it, not expecting much...  In the morning when I woke up, it had doubled in the plastic containger (4L).  I gave it a turn, put it back into the fridge and went to work...  When I came home at 6:30pm it had hit the top of the container, and by 7pm, it had popped the top...  Now time to prepare to bake before a dough explosion happens...  Usually when I do these levain only breads, I'm sitting around waiting for it to do it's thing...  This time, I had to bake when it was ready...  Now!  Enjoy the pics...


8/30/10


Liquid Levain Stage 1


200g Storage starter @ 100% hydration


20g Organic wheat berries (freshly ground)


20g Organic spelt berries (freshly ground)


20g Stone ground rye flour (organic/fresh ground if possible)


40g Bread flour (Gold Medal)


100g Water


400g Total


 


7:00pm - Mix all, cover and let rest for 2-3 hours, or until doubled.


 


Liquid Levain Stage 2


200g Bread Flour


200g Water


200g Liquid levain stage 1


600g Total


 


9:00pm - Mix all, cover and let rest for 2-3 hours, or until doubled.


 


8/31/10


Final Dough


800g Bread flour (Gold Medal)


100g WW flour


100g Rye Flour


675g Water


24g Kosher Salt


600g Liquid levain stage 2


2299g Total dough yield


 


12:15am - Mix all into shaggy dough, cover let autolyse for 30 minutes.  Prepare oiled plastic tub.


12:45am - Turn dough using French fold method with wet hands and dough scraper in bowl  until dough smoothes out and tightens up.  Stop when gluten starts to tear (turn not more than 8-10 times).  Transfer to oiled tub, place in refrigerator at 40-45F.


1:25am - Turn dough, return to fridge.  Go to bed.


8:35am - Turn dough, return to fridge.  Go to work.


7:20pm - Take dough out of fridge, divide into 4 equal pieces, preshape... (576g approx)


7:30pm - Final shape into boule, place in banneton for proofing, cover with plastic.




8:30pm - Place baking stones in oven on 2 levels along with steam pan, preheat 550F with convection...


9:30pm - Turn convection off.  Turn boules out onto peel, slash as desired, place in oven directly on stone.  When all boules are in, pour 1 cup of water into the steam pan, close door, turn oven down to 450F.  Bake 45 minutes, rotating loaves between stones and positions halfway through bake.  Boules are done when internal temp reaches 205F or more.  Let cool completely before cutting (overnight).



Out of the oven, the boules weighed about 470g, which is about an 18% water loss, which is good.


I'll post a crumbshot tomorrow...


9/1/10 - Crackly crust



Crumb shot!



Breakfast!


GSnyde's picture
GSnyde


The Second Bake


As with the first batch of Sourdough I baked Saturday (with reasonable success), I tried to manipulate the fermentation time of the second batch to meet my schedule.  The starter was ready Saturday afternoon, and I mixed the flour and let it sit on the kitchen counter for several hours, before deciding that it was getting late and the dough wouldn’t get shaped, proofed and baked until Sunday.  So I put it in the Igloo cooler with Blue Ice overnight.  I misunderestimated the fermentation rate.  Sunday morning it was a good deal more than doubled (big d’Oh!).  


IMG_1436


David (surprisingly still patient with my questions) said it might be overfermented and wouldn’t proof well or achieve good oven spring.  Not surprisingly, he was right.


I found the dough very sticky, but didn’t want to over-flour the board this time and repeat my seam-sealing problems of the first batch.  So I wrassled with it and got a lot of it stuck to my hands (I used the d'Oh scraper).  Knowing that a frequent mistake is to over-react to an earlier mistake, I used a moderate amount of flour on board and hands in the folding and shaping.  I tried to be attentive to not overflouring the dough’s surface, and I got it about right.   Having reviewed Floyd’s batard-shaping video again, I did a better (not great) job of shaping batard-shaped batards.  The seams were well-sealed.


IMG_1438


They rose little in proofing, and got little oven spring.  The shape and crust look pretty good.  On these loaves, I again suffered from the lack of a proper scoring tool.  I tried various implementss--sharp paring knife, grapefruit knife, very sharp bread knife, gas-powered weed-whacker [j/k about that last one].  Did I mention I need a lame? I ordered one today.


IMG_1441


As you can see, compared to the loaves from the day before, there was very little oven spring.


IMG_1443]


And the crumb was dense and heavy, underbaked.  To put a positive spin on it, I’m calling it very chewy.


IMG_1455


I suppose I could find a use for these.  I might take up carving duck decoys (but my charming spouse thinks they won't float).


On the bright side, I got very good broiler spring on our omelet yesterday morning.


IMG_1445]


And the toast made from Saturday’s bake was crispy and delicious.


IMG_1447


 


Lessons Learned


From 10 hours perusing TFL, many conversations with Brother David, and a weekend of fumbling and bumbling, I got two pretty good loaves and two roughly-batard-shaped paper weights.  So what lessons have I learned from all the d'Oh! moments?  There are too many to count.  But the main ones are:


(1) You can manipulate rising time to fit your schedule, but sometimes you waste good dough doing so (it's not a waste of time if you learn from it). 


(2) Read lots of experienced people’s writings on a technique (or, better yet, watch videos) before you try it.  You’ll still mess up, but not as bad, and you’ll have a better idea what you did wrong.


(3) Some of the axioms bakers talk so much about are really important (use the proper tools, follow the recipe, shape the loaf just so), but the most important one is to stay in touch with the dough and read its signals.


(4) However much I learn, there’s still way more to learn than I know.


Sorry for the long post, but I needed to experiment with blog posting, too.


I plan to get better at both.


Glenn

 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

This is the most successful Wholewheat multigrain i have baked so far. The Steaming technique this time was different. I drilled a whole through the roaster Lid and purchased a steamer cleaner to push steam through the hole. This was adapted from The baker steamer set that was marketed in TFL years back, but with much cheaper components.


The result was spectacular: the loaf gained color so fast, and the crust was crispy out of the oven. Oven spring was very good too. I left the loaf in the roaster for 20 minutes (should have been less: the bottom got charred).











If it wasn't for the charred bottom, i'd say , this is the one best tasting / looking bread i have ever tasted in my life.


Khalid

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde


Hello.  I’m Glenn Snyder.  I’ve been a member at TFL for some time, following the baking adventures of my brother, David, and enjoying this web community.  But I never baked bread before yesterday.  And never posted a blog entry before now.


I have enjoyed bread my whole life.  From Karsh’s Bakery (RIP) in Fresno where we grew up, then from various bakeries in the San Francisco Bay Area where I’ve spent most of my life.  My favorite breads are sourdoughs made by Semifreddi and Acme in the Bay Area, by Beaujolais Bakery and Fort Bragg Bakery on California’s North Coast and, of course and especially, those made by David [I may occasionally in this forum butter my brother up, but I also may try to get a rise out of him—btw, I don’t like puns as much as he does].


As has been recorded in these pages (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/19250/premarital-counseling-advice-my-baby-brother-aspiring-sourdough-baker), I fell upon some sourdough starter that David left in our refrigerator at a family gathering several weeks ago.  It was intended for our visiting sister, but she had left town without it.  So I took it in, as a stray kitten.  I fed it.  It seemed to like me.  I decided I should try baking with it.


Now, I am already an avid and moderately skilled cook.  And I do love to eat good bread.  But I had never pursued home baking, except the occasional dessert.  I suppose it was partly because it seems so complicated and time-consuming.  And I already have enough time-consuming hobbies to fill my free time.  But the mewing kitten, and encouragement from my brother and my bread-loving spouse, got me to try it out.


Before I describe my first baking experience, let me explain the reference to “D’Oh! Boy”.   I work in a law firm called Pillsbury.  Our amateur ballteams have often been called “The Dough Boys”.  And I personally love Pillsbury’s biscuits.  The “D’Oh” reference, besides being a good pun and showing my general enjoyment of all things Homer Simpson, reflects my Guiding Philosophy in trying new things.  We learn from our mistakes.  Ergo, the more mistakes we make, the more available lessons from which to learn.  So I treasure those “d’Oh!” moments, and thankfully I have many.   As this post will illustrate.


Before starting my experiments, I read quite a bit on TFL, and got some very useful advice from David about tools and techniques.  I also adopted low expectations so as to increase the likelihood that the results would be pleasing (I am quite skilled at manipulating my own emotions).


First Batch


David suggested I start with a simple San Francisco Sourdough.  He suggested Susan’s recipe (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6927/well-i-finally-did-it).  In order to maximize my experimental data, I made two double batches of dough this weekend to make four batards.  The starter was acting nicely.  It had been fed 1:3:4 with David’s recommended flour combo (70% APF/20% WW/10% Rye).  The first batch of starter was fed Friday morning and was ready late Friday afternoon, and I mixed the first batch of dough Friday early evening using a dough scraper and bare hands.  A very satisfying sensation.  I soon realized that the need to follow the dough’s schedule was going to interfere with sleep (not an option for me) unless I manipulated the fermentation time.  So, contrary to the recipe I was (not) following, the first batch went into an Igloo cooler with some Blue Ice to ferment slowly for the night.  I was hoping it would have doubled by morning but it had only enlarged about 50% (small d’Oh!), so I put it on our kitchen counter and it had doubled by early afternoon.


I stretched and folded per the recipe and had a nice springy ball to work with.


IMG_1416


 


 I clove the ball into two halves and tried to shape them into batards.  I didn’t do very well shaping (‘nother d’Oh!).  I had looked at written instructions on various TFL blog posts, but had not viewed Floyd’s very useful video on batard shaping (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1688) until after making my mistake.  They looked like a cross between a batard and a baguette.  A baguard, I guess.


IMG_1420


But they proofed nicely (I used the poke test…appropriate for a D’Oh! Boy).


IMG_1423]


And they looked pretty decent after baking on a pizza stone (with steam), except scoring with a paring knife didn’t work well.  I need to order a lame.


IMG_1424 IMG_1430


Unfortunately, in my first try at shaping loves I had not sealed the seams well and the bottoms cracked badly.  I think this was due to using too much flour on the kneading board, so the dough was not moist enough to cohere at the seams (dry d’Oh!).  I also must not have pre-heated my oven enough as the oven spring was only so-so and the bottoms are quite light in color (tepid d’oh!).


IMG_1427


The crumb looks pretty good for a first try.  David says it’s either natural talent, a good instructor or beginner’s luck.  I say it’s all three.


IMG_1435


The taste and texture were passable, far exceeding my low expectations, and probably good enough to motivate further trials.  The crust was crunchy and not at all tough.  The crumb was a bit too moist when first sliced, but is much more satisfactory today—pleasantly chewy, and excellent toasted. 


The flavor is complex and enjoyable—sour, yeasty, whole wheaty.  I’m not wowed, but I’m not gonna throw the experiment in the trash either.  Good bread, not great.


More about my second attempt and the lessons I learned in a later post.


This could get to be habit forming.


Glenn


 


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

As a follow up to my last post on super hydrated dough, I have been making a loaf every day now for 3 days. My first batch had 10% dark rye and my daughter thought it was uncommonly delicious. That's a big statement from a 17 yo daughter.


Day 2 brought a batch with only 5% rye and a less intense bake in the  early stage. The loaf was lighter in color and still delicious.


Today, I made a double batch and stayed with 5% rye which I scalded and cooked for 1.5 hours. After cooling to RT, I incorporated the rye and went to an autolyse period of 20 minutes. At that time I added the salt and yeast and folded for a dozen or so times to incorporate the salt. There was quite a difference in the way the dough felt and handled after delaying the salt for 20 minutes.


The flavor is quite unique. The nutty after tones are still there and it seems just a little sweet and wholesome. I don't think that is a very good description let me think about it and  talk to my testers.


Sorry I don't have an image to show at the moment. I'll try to get one up when my camera returns.


Eric

hmcinorganic's picture
hmcinorganic

I've been on vacation and not baking for a while.  I have been keeping my starter going, however.  Last week I made the 1/3 whole wheat 1-2-3 sourdough ... again.  I'm caught in a rut :)  


I forgot the salt though, and had to mix it in after 2 or 3 stretch and folds.  Seemed to work ok though.  Bread was good, but I forgot to take pictures.  I made 4 small baguettes.  Those are just hard to shape;  I need practice.  Scoring was good (I did 3 - 4 lengthwise slashes) but the bread was underproofed.


I have a question about storing bread.  I've read here on this site that you shouldn't store bread in plastic, as that makes it soggy and moldy, and that the fridge isn't good either.  We normally eat 1/4 of each batch the day its made, I give some away, but the last loaf sits around and gets very hard.  Still tastes fine....  I've taken to slicing up the last loaf and freezing it to make croutons or bread pudding "starters".  


I am baking the 1-2-3 loaf again today.  My starter got very runny, too much water at the last feeding, so I had to add a bit less water than called for.  I *didn't* forget the salt :)  I shaped it into to boules and they are rising right now on the counter.  I"ll post pictures later today when they're done.  


Its good to be back home and into my bread routine again.  I am going to make regular whole wheat sandwich bread tomorrow as school is starting and we need to pack lunches again...

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Although blogging has taken a back seat to other activities, I have been baking in the background.  It's just that none of those have made the leap from the kitchen to the Web.  And, frankly, most of them were old favorites and I really didn't have anything new to say about them, except for yum!


This weekend, though, was different.  My wife has decided to make some dietary changes, with the objective of greatly reducing the GI loads of the things she eats.  On the one hand, that means eliminating a lot of foods that are either sugary or constituted primarily of simple carbohydrates and replacing them with foods that contribute either higher protein content or complex carbohydrates.  So, when she had a package of 100% rye bread in her hand while shopping this weekend, I said "I can make that at home.  And I can use sourdough, which will make it even better for you."  All true but highly optimistic, considering some of my recent sorties into high-rye land.


Back at the house, groceries unloaded and put away, I made a bee-line for TFL and started looking at the accumulated wisdom and experience regarding 100% rye breads.  Of the various possibilities, Mini's Favorite 100% Rye was most appealing to me so I started the mise en place Friday evening.  First up was to prepare the rye sour.  Keep in mind that I pitched my old starter some weeks back and began another.  So, while potent with yeast, the new starter is still fairly mild in flavor.  It would have to do.  Next up (although not in Mini's original formula) was a soaker consisting of 100g each of cracked rye and boiling water.  Still another addition, a sunflower seed soaker consisting of "some" (about a handful) sunflower seeds and enough cool water to cover.  Yeah, yeah, I know, always measure for repeatability.  I was off the page at that point, anyway, so measurements didn't seem too important.  After that, off to bed.


The next morning, I toasted the bread spices in a skillet on the stove top and ground them.  Not knowing the exact formulation, I guesstimated that 2 tablespoons of coriander seed and 1 tablespoon each of caraway and fennel seeds should do.  Oh, my, the house smelled wonderful!  From previous experience, I knew to keep an eye on the fennel seeds; they start out with a greenish cast and turn a golden brown when ready.  The caraway and coriander start out a tan/brown color, so they aren't as helpful in indicating when they are done.  It is important to give the seeds a shake every minute or so to prevent scorching.


From there, it was a matter of combining the starter, the water, the spices, the cracked rye soaker, the (drained) sunflower seed soaker, and rye flour.  It's a bit of a stretch to refer to a 100% rye dough as "dough".  Wet mortar seems to have a closer similarity to this stuff than any dough based on wheat flour.  Anyway, the ingredients were thoroughly mixed, covered with plastic wrap, and left in the sunshine on our stoep.  We're seeing the first signs of Spring here in Pretoria and the sunny stoep was warmer than my kitchen.


An hour later, I brought the bowl back in, troweled the dough onto a wet countertop and worked in the salt, per Mini's recommendation.  The dough was put back in the bowl, covered, and set back out in the warmth of the sunshine.  At the 3-hour mark, the mortar/dough was showing some aeration, which indicated that the starter was at work. 


Since the cooking gear available to me is a bit different than Mini's, I elected to split the dough into two loaves and bake each in a 4x8 (inches) loaf pan.  Those fit neatly into a covered roasting pan, giving me the steam chamber that Mini devised by flipping one pot upside down on top of the other.  Having oiled the pans and dusted them with rye flour, I brought the dough in, divided it into two pieces, shaped each, and gently tamped them into the waiting loaf pans.  Each pan was approximately half full, giving me a reference point for gauging their eventual expansion.  Just to be sure that I didn't miss anything, I also lightly sprinkled the loaves' surface with rye flour, knowing that the resulting cracks in the flour would be another indicator that the dough was rising.  After that, I covered each loaf pan with plastic, put them in the roasting pan, covered it, and set the whole shebang back out in the sunshine. 


Two and a half hours later, or five and a half hours into the process, the loaves had filled the pans about 3/4 full, which was about a 50% expansion.  The top was a network of dark fissures in the lighter rye flour.  After debating the merits of allowing further fermentation/expansion versus the possibility of over-proofing, I decided to err on the side of caution and bake the bread.  I did remember to remove the plastic wrap (whew!) from the loaf pans before sliding the roaster into the oven.  I also chose to sprinkle a tablespoon or so of water in the floor of the roasting pan, just to add some more steam.  Maybe that helped, maybe not.


Per Mini's instructions, the bread went into a cold oven, then spent the first 25 minutes at 200C in convection mode.  After that, I took the roaster out of the oven, pulled the loaf pans from the roaster and put them back in the oven, then switched the oven from convection mode to a top and bottom heat mode, still at 200C.  Not knowing exactly how long they would take to reach the recommended internal temperature of 93C, I checked back in 20 minutes.  The internal temperature was barely 91C, so I gave them an additional 5 minutes.  At that point, the thermometer showed 94C, so I removed the bread from the oven and depanned the loaves onto a cooling rack, covering them with a cotton towel.  A few hours later, after they were thoroughly cooled, I put each in a plastic bag.


If you read Mini's account and compare it to this one, you'll notice that the added soakers and the division into two loaves are not my only departures from her formula.  She is working with a finely ground rye flour (Type 950, I think) that, back in the States, I might call a medium rye.  What I have available is a stone ground whole rye with noticeable flecks of bran.  I think that my dough was a bit stiffer than she describes hers, probably because of the additional absorption of the bran.  Consequently, I wasn't bashful about working additional water in from either the countertop or my hands.


Having given the bread 25 hours to for moisture distribution and stabilization, I cut into one of the loaves this afternoon.  Several things became evident.  First, I could have allowed the ferment to continue longer.  These are not bricks but neither did they achieve the airiness of crumb that Mini's bread shows.  My concern about over-proofing made me a little too twitchy.  I think that is going to be one of those experience things (with probably at least one flop) to know how much is enough and how much is too much.  Second, the bread spices that were so evident during the baking have taken a backseat to the rye itself in the finished bread.  They are still in there, but they are the background singers to the rye's lead (if we were talking music).  The sunflower seeds add a bit of nutty crunch and flavor to the blend.  The crumb is very moist and cool but not gluey.  Were it not for the textures of the the cracked rye and sunflower seed soakers, it would be almost cakelike; albeit a very dense and chewy cake.  There's a lot going on in this bread and it's only Day 1.  I'm curious to see how the flavors evolve as the bread ages.  Most importantly, my wife likes it!  Since it was intended for her benefit, that's a good thing.


The first picture, below, shows the loaf profile and crumb.  Like I said, not a brick but more proofing would have been allowable.



The second picture, below, shows the "crackle" texture in the flour sprinkled on top that was caused by the loaf's expansion during proofing.



There are things that I might do differently next time.  I'd probably skip the rye flour dusting in the loaf pans and use a solid fat instead of oil.  The oil/flour residue on the sides of the loaves isn't visually appealing to me.  I might also skip the dusting of flour on top of the loaves.  It was my choice rather than anything Mini recommended and I don't know that it helped me to ascertain readiness as much as I had hoped.  Oh, and I would try to remember to dock the loaves prior to baking.  That step got left out entirely and it was probably only because the loaves were somewhat underproofed that I don't see any problems as a result.


Thank you, Mini, for sharing your formula with us.  Once I feel like I have a handle on this bread, I'd like to try some that have a very long, low-temperature bake to see if I can approximate a pumpernickel that is baked in a WFO overnight.


Paul

JoeVa's picture
JoeVa

Ultimamente le miche di grande pezzatura hanno trovato il mio favore. Un pane tondo, con farina semi-integrale ed impasto tenero, profilo "basso", ben cotto e lievitato naturalmente. In letteratura questo tipo di pane è spesso descritto come "il pane di una volta" tipicamente prodotto nei piccoli paesi o nelle cascine e cotto in forno a legna. In Francia potrebbe assomigliare a quello fatto nei primi del '900 a cui si è ispirato Poilane, in Italia al pane di Genzano/Lariano ed in Canada a quello riportato da James MacGuire come il tipico pane mangiato negli insediamenti europei.


Lately very large miches found my favor. A large round bread, with sifted whole wheat flour, "low" profile, well cooked and naturally raised. In literature this type of bread is often described as "the old style bread" typically produced in small villages or farms and cooked in wood fired oven. In France it might look like the one baked in the first years of '900 that inspired the famous Pain Poilane, in Italy to the bread of Genzano /Lariano and in Canada to that one reported by James MacGuire as the type of bread typically eaten by the early European settlers.


     


Le persone un pò più anziane lo descrivono così e ne ricordano nostalgicamente i sapori ed i profumi. Purtroppo non ho mai avuto il piacere di parlare con qualcuno che ricordi veramente com'era quel pane e che riesca in modo razionale a confrontarlo con quello attuale. Le persone hanno ricordi che definirei romantici o di vita quotidiana come, ad esempio, "era molto buono e profumato", "durava più di una settimana", ... provo spesso a fare domande semplici ma più precise - "dove prendevano la farina?", "usavano il lievito madre?", "come conservavano il lievito?", "come impastavano?", "che consistenza aveva la mollica?" - ma il più delle volte ottengo risposte molto vaghe.


The elderly describe it like this and they remember the flavors and aromas with nostalgia. Unfortunately I never had the pleasure of speaking with someone who really remember how it was, I mean in a rational way to be able to compare that bread to the current one. People have memories that I define romantic or daily life as, for example, "it was very good and fragrant", "it lasted more than a week", ... often I try with more precise but simple questions - "where did you buy the flour?", "did you bake with sourdough?", "how did you store the  yeast?", "what about the kneading?", "what was the consistency of the crumb?" - but most times I get very vague answers.


I nomi utilizzati per questo tipo di pane sono tanti: micone, pane di campagna, pane paesano ..., ma il pane è sempre quello.


The names used for this type of bread are many: large miche, country bread, rustuc bread ... but the bread is always the same.


Mia madre mi racconta di quando era piccola e viveva in Sicilia. Avevano una piccola attività commerciale e suo padre faceva il pane in un grande forno a legna per poi venderlo in paese. Era il "pane di una volta", molto probabilmente con le stesse caratteristiche che ho descritto, ma prodotto con farina di grano duro siciliano. Nella "casa del forno", così la chiamavano, si svolgeva la panificazione. C'era una stanza adibita alla preparazione ed un'altra per il forno. In questi locali venivano ospitati anche dei piccoli pulcini che avevano bisogno di stare al caldo (... le norme sanitarie non esistevano). Usavano il "criscenti" (crescente in italiano) ovvero del lievito madre asciutto, nient'altro che un pezzo di impasto (una pagnotta) riportata da un impasto al successivo; nessuna indicazione sulla sua conservazione.


My mother tells me when she was young and she lived in Sicily. They had a small business, his father baked in a large wood fired oven and he sold the bread in town. It was the "old style bread", most likely with the same characteristics I have described, but produced with durum wheat grown in Sicily. In the "house of the oven", it took place the baking process. There was a room used for preparation and another for the oven. In these room were also hosted small chicks who needed to warm temperature of these rooms (... no health rules, I think). They used the "criscenti" ("crescente" in Italian, it means something that rise, very close to the French word "levain") a stiff sourdough, just a piece of dough preserved day by day, I have no indication of its conservation.


Ma com'era veramente "il pane di una volta"? Probabilmente non era esattamente quello che ricordano queste persone. La memoria del gusto è a mio parere qualcosa di molto complicato e facilmente influenzabile: avete presente come sembra buona una pietanza quando si ha molta fame mentre lo è molto meno se siamo sazi? E poi il gusto cambia e può accadere che venga influenzato, anche negativamente, dai nuovi cibi. Non è difficile trovare persone ormai assuefatte da quel pane bianco, borbido e senza crosta o dal classico francesino di gomma che fanno i nostri panettieri milanesi?


But was it really "the old style bread" we are thinking about? Probably it was not exactly what these people remember. In my opinion the memory of taste is something very complicated and easily influenced by many factors: you know how everything looks good when you are very hungry but it is much less if you are full? Moreover the taste changes over the time and it can happen to be influenced by the new bad foods. It is not difficult to find people now addicted to that soft white bread without crust.


Fatto stà che la mia ricerca continua e per ora mi accontento di questo:


The fact is that my research continues and for now I'll settle with this:


     


Utilizzo farina di tipo 1 (buratto) e due lieviti liquidi su differenti farine. Questa volta ho fatto due pagnotte una con lievito su buratto + lievito su segale e l'altra con lievito su buratto + lievito su enkir. La pezzatura è di 1.4Kg di impasto e la pagnotta prodotta ha un diametro di 25-30 cm, la massima portata della mia pietra refrattaria e del mio forno elettrico!


I use italian type 1 flour and two liquid levain on different flours. This time I baked two loaves one with a wheat levain + rye levain and the other with wheat levain + enkir levain. The dough weighs 1.4Kg and the baked miche has a diameter of 25-30 cm, the maximum capacity of my stone and my oven!


     


     


Lavorare in ciotola con questo impasto è molto bello soprattutto grazie alla consistenza morbida della pasta (idratazione del 75%). Non tutti riescono a gestire correttamente questo tipo di pasta. Bisogna essere gentili e non stressare il glutine, il modo migliore è utilizzare un impastamento breve e delle piegature. Anche la formatura può risultare un pò difficoltosa vista la consistenza e il peso dei pezzi, mano decisa ma leggera. Poi non parliamo dell'infornamento, sono costretto ad estrarre dal forno la pietra refrattaria su cui ribaldo la pagnotta, in questa fase il margine d'errore è minimo e basta poco che combinare un disastro.


Working in a bowl with this dough is very nice especially with the soft texture of the dough (about 75% hydration). You should be gentle and do not stress the gluten network, the best way is to use a short kneading and folding. Even the shaping can be a little difficult given the texture and the weight of the pieces, firm but gentle handling. Then the baking, I have to take out of the oven the hot baking stone and flip over the loaf, at this stage the range of error is minimal and it is really easy to make a mess.


Se l'impasto è condotto bene la mollica dovrebbe essere perfettamente fermentata:


If the dough was well treated the crumb should be perfectly fermented:


           


Visto che ho parlato di pane paesano, cascine e forni a legna, forse è il caso di concludere rivelandovi cos'è quella struttura in mattoni che si intravede dietro la mia foto personale: il forno di Cascina Croce, un piccolo paese a due passi da casa mia, restaurato nel 2001 da ItaliaNostra sezione Milano NordOvest. Sicuramente, un giorno vi racconterò qualcosa di più su questo forno ...


Since I spoke of country miche, farms and wood fired ovens, perhaps it is appropriate to conclude revailing what is the brick structure that can be glimpsed behind my personal picture: the wood fired oven of Cascina Croce, a small town not far from my house, it was restored in 2001 by ItaliaNostra Milano NordOvest section. Surely, one day I will tell you more about this oven ...


     


            


Giovanni

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