The Fresh Loaf

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My Daily Bread

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ehanner's picture
ehanner

My Daily Bread

Yesterday morning I was busy feeding starters and I recalled some recent mentions on the forum about using the excess starter instead of discarding it. I decided to quickly put twice the amount I normally use (100g) into a bowl and start a soaker for later. My starter was very happy, bubbling away and smelled great! So I weighed out 200g and finished feeding the boys.

When I got around to finishing the soaker, I decided to make a SF style 50% whole grain combination using a "everything but the kitchen sink" blend. This is a highly random selection whatever I see in the flour pantry and never ever gets measured, except that the total weight equals the AP weight. A look at today's gumbo; WW, white WW, rye, seven grain mix, wheat germ and milled flax. This was a lean mix with no oil or malt or honey. I set the hydration at 85% based on the total flour weight and set it in an 80f spot for the day.

I managed to remember to stretch and fold once before I started my Saturday run around routine. Today was going to be a challenge to get everything accomplished and still do justice to the bread. Off to deliver 2 lap tops, repair a stubborn router, bank, take daughter bowling, Stretch and fold, drive to Milwaukee with son to move band equipment, another stretch and fold, groceries an pick up a pizza (no energy for home baked tonight).

A side note; My son is an aspiring musician. He teaches/plays the saxophone and most everything with a reed, flute and guitar. While Jazz is his passion, rock and roll funk style is the band focus. The drummer is a tall good looking boy who is a self described Vegan. My son tells me he is struggling trying to find tasty food that fits the vegan profile. Always looking for a justified excuse to bake something I decide to look into what this means. From initial research it looks like most of my breads would qualify since I don't add butter or milk as a general rule and honey is my sweetener of choice. Maybe I could just make most of my breads "OK for Vegans". The Tomsbread style 100% WW would be a hit for sure.

After dinner I declared the bulk ferment finished. One last fold and a decision about the final consistency of the dough. I added a little more flour at the last s&f so it's now about 80% hydrated. Formed into a boule and set on parchment for a free form proofing. My daughter had a friend over for the evening so they picked the movie. Had to be a thriller sci-fi flick for them. Movie's over and the oven is heating up again.  Checker board slash, hold my breath (no it didn't fall on slashing) and into the oven. Tonight I'm ignoring all the steaming gadgets/covers and unceremoniously toss a 1/2C of hot water onto the brick in the bottom of my oven. Quick cover the vent and set the timer for 10 minutes so I don't forget the towel covering the vent. Another 13 minutes and it looks done. The question now is will 2 teenage girls let it alone long enough to cool?. I better take the picture now, just in case!

It looks about right but I could of rotated it for a more even browning.

Look at that structure! I might try and remember how I did this! I do love the taste of whole grains caramelized on the outside and chewy in the inside.  

 

Comments

edh's picture
edh

My son would call that a "story book" loaf; perfect in every regard! So, how do you do that?

No, really, you made reference to covering the vent; are you cooking with gas, and if so, are you covering the vent to keep in the steam? I've been wondering if I could do that, as steaming my oven has almost no effect since the steam goes right out the top again. My oven has no electronics, so I could probably just cover it up with no ill effect, but I've been too chicken to try.

About your side note; strict vegans also object to the use of honey, as it is a product of animal labor. Personally, I keep bees, and for the amount of work and money I dump into the little dears, I think I deserve some honey back, but that argument doesn't seem to work on an idealogical basis. Maple syrup might work better for a vegan.

That really is a beautiful loaf. Now I have to go try again...

edh

ehanner's picture
ehanner

EDH,

Thank you for the comment. I have been having trouble getting a nice golden surface an so I was happy with this.

Do not cover the vents unless you have an electric oven! Gas needs to breath to function safely.

If you have gas why dont you get yourself a aluminum turkey roasting pan that will fit on top of your stone or cookie sheet. make sure it will sit flat against the surface. After you have put the dough into the oven, cover it with the roaster pan. You can spray a little water on the parchment right at the base of the dough that will quickly convert to steam beforehand if you wish but the bread has plenty of water in that will soon be steam, trapped by the pan. After 10 minutes, carefull remove the pan and continue to bake for the required time.

Eric

edh's picture
edh

Thanks for the warning, I'd wondered if I could just get away with covering the vents for those first few minutes, but I do so hate the feeling of CO poisoning...

I've been thinking about getting one of the handheld steamers that people have mentioned here, just to try to get enough steam in there, but in the meantime I'll stick to baking in the pot, or using Susan's bread under bowl method. I'm just wanting to try baking multiple loaves at once. More is better, after all...

Thanks,

edh

Susan's picture
Susan

I bought one of those foil turkey roasters the other day, as Eric mentioned above, and tried it over a faux ciabatta (my regular dough, just stretched out a lot and left to rise). It worked; got a great rise. The Magic Bowl, roasting pan, cloche, Le Creuset or whatever, just keeps the steam in where and when it's needed.

Susan

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

I've used the roasting pan and I've used a large stainless steel bowl and I've used my LaCloches and all work great. I've always loved and used earthenware bowls for mixing and rising and everything else I needed a bowl for but my husband came home with a large stainless steel bowl and I tried it to cover my bread and it was great, nonbreakable, lightweight and easy to clean. I used it to mix my next batch of bread and it made things easier for me all the way around. I just might reach for the ss bowl more often. 

Of course my No-Knead breads are not the gorgeous planets Susan makes so I don't need to use glass to watch them do their thing. 
When I use the roasting pan or any of the covers for the no-knead I leave it on for 25 min. at 450º.                                                                weavershouse

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I tried it myself on my own gas oven, and I totally fried the digital controls. Cost me a couple hundred bucks to get it fixed. Was no fun at all. Plus, I've read it can build up dangerously toxic gasses. Don't know if that's true, but if you're looking for serious steam, I'd recommend a cloche or a dutch oven. Much, much safer than blocking the vents.

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

I agree with Jmonkey .. La Cloche and the Italian (longer) version work excellent to bake a nicely golden loaf with an intense oven spring. I use only the top parts ... preheated HOT on a HOT baking stone.

I've also seen people using a $4 Pyrex bowl (see Amazon) ... but that can be tricky to handle.

Either way, you'd take them off after 15-30 minutes and take the bread from gold to the desired level of 'brown'.

BROTKUNST

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Eric, I have not eaten a thing yet today and I'm starving.  Whoops, I think I just drooled on myself.  LOL.  That is fantastic looking bread!  It looks simply delicious and I would give anything to have a slice right now.

We are leaving early Tuesday morning for a week and I have not a sliver of fresh bread in the house.  It is killing me.

I would really love to know how you made that loaf.   Can you recreate it and write the recipe?  Also, I was wondering if you tossed in any of the HM graham flour.  I have been putting some of that in my French country sourdough made from the Julia baquette recipe only converted to sourdough and it is fabulous. 

How in the world am I going to be able to wait over a week to bake bread!

Btw, I did not really tumble to covering the oven vents.  Does that really make a big enough difference to bother doing it?  If so, it could save the step of opening oven door to resteam with a spray bottle that some think is kind of a waste anyhow.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Zolablue,

Thanks for your gracious words of encouragement. I do think the effect of blocking the vent at the top is worthwhile. I figure the thermostat will maintain the temp and it helps keep the humidity high so I don't add water after the first 2 minutes. I do toss in 1/2 cup after the first 2 minutes.

The formula is getting less structured as I learn more about the science and am getting a feel for the interactions of various components. I detailed the ingredients in my blog a little better if you want to recreate the look. I didn't mention it but I usually use the 2% salt.

I'll miss your contributions on the forum, enjoy your trip.

Eric

browndog's picture
browndog

and isn't that like slipping into sweats after a day in dress-up clothes? I've been following recipes pretty religiously for a couple months now for the benefit of learning from them, but 'free-form' baking is still the best! Especially when it turns out. Eric, I spent years in the Green Bay area, still have a dollop of family in Monroe. Hearing someone mention Milwaukee rings a good many bells in my head.

Susan's picture
Susan

I was just telling the 'girls' on another thread that I wanted a simple ww or near ww airy bread, and then I pop over here and see your beautiful loaf. 50% would do me just fine, looking at that gorgeous bread! So you used 200 g starter?, and what was the total flour weight? Tell me about the soaker?

Sounds like your kids are stretching you, they're good at that!

I am most impressed!

Susan

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Susan,

Thank you for your kind words. This is the best looking free form sourdough boule I have made. To the 200g of starter I added 300 g of Harvest King AP and another 300g of white ww. wheat germ, Bobs ww, rye (50g), milled flax and anything else that dropped on the counter. I have another batch in ferment now with 7 grain cereal also. So, it was 700 g flour including the starter component.

The soaker is the Tomsbread 100% cool/long method. This one was started in the early AM and baked around 11: PM so it wasn't more than 18 hours. Using 100%WW I'm letting  it soak at 85% for at least 18 hours then kneading or folding another 5% flour in. 85% is about as slack as I can manage to hold shape free form. After the bake, I looked at it and wondered if it would of fit into or under my glass 4l bowl. It would have fit so maybe I'll try that this time.

One thing I have been doing with the bowl bakes is spraying a little water ring on the paper at the base of the dough before I put it in the oven. It turns to steam quickly and is trapped by the bowl.

Thanks again Susannn for your support and encouragement!

Eric

 

Susan's picture
Susan

The 7-grain, do you soak it or use it straight?

I usually rinse the bowl out and leave it all water-laden, but the spraying sounds like a great idea. Thanks! I'm impressed that you raised it on the counter; I always lose my confidence and lower the parchment into a bowl to ferment, JUST IN CASE.

Susan

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I use it straight out of the bag but then I let it soak with the other grains/flours so it softens up.

I read your post where you were lowering your dough into a bowl and I did that, but not upside down. I put the top down and tipped over after onto my hand with a parchment on top. I have a large hand so I can span the bowl and lay it down on the counter gently. I think next time I will draw a circle around the bowl on the paper and saturate the paper with water out to the line. Max steam!

Eric

Susan's picture
Susan

 

 

Susan's picture
Susan

And, I used my little mill to grind 150g flour from the Prairie Gold berries. As you suggested, I simplified the dough to be only two flours this time. Question? How can I tell when it's ready? Does whole grain flour take longer than white flour to mush all together properly? JMonkey's NKSD recipe, which I have been using almost exclusively lately, calls for 12 hours' fermentation rather than 18, and only has about 100g more flour.

I'll bottom line it: Should I soak for 12 or 18 hours, given your excellent results lately. Thanks for any advice.

Susan

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I would think 12 hours would be enough, but I'm still treading on unfamiliar ground myself.

Eric

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I reduced the soaking time from 18 hours to 12 hours for my sourdough version for two reasons:

  1. It seemed to be ready after 12 hours, and waiting 12 hours makes timing a heck of a lot easier for me. If I want to bake around noonish on a Saturday, I just set up the dough around 9pm or 10pm the prior evening.
  2. I was a bit nervous about the dough "going to rags." It may be unfounded, of course, but if the dough gets too acidic, the gluten breaks down and you get a big, sour brick. That said, I've never had any trouble with the no-knead method making the dough "go to rags," even if I let it go a bit long. So if 18 hours is more convenient, go for it! If you're concerned, dial back the starter to about 50 grams, and then add 25 grams more each of water and flour.
Susan's picture
Susan

I very much appreciate your guidance. Twelve hours is perfect for me. I'll give it a go.

Susan
Susan's picture
Susan

Ok, I failed miserably (see Bird Bread at Out-Takes), and am properly humbled.

Eric, could you, would you, be kind enough to give me this bread in a recipe format? Somewhere along the line I obviously misunderstood what you were doing.

Susan

tigressbakes's picture
tigressbakes

I am VERY new at baking bread...

but what exactly do you guys mean by a 'soaker'??

The bread looks wonderful. I have picked up another tip here: I used my La Cloche round baker ONCE and the bottom cracked. But now I just learned that I can use the top directly on the stone, and that I could/should take it off 15-20 minutes after. The one time I used it in addition to the bottom breaking, the bread got toooooo dark, because I coudn't see it!

Thanks guys (and girls)!

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Tigressbakes,

When I say "soaker" I mean a long autolyse. When you combine all the water and most of the flour and let it sit for 30 minutes to 12 hours prior to adding the yeast and salt and what ever else you are using, that's a soaker. The Tomsbread 100% ferment formula has been called a long soaker also and that's where all ingredients are mixed together with cool water and put in the cooler for 12 or more hours. The advantage of this is that the gluten forms well and you can stretch and fold 3-4 times during the long "soak". When I take it out of the cooler to warm to room temp I stretch one last time and let it rise to double, form, proof and bake as normal for a WW loaf at 350F for about 45 minutes.

sphealey's picture
sphealey

I must disagree a bit. In many artisan bread books (notably Hammelman's, and other King Arthur reference material) a "soaker" is a mixture of rough grains (cracked wheat, whole wheat berries, cracked rye, chopped rye, oatmeal (rolled or Irish), flaxseed, etc) that is soaked for a period of hours (to overnight) in water either cold, warm, or hot. For longer soakers some or all of the salt in the recipe is added to the soaker to prevent it from starting to ferment into beer.

sPh

tigressbakes's picture
tigressbakes

thanks ehanner,

 So for the thomsbread you are mixing in all of the ingredients as opposed to a 'regular' autolyse or soaker where you leave out the yeast and salt (and whatever else) until the end of the 'soaking' time?

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Soaking=fermenting in this case. I had been trying to get Floyds 50% WW bread to work for me and I was having trouble getting it to rise. The dough would sometimes rise 50% and fall in the pan during baking. The problem was I wasn't getting the dough to develop strands of gluten and the gas was leaking our of the dough mass. The small grains of milled wheat are sharp and they cut the strands, as I hear it. Soaking at a high hydration either softens those grains or somehow allows the gluten to form around them so the dough will rise. The ultimate test of the concept is Tomsbread 100% WW 100% ferment(soak) formula. The first time I tried it I was blown away by how well it raised and the flavor of 100% WW is unbeatable. I think people have shied away from 100% WW because it is thought of as a dry tasteless (sounds good tastes bad) product. Once you try this and figure out how to do the stretching and folding necessary to form the strands, I promise you will not believe how good it is.

Eric

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Eric,

As part of a sailing trip recently, I ended up doing a 100% whole wheat natural leavened bread in a style similar to what you've been discussing. The recipe was basically 100% whole wheat, 85% hydration, 2% salt, with 2.5% of the weight of the flour coming from my starter. The bulk fermentation was about like this: 6 hours at 72F, 12 hours at 40F, 6 hours at 50F, 6 hours at 70F. Final proof was for 2 hours in pan at 85F. When would you fold this dough for the best results? The 12 hours at 40F was when I refrigerated it for the night. I have opportunities to fold most of the time other than that. The results weren't bad as is, but it seemed like the dough degassed more than I would have expected during the last fold I did before shaping compared to doughs I've done for the miche recipe in my blog, which are done in a couple of steps and over a shorter time at warmer temperatures. Then, the shaping step also degassed the dough more than I would have expected. The dough had risen by about double at one point before I folded. I'm used to the dough seeming puffier and more elastic than what I had at the shaping stage. I never quite got it to rise back to double after I started folding, which was all in the last 4 hours before shaping. They did rise by about double or maybe more in the final proof and they did spring moderately. The bread was a touch on the sour side. So, I'm wondering with a 24 hour schedule, much at cooler temperatures, how many folds and when would work the best?

Bill

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Hi Bill,

That is the question isn't it? I wish I knew the answer. I think I have seen that the earlier folding helps the rise. Retarding for long periods does put the brakes on the whole sourdough build up thing though. I have 2 batches that came out of the cooler at 5:30 AM and at 1:30 they haven't doubled yet. In desperation I did another stretch an hour ago. Very stretchy nice feeling soft dough but the activity hasn't come back.

If this doesn't go well, I'm going to revert to a dash of instant yeast as a booster.

Eric

Susan's picture
Susan

I made another pancake this morning, but have a kneaded version in the works now. If there is no difference, then it's the just-milled "green" Prairie Gold that is the culprit. 10-days aging, perhaps? Stay tuned...

Susan

"Yes, Your Honor," she said in her most pleasing voice, "I did fold, honest I did."

Susan's picture
Susan

It's the kneading...It's the kneading...

This is my traditional loaf, with some of the fresh-milled Prairie Gold in it. Rose just fine. So it is my technique. I'll just have to try harder. JMonkey made some suggestions under my Bird Bread heading to help with the long-fermented loaf. No reason I can't do this! Thanks all,

Susan

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Susan,

That looks nice if slightly less oven spring from your usual football. The color is slightly more golden also, maybe the new flower is doing that. This is a SD mix?

Eric

Susan's picture
Susan

 Only 60g Prairie Gold just-milled.

Susan