The Fresh Loaf

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Baking from Leader's new Local Breads

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Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Baking from Leader's new Local Breads

Well, I decided to just dive right in and try a recipe from Daniel Leader's new book, Local Breads.  I haven't had a chance to read much of anything in it - I'm reading Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, and he tends to be absorbingly chatty.  My freezer is full of breads to last another week or two, but I had to bake something.

As I mentioned in another thread, the photo of the Buckwheat Batard drew me to that recipe, and that's the one I decided to try.  Having my own grain mill and a selection of grains makes me want to try the variety breads.  I'm not following the recipe precisely.  For one thing, my starter is 100% hydration, and his seems to be 130%.  That may explain why my dough did clear the sides of the mixer bowl when his directions say it shouldn't.  So I'll probably have a denser bread than he intends.  Another difference is my use of whole (hard red winter) wheat instead of refined flour.  My grain mill has got me eating a lot more whole grains, and I must say that I'm feeling much healthier (and even losing weight) excluding refined flours from my diet.  So we have two major deviations from his recipe.

But I have the opportunity to explore his methods and explanations.  And I get to notice errors of conversion, of which I've found two so far.  (Does anyone know how to report these errors?)

The dough is down for its nap right now, and in a few hours I get to shape.  I don't have a "room temperature" space by his definition of 70-75 degrees.  My room temperature is 65 degrees, and outside is cooler than that.  The oven with the light would be 80 to 90 degrees. 

I'll report back later.  I don't have a camera yet, and I suspect it wouldn't be anything terribly photogenic anyway.

Rosalie

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I'm still an incompetent when it comes to sourdough.  My attempt to make a Leader bread with my starter ended with me dumping it (after a couple of days) into an 8x8 pan and baking it like a batter bread.  I almost threw it down the garbage disposal.  But it's still healthy wholegrains, and it really doesn't taste all that bad.

I think I need to feed my starter a couple of times in the days before I use it.  That'll solve my problem (I hope).  And I'll have to try this same recipe again.

Rosalie

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I might have been tempted to work in some commercial yeast after the first 24 hours of "nothing."   Was it sour?  Buckwheat can be pretty dense stuff but the hard red should have made up for it's lack of gluten.  What were the amounts?   Did your dough turn into Batter?  --Mini Oven

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I added some commercial yeast, but I suspect the damage had already been done.  It appears that sourdough left to ferment too long just breaks down.  This has happened to me before, so I know it's something I'm doing wrong, which I think may be not making sure it's robust before using it.

Yes, it's very sour.  That aside, the "batter bread" is pretty tasty, albeit dense.  It's still better than storebought.

Rosalie

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Determined, I tried the same Leader buckwheat recipe again.  This time I fed my starter twice in the 24 hours before using it, and it looked fine.  The buckwheat levain rose fine, too - to about 190% instead of double, but I figured the next rise was going to be for longer than the prescribed 3-4 hours.  I even used regular bread flour instead of whole wheat.

So, after mixing and kneading (and windowpaning), I marked the container with a dry-erase marker and the time - 7:30.  Room temperature has been in the high sixties.  I came back a short time ago, six hours later.  It had barely budged.  Just barely.

So what am I doing wrong?  Or is it just more patience I need?  Right now I have it in the oven with the pilot light.

Rosalie

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Is your starter a new one or an established starter? If it's brand new and you just started it up, you may be trying to bake bread with a starter that's not really a starter. Early on in the starter-making process, bacteria called lecunostoc can take hold and make it look as if you've got a viable starter. It'll rise and bubble like crazy, but it won't bake bread.

If it's an established starter, then it may be the temperature. If it's in the low 60s in your house, that will lengthen the rise time quite a bit. I like to put mine in a cooler on top of an upturned bowl, throw 1 cup of boiling water in the bottom, and then close it up. Nice, humid and 80-90 degrees.

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Thanks, JMonkey, for addressing my problem.  It's good to have you back. 

I first put flour to water one month ago today for this starter.  What should I do to make it work in recipes?

It's in the HIGH 60s, not low.  I thought that would be okay, especially since I knew it would be longer than 3-4 hours.  Leader says room temperature is the low 70s.

It's been in the oven with the oven light (not the pilot light) for about four more hours and it seems to be doing okay.  It started at 5 cm 7:30 this morning and it's up to 7.5 cm (after a total of 10.5 hours).  Assuming success the rest of the evening, I'm going to be up way past my bedtime tonight.

I'm a sourdough naif.  It seems like it should be so straightforward, but it's a MAJOR topic of conversation on this web site.

Rosalie

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

While we're waiting on your rise, tell me about your starter.  You say you fed it twice in 24 hours.  Details?  --Mini

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I took a quarter cup of the starter.  I don't remember details exactly, but I added spring water and fresh-ground wheat/rye flour.  It more than doubled quantity.  That was Saturday night.  Then Sunday early-to-mid-afternoon (later than I should have) I fed it again with fresh-ground wheat flour.  I don't recall quantities.  I'm not good at note-taking.  But both times it rose well.  I made the levain Sunday night.

Now that I think of it, the levain didn't rise much.  It did squeak when I touched it, though.  Must be my idea of room temperature.

My starter is a whole wheat starter.  Would that make a difference?

Rosalie

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I guessing now at your quantities.  If I took a quarter cup of starter and fed it and it doubled on Saturday night, I would have been feeding it again (not subtracting but adding more flour and water) first thing in the morning and  using it directly into my dough about 3 hours later.  Having it into the oven by mid afternoon on Sunday.  I think the process is taking too long and needs to be shortened a bit.  I think the dough just wore out and got too acidic and has started to break down.  --   Mini Oven

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I shall henceforth pay more attention to feeding before baking.  I shall take your timing suggestion.  Feed Saturday night and again first thing Sunday, and into the oven by mid-day Sunday.  And room temperature.  Those two points shall be my lesson on this bread.  And maybe I'd better find another recipe, a little more basic.

Rosalie

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Now the question arrises, Do we save it or ditch it?  Is it runny?  Try taking out a spoonful of the dough and fry it in a fry pan to make a test taste.  Sort of a teeny weeny pancake.  How does it taste to you? 

Too sour?  If so, then you now have over a kilo of starter and should treat it as such. Save about 300g and put it into the refrigerator. dilute the rest of the dough with water and pour it down the drain.

Not sour enough?  if you like the sour, then return it to your bowl, add about half a cup of water, half a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of sugar and stir with a sturdy spoon in one direction (topic for debate but it will blend in faster if stirred only in one direction, clockwise above the equator, funny) until blended, now add more high glutinous flour, even better if you have a little pure gluten, and knead up your flour the way you like it.  You will now have to think about two loaves.  Let everything rest about 30 minutes and carefully shape.   They should go into the oven in about an hour.  Don't wait for them to double.   

Mini Oven
Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

You folks seem to be night owls.  I'm more of a morning person.  My brain is disengaging.  Your instructions look interesting, Mini Oven, and I'm going to print them out and study them when I'm awake.

I'm confused what you're referring to.  Is it the disintegrated dough?  I want to go to bed.

Rosalie

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

maybe JMonkey is.  Go to bed dear, it's lunch time in my neck of the woods.  Dream wonderful fluffy bread thoughts.    Yes, I'm referring to the disintegrated dough.   Mini Oven

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

That sounds right to me. Anytime you feed your starter, you want to at least double it. And you can easily do much more than that. I'm going to make a rye tomorrow, for example, and I know I need at least 350 grams of starter. So I took 34 grams of active starter, and added 170 grams water and 170 grams rye flour. It'll be ripe in about 12-14 hours.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Thanks for the complement, it will take days for me to come back down to earth. Can you pop my dough in the oven please until I'm there?   --Mini Oven

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Hmmm. Well, if it's a month old, and if it's already doubled in size several times, then I'm stumped.

Could you post the ingredients in the recipe? How much starter does it use compared to flour?

Sourdough does have a special allure. It's more predictable than one might think, but still, it's a living thing that can't be entirely tamed. Alchemy, I guess. Wonderful stuff.

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Well, I'm forging ahead.  I'm already past my bedtime.  The oven is heating and I'm just going to put the bread in.  It'll still be better than storebought.

The recipe is the Buckwheat Batard that starts on page 81 of Local Breads.

You start with a buckwheat levain using 1/4 cup (300g) liquid levain (sourdough starter), a couple T (35g) water, and 125g buckwheat flour.  The directions are a bit confusing becuase the chart calls for 1 1/2 cups levain, but the direction tell you to use only 1/4 cup.  And 2T H2O was not enough - perhaps because his hydration (130%) is higher than mine.  That levain is to stand for 8-12 hours.  "When ready, it will have nearly doubled in volume, turned a darker grey-blue color than when you mixed it, and give off a pungent, musty aroma."

Then you take 300g water, 450g high-gluten flour, and 50g buckwheat flour.  To that mixture, you add 125g of the buckwheat levain and 10g salt.

One problem I keep having with my sourdoughs - I'll bet it's because I'm not feeding them enough - is that they disintegrate in the mixer.  That happened this morning and I took the dough out and finished kneading by hand.

Rosalie

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

Perhaps there's a typo in the recipe, because 1/4 cup of liquid levain should be somewhere around 60 grams, not 300 grams. 1.5 cups of levain would be about 300 grams, so looks like the chart is in error. And if his levain is at 130 percent, then adding 125 grams of buckwheat would basically double it in size.

Sounds like he's taking a very liquid storage starter (at 130%) and turning it into a conventional liquid starter (100% or equal weights of water to flour) for baking. So if you've got a 100% hydration starter already, just add equal weights of flour and water when you feed it the buckwheat.

I ran a few rough calculations, and it seems that the recipe is using about 10% of the overall flour in the starter. Everyone's starter is different, but I find that a 10% inoculation of starter takes about 10-12 hours for the first rise at about 70 degrees, and then another 2.5 to 3 hours or so for the final proof. But many professional bakers, I think, like to underproof (well, by my thinking anyway) their sourdoughs so that they get tremendous oven spring and a milder flavor. Then again, it may be that I'm overproofing!

In any case, it doesn't look like you did anything wrong. I'm always a bit puzzled, myself, by Hammelman's sourdough recipes in Bread. He calls for just 15% inoculations, usually, and yet usually only calls for a 2.5 hour initial fermentation and then a 2 hour proof.

Anyone else want to take a shot at this? And does anyone else find that Hammelman's recipes take a bit more proofing than he states? My experience has been much more in line with Peter Reinhart in the BBA -- a 30% innoculation takes 3-4 hours for the initial fermentation and then 2-3 hours for the final proof at room temp. Who knows? It may just be that Hammelman's got a much stronger starter than I do .....

zolablue's picture
zolablue

I just looked up this recipe and in the ingredient grid it states: 1 1/2 cups, or 10.6 ounces, or 300 grams (60%) liquid levain.  Then in the directions for preparing the levain it says to pour 1/4 cup of your liquid levain into a small bowl, mix, cover and let stand for 8 - 12 hours to nearly double.  Further, in the dough recipe it states for the buckwheat levain portion: about 2/3 cup or 4.4 ounces, or 125 grams (25%).  Clearly they have made an error here.

 

I also checked the conversion for the stiff overnight levain I just made in the bacon sourdough as I remembered when adding the small WW amount it stated 5 grams which he also wrote was 2 teaspoons.  I thought, gee, that couldn't be 2 teaspoons and it wasn't, now I realize.  Five grams is just over 1 teaspoon.  Hmmm.

 

Here is a good conversion chart to check these things:

http://www.convert-me.com/en/convert/cooking

 

JMonkey - I have a very fast starter but I also have to proof 1 - 2 hours more on the Hamelman breads I've made.  They never come close in the time he says to use and I've never had the guts to just try and see if it works. 

mariana's picture
mariana

I agree that Daniel has a little strange way of presenting bread formula in this case, although I don't see him making mistakes in numbers.

In the ingredient list for buckwheat levain he suggests that we need 1.5cup (300g) of liquid levain, but in the text of the recipe he says take only 1/4cup of that (i.e. 50g; the rest is to be refreshed and stored). Then from the resulting 210g of buckwheat levain he again tells us to use only part (125g) and discard the rest.

My measurements of 2 tsp of stoneground WW flour give me the range of 5-7g. I think it depends on how much it was fluffed before measuring. I liked your recommendation of precise pocket scale, zolablue. I got one for myself. It is so usedul!

dolfs's picture
dolfs

So here I am looking at the formula for Pain au levain complete (pp. 118-123) and find a similar problem. Making the whole wheat levain starts with 1/4C stiff levain in both table and text. So far so good. It produces 225 grams of whole wheat levain.

The final dough calls for 225 grams of this levain in the table, but the text says to use 125 gr. The 255 g is correct for the stated 45%, so I would believe the text is wrong. A simple type would explain this.

For the buckwheat recipe I can not agree that its just weird presentation. The table clearly suggest using 300/35/125 to make the buckwheat levain. Since the 125g buckwheat flour is labeled at 100%, the 300g should be labeled as 240%, or if the 60% is right, it should have been 75g. On page 80 he clearly states that 1/4C of liquid levain is 50g, so this 75g should have been 3/8C.
The table for final dough calls for using 125g of buckwheat levain. If it had been made with 75g liquid levain, it would have produced 235g, so it would make sense to be told to discard some so that you use exactly 125g.

Most other formulas start in the table and text with 1/4 or 50g of liquid levain, so it seems pretty clear the table on page 82 is wrong. If it were to also use 1/4C (which can not be inferred from anything in the text as the correct amount, other than similarity with other formulas), then 50/35/125 would be 40%/28%/100% and produce 210g.

So, I am going to try the poilane miche with 125 g. Does anyone know how to reach this guy and ask him to explain himself?

--dolf

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

dolf, how about like this? Maybe he's a lurker.

dolfs's picture
dolfs

If he's a lurker fine, but he may not want to admit it for fear of being overwhelmed. I sent email the Bread Alone. Let's see if that leads anywhere. --dolf

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

In the chart, he specifies 1 1/2 cups (300g) liquid levain, but then he has you use only 1/4 cup of it.

I mentioned in an earlier post, I think in this thread, that his percentage on this item is wrong if I understand percentages.  He calls the 300g levain 60%.  But 60% of 125g (buckwheat flour) is 75g.  But if 1 1/2 cups levain is 300g, 1/4 cup is 50g, which would be 40%.  I am totally confused by this part.  Then he adds insult to injury by only using 125g of the buckwheat levain (2/3 cup).

This is the first recipe following directions on creating and maintaining the liquid levain, so I thought it would be easy.

I think there are other conversion errors in the book.

Rosalie

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I think you have the wrong author, JMonkey.  It's Daniel Leader's Local Breads book.

Rosalie

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Rosalie, I think the same sourdough gremlins were here on Whidbey Island today! I had a very successful baking day yesterday with Will Wraith's baguette and Susan's Vermont Sourdough. So I decided to start the levain for the Vermont Sourdough at around 9pm, and when I got to it this morning it seemed fine with gluten strands. Well, pride goeth before a fall, etc, and the dough never did develop. Just lay there, a sullen blob. I didn't have the sense to spike it with some instant yeast. Figured it was cool in the house today and things would improve. Hah! I even followed your tip and put it in the oven with the oven light. Now I look back I'm not sure which of my starters I used - I had fed one and might have mistakenly used the other one. So I will be making a clandestine trip to the dumpster with the evidence. I fed the "good" starter and added a spoonful of rye flour as a treat, and tomorrow is another day. Have you been using your small oven? A

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I bought my small oven so that I could make bread but freeze shaped mini loaves to bake daily or semi-daily.  But my last few batches I've baked up and frozen as whole loaves.  I did freeze some unbaked loaves the other day, but it'll be a while until I get to them.

Today I found a pizza/baking stone designed specifically for toaster ovens.  It's 7x10 inches, and 3/8 inch thick.  That's great because I'm inspired by another thread to make mini-pizzas for myself.

Rosalie

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

My bread came out of the oven at 11pm last night.  Despite all the difficulties and failures, I have no complaints about the taste.  The loaves are rather flat (shapewise), but I'll eat them anyway, with relish (or butter).

The only time I ever made bread that I found inedible and threw away was when I took a class from a local bread bakery.  We made sourdough using their starter (and regular yeast).  It was awful, and I haven't bought anything from them since!  Other than than, I've always found my homemade bread to be quite tasty, if nothing else.

Thank you especially to JMonkey and Mini Oven, who sat up with me while I fretted.  I will take my lessons and apply them to something a little more basic.  I was fooled by the fact that this bread was the first sourdough in the Leader book - right after the instructions on making and maintaining your levain.  I thought it was a "starter" sourdough.

Rosalie

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I'm a master of the non sequitor, alas. In the midst of explaining why I thought it took your dough so long to rise (because it had a small inoculation of starter) it suddenly struck me that Hammelman also uses a small amount of starter and, dang it, I NEVER get the short rise times that he does. What gives?! So I wrote it down.

Anyway, good luck with the breads from Leader's book. Measurement errors aside, I hear from many people that it's very good.